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  1. Angus Gordon wrote on

    Very interesting Glenn.

    I have three questions. First, how does this all tie in with invoicing? Do you produce invoices via Word too or do you use an automated invoicing system?

    Second, what happens when you don’t have enough info to quote straight away, e.g. clients aren’t sure how many pages they need, etc.? I find I usually have to spend a bit of time with my clients before they’re even sure what they want. That would be harder to do at volume of course.

    Thirdly, what’s your actual rate? ;) (Well, you can’t blame me for trying…)

  2. Glenn Murray wrote on

    Hey mate. Good questions! Esp that last one! ;)

    Answers:

    1) For invoicing, I use MYOB. ACT! has a plugin that enables integration with MYOB. But only at the company/contact level. I think it eliminates the need to re-enter the client details in MYOB (having already entered them in ACT!). I say, “I think”, ‘cos I don’t actually use the plugin. I don’t issue enough quotes for this to be a problem.

    2) Like you, I find that most clients DON’T, in fact, come to me with a list of pages right off the bat. Instead, they send me an email saying, “Can you please tell me how much you charge for SEO copy?”, or something similar. When this happens, I usually don’t add that person to my ACT! database straight away. Instead, I reply to their email, telling them I need to know more (specifically, what pages they’re after, and approx how many words per page, + a few more things). Then when they reply, I add them to my ACT! database. This tends to weed out tyre-kickers, and also means I’m adding them and quoting all at the same time, which tends to be a bit more streamlined.

    3) To my knowledge, my prices are relatively high. To an extent, I have to keep them high, simply to control my workload. But there’s more to it than that. Firstly, as you know, copy is very valuable, and I prefer clients who recognise that value. And secondly, if your prices are too low, you tend not to attract clients who are after something special. They assume your prices are a reflection of your quality. Low price = low quality. I’m not really overly-sensitive about talking dollars, even with ‘competitors’. But there are practical reasons why I don’t publish my rates, particularly the fact that it makes it hard to adjust your pricing on a client-by-client basis, or when you’re busy.

    Hope this helps a bit.

    Cheers.

  3. Paul wrote on

    I’m a big fan of business process automation and that is a terrific example.

    Video is well produced too. Volume seemed fine so I’m not sure you need a new mic, maybe a lozenge though :-D

  4. Glenn Murray wrote on

    lol. A lozenge! I think that’s just how my voice is, unfortunately. I’ll look into some better mic technology though. Perhaps a mic that actually distorts my voice. Makes me sound more like an anchorman, maybe?!

  5. Sally, Snappy Sentences wrote on

    Hi Glenn
    Very useful! I was actually starting to research how I was going to start joining together my little stand alone systems. My only comment (for the next demo), is can you do a series of smaller videos so you can easily jump to the section you want?
    Cheers

  6. Glenn Murray wrote on

    Hi Sally. You know, I actually considered that (and even have those sections written down). But the subject of this one is very single-purpose, and all the elements are so intertwined. I thought I might lose people in between vids.

  7. Charles Cuninghame wrote on

    Hi Glenn

    Thanks for showing us under the hood. You’ve obviously got some IT chops as well as your word skills!

    I use ACT! as well but you’ve really got it wired using the Opportunities feature and those Word macros. Nice!

    A good cheap (free actually) alternative to Acrobat is PrimoPDF. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but it’s good for converting Word docs into PDFs.

    How about a pro-forma ACT! template for your proposal delivery email? The only annoying thing is you have to re-type the subject line every time.

    Re Angus’ questions and your answers: IMHO every freelancer (copywriter or otherwise) should read Bob Bly’s Secrets of a Freelance Writer. In this book Bob explains everything you need to know about setting your fees to maximise your profit.

    He also shares some nifty questions to unearth the client’s budget. They won’t always tell you, but just by asking you’ll discover whether an opportunity is worth pursuing or not.

  8. Glenn Murray wrote on

    Heya Charles! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    Dunno about “IT chops”; it’s more a case of being dragged, kicking and screaming into IT proficiency. That happens when you run a one-man-show! Having said that, I did work in the software industry for 9 years before starting Divine Write. I was a tech-writer back then. But I deliberately avoided any serious IT learning ‘cos it’s better, in some ways, for tech writers to approximate ‘dumb’ users. It wasn’t until I started Divine Write that I found myself HAVING to become proficient.

    But realistically, the setup I have isn’t that complex technically. It’s just a question of knowing what you want, knowing what’s possible, and learning a few little tricks to make it happen.

    Re PDF creators: Yeah, I’ve used a couple of the freebies in the past. They’re great. Macromedia had a trial version of Contribute, a few years back, that came with a PDF creator. It was the best one I’ve see. Unfortunately, none of the free ones are good for big docs, and they don’t seem to handle multiple platforms very well (at least on big docs). So when it came time to PDF my SEO ebook, I ran into problems. Some people couldn’t see half the content at all, and others saw it distorted. What’s more, the filesize was huge. I ended up biting the bullet and buying Adobe Acrobat to overcome those problems. It cost a bit, but there’s no doubt it’s better than the freebies.

    Definitely an email template would be a good idea. I kinda have a couple of those (although they’re not driven by ACT!). It hadn’t occurred to me to do it thru ACT!, so thanks for the suggestion!!! :)

    I agree with you about Bob Bly’s book. I’ve been running Divine Write for 7 years now, but still I learned a thing or two from it. I think most of what Bly discusses can be learned without guidance, and it’s by no means comprehensive, but it’s definitely a good buy. A very good starting point.

    Thanks again for the thoughtful comment, mate, and the email template suggestion. I’m on it!

    Cheers.
    Glenn

  9. Fred Schebesta wrote on

    This is a genius way to structure a business. The systemisation of my businesses in the future will aspire to be like this Glenn! Great work.

  10. Randy Kemp wrote on

    If you could put this together as a product, sell it via Internet Marketing, you will have a captive audience with copywriters.
    Randy

  11. Glenn (Owner) wrote on

    Hi Randy. Thanks for your kind words. It’s something I’ve considered, on and off. I’m certainly planning to make it available one way or the other. :-)

  12. Keith wrote on

    Great video!! Totally enjoyed learning the process and the quality of your video – Jing works quite well for you. Thanks again!

  13. Glenn Murray wrote on

    Hi Keith. Thanks! Glad you liked it. (I used Camtasia though. Jing limits you to 5 minutes, from memory.)

  14. Betty wrote on

    Hi, I just got sent over here from someone who recommended this video. Nice job! My questions would be, do you have to use Outlook? Can ACT be configured to interface with gmail for example? What version of ACT are you using? Could you use an older version? I’d love to have a copy of your Excel spreadsheet! I don’t know anything about macros. If you did a tutorial on using macros, I’d be interested. Thanks!

  15. Glenn (Owner) wrote on

    Hi Betty. Thanks for your comment and your kind words. I THINK ACT! integrates with other email clients, but I don’t think it integrates with webmail. You’d have to check on that. I’m using ACT! 2009 (V11). I suspect older versions would integrate with Outlook in a similar way, but I’ve never used them, and being older, I suspect they’d have some limitations. Also, I’m not sure if they’d support the integration of the plugin required to create documents from within the Opportunites window. I’m planning some sort of tutorial / ebook covering all this and more, complete with downloads, so stay tuned.

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  18. Steve Willoughby wrote on

    Hi Glenn,
    Wondering if you had a time frame for when your latest e-book will be released regarding infrastructure and the like? Something i’d really like to get sorted before I “take the leap” as you say.

    Cheers.
    Steve.

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