Good Business – Please Don’t Be Difficult

The longest day of the year comes to a close. The sun is now at its most northern point, shining into the Secret Garden. The pendulum hits the end of its arc, hesitates, and swings back.

So, I’ve been talking to people about redoing my website. Yeah, it’s old. I’ve bastardized it over the years. I *ahem* rarely update the thing. I kind of hate even looking at it and the prospect of dealing fills me with this formless sense of dread. Nevertheless: the site needs help and it’s time to do it.

Always an interesting thing, when you step out into the world with your fistful of money and say “hey, I’d like to purchase this service.” You’d think, especially with the economy as it’s been, that people would love to have your money and provide that service. Odd that it doesn’t exactly work that way.

I’m totally not counting all the people that suddenly followed me on Twitter the second I mentioned web design.

The first guy I talked to didn’t get my first email. Then, when he got my follow-up email, gave me a lot of complex feedback. As the astute Laura Bickle says, “I don’t want to know how sausage is made.” Don’t tell me about code, please. If I cared about that stuff, I’d be doing, um, web design. He charges by the hour, wasn’t sure how many hours it would take, and seemed to be going in directions that confused me. I expressed my confusion and he never replied.

Guess I was difficult.

After a week, I asked for other recommendations yesterday. KAK gave me one, and a Facebook friend gave me another. I filled out the form requesting proposals on both sites. One of those I still have not heard back from, which I wouldn’t think too much of, except that the other called me within about 1/2 hour. This gal chatted with me about what I wanted, didn’t treat me like I was crazy and explained in exact dollars what it would cost me and what I’d get for that.


Later in the day, the company owner emailed to tell me they were enthusiastic at the prospect of my business. She will be at RWA National next week and wants to meet with me. The fact that she runs her business this well makes me think that she will represent *my* business well, also.

My feeling of formless dread has transformed into enthusiastic hope.

Which is exactly what I’m hiring someone to do. Handle this for me, please.

I think it’s good to pay attention to how people handle their businesses, both good and bad. As writers, we are necessarily business owners, whether we want to be or not. More and more I think the key to running a good business is to make it easy for people to do business with you.

In short: Don’t Be Difficult.

I could wax on with specifics, but I’m sure you all know what I mean. Be easy to communicate with. Be clear. Know your price points.

Oh – and have a good website.


8 Replies to “Good Business – Please Don’t Be Difficult”

  1. Amen. Customers pay for goods and services — not crap and difficulties. Businesses should never forget that fundamental premise.

    And I totally second (third?) Laura's point about "don't tell me how sausage is made, just tell me what it costs and when I can have it."

  2. "Strange, this Mary. She leaves the room, yet remains. She lingers on."
    Another Secret Garden mention, another day with Mandy Patinkin's voice stuck in my head.

  3. I'm not being funny, and I happened across your blog by accident, but as a web developer, I am amazed that you are concerned that a mere one day after posting to request information you are already dismissing the other company because they were not first to get back to you. You have to wonder how a company can get back to you within only 30 minutes if they actually have clients. I get several requests A DAY and don't always have time to answer them AT THAT MOMENT and especially within only 30 minutes of receiving because I am busy meeting my current client deadlines and providing them with the service they have come to expect from me. It's great that they were able to answer you so quickly, but I would think giving someone at least 48 hours to respond would be prudent, especially since you have had such trouble before. First is not always best. The company owner calling you that fast may mean she is so desperate for work she is trying to make a good impression before someone else gets you. Just my two cents. I wish you well with your endeavors, but perhaps not rushing to make a decision and rush to judgment would serve you well in selecting a web developer for your new site.

  4. I talked with someone about redoing mine. This person said they would "put me in the queue". That was January. Have not heard a peep since. I have give up. I've decided to do it myself. I think sometimes forget what the words "customer service" mean.

  5. I think customer service is the cornerstone to any good business and it really doesn't matter how long it takes someone to respond or not to respond, like love, when you make the right connection you know.

  6. Oh, MM, I'm sure you're still "in their queue" all right. The gal who's doing mine will be at National, if you want to chat with her.

    Kelly, you are so right. And,really, I didn't care about getting a response the next day. That seems perfectly fine to me.

  7. Glad that you found someone to do the web design for you!

    Yeah. There are a lot of things I don't mind doing in promoland. But there are some sausage-y things that are indeed worth contracting out for.

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