The Sales Page Clinic

We got the house.

The house I liked most, the one with a chook pen and vegie garden and frog pond. The one near the river. The one with wandering ducks and no through roads. I haven’t even seen the place – The Dude has been valiantly doing all the legwork – but I am already in love with it.

We move in one week from now. Cue the joyous chaos.

I am proud.

In the last few months I have made enough money to keep myself alive AND save up enough to pay four weeks bond and two weeks rent, AND to pay the fuel for The Dude to drive 800km to come get me and all my stuff AND for us to drive back, AND to hire a truck to move all our possessions from storage into this shiny new house, AND to turn on the lights and internet. Thousands of dollars in six weeks, hallelujah!

But there were some unexpected hitches: from the technical (upgrading my wireless internet connection) to the personal (travelling north to my uncle’s funeral). Due to those expenses, and a few more, The Dude and I no longer have enough cash to move house elegantly: to stop on the drive back and eat a leisurely pub lunch, to fill up our empty pantry with bulk staples, to replace the microwave and desk that were too craptacular to put into storage.

And most importantly, to have a bit of security blanket left over in case something happens. Because it always does, right?

Thus:

  1. I need to make a few hundred dollars in the next week.
  2. I need to do this by solving a problem for you.
  3. And I know about one issue that’s come up a half-dozen times in recent client sessions.

See if it resonates for you.

You have an offering you love, and a sales page that doesn’t do it justice.

You have a sales page that doesn’t work.

It just… misses.

When you tell the right people about the work one-on-one, or show them a sample, they get wildly excited. “Wow, that’s amazing! Why haven’t you told me about it before?” And you admit, Well, actually, I think you read this sales page a month ago, but you’ve forgotten all about it.

The sales page doesn’t… quite… feel good. Feel like you wrote it. It doesn’t have any edge, any oomph, any GUTS. It’s pastel watercolours when you wanted neon tattoo.

You suspect that you aren’t promoting this offering as much as you should, because you can’t proudly point to the sales page and say, “Hey! Here it is! Check out all my majesty!”

You make few sales, or no sales at all. Financially this is woeful, but more than that is the missed opportunity. The work is wonderful, you know it’s wonderful, but you obviously aren’t communicating its wonderfulness. So many people could benefit from your offering, but it’s not reaching them. It’s so freaking frustrating!

You wish you had a sales page that is as amazing as the offering it promotes.

Good news, chickadee!

You already have everything you need to write a gobsmackingly uplifting and effective sales page.

You have:

  • an amazingtacular offering
  • big-time enthusiasm for the work you do
  • your own dee-lighful voice and style
  • the capacity to Make Shit Happen

The bones are all there, darlingheart.

Together, we’ll strip back your sales page, find those beautiful bones, and polish the everliving fuck out of them.

Enter… the Sales Page Clinic!

One glorious live experience, featuring amazing participants with less-than-amazingpants sales pages.

You can attend and write a gazillion underlined notes as you watch.
You can watch (or rewatch) the recording later, in your own time.
And, if you are brave, you can volunteer your sales page to be dissected, stripped back, and TRANSFORMED.

Together, live on the webinar, we will suss out what is ailing your sales page, and what needs to happen to make it sing.

Potential issues we might fix:

  • The Airy-Fairies
  • The Process Infatuation
  • The Invisible Audience
  • The Offroader
  • The Price Is Not Actually Right
  • The What’s All This, Then?
  • The Suit Possession
  • The Chiaroscuro
  • The Garage Sale Schemozzle
  • The Putt-Putt
  • The Bang and Whisper
  • The Banquet Imbalance

What are all of these fascinating issues? You’ll have to join us to find out!

How to join us

The Sales Page Clinic will be held as a live webinar, with the recording available to all participants afterward.

The date will be on Saturday the 13th of October at 8am Brisbane time. (That’s 5PM on Friday the 12th of October in US Central time, and 11PM on the 12th in London time.)

The cost is $50.

Ready to rock your sales page? Click the link and get started!

CLICK HERE TO ROCK OUT YOUR SALES PAGE.

How many sales pages we get through and how long we’ll go for will be determined by how many people sign up. The maximum will be eight sales pages in two hours, ’cause my brain will fall out after that.

If we have more than ten participants I will a) cheer and b) try to choose participants who are representative, so that even if you aren’t featured you will learn squoodles. If that happens, priority will definitely be given to the first people to sign up.

(So you should click that link right now, is what I’m saying.)

If we have more than twenty participants I will a) cheer more and b) run an extra session along the same principles. That’s enough time for me to lay out pretty much everything I know on what makes sales pages joyous, ick-free, and effective.

Sick of so-so sales pages? Sign up now!

And wish me luck for the house-moving. I’ll send photos of the ducks.

Rock on,
Catherine

photo by: Alex E. Proimos

The young knight, the wise knight, and the oft-relearned lesson.

The young knight radiated painful levels of keenness.

Christina, yes that Christina, sighed inaudibly and said, ”Very well. I will give you space in my pavilion and we shall ride together in the tourney. What was your name again?”

Her name was Liliane, and she had lived a lifetime in a month: first slaying the Demon of Cotterston, then knighted by the Good Queen Elisandra herself, and now, to be mentored by the Queen’s most puissant knight…

”We shall discuss strategy, and she will show me the best way to hold a lance, then she will compliment me on my broadsword technique!” thought Liliane. ”And perhaps, perhaps I shall best her in the grand melee, and as ransom she will offer me the Helm of Incendrius, and I will refuse to accept it, and we shall become the best, the very best of friends…”

Christina watched the young knight, smiled, shook her head.

“Let us prepare.”

They oiled the straps on their vambraces. They sharpened their swords. They polished their cuirasses, reinforced their shields, rolled their chain mail in barrels with a handful of sand. Then ritually, their squires armed and armoured them.

They were resplendent. They set forth.

Later: bloodied, muddied, sweaty and sodden, the knights retired after the first day of jousts and challenges.

Outside the tent smiled a great many young men, determined to show their appreciation of the valourous knights. Liliane giggled as she sat to remove her greaves. Christina, veteran of a hundred tourneys, winked knowingly back.

Liliane was emboldened to ask, ”What will you, um, wh- what are your plans for the evening?”

Christina replied, ”I’m going to take a nap.”

”But… you won the competition today! There are… groupies outside the tent! and Her Majesty’s feast is this night!”

”Oh, I shall definitely attend the feast and drink a cup to Her Majesty’s health. To do so I shall skip the cooing and froing, which is a pity. But since I want to win the grand mêlée tomorrow, I must rest now. Do you not feel tired?”

Liliane admitted that she felt, you know, a leetle bit tired after nine hours of combat and manoeuvring while wearing half a ton of metal in the hot sun.

”But… this a special occasion. And it’s only two days… I don’t want to miss a second of it! I can skip the nap, I’ll be fine.”

”Do as you wish,” said Christina. ”I will not say I told you so.”

Liliane polished her armour, sharpened her broadsword, and left in a cloud of perfume and pomade and pride. Christina settled down on her pallet and thought as she stretched.

She thought, You young fool. So diligent about taking care of your equipment, so lax about taking care of yourself. As if your body was not your most important weapon. As if your mind wasn’t your most important shield.

I could tell you. I could say, ”A magic sword in a weak hand is not just useless. It is dangerous.” I could say, ”The more a sword parries, the more often it must be sharpened.”

But you cannot see past the excitement and you would not listen, young fool. So tomorrow I shall hammer you into the ground in the grand mêlée. Perhaps you will learn then.

Christina rolled dreaming into the blankets, seeing past glories and glories soon to come.

It is five years later and sleep is a pleasant memory.

The wind scythes through the ravine, observing a valiant last stand. The knights of the Good Queen Elisandra are hopelessly outnumbered by the skeletal army of the Dread Necromancer Zod.

The fell and fearsome Christina has stood in the narrowest part of the ravine, holding the pass with sword and blazing eye, for three days and three nights. The bard is at the back, whistling and taking notes.

There is a lull amongst the undead ranks, as the disassembled troops grope to find their skulls and collarbones. Christina plants her sword in the pounded dust and waits for them to come again.

And then she is remorselessly pulled away to sit on a rock, sword replaced with stew, helm replaced with damp cloth. Liliane Traitors-foe, scarred and cynical and already more renowned than any knight before her, looms out of the sun and dust and offers a flagon of wine.

”Fine, sister knight,” growls Christina. ”A quick sup then I will be back to the lines. I thank you.”

The young knight, no longer so young, shakes her head.

”A leisurely meal, a long nap, confession from the archbishop, massage, and THEN you can return to the lines.”

”But… I wield the Sword of Adamant, against which none can stand!”

”True.”

”But… there are none other who can push back the advance!”

”You are correct.”

”But… this army must be defeated, or our land will burn!”

”Yes.”

”Therefore, I cannot rest!”

”We have barricades, and brave milkmaids with pikes to defend them. We have fire archers on the cliff walls. We will not advance, but we will hold while you sleep. Even if we would not, you still must sleep. A wise knight once taught me this.”

Christina rolls her eyes.

”That was tourney and play. This is disaster! We teeter on the edge of destruction. There is no time for… massages.”

”Your arms grow tired. Deny it.”

”I…”

”Your mind grows dull. Deny it.”

”…”

”One more day of this and you will be less useful than the milkmaids. DENY IT.”

”BUT I MUST!” roars Christina. ”The Queen and the land must be defended!”

Liliane held her arm. ”Wise fool, we may need to hold this pass for weeks while the mages find a way to break the Dread Necromancer’s spell. Weeks! No matter how much we would wish to fight without rest, we are mortal flesh. We rest now to fight better tomorrow. We rest now in order to fight at all next week.”

There was nothing she could do in the face of that much sense. Christina found a hay bale and wrapped her cloak around herself.

She drifted off, as ever, seeing past glories and glories yet to come.

Looking for someone to rescue you from yourself? You should join The Provocateurs! All of the wisdom, with less of the contusions.

photo by: pwbaker

Bullwinkle is the patron saint of entrepreneurs.

“I should write an article about that.” I say. Sometimes the idea I have just expressed is big enough to write an entire article about, and I do. Sometimes it’s more of a bijou idea that wouldn’t make a whole article. Here’s a few of the smaller ones.

Bullwinkle J. Moose is the patron saint of entrepreneurs.

“Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!”

“Again? But that trick never works.”

“This time fer sure!”

[Of course I do the voices.]

Bullwinkle has been trying this for ages, with no success. He’s pulled lions and rhinos and everything except a rabbit out of that hat.

But his faith is unshakeable. This time it’s gonna work. (You know, that Churchill quote: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”)

I know it’s tiring to be trying a different tack AGAIN. Channel Bullwinkle.

“This time for sure!”

Leave an edge open.

I don’t think we need to pin that part down yet. This idea is too new – we need to leave some edges open for it to grow.

You don’t want to do that thing where you make everything fit… just… so and then you realise, “Woop, it needs to be 20% bigger.”

CRAAAAAP.

I’ve done that with reshelving books. You get everything in and then you find five more of them. I’ve given away books just so everything would fit, which is dumb. If I’d left a shelf available I would have been fine.

Price is always subjective.

Some people are telling you your prices are too high. But you have to remember, they’re not expressing a Universal Truth About Pricing. Price is always completely subjective. All they’re really saying is, “Your prices are too high for me.”

I mean, we both know your prices are on the low side of normal. So it’s not that you have the wrong prices, you just have the wrong potential clients.

There will be some people who think 50c an hour is too much for your work. You could never drop your prices enough to make them happy.

The right clients always want to pay you full price. They might not be able to, but they really, really wanna.

Your prices are fine. Let’s talk about attracting the right clients.

Like this new experimental format? Please come tell me in the comments!

Profitable and panicked: business without shock absorbers

Christmas Day was always spent with Mum’s family.

Us, the aunts, the related uncles, and the dozens of cousins, out at the property. Keeping that many children entertained is not a small task, but fortunately the property had endless possibilities in the way of kangaroos, aboveground pools, dogs, and the best of all: the tractor ride.

The appropriate uncle would hook up his trailer to the tractor and take us for a spin around the back paddocks. The trailer had inflatable tyres, and there were hay bales to sit on, but the ride was still bone-jarringly jouncy. The trailer would go over a rabbit hole or a washout and suddenly you would find yourself in the air for one glorious moment, and then – click! – you would hear your teeth audibly come together as gravity took you back.

For a half hour on a hot Christmas day, this was a highlight almost on par with the number of presents one receives if your mother has five sisters. The discomfort and the jostling (and the dust) were the reason it was fun.

It was fun because it was just a half an hour, after which there would be lemon crush and running under the hose and opening presents and a barbeque. No-one in their right mind would want to stay on the shaking bouncing trailer for much longer than that.

But I have. I have spent this year riding a version of the trailer that doesn’t even have the grace of a haybale for cushioning.

That is what my business life has been.

Here is a list of potential shock absorbers under your business.

Which do you have?

  • 2 months of savings
  • A waiting list of clients
  • Long-term contract work
  • Retainer work
  • A partner who pays vital expenses
  • An emergency credit card
  • A dragon hoard
  • A pipeline of potential one-day clients
  • Royalty payments
  • Passive income
  • Income protection insurance
  • Regular referrals from a colleague
  • A pension
  • A part-time job

If you don’t have at least two of these things (or things like ’em), you aren’t going to enjoy your business as much as you ought to.

At one stage I had this nailed.

I had a couple of thousand dollars in savings, I had an emergency credit card, retainer clients, The Dude covering the food bills, and always five or six people who would turn into paying clients any moment now.

In the last six months, due to three months of illness, bad advice, and a change in business model, I have had maybe one of those shock absorbers in operation. Sometimes, I have had none of them.

The funny thing is, I am actually making more money than I was previously. On paper, on average, I am making more money than I need to thrive.

But without the shock absorbers… most people don’t talk about this, but it is possible to be profitable AND panicked.

When you have a cushion and bottom out for a moment – a bad week in sales, a major affiliate quits, unexpected expenses due to a tech failure, whatevs – it’s noticeable, but it doesn’t hurt you.

If you have no shock absorbers, then every single time the road becomes less than smooth, you’re gonna get bruised.

Living the I-have-$17-for-groceries-while-I-wait-for-this-$1500-to-transfer-from-my-PayPal-to-my-bank-account life, the constantly-playing-catchup-on-bills-and-rent game… it’s, quite simply, shit. Try to imagine sleeping on the rusty metal in the back of that trailer as it hits every pothole and rock. You get the occasional bit of smooth road where you can relax for a minute and then – BAM – wake up, we’re in the air again!

I don’t want to play this game anymore.

I can’t.

A couple of months ago, I realised: I miss my flawless eight hours of sleep. I am sick of freaking out every time the phone rings because I don’t have the money this week, I’ll have it next week. I am oh-so-very over forever being behind on everything because the slim weeks come before the fat weeks, and not the other way around.

So I made a commitment: I will do whatever it takes to change this.

The last two months have been full of realignment.

In the biz, Ash and I have been working hard to install springs and better tyres. We’ve already improved how we connect to new readers and build a relationship to potential clients. We’ve added a resilient and much more enjoyable affiliate system.

We’re also developing recurring income, like a paid Cash And Joy community, and bringing back the retainer work for the right kind of clients. These are good tools to even out the ride, and there are more on the way.

In my personal finances, I have been making big changes, too. No matter how tight things are, I have been putting 10c of every dollar into my security blanket fund. (I slept the whole night through for the first time in weeks when I had $75 in there. It is both wonderful and ridiculous how much difference that made.)

I hatehatehate to admit this, but I also bit the bullet and applied for government assistance. I expect that 95% of the time I will receive no payments, but one week in twenty it will be a profound relief to have a safety net under me.

And lastly, I’m contemplating getting a part-time job. Preferably something that builds my skills, or at least provides physical and/or social stimulation, but I am willing to be much less than fussy.

I am ashamed as I admit this.

I want to be a spectacular business success who never, ever needs to look at other options because everything is working so goddamn perfectly.

But you know what? It isn’t. I kept afloat while seriously ill for months, and I am proud of that, but it has had major consequences. It’s not really a question of cashflow – we have lots of new clients and expenses are goddamn minuscule.

It keeps coming back to that cushion. To that resilience. If you have resilience, then uncertainty isn’t too much of a big deal. You have resources to deal with it.

But without the resilience, everything is a problem. Every change is worrying. Uncertainty will murder your sleep and make you very, very unfun to live with.

In the last months I have had to rebuild the health of me and the business. And I have done it! But I have not succeeded in also building a surplus of resources to protect me from the next problem.

I realise that it is kinda stupid of me to be disappointed in myself for this.

To use a relevant Olympic metaphor, it’s like starting the 400m a lap behind everyone else and then being disappointed for only getting a bronze.

Of course, this metaphor suggests that my success is a competitive sport, instead of a solo event.

Because it is. It shouldn’t be, but it is.

I am often daft enough to compare my biz – recovering after the sole proprietor was out for the count for months – to, well, everyone who is talking about their wonderful businesses. I’m aware of how incredibly foolish that is, and I am working on not picking up the whip of but-so-and-so-is-doing-amazingly-well and flagellating myself with it, but not with remarkable success thus far.

(Because jouncing along on the rusty floor of a trailer  is SO much better when your back is raw and bleeding.)

I know that I am not the only full-time biz owner who is casting an eye over the Help Wanted ads.

Plenty will admit to me privately that they’ve started a side hustle or an eBay store or a shift delivering pizzas. And I curse the culture that says, “But if you do that, you are a failure.”

Bullshit to that! Fie, fie! I do amazing work and I have remarkable clients. I should not be shamed by needing more regular income, too. I would prefer, of course, for it to be within the biz, and I hope that the paths we pursue to that end bear fruit. But deep down, I know that I would be a better businesswoman if I had two months of expenses in my bank account and I knew damn sure where the rent was coming from. I am willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen – to be strong and consistent in my biz.

This is what The Pilot Light is all about. It is, again, supremely embarrassing to be needing to do the work I teach, but that’s the spiral, yanno?

So my biggest priority is shock absorbers. And then I can start enjoying the ride again.

Speaking of The Pilot Light…

We’re starting again in just a couple of weeks and there are still two spots available. It’s your last chance to jump on board and off the rickedy-ass trailer, jellybean.

Email me TODAY if you’re yearning to smooth out your business’ ride. (catherine@cashandjoy.com. DO EEET.)

I originally wrote this as a newsletter to my Rise and Shine peeps.

(Which means that if you’re not signed up, this is the kind of amazingness you are missing out on.)

I usually receive a half-dozen replies to my newsletters.

This time, I got three dozen in the first 24 hours.

All of them saying some variant of, “THANK YOU for saying the thing I have been thinking.”

If you can, please share your thoughts in the comments. Because clearly, there are lots of people who really wanna know they aren’t the only ones.

(And that, of course, includes me.)

photo by: Jem Yoshioka