1. When you ask for advice and then discredit it because you don’t understand it or are unfamiliar with it, it makes me less excited about giving advice the next 12 times you ask.

Client: “How do I increase traffic to my website”
Me: “Do you have an email list built up?”
Client: “Yes, 6500 emails.”
Me: “Great, lets email them something of value regularly and encourage them to visit your website to read your blog/redeem an offer/watch a video.”
Client: “No, I don’t want to bug them… I mean they already bought something from me.”
Me: {silently} “Askhole”

Definition: [ahsk•hohl] Askhole: noun
1. A person who continually asks for advice but usually dismisses the advice and rarely takes it.

If you had a big spot growing on your leg and you went to the doctor and asked them to look at it and they said, “You really should have that biopsied, it doesn’t look good.” You wouldn’t respond with, “But it’s pretty and I don’t like change.”

My value in the marketplace is my experience. I am using that experience to answer your question. I have probably done it your way and failed.

2. When you do ask my advice to solve your problem, and don’t take my suggestion, you can’t blame me when you don’t get the results you want.

Client: “I want a new website and we need to show up on Google’s first page.”
Me: “Awesome. Google loves content because people love content. What content are you going to put on your site to encourage Google to give you a better ranking.”
Client: “We will have our hours of operation and list of services. Oh, and a slider photo gallery thingy.”
Me: “That is a great start, however, Google likes words because people type in words for their searches. My suggestion is that you start by blogging once per week and posting that blog post on your social networks. Your clients and friends will appreciate it and Google will start indexing you. As far as topics, blog about the kinds of things you hope to show up for when someone Google’s you.”
Client: “I don’t have time to blog, let’s get the site live.”
Me: “Ok. But please understand that your chance of showing up on the first page of Google with this strategy is slim to none.”
Client: “It’ll work.”

[Time lapse 4 days post site launch]
Client: “I have been Googling my keywords every hour around the clock for 4 days and we still don’t show up. Do you even know what you are doing? I thought you said you understood SEO because you obviously don’t.”
Me: {sigh} “Remember how we talked about having content? You can’t bully Google. Just because you are the best in our little hometown doesn’t mean that Google knows that.”
Client: “Well I am going to call Google and let them know who I am.”
Me: “You do that. Tell them I said ‘hi’.”

3. Making money online is both easy and hard. There are many factors that effect how much you can make with your idea. Just because you have a friend who sells widgets on eBay and is crushing it doesn’t mean you will.

If you find someone accomplishing what you hope to accomplish then learn from them. Every 6, 7, and 8-figure online marketer I know will sit and talk for hours about strategy and tactics and best practices. They are proud of what they have done. Ask them to be a student but be prepared when they tell you to “Wax on – wax off” for 6 months.

4. I can tell when you have just Googled a topic and are spouting off industry terms to try and bully me. Honesty with both parties will get this relationship a lot further.

Client: “So I was reading in the Wall Street Journal how Google’s penguin really changed SEO and I think I have some new keywords I want you to post.”
Me: “This would be a great time to start blogging.”
Client: “I would just rather take the keywords out of the meta tags and put them in the header.”
Me: {sigh} “I am sure the penguin will appreciate that.”

5. You can and should split-test pricing and promotions. This is not unethical. No they won’t tell their friends at a party that they got theirs for .50 less and then boycott you.

Whether you like to believe it or not every major retailer is testing their prices on you. Yes the gum at the check stand costs more than it does in the isle. Yes the grocery store on the west side of town has their meat priced lower than the exact same store on the east side. Yes at this exact moment 2 different people are paying 2 different prices for the exact same thing on Amazon.com. This is how it works folks.

Let’s say you had a stand at farmer’s market and you are selling tomatoes. You have brought 100 of them with you to sell. You think you have the best damn tomatoes on the planet so you market them at $5 each. In the first 3 hours you sell 6. What are you going to do? You are going to lower the price to see if you can sell more. So you lower the price to $3 and they start flying off the table. That means that someone that day paid $5 and others paid $3 for the same exact product. This is how supply and demand and price work together. So yes you should have 2 different web pages with two different prices and split-test them.

6. Your business and industry are not unique.

In the last 12 months of my life I have worked in the following industries for clients: point-to-point communication for hospitals, big data HR analysis, data architecture, truck accessories, women’s clothing, mail forwarding, golf accessories, real estate, railroads, neurology, vision, commercial security, digital signage, wholesale vegetables, accounting, and large format printing. Guess what? They all have the exact same issues. B2B thinks they are so different that B2C. Retails swears they are nothing like online sales. Product companies say service companies don’t understand.

Here’s the deal. You have something other people want or need. They give you money so they can have it. Am I wrong? Do I have the formula right?

7. You are coming to me because I have something you need. This means you don’t already have it.

Please don’t call me and said, “I can totally do this project myself but I don’t have the time, can you do it? It shouldn’t take long.”

My answer will always be no. A little humility will get you a long way. If I believe in your I probably will work on your project twice the number of hours I bill you for. I will do things you may never notice to make the project better. Let’s tackle this as equals. Don’t try to dangle the carrot of money. Dangle the carrot of purpose and watch me give up weekends for you.

If you have more things you wish your clients knew let me know.

PS – I am sure there are misspellings and grammar issues. Deal with it.