Errr…What's That Again?

I was planning to write about this superlicious book that I’m reading right now until I read IttyBiz’s home business post.
I just got to know of IttyBiz but already I like what I read. And most times, her posts make me think. Now I can tell you that I rarely blog surf and those blogs that I surf are either people whom I know well or people I love checking up on. I love stumbling upon gems of blogs but the key thing, I much prefer to receive email updates when they post something new on their blog. I think that’s what everyone much prefers, right? To get the post right in their in-box each morning.
Anyway, her post got me thinking IF people/friends who read this blog know what I do for a living (besides blogging!). Sometimes people read about what I do but most people forget anyway, what with the 1001 things we do each day. And if they forget, as IttyBiz says, it’s really NOT their fault. It’s mine. I forget to remind or tell you what I do.
Let me walk you through a typical day. The first thing I do is I check my email. Sometimes I get into the office by 11am, sometimes after 2pm (after lunch, that is). It depends if I have any appointments with clients or potential clients or the ladies from my WomenBizSENSE group.
If there isn’t anything lined up for the day, I’d see what client maintenance tasks I need to complete on my end (if I have not delegated it out to our team member the day before).
Emailing takes up quite a bit of time as I would be following up with clients and the jobs to be done. I refer to my GTD online to see which tasks have to be done first and which can be done later. If you have not had the chance to try out GTD online, it’s a great tool to help me keep all my to-do and next actions in one place. I wrote about learning GTD just recently and it has been most helpful!
The afternoons are usually for discussions about clients’ web development projects with Nic and of course our team members. We usually talk about what we’re doing, if we’re doing them correctly, if this is what the client needs, the client’s feedback etc. Usually this takes anywhere from 1-2 hours. We usually break for tea after that but I’m not a tea-time person (unless I had an extremely light lunch).
Typically my blogging starts in the late afternoon, when my mind is clear (it could also be in the mornings, when I don’t have much going on). I could be inspired to blog based on an article I read online. I could be inspired by conversations around me or people I’ve met.
Keeping the accounts neat and tidy is also my responsibility (and I do this daily). As we’re a small outfit, we rely most on online software and computer tools. I do most of the accounting and bookkeeping stuff so that when tax season arrives, it’s easy-peasy, no worries. I think organising and getting stuff neat is what I do best. Although I have no financial degree background, I learnt it up slowly especially when I joined Nic in the business in 2004. I guess that’s the advantage of running a small web design business – I get to learn things as I go. Unlike a big company, we don’t have a CFO. That’s why we rely on ourselves, our accountant and our accounting tools to get things done.
… writing for clients who want us to help design and develop their websites.
Writing in this sense is divided into 2 areas – front-end writing and back-end writing. Front-end writing deals with the content/words you see on any website. Before I start, I do lots of research, online and offline (I am SUCH a research freak).
I try to get as much information from the client before I do any writing. I remember chatting with a client in Sabah for a few times before I actually wrote the content for her company as I needed to know everything I could. I love it if I get a firsthand look via a visit to the client’s place/factory. That’s where I can ask all the questions!
For me, I abhor taking brochure text piecemeal, retyping it verbatim and stuffing the text into a website. That’s stupid and lazy as well as highly ignorant of how people read online. People who do this have no bloody idea what a website is or does or how website dynamics work.
People don’t read a website like they read a book (from page 1 to page 100). Online, people can enter your website from any page, any time. That’s why brochure text should never be used directly on websites.
That’s the fun part. The front-end writing. Maybe it’s because I’ve been writing since I was 9 so it comes naturally and easily to me. Plus I have an innate curiosity about people, places and concepts. I love learning about other people and their businesses. And I enjoy the challenge of writing good content, no matter what the industry or business!
The back-end writing is more scientific and involves even more research. Back-end writing is about finding the right keywords for the websites we’re designing. I use online tools of course but the best source of information is always the client.
I would say we’re good at marketing, helping clients portray the best of their business, helping clients tell the amazing stories of their products and services.
We’re storytellers who use the Internet/website as a medium to tell clients’ stories.
We tell their stories through writing where we help describe their uniqueness, their products, their services.
We tell their stories through manually coded websites made with web marketing sense where we help make their products and services desirable.
People who know us would raise their eyebrows. “But I thought you guys did web design?”
Yes, we design websites and ecommerce sites and all that. But we realised over the years that we’re even better as marketers. We can help clients put their best foot forward no matter how small or similar their business is to others in the same field.
That’s what keeps us different from other designers.
It bemuses us that we’re really NOT designers at all.
We’re business people and the way we use our website to market ourselves is the same way we will help clients market their businesses.
Our clients can be a small business owner, a work-at-home mom, a non-profit organisation or club or association, a small company of 20 staff, or a large conglomerate or public-listed company of a few thousand staff. Such diversity is to be expected, considering this is our 10th year in business!
We do the things we do because we’re really oomphed when our content and design produce the desired results for our clients.
People who need our services are people who know that the Internet is here to stay and there’s a whole world of opportunities to be explored. They not only want to go online with a website but they want web marketing help too. They want to know how to use their website to the best of its ability. They want to know how to derive the best benefits from a ‘branch’ that never sleeps. We welcome people who are keen to learn how to grow their business with a website, not lazy buggers who just want to make money, money, money.
…is to move in the direction of teaching and consultation. That’s where our interests are.
Odd to say, it’s terribly comforting because I am a teacher’s daughter. I often chided myself – “I won’t be a teacher, oh no sirree” but life comes full circle. I won’t be teaching as a ‘teacher’ per se but I can see myself imparting knowledge in the future. Nic was supposed to be a Sejarah teacher (can you imagine that!). He taught in a school in Kuching for 2 years before he came to university. He enjoyed teaching too, just as I enjoyed my 6 months as a temporary teacher after my STPM. So yeah, teaching runs deep in our blood. That’s also why we’re helping out with the School of Arts, USM. To advise and provide input to their web design undergraduates.
Now that I’ve told you what I do, how about you? What do you do? And to help you answer better, here are the 5 questions from Ittybiz.
1. What’s your game? What do you do?
2. Why do you do it? Do you love it, or do you just have one of those creepy knacks?
3. Who are your customers? What kind of people would need or want what you offer?
4. What’s your marketing USP? Why should I buy from you instead of the other losers?
5. What’s next for you? What’s the big plan?

2 thoughts on “Errr…What's That Again?”

  1. wow, gee…..let me get this up on my blog as well. lest people forget. thanks for the reminder, competitor! 🙂 Hee hee hee…. looking at your future plan, you’re going to be way ahead of me already. but there’s two of you and one of me. Not fair!!!

  2. Hi Marsha: Hey woman….you started way way when I was slaving away in Are we competitors? No lah, my dear. We’re not. You’re good in your own way and we’re good in our own way. Even if we were competition, I always tell people, competition is good, it keeps us moving, it keeps us on our toes. It keeps us innovating. Without competition, life would be boring! If there’s no yin there’s no yang so everyone needs one another, yes, even competitors so that they will not lag behind. Look forward to reading your responses in your blog!


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