19 things I learnt during Customer Love

Happy St Valentine's day
Creative Commons License photo credit: ShironekoEuro[busy]

1) Customer Love challengers are amazing
The support, love, ideas and kindness I’ve received from fellow challengers has been incredible. I’ve met cool new people and deepened relationships with existing people and this was undeniably the best part of the experience for me.

If you are thinking about doing the next Customer Love Challenge in February 2011, it’s worth it for this reason alone.

2) I need to get better at promotion
This is an area where I totally fell down. I did lots of great things but then either got coy about telling people or just didn’t have the time. This is a long-standing issue for me but Customer Love brought it into sharp relief.

All month I could hear my art college tutor saying the words, “Kirsty, you need to do more with less”. He was right 9 years ago and it’s still true today but my ADD nature struggles with that limitation. My brain is always all, ‘ooh shiny, new thing, shiny new thing! Oh wait what was I doing again?’

I need to do some Big Thinking about how to work with this aspect of myself because I’m clearly never going to eradicate it.

3) A stronger strategy would have given better results
When I take part in the next challenge, I plan to be more prepared. That said, being spontaneous was a lot of fun.

4) I overestimated the amount I could get done
You know, I don’t know why this is always such a surprise to me since it happens all the freaking time. Yet I am always blithely convinced I can do twice as much as humanly possible in half the time. What can I say, I’m an eternal optimist. Completely clearing the decks before doing Customer Love would also have been smart. We live and learn, people, we live and learn…

5) Deep strategy stuff fascinates the hell out of me
I love it to death. I even love the word ‘strategy’ and wish it hadn’t been overused by boring corporate types. Part of my mission is to reclaim it. We can have strategy, people and it can be fun strategy with extra cakes and biscuits.

6) I need to be more strategic about ‘free’
I talked about this in my Customer Love guest post – The Volunteer Junkie. Please read the incredible wisdom in the comments.

7) It’s a bit crowded in my head
I have an Inner Businesswoman, a Volunteer Junkie and a Girl Reporter who’s in charge of the newsletter (she’s very keen, bless her and survives on biscuits and cups of tea because I don’t pay her). Unearthing these metaphors was one of my favourite parts of Customer Love.

8) Not everything I tried worked
I attempted a bit of public Twitter loving but it felt slightly icky to me. I realised that I’m not comfortable singling people out for public loving – unless there’s a good reason to mention them, it feels artificial and weird. I also worry about the hurt feelings of those I haven’t singled out.

But that’s OK, it’s good to try stuff to find where your edges and tolerances are and I value learning this.

9) Be clear about what you’re offering
Saying ‘I’ve got some free time, who needs help’ on Twitter won’t get nearly as many responses as something specific like, ‘who wants a mini-Eyeball on their sales page?’

10) I sometimes swallow my words
But it’s not my fault, it’s because I’m Scottish.

I discovered this whilst listening to the audio interview I did with LaVonne Ellis about my art, business and the importance of respecting our limitations.

[PS. To anyone interviewing me in the future, get me to say the words ‘film’ or ‘iron’ – the way I say them will make you laugh your ass off.]

11) I rocked the tiara on VYou
I loved making these little videos but the VYou thing didn’t take off as much I’d hoped, probably because I didn’t promote it enough. Although I mentioned it on Twitter and Facebook a few times, I never told you guys about it (sorry, my bad!)

I intend to carry on with it though and would be delighted to answer questions in my newly repaired tiara, so please pop on over there and ask one.

12) I’m loathe to ask people what they want
I get shy and embarrassed about asking people what services and products they want or need, in case I can’t deliver. Getting the hell over that piece of ridiculousness will be my challenge for the next round of Customer Love.

13) It IS important to launch something
My Inner Businesswoman wasn’t at all happy that I said I wasn’t going to sell anything in my first Customer Love post, so I’ve revised that decision. We’re not letting The Volunteer Junkie make those kind of choices any more. Plus my Artist’s Eyeballs insisted they wanted a party with streamers and buns since they never had a proper launch and hey, nobody wants sulking services.

Coming tomorrow:
The official Artist’s Eyeball launch with a special 72 hour Customer Love sale!

14) I can’t tell the difference between peers & customers
It quickly became apparent that I’m way more comfortable loving on my peers than on my clients and I’m hazy on the difference because I tend to think that everyone is a potential peer. In fact, I’ve realised that I’m still not clear who my ideal customers are. More Big Thinking is required on this issue over the next few months.

15) I’m not comfortable pitching to my friends
In fact, I’m not comfortable selling at all. This wasn’t exactly news but again, Customer Love highlighted it. However, I’m about to take Pam Slim’s Ethical Selling That Works course in December, which I’m hoping will sort out some of these tangled emotional threads.

16) My business needs a new name
SOS For Artists was never right and now it feels like a shoe that’s too tight. I think it’s limiting and far too negative. An amazing late-night Twitter brainstorming session revealed that the core of what I do is about seeing and explaining patterns, which makes total sense when you consider how important patterns are in my art. The lovely Amy from Antemortem Arts dubbed me a Patternista, which I just adore.

17) Sometimes old school is better
When I bought a mic & headphones set, I should have bought one with a traditional jack instead of a USB connection. However, even with that caveat, my audio quality is hugely improved – get a headset, people, it makes a world of difference.

18) There are awesome people outside your niche
Who knew that an elf who does tiling would be so funny and delightful? Who knew that a sex therapist could teach me so much about newsletters? Who knew that I would become good friends with a maths tutor?

19) And finally…
I will use the word ‘trebuchet’ in one of my sales pages even if I have to invent a brand new product to do it!


About Kirsty

I am an artist & purveyor of mad obsessive projects based in Hebden Bridge, England. My work involves the accretion of large numbers of small objects - pins in fabric, knots in string or hundreds of envelopes - to make sculptures that deal with fragility, loss, repetition, obsession and time.

6 Comments

  1. I knew that tiling elves could be weird, narcissistic, grouchy, scattered and, well, let’s face it – useless. What is this ‘funny and delightful’ of which you speak?

    Great post, Kirsty. Glad I got to know you a bit during customer love. Keep up the great work!

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  2. Awesome, Kirsty, just awesome. Thank you for contributing SO MUCH to Customer Love. :)

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  3. So much of this seems so familiar. Great little bit of self analysis Kirsty!

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  4. Patternista! I LOVE it! That Amy, she’s a ringer, isn’t she?

    What a fun read this was, Kirsty! Thanks for sharing what you learned. Customer Love was an amazing month for me as well, and all the connecting with the other Customerlovers – you included – was a huge part of the amazingness.

    Looking forward to more!

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  5. Awesomeness!

    I too adore the term ‘Patternista’.

    Love the insights, and will be pestering you & your tiara presently, just as soon as I can think of a Question or several. (Be warned tho’ – I come by my moniker of ‘Question Lady’ very, very honestly! :-D

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  6. Thanks for telling us what you’ve learned since I cannot attend such a meeting myself. I live in France.

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