WTF Freelance MBA in Partnership with Vega Schools and Digitlab

What The Freelance mini MBA

After 2 and a half years of development - its official, the What The Freelance Mini-MBA coursework will be lectured by Vega Schools in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria.

The course is run over 12 weeks and by the end of the course, you will know what your freelance business does and what makes it unique, how to find new and retain old clients, how to manage all the numbers in your business and have a clear road to growth that you have personally defined.

The course is run in partnership with Digitlab Academy and will be available early in 2018.

For information contact Vega or apply here to enrol in 2018.

Freelance is the future. What does your future hold?

Change your goals from Success to Significance

mike saunders launch brent spilkin

This week I had the privilege of hosting the launch event for Mike Saunders book, The Five Year Mark. The book is about all the lessons learned in the first five years building Digitlab, a digital agency. You can read my review and my learnings here but those are not the most salient points for me. It was what Mike said when I asked him about the next 5 years and his level of pride in what he has built in the past year, that stuck.

What he said was [in much better English than this] when he started the business, his view of success was to take from the world as much as he could [money] and measure his success against this metric, but over time he has moved the needle of achievement from “Success to Significance.”

Mike wants to be significant. That can mean a legacy business. That can mean helping people grow in their own lives and businesses. That can mean helping someone who is desperate on the side of the road make it through another week. Significance is different from person to person and from interaction to interaction but if Mike is significant to you, then that is his new definition of success.

I like this outlook. A lot. I also believe that if he is significant in peoples’ lives and in business that the old metric [money] will come, in spades as the byproduct. Its not often you meet people who say things like this that you actually believe. Its often just a marketing message, but I believe Mike. You should too. Buy the book.

The Death of Advertising Employment.

Spillly digital swarm growing pains

What a pleasure it was speaking to 65 people last week at Vega in Umhlanga on what was an untitled talk on the 4 major threats to advertising and the advertising industrials’ complex of employment.

The “what the actual?”

Well, I spoke on how new tech, new business, ERP software and the freelance movement will and is disputing the way agencies are employing staff. Here is the deck if you are keen to see the headlines.

The event was put on by the team at Digitlab and MC’d by Mike Saunders under the guise of Digital Swarm, an event that runs quarterly in Durban and Johannesburg.

I was amazed at the response I received after the event and the number of email enquiries asking for help in their own agencies, but the best part was that my book [first proof copy] had arrived just before leaving for Durban and I could wave it around when it was relevant to the talk, which it was. A LOT.

Thanks to Thanks to Digitlab, Growthpoint and City Lodge for their sponsorships. #WhatTheFreelance

Here are some images from the evening.

...And the book that eventually was delivered on the day..

wtf book vega 5 oct 2017

Are you becoming a Betterman?

About a year ago I was fortunate enough to coach Erik Kruger from Betterman and have remained in contact over the past few months, watching his business grow and define its position in the market.

Betterman is a website dedicated to the thinking man. The man who lives with intention. The man who takes action. It’s a gathering place for those who seek influence and those who seek to make an impact in the world.

Under the Betterman umbrella is the Apex Club, an event that happens for dapper men who want to learn about life, entrepreneurship and leaving an impact. Last week I was asked by Erik to tell my story and share knowledge and learnings about my businesses and experiences. It was a pleasure to have 35 men who genuinely cared about the organisation engage with me and each other at the Maxim Lounge in Sandton.

Here are some pics taken during the event, where I was seen in a jacket [a rare thing indeed!]

Growing Pains Spillly Betterman
Growing Pains Spillly Betterman
Growing Pains Spillly Betterman
Growing Pains Spillly Betterman
Growing Pains Spillly Betterman
Growing Pains Spillly Betterman

Email Is Ruining Your Business

Why telephones are better than mail

I started working in my business in 1995. I had an “old fashioned” telephone with push buttons by my side and next-door in my bookkeepers office, stood two facsimile machines. I say ‘facsimile’ because I know what that is and I’m proving a point... more of that to follow.

Lets be clear. No Internet to be heard of. No Facebook. No email. No cell phones. We had the yellow pages and written CRM lists. Our invoicing and accounting package ran off a Pentium processor with a dot matrix printer attached via cable. It was slow but reliable.

Life and business was actually way simpler and way slower. As tech caught up with our need for speed and the Internet moved into our communication reach, our once heavily focused cold calling and telephonic relationship-based business started moving to the written word and my first email address [for the whole company] was set up. This in my opinion was the beginning of the end. Everyone from customers, suppliers and staff now started building a culture of “covering my tracks” and putting every last word in 11 point Calibri. Again, it worked for the most part very well. Productivity did improve and information flowed exponentially faster. But this was at the cost of relationships. Here is my visual estimation of how that looked:

 

Growing Pains coaching Relationship graph

 

So, as we started typing away, we stopped calling people and then the Hiroshima of communication was dropped – cell phones. As soon as short message system [SMS] became a ‘thing’ the written word became more powerful than our voice. We lost tone. We lost pace. We lost the sound of LOL and we started losing eye contact. Internet 2.0 brought us social media and along with mobile domination and Wi-Fi proliferation the problem was escalated.

We stopped making calls. We stopped taking calls. We huff when our mothers call and cant understand why they just don’t text us. We aim for the impossible Inbox Zero and are suffering from email fatigue. Add to that Slack fatigue, Whatsapp fatigue, Skype fatigue, Text fatigue, Social media fatigue, messenger fatigue and now Story fatigue.

We don’t LOL anymore ‘cause it’s lame. FFS. We have stopped laughing in text - never mind in real life. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s called the telephone. It’s a place where you can address an issue in 2 minutes rather than bouncing a string mail back and forth 20 times to resolve something simple. It’s a place where you are not cc’d, Bcc’d or even forwarded useless, untimely information. There is no spam *gasp* in your conversation and you can in worst-case follow up with a simple bullet point email to “cover your ass!” [If need be.]

The phone is your friend. It’s the place you spent hours chatting to girlfriends, boyfriends and family in your youth. A place where you can laugh and even entertain the quiet moments, between words and thoughts. It’s the place you can enjoy people ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ to your voice. The phone gives you instant satisfaction and recognition.

This is a call for action. It’s a call to return to the decades before Snapchat and pick up the phone. Cut through the bullshit. Take a chance. Can you hear that ringing?? Answer the call.

Recent Update: It has become clear that more and more of my clients now are responding to mail with a call and making more calls in order to re-establish a missing feeling and ACTUALLY speed up the pace of their business. Voice is and always will be, quicker than your fingers.