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I recently interviewed Kevan Lee, the former VP of Marketing at Buffer and currently Senior VP of Marketing at Oyster.Kevan is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to leading tech startups to significant growth. To give you an example, he helped Buffer go from $5m to $20m in annual revenue and 100,000 new customers acquisitions per month. In his first year at Oyster, he helped the company 20x its revenue and build a marketing team comprising over 50 people. He's also involved as an educator and advisor with Reforge, On Deck, as well as a past contributor to ProductLed, and more.In this interview, Kevan and I explore the realm of advisory work. We cover topics like: How he approaches advisory work while having a full-time gig How he views mentorship and why it's important to him How he prices his advice—and what he's learning in the process His experience on the buyer side of equity for advice compensation discussions How he packages his ideas into a playbook that he shares with paying Substack subscribers And a lot more... This conversation was a fun exploration of the world of advisory work. And like all of us, Kevan is still figuring out what works best for him.You can follow Kevan on Twitter at @kevanlee and subscribe to his Substack at this a listen and subscribe to get more interviews like this in the future.—k 
You may be a rock star when it comes to marketing your clients' business. But when it comes to your own, it might be an entirely different story. And you know what? That doesn't make you a bad marketer. It's incredibly hard to market yourself—especially if you don't have a system to follow.In this episode, I break down the three core pillars to attracting more clients: Looking good "on paper" to your ideal clients Having somewhere to invite people back to Opening conversations and fostering relationships This might seem simple, and it is. But it's not easy. It takes time, energy, and commitment to build it out and for it to start working for you.But with any luck, this framework (and the details I talk about in the episode) will make attracting clients a lot easier. When you have clarity, you can really lean into your efforts and start seeing traction faster than simply winging it.Listen to this episode for all the nuances and details.—k
What if the way to get your emails read and subscribers to stay subscribed was to lower the bar a little?Not in terms of quality, necessarily. But in terms of format or type.Instead of trying to write a grand theory of mathematics every time you publish, what if we treated email more like social media?What if we aimed for a simple, concise, interesting, and/or fun piece of content?Something light and consumable. Not overthought. Not pre-judged. Just something you found interesting or valuable.Would you be able to be consistent with your publishing habits? Would your readers prefer it? Would it keep you interested?I think yes. But there's nuance, as with all things.So give this a listen. See if it resonates with your headspace.See if it helps you overcome that mental block stopping you from sharing your ideas with your subscribers.And while you're at it, subscribe to Mindshare Radio via your podcast player to get more ideas like this (and interviews coming soon).—k
The most successful businesses have a high degree of customer-centricity. Think Amazon or Google—they're absolutely relentless about the customer experience.And in the consulting world, the most successful advisors are the ones who have a high customer-centricity and low self-orientation.Not sure what this all means? In this episode, I break down how to put your client at the epicentre of your business, how to reduce your self-orientation, and the trade-offs needed to do all of this well.
The odds of you succeeding with new ventures or ideas out of the gate is low. It’s not fun but it’s true.Even if your idea is good, it might be adjacent to the one the market wants. A small set of tweaks and iterations to the format, offer, or audience might just be what it needs to take off.And that’s empowering! It means you’re not alone. Nobody figures everything out right away.It’s easy to get frustrated when things aren’t clicking for you—especially when you’re trying something new that you feel really passionate about.It can feel like two steps forward and one step back. We look around for answers but get frustrated when nobody offers the magic pill.There is no magic pill, only iteration and innovation.We have to hold our vision strong while simultaneously being loose about our best ideas. It’s a fine line between a steadfast vision and being oblivious to what the market wants.If you are willing to iterate and innovate continually, it’s only a matter of time before your vision and what your audience wants are in complete alignment.Listen in for more on this topic if you’re in this mode or subscribe via your podcast player.
Do you ever stop to wonder what it is we are really selling as consultants? Are we selling a website, strategy, or brand identity? Yes... and no. Those are features of our work. And people don't really buy features.Maybe we are selling new customer growth? Better retention? Ease of use? Those are all great benefits of our work. But let's dig a little deeper. What is the emotion behind those benefits? What feeling are we really creating with our work?People buy based on how they feel about the purchase. It aligns with logic, yes. But it's driven by emotion. So it makes sense to explore that emotion people are really seeking inside of what we sell. I believe most consultants are selling confidence. Give this a listen to see what I mean. Get this right and it will be a lot easier to create and sell the true benefits of your work.—k
It's incredibly easy to get sucked into being an employee-like figure when you do fractional leadership work.When I first got started as a fractional CMO, I basically had two part-time jobs. The money was good but I worked HARD. I knew I needed to create better parameters.In this episode of Mindshare Radio, I'll break down the five main ways to avoid turning into a set of employee-like hands when you sell fractional CXO services.We'll talk about things like: Setting expectations during sales Defining what you will or won't do Building your Rolodex Setting a limit on your time if needed Down-selling yourself to pure advisory work And a ton of nuance in between.Listen in and let me know what you think—did I miss anything important?Hit reply and let me know.—kP.S. Need help transitioning into advisory/fractional CXO work? Check out my Paid to Think program or join Mindtrust, the no-brainer group coaching and training program for as little as $63/mo. when you pay annually.
This post originally appeared at can think about niching in a lot of ways.In many cases, the tighter you go, the easier it can be to sell what you offer. People are swimming in options, they want specific when they can get it.So there are two angles to consider when deciding on how specific you should go with your business.1. You can get specific about who you serveThe more specific your target market, the broader your focus can be in terms of what you help people with—while still being credible.If I help multi-location coworking spaces do better marketing, that's a specific target market and a fairly broad way of helping them. It can be reasoned that you can have rare knowledge about marketing in a way that is uniquely applied to multi-location coworking spaces.If I said I help anyone do better marketing at scale, you can begin to see where the skepticism may come in.2. You can get specific about the problem you solveWhen you're highly specific about the problem you solve, it makes sense that you could solve it credibly for a wide range of industries.For example, I could say I help people sell their expertise through membership programs. And that could be a reasonably credible positioning given the specificity of the problem being solved.I don't need to say "I help faith-based dog groomers sell membership programs." The market would be too small. And the same skills or lessons could be applied to far greater contexts.And this is what strategy is all about.There's no perfect way to position your consulting business. Specificity helps—but how you apply specificity is where the hard choices are made.So what trade-offs are you making? How are you being specific about either what you do or who you do it for?As they say, hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.
I don't position myself as a fractional CMO.I might have a fractional CMO service. Or in a sales conversation, I may say that I'm like having a part-time CMO on your team. But I don't call myself a fractional CMO as my top-level positioning.I'm a consultant. I'm an advisor. I help companies with their marketing strategy.But I'm not a part-time employee. I don't want to be seen as one. Nor do I want their actual marketing team to be threatened by what may seem like a new boss breathing down their neck.In this episode, I go into: Why I believe it's best to position yourself as a consultant—not an employee-like person When to use terms like "fractional CMO" in your sales conversations and marketing copy How to avoid threatening the in-house marketing managers when you're hired to help their organization. The topic is nuanced, but I think it's important if you are selling strategic advisory services.
What is your quiet inner voice telling you?The one that whispers. You barely notice it at first. But when you do hear it, you're inspired. Should you explore it? Maybe you don't take it seriously at first. Maybe it feels like a pipe dream. It's not always rational. Sometimes it's idealistic. Regardless, when you pay attention to it, it feels directionally interesting. Where does it come from?I've noticed that it shows up when I take time away from my business. It shows up on vacations, bike rides, long walks, or while reading a good book. I'm not sure if it's the truth or just a passing random idea, but it feels worth exploring.So what do you do when that voice says something? Do you jump to action or think about it until it no longer inspires you? Is it valuable or random? That's what I cover today.It may just be the very thing that helps you create unique, valuable, and lasting work.Or maybe not. Who knows.—k
In this episode, I break down where my advisory clients came from.I also compare my niche (Everspaces) vs. general consulting clients came from to see if there was a difference.And let me tell you, it was enlightening.Do you analyze where your clients come from?Give this a listen and let me know what you find about your own business.—k
Are you having trouble selling your productized service?In this new episode of Mindshare Radio, I break down the four main things to consider when trying to fix the problem.Give it a listen.
Companies are hiring in-house and outsourced marketers differently than they did before.I'm seeing less reliance on using a single in-house marketer or even one full-service agency to "do everything" for them.Marketing has gotten too broad with too many specialties to work like that. But there's still a long way to go.In this episode, I share a prediction on how marketing teams will continue to evolve toward a hybrid in-house/outsourced way.I'll get into how I see things evolving and why this presents an opportunity for you.Agree? Got another view? Hit reply and let me know.
When a client requests your services, it can really help to have multiple options at different prices.You can do this with a product or service ladder at different prices and scope, or you can create multiple options in your custom proposals.In this episode, I break down the reasons why you may want to have multiple options and how to price them based on the value you're delivering.This seemingly simple idea can have a major impact on your average deal value—often increasing your revenue by 30%+.Listen in to learn more.
What do you do when clients give you advice but then do their own thing anyway?In this episode, I talk about why this happens, how to prevent it from happening, and how to both give and get the best possible advice.—kw
I interviewed Dagobert Renouf of Logology last week on how he's been so successful on Twitter.Dagobert is extremely active and publishes a meme every day of the week, which is a big hit for his 30k+ audience.But like any successful story, there's an underlying mindset and strategy that makes the tactics more successful.So I wanted to dig into those. And he delivered.​We’ll get into the specifics of: ​His overarching Twitter strategy ​Why he believes memes as a marketing tactic works so well ​How he comes up with his meme ideas each day ​How he actually creates and publishes his memes ​His approach to engaging with accounts—small and big—at scale ​The tools he uses to manage Twitter as a power user ​How he’s grown his logo design business with this strategy ​And a range of other topics! Listen in to hear this episode, it already changed my thinking and approach to Twitter.Mentioned links Logology Dagobert on Twitter (@dagorenouf) Black Magic (Twitter CRM/Analytics) Rocket (emojis for Mac) Imgflip (meme inspiration) —k
It can be nerve-wracking to propose a project that is more expensive or takes longer than a client is asking for.Our first instinct might be to charge the bare minimum to get the job done. Or to promise the most ideal timelines—assuming nothing will go wrong—to win the deal and avoid pushback and rejection.But we know that's not realistic. Something always comes up.The problem is, while you think you're giving the client what they want, you're actually undercutting both you and them. You're reducing the likelihood of achieving the very thing they're hiring you to do, which is to get a business result. In this episode, I talk about one magical phrase that gives you and your clients more confidence to do work that may be more expensive or take longer than they hoped for.And why it's the best thing for them—and you—to take this approach more often than not.—k
I recently decided to switch from daily publishing to a more flexible format.In this episode of Mindshare Radio, I break down the reasons why I started publishing daily in the first place (549 days ago) as well as the reasons for giving myself permission to publish whenever I want.I'm still bullish on daily content. It's an extremely powerful tactic if it aligns with your strategy. But for now, I'm choosing flexibility. Listen to find out more.—kP.S. I'd love your thoughts. Hit reply and tell me what you're doing/thinking related to publishing.
When you price your services, there's something called customer surplus to consider.Customer surplus, in this case, means the amount of profit your customers gain after deducting your costs.Not all profit is financial, but it's easier to think about it in financial terms.On the one hand, you want to price your services high enough to attract people who need and value the outcome of your services.People with the highest needs want to buy expensive solutions because they need them to work. Higher prices are both a signal of quality and they allow you to invest the resources to do great work.On the other, you don't want to price too high or you risk capturing too much of the customer surplus, making your products and services less compelling.It also makes you less likely to be referred because the price to value ratio after an engagement wasn't high enough to have people rave about you.You also can't drop your prices too low or your ideal customers also won't buy it because, profit aside, they want and need something of quality that will actually solve their problems.So should you price your work? Give this a listen.
Mindshare member, Sean, had an interesting objection while selling his advisory services.This is a common question when selling advisory work, so it's worth unpacking this and other follow-up questions Sean had."What if my marketing budget doesn't allow me to implement your advice?"In this episode, I talk about: How to answer this question succinctly in your FAQs or sales conversations The difference between cash flow/budget adherence and long-term ROI Breaking out a spreadsheet to show potential cash flow scenarios Comparing their other options, like agency, in-house employee, and DIY Business model and pricing questions around advisory vs. managed advisory services At the end of the day, your job is to get an ROI for your clients in a cash-sustainable manner.If budgets are strict, your job is to work within their constraints.But it's also worth noting that sometimes, the ROI pays dividends over a longer time horizon.The better you can prove a business case, the easier it will be to sell.Listen to this episode for a more in-depth response.
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