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What makes a client difficult to deal with?

If you’re a small business owner or solo freelancer, there aren’t five layers of staff between you and your clients. You probably deal with your clients directly. Some of them are easy to work with, but others are…problems. Why? What makes a client difficult to deal with? Identifying the problem areas between you and your client means you might be able to fix them. Client Micromanagment Nothing drives a freelancer insane quicker than micromanagement from

Our New Hire Checklist Makes Employee Onboarding Paperwork Easier

You’re running your small business. One day you drop into your chair to catch your breath, and you realize you need help. Maybe you have employees, but they’re working as hard as you are. You need a new hire. What’s the paperwork process when you hire someone? The first thing you need to sort out is this: Are you hiring an employee or an independent contractor. This will determine your tax situation and your paperwork because

What Is Gift Marketing?

Companies waste a ton of money on stupid swag giveaways no one really wants. Unless you’re Google or 37signals, no one wants a shirt with your logo on it. If you’re like me, you don’t need more coffee mugs, mouse pads or thumb drives with a company logo on them. Over the past three years, I’ve heard tech business owners say they spend $40 to $250 dollars to acquire a customer online. Those costs are

End of Year Tax Planning

It’s fall…as a business owner what should you be focusing on? Fall is such a distracting time for me. The weather changes, there’s excitement because it’s football season, and on the coast we start fishing more. It’s so hard as business owners to pull our heads out of the day-to-day or week-to-week grind of running a company. We’re too distracted by client deadlines, tasks and managing employees to look into the future far enough to

How Afraid Should You Be of the Fiscal Cliff?

Everywhere you look, you find someone talking about the impending doom of “taxmageddon” a.k.a. the fiscal cliff. You can gather by the name that no good is expected to come from the tax disaster that lurks on the horizon. Congressional negotiations are underway to prevent. Before panicking, though, it’s important to understand the potential outcomes, what each means for you, and what you can do to prepare. I won’t go into detail of all of

Hire. Fail. Learn. Hire.

We Are Mammoth, the web consultancy I cofounded in 2006, took seven years to grow from two to 17 people. The number itself isn’t magic or planned, but the team we have now feels extraordinarily close and disciplined. When we talk product design and development, hoo-wee, it feels like we’re connected on some astral-neural level. Together, our team has built and launched two new products, Kin (elegant HR software for small companies) and DoneDone (a bug tracker that’ll really

Client Gifts – What should you buy them?

You’ve received business gifts, right? Maybe it was a calendar from your pest control company, or perhaps a birthday card with a gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse from your financial advisor. Have you given a business gift? Great idea. Before you whip out your credit card, let’s stop and think this through. This is a business move, so treat it seriously. Consider these factors: What do you hope to achieve by giving his gift?Who is the

Our Customer Onboarding Mistakes by Samuel Hulick

As a designer onboarding is the toughest portion of customer experience to craft. Onboarding into accounting software is even harder. Each customer has a different expectation, past experience with our competitors, knowledge of accounting and attention span. We’ve been building this product since 2007, and very often I get stuck in a rut and make the wrong assumptions. Getting feedback from our customers is vital to helping us improve our product. There’s no such thing

Common Tasks for a Small Business Lawyer

As a small business owner, you’re walking a legal gauntlet. Your lawyer and CPA are here to protect your sweet buttocks by predicting future problems, and either steering you away from these situations or putting the necessary documents in place to protect you going forward. Since I’m not a lawyer, I find myself saying, “I didn’t know an lawyer can do that!” This article was a collaboration with Anitha Cadambi, a small business lawyer in California.

How to Find & Hire a Designer from Dribbble

I wrote this article for web shops and tech startups looking to hire design talent. About twice a week someone emails me “I need to find a designer, can you help me?” Hiring talented people at an affordable rate is getting tougher and tougher. Finding talented people is easy. The easier you can find someone means others are finding them and they have plenty of leads and offers, and their rate is higher. It’s harder