Tag Archive | service

Repost: 10 Brutal Truths About Success No One Wants to Hear

Today I found this article from Inc. on Twitter about finding success–both personally and professionally. I really love it and I think you will too! Author: Jeff Haden.

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“Ask successful people how they achieved their success and you’ll hear words like “hard work,” “sacrifice,” and “persistence.”

Dig a little deeper and you’ll find some other common attitudes and habits, like these:

1. They know their success was only inevitable in hindsight.

Read stories of successful entrepreneurs and it’s easy to think they have some intangible entrepreneurial something–ideas, talent, drive, skills, creativity, whatever–that you don’t have.

Wrong. Success is inevitable only in hindsight. It’s easy to look back on an entrepreneurial path to greatness and assume that every vision was clear, every plan was perfect, every step was executed flawlessly, and tremendous success was a foregone conclusion.

It wasn’t. Success is never assured. Only in hindsight does it appear that way.

If you’re willing to work hard and persevere, who you are is more than enough. Don’t measure yourself against other people.

Pick a goal and measure yourself against that goal–that is the only comparison that matters.

2. They decided to choose themselves.

Once you had to wait: to be accepted, to be promoted, to be selected–to somehow be “discovered.”

Not anymore. Access is nearly unlimited; you can connect with almost anyone through social media. You can publish your own work, distribute your own music, create your own products, attract your own funding.

You can do almost anything you want–and you don’t have to wait for someone else to discover your talents.

The only thing holding you back is you–and your willingness to try.

3. They help others succeed, knowing that ensures they will succeed.

No one accomplishes anything worthwhile on his or her own. Great bosses focus on providing the tools and training to help their employees better do their jobs–and achieve their own goals. Great consultants put their clients’ needs first. Great businesses go out of their way to help and serve their customers.

And as a result, they reap the rewards.

If you’re in it only for yourself, then someday you will be by yourself. If you’re in it for others, you’ll not only achieve success. You’ll also have plenty of real friends.

4. They know that sometimes the best way to finish first is to be the last.

Success is often the result of perseverance. When others give up, leave, stop trying, or compromise their principles and values, the last person left is often the person who wins. Other people may be smarter, better connected, more talented, or better funded. But they can’t win if they aren’t around at the end.

Sometimes it makes sense to give up on ideas, projects, and even businesses–but it never makes sense to give up on yourself.

The one thing you can always be is the last person to give up on yourself.

5. They do what no one else is willing to do.

The extra mile is a lonely place, because almost no one goes there.

Go there–as often as you can.

6. They don’t network. They truly connect.

Often the process of building a network takes on a life of its own and becomes a numbers game.

You don’t need numbers. You need real connections: people you can help, people you can trust, people who care.

So forget numbers. Reach out to the people whom you want to be part of your life–even if just your professional life–for a long time. When you do, forget about receiving and focus on providing; that’s the only way to establish a real connection and relationship.

Make lasting connections and you create an extended professional family. You’ll be there when they need you, and they will be there when you need them.

7. They think, but more important, they do.

Strategy is not a product. Binders are filled with strategies that were never implemented.

Develop an idea. Create a strategy. Set up a rudimentary system of operations. Then execute, adapt, execute some more, and build a solid operation based on what works.

Success isn’t built on strategy. Success is built through execution.

Incredibly successful people focus on executing incredibly well.

8. They know “leader” is a title that is earned, not given.

“Leaders” aren’t just the guys who double the stock price in six months, or the gals who coerce local officials into approving too-generous tax breaks and incentives, or the guys who are brave enough to boldly go where no man has gone before.

(If you don’t get that last reference, you’re too young. Or I’m too old. Probably both.)

Those are examples of leadership–but typically the kind of leadership that is situational and short-lived.

Real leaders consistently inspire, motivate, and make you feel better about yourself than you might even think you have a right to feel. They’re the kind of people you’ll follow not because you have to but because you want to.

You’ll follow them anywhere–and you’ll follow them forever, because they have a knack for making you feel like you aren’t actually following. Wherever you’re headed, you always feel like you’re going there together.

Creating that bond takes time.

9. They see success as an outcome, not a driver.

Ever heard someone say, “If I got promoted, then I would work harder”? Or, “If the customer paid more, then I would do more”? Or, “If I thought there would be a bigger payoff, I would be willing to sacrifice more”?

Successful people earn promotions by first working harder. Successful businesses earn higher revenue by first delivering greater value. Successful entrepreneurs earn bigger payoffs by first working hard, well before any potential return is in sight.

Most people expect to be compensated more before they will even consider working harder.

Incredibly successful people see compensation as the reward for exceptional effort, not the driver–whether that reward is financial or personal or simply the satisfaction that comes from achieving what you worked incredibly hard to achieve.

10. They wish you knew there really are no dirty little secrets.

Except this one: There are no magic bullets. There are no shortcuts. There are no hacks.

Success–in whatever you choose to pursue–is always achieved through hard work and persistence.

It’s easier to assume that other people succeed because they have something you don’t have. But in reality, the primary difference is that they are willing to do something you won’t do.

So go do it.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
PUBLISHED ON: NOV 21, 2016″

Going Global: A Look at Translation Options for Independent Authors

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received as an author was to publish as many books in as many places as possible and to sell on as many websites as possible.  The writing profession is a numbers game.  To win it (meaning making a living as a writer) you need to be where the customers are and sell what they want to read.  You cannot achieve it with a single kindle book sold exclusively on Amazon.  It won’t happen — or perhaps it could but your chances of winning the lottery or becoming president of the United States are greater if you lay only the one literary egg and sell it from a single basket.

One efficient way of maximising your exposure is to publish in multiple languages, opening your books for sale in more markets with more readers.  As popular as English is with Americans, the reality is that globally there are far more readers outside of the United States, readers who prefer to read in their native languages — not English.

For independent authors, there are three primary methods of reaching this global audience in the form of translated editions 1) contract with a traditional publisher offering translation services, 2) Utilize a royalty share-based translation platform, and 3) hire an independent and professionally certified translator.

I personally use all three.  Here are the pros and cons of each.

Traditional Publisher

My Chinese language editions are published with Fiberead, a Beijing-based fusion  publisher slash translation service using royalty share to pay the translation team.  It works similar to many self-publishing platforms.  You fill out a form about your book, provide Fiberead with both the current and blank versions of your cover art, and upload it to their system.  A team of translators is recruited and eventually your book is published in Chinese.

Pros:  Getting a contract is relatively painless.  It’s a straight forward process setting up your title with them. Publishes to Amazon China, iBooks, and several Asia market retailers unknown to most Americans. No upfront costs to the authors. All the technical details of the publishing process is handled by the publisher; once submitted the author does not touch her book again. Cover art is done by in-house designers from the blank cover provided by the author.

Cons:  Once your title is set up, you have little to no control over the book.  Author has no input on the translators chosen or quality of the translation.  Contract empowers Fiberead with broad editorial powers, including over book content (they can re-write your book if they wish to). Royalty share rate is (currently) 30% for the author — forever.  Fiberead forbids translators from providing authors with copies of the final work.  Authors cannot control or even suggest the sale price.  So for example Boudicca, Britain’s Queen of the Iceni sells for just 1 RMB. Converted to USD the sale price on Amazon China is about 12 cents.  At 30% of 12 cents, the per copy payment to me is 3.6 cents USD.  It takes 55 copies sold to equal the royalty paid on just 1 copy of the book in English on Amazon.com.  Once a book sells, Fiberead does not release any funds to the author until the author earns $50 USD.  As you can see from the above figure, that takes a long time.  Fiberead does not promote your book either — that’s your responsibility.  And if you want a copy to quote from, you must buy it yourself.

Royalty Share Translation Program – Babelcube

Boudicca German webThe second option for independent authors is to use a royalty share translation platform such as Babelcube which is what I use.  Very similar in format to Amazon’s ACX audiobook publishing platform, authors fill out a form with book details and the book copy for consideration by translators in several languages including Spanish, French, Italian, German, Japanese, and Portuguese.  Not every language is offered, notably Chinese, but authors are able to upload books published in any language so long as the book is sold on Amazon. Once the book is completed and approved, authors initiate the publication process on both digital (primary) and paperback options.

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Babelcube’s incremental payment scale.

Empress Wu Spanish webPros: royalty share works on an incremental scale based on royalties earned, no upfront costs to the author, creative control over the final published work, ability to edit pricing and other details by re-publishing after the initial publication, some control over who translates the work. Authors are able to leave reviews for each translation.

 

Cons: authors need the technical ability to custom format their own work and correct certain errors that can come up in the publishing process. Not all the translators are professionally certified nor in possession of appropriate technical skills. Not all desired languages are available.  Some languages offer very few translator choices.

 

Independent Translator

Boudicca Welsh webThe third and final option is, in most respects, the most traditional. Translators are available globally and discoverable online through search engines, social media, or in the case of my work with Gwenlli Haf of Cyfieithu Amnis Translation, through a personal recommendation from a mutual professional acquaintance.  Translation fees are typically word count based, a format familiar to authors who hire professional editors.  A down payment is typically required at the time both parties sign the contract.  At project completion translators then invoice the author for the balance due.  Only upon payment in full is the work released to the author for self publication.

Pros: translators are typically professionally certified with some level of guarantee built into the contract. Authors and translators are able to negotiate precise terms for the project so the details (such as publishing rights) are clear before the work begins. Upfront payment to translator; the author keeps all royalties upon payment of the invoice unless other terms are specified in the contract.  Creative control across the entire process.

Cons:  word counts in different languages are not uniform, making it easy for the author to underestimate the final word count for the translation.  Translators and authors are typically residents of different countries and using different currencies with exchange rates and currency exchange fees varying widely.

Analysis/Summary

Independent authors benefit greatly from expanding into larger, more global marketplaces by offering their books in multiple languages.  In my personal experience with all three options, hiring a translator offered me the most flexibility and creative control which I, like many independent authors, tend to value. The professionally certified skills of independent translators offers security and confidence in the quality of work offered.  However as with any upfront professional service such as editors and illustrators, this option requires considerable pre-publication investment.  Of the royalty share options, the translation publication platform offers a balanced approach.  Though great care must be taken in choosing the translator, the author is able to avoid upfront costs while maintaining creative control.  The royalty share split is typically fair to both author and translator.

One important lesson learned from all of this:  traditional publishing contracts offer less and less value to independent authors.  Therefore 21st century authors seeking to prosper in the new publishing market increasingly thrive by handling as much of the publishing process as possible rather than defer to traditional publishers whose contracts increasingly work against the author’s interest, costing authors more while offering less value.

 

Getting the Most Out of Telephone Customer Service

This article written January 3rd, 2013 was the product of first hand experience working at a call center in Johnstown, Pennsylvania for the December holidays.  In it, I reveal helpful tips for making your next call to customer service a success.

 

Getting the Most Out of Telephone Customer Service

Four Tips for Making Your Next Call a Success

We all do it: call up the companies we deal with and speak to a customer service representative. Whether it’s our utilities, our credit cards, or just a purchase we made somewhere, it’s almost impossible to go through life without talking to a customer service representative on the telephone. In fact, most of us prefer to speak to a representative over scrolling through website FAQs, automated telephone menus, and email/chat service options – at least for a few specific areas of our lives. We as Americans like real people at the end of the line, especially those who can hear us, understand us, and we can understand when talking to them.

Yet most of us go about these calls the wrong way. Caught up in the heat of whatever is provoking the phone call, we make mistakes when talking on the phone to customer service and often ignore the humanity of the people on the other end in ways we tend not to when getting help in person at a store.

The following four tips are things I discovered first hand working over the holidays in a call center for making your next call to customer service more successful:

Be prepared:

When you call customer service, the representative will need certain key pieces of information in order to locate your account and help you. Until she or he obtains this information from you, her or his system simply won’t display your account, your order, or whatever digital information is necessary to assist you. Depending on the type of call you are making, you will need to have ready things like your account number, phone number or email address as listed in their files, confirmation number, or any other applicable pieces of information. If you are calling regarding healthcare, expect to be asked for the name of your primary care physician and/or date of service if you are making a billing-related call.

Knowing why you are calling and then being ready to provide key information relating to your call will make things easier – for you and your representative.

Speak slowly, clearly, and loud enough to be heard:

Customer service representatives have to enter your information into a computer. This often involves transcribing information you tell them. Transcribing takes longer than reading; our short term memory for hearing is less than 4 seconds. So slow down, speak up, speak clearly (using formal language helps), and verify with your representative that s/he has heard you correctly and transcribed your information accurately, especially with number-based information which most people type more slowly than they do with regular words and phrases.

Customer Service Representatives are SPECIALISTS:

This may or may not seem obvious, but it’s important to understand when you make that call. Ever wonder why so many companies use touch-tone automated systems to direct your call? The reason is specialization. Customer service can be extremely specialized with groups of service representatives trained and able to assist with only specific segments of your service. For example, a billing representative typically works just with billing questions. They are there to handle financial aspects of your account. Likewise a technical support representative is there to handle operation of and problems with some sort of device (computer, music player, cell phone, etc.).

This means that each of these individuals or groups of individuals can only help you with their specific expertise. Their knowledge and authority to assist you is limited to their specific area. When calling, pay attention to where you are being directed and ask, if need be, if you have been directed to the correct individual who can handle your needs. Often more than one person in more than one area may be needed to handle all of your questions or concerns. If this is the case, patiently handle one item at a time with each person you need to talk to. Customer service people are friendly, empathic, and caring. We want you to be happy with all your questions, concerns, and issues resolved before you hang up.

Customer Service Representatives are PEOPLE:

It seems obvious, but we tend to forget the humanity of the customer service representatives on the end of the phone line. When they answer our call, too often our first impulse is to vent about whatever it is that is provoking us to call their company. This blinds us to both the specialized nature of what they can do for us and to them as people who are there trying to help us. We may yell, complain about some aspect of product or service we are unhappy with, or even vent with them about things not directly related to the reason for our call.

What we fail to understand is that all of these things interfere with the customer service representative’s efforts to help us. Instead, we get better results when we recognize the independence of the customer service individual from whatever problems we are facing. Customer service representatives are there to help us fix problems; they are NOT the source OF our problems.

When we treat our service representatives as partners working to help us resolve our problems, we help them help us.

So next time you make that phone call to customer service, remember these four tips. You’ll get better service and hang up a happier customer.

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