How I Quintupled My Income in 90 Days

Below is an article I published on Medium that got thousands of hits and a great response. Apologies if you’ve already seen it via social media, usually this blog gets first dibs on new content.

In January 2013 I started my first full-time job for $43,000 salary + stock options. Exactly 1 year later, I quit.

To capitalize on relationships I made a lightweight CRM (aka Google Spreadsheet) filled with ~20 people I knew who had money.

ryan-kulp-freelance-crm

By auto-sorting the contacts by Score, the ‘next steps’ column became my to-do list every morning when I woke up, jobless and poor in NYC.

In January and February 2014, I went on approximately 60 coffee appointments and quintupled my income. Below is how I did that.

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How to put your lead gen on autopilot

Disclaimer: For everyone getting this post via email, I apologize for the sales pitch. We’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming right after this.

Growing a business is hard.

Even with a great product, a great salesman, and great customer service culture, you’re dead if you can’t find qualified prospects to onboard, sell, and serve.

Tools like CRM’s and project management software do wonders for sales organizations topped off with demand, but what about new or obscure solutions, the ones with very little demand and contacts that were created manually through painstaking research?

If you’re a sales person and most of your day is spent “waiting to hear back from so-and-so,” you need more leads.

Here’s a quick hack to do that.

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Collaborate or Commiserate?

Mostly I work from home, which is great because I’m not expected to attend meetings, wear clothes, or remain sober.

But when I commute 5,000 miles to the office every few weeks, I do notice a special bond between colleagues that isn’t possible in a remote environment.

Let’s call this bond “camaraderie.”

One component of camaraderie is the “being there” for each another. So if someone needs a file, you push it to them right away. If someone wants X for lunch but they’re too busy to get it, you take a hike to Chipotle.

But what about the other side of camaraderie? The “I hate my life / girlfriend / diet” conversation that happens after you’ve shared files or eaten lunch?

I’m starting to think that the benefits of in-the-flesh workplaces are counter-balanced, if not nullified, by the peripheral waste that in-person atmospheres create. And further I think that if not carefully monitored, any company’s “office” can turn into a glorified breeding ground for procrastination, free lunches, and routine space-outs.

Great work places, then, foster strong ideas and productivity and are immune to behaviors that promote commiserating over collaborating.

Because if you can’t get sh*t done at the office, there’s no point in having one.

When someone tries your product

I think a lot about software. Not because I like computers or think databases are cool, but because software makes our lives better.

And we all want a better life, don’t we?

So I’m troubled when new tech companies send messages like this one:

Email of Good Luck

Why are they wishing me luck?

Why not an FAQ, video tutorial, concierge onboarding session or webinar invitation?

Luck does not a good first user experience make.

And while luck might be part of the solution for improving our lives, it should never be part of the equation.

So when someone tries your product, don’t wish them luck, for luck exists where instruction does not.

Instead, tell us (users) what to do. And show them why doing ____ will help them.

Because you can’t change the world without helping, and you can’t help without explaining how.

Productivity and compound interest

On my walk home from the gym I stopped to get a bottle of wine.

Two blocks south of the store was a traffic light I waited at for about 10 seconds.

While standing at the light I noticed a petite woman in a blue and white striped sundress. She was doing something on her phone and when the traffic cleared, she remained stationary as I scuffled across the intersection.

Around a minute later I was inside the wine shop where I grabbed a bottle, made small talk with the clerk, flashed my ID, scratched off the $17.99 price tag, signed a receipt, and was given a bag.

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