Who pays you? Sarah Greesonbach knows

I could literally write between 2,800 and 3,200 words (geddit?) on this topic, but Sarah Greesonbach expressed the thought much more succinctly.

You’re not writing for whoever’s paying you. You’re writing for whoever’s paying THEM.

From https://twitter.com/AwYeahSarah/status/1519018665668132866

Actually, I did offer this comment when I reshared the tweet on various social media channels:

I like this perspective. $ (or € or whatever) always clarifies things.

From Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

And now my WordPress readers can see Sarah’s thoughts also.

Two companies that can provide friction ridge/face marketing and writing services, now that Bredemarket won’t

I recently announced a change in business scope for my DBA Bredemarket. Specifically, Bredemarket will no longer accept client work for solutions that identify individuals using (a) friction ridges (including fingerprints and palm prints) and/or (b) faces.

This impacts some companies that previously did business with me, and can potentially impact other companies that want to do business with me. If you are one of these companies, I am no longer available.

Fingerprint evidence
From https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/SpecialPublications/NIST.SP.500-290e3.pdf (a/k/a “leisure reading for biometric system professionals”).

Since Bredemarket will no longer help you with your friction ridge/face marketing and writing needs, who will? Who has the expertise to help you? I have two suggestions.

Tandem Technical Writing

Do you need someon who is not only an excellent communicator, but also knows the ins and outs of AFIS and ABIS systems? Turn to Tandem Technical Writing LLC.

I first met Laurel Jew back in 1995 when I started consulting with, and then working for, Printrak. In fact, I joined Printrak when Laurel went on maternity leave. (I was one of two people who joined Printrak at that time. As I’ve previously noted, Laurel needed two people to replace her.)

Laurel worked for Printrak and its predecessor De La Rue Printrak for several years in its proposals organization.

Today, her biometric and communication experience is available to you. Tandem Technical Writing provides its clients with “15 years of proposal writing and biometrics technology background with high win %.”

Why does this matter to you? Because Laurel not only understands your biometric business, but also understands how to communicate to your biometric clients. Not many people can do both, so Laurel is a rarity in this industry.

The Tandem Technical Writing website is here.

To schedule a consultation, click here.

Applied Forensic Services

Perhaps your needs are more technical. Maybe you need someone who is a certified forensics professional, and who has also implemented many biometric systems. If that is your need, then you will want to consider Applied Forensic Services LLC.

I met Mike French in 2009 when Safran acquired Motorola’s biometric business and merged it into its U.S. subsidiary Sagem Morpho, creating MorphoTrak (“Morpho” + “Printrak”). I worked with him at MorphoTrak and IDEMIA until 2020.

Unlike me, Mike is a true forensic professional. (See his LinkedIn profile.) Back in 1994, when I was still learning to spell AFIS, Mike joined the latent print unit at the King County (Washington) Sheriff’s Office, where he spent over a decade before joining Sagem Morpho. He is an IAI-certified Latent Print Examiner, an IEEE-certified Biometric Professional, and an active participant in IAI and other forensic activities. I’ve previously referenced his advice on why agencies should conduct their own AFIS benchmarks.

Why does this matter to you? Because Mike’s consultancy, Applied Forensic Services, can provide expert advice on biometric procurements and implementation, ensuring that you get the biometric system that addresses your needs.

Applied Forensic Services offers the following consulting services:

The Applied Forensic Services website is here.

To schedule a consultation, click here.

Yes, there are others

There are other companies that can help you with friction ridge and face marketing, writing, and consultation services.

I specifically mention these two because I have worked with their principals both as an employee during my Printrak-to-IDEMIA years, and as a sole proprietor during my Bredemarket years. Laurel and Mike are both knowledgeable, dedicated, and can add value to your firm or agency.

And, unlike some experienced friction ridge and face experts, Laurel and Mike are still working and have not retired. (“Where have you gone, Peter Higgins…”)

When you’re interested in everything, you’re interested in nothing

Some people know what they will do, and what they will not do.

Other people say they will do anything.

Don’t trust the second group of people.

Checking all the boxes in a Bredemarket contact submission form

As you may know, Bredemarket has an online contact page that allows people to request information from me. The form on this page includes several checkboxes (recently edited) that allow the submitter to specify if they are interested in one of Bredemarket’s standard packages.

Occasionally I’ll get a submission from someone who checked ALL of the check boxes. In 100% of those cases, it turns out that the person is NOT interested in ANY of Bredemarket’s standard packages, but in something else. (In the most recent example, someone wanted to write a guest post on the Bredemarket blog that had NOTHING to do with marketing or writing services. No thanks.)

Checking all the boxes in a proposal

It reminds me about the time, many years ago, when I wrote an RFP. This was years before I actually began responding to RFPs, by the way. The consultant that our company brought in suggested that we create a Request for Proposal for a particular service that our company wanted. The main part of the created RFP was a check list to see if the respondent provided a particular feature that we wanted. The responses that we received fell into two categories:

  • Some respondents checked every check box with no further comment. We concluded that they hadn’t actually read the RFP, so we ignored these proposals.
  • Other respondents checked most of the check boxes, but provided text for certain responses explaining that they had a different approach. Since these people read the RFP, we paid more attention to those responses.

Now I’ll grant that this filtering method doesn’t work for all proposals. Some RFPs truly demand mandatory compliance with every requirement. But in those cases, the RFPs usually require to say how they will perform each requirement. A simple “we do it” response is not sufficient.

Checking all the boxes in a business offering

The “check everything” rule also applies in one other instance: company offerings.

When a company states the products and services it will offer, the statement usually sets a boundary between what the company will do and what the company will not do.

Usually.

For example, this post from Reddit’s HireaWriter gives a clear picture of the writer’s strengths:

…I have a bachelor’s degree in screenwriting (writing for film, TV and radio), and I’m currently studying English Literature to further my skills. I’m about to be on summer holidays for a few months and I’m looking to collaborate on some writing projects.

I have freelance experience, writing YouTube scripts and some podcast work, I’m very capable of both fiction and non- fiction…

From https://www.reddit.com/r/HireaWriter/comments/u2ydhh/writer_looking_for_new_projects/

So if I need a YouTube script, I’ll consider this person. If I need an article for Foreign Affairs, maybe not.

But other company offerings are…less focused. You’ve probably seen the posts (I won’t link to them) from people who say that they write. When you ask what they write, they say that they write anything.

Now I guess that theoretically, I can write anything. (Heck, I wrote the Eastport Enquirer, which you can probably guess wasn’t high-minded business prose.) But I’m not going to make a living by writing 19th century fiction or French political positions. I’ll stick closer to content marketing and proposals if you don’t mind.

Oh, and I don’t offer editing packages any more.

Bredemarket announcement: discontinuation of editing offerings

Behind the scenes, I have been spending the past month examining the services Bredemarket offers, and how my service offerings can best meet my goals for 2022 (including the super-secret goal that I am not publishing). As a result of this examination, I plan to make several changes to Bredemarket’s service offerings, one of which I am announcing today.

Effective immediately, Bredemarket is no longer offering editing services.

By Evan-Amos – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11363750

Some of you will recall that my “What I Do” page originally listed five writing service offerings:

I have reduced my writing offerings to three. As of today, I have discontinued the two editing services.

As I stated in my FAQ:

I prefer to concentrate on writing rather than editing. There are plenty of editors available.

From https://bredemarket.com/faq/

I anticipate that I will perform additional-fine tuning to Bredemarket’s service offerings. I will announce these as necessary.

If you have any questions…

Free resume advice at the Upland (California) library

When I established the Bredemarket Yelp account, I sadly had to inform two inquirers that my services (what I do) did not include resume writing services.

But I just discovered that if you are near Upland, California, you can obtain resume writing services for free.

Today (March 29) and every Tuesday at 4:00 pm, the Upland Library hosts a resume writing workshop, “Resume Runners.” And unlike Bredemarket’s services, Upland Library services are free.

Shattering my assumptions by using LinkedIn for local marketing

At the same time that Bredemarket helps other firms to market themselves, Bredemarket has to market ITSELF, including social media marketing. And for the past year I’ve subscribed to the following formula:

  • Use LinkedIn for professional marketing to biometric/identity and technology clients.
  • Use Twitter as a supplement to this.
  • Use Facebook as a supplement to this, and also use Facebook as Bredemarket’s sole foray into “general business” marketing.

It sounded like a good formula at the time…but now I’m questioning the assumptions behind it. And I’m hoping that I can prove one of my assumptions wrong.

My initial assumptions about marketing to local businesses

As I write this, Bredemarket has no clients in my hometown of Ontario, California, or in any of the nearby cities. In fact, my closest clients are located in Orange County, where I worked for 25 years.

It’s no secret that I’ve been working to rectify that gap and drum up more local business.

So this was an opportune time for me to encounter Jay Clouse’s September 2021 New Client Challenge. (It’s similar to a challenge Clouse ran in August 2020. Repurposing is good.) Clouse’s first question to all participants asked which market we would be targeting, and in my case the local small business market seemed an obvious choice.

And this dialogue played in my mind…

So when I market to local businesses, I’ll want to do that via relevant Facebook Groups. Obviously I won’t market the local services via LinkedIn or Twitter, because those services are not tailored to local service marketing.

Questioning my assumptions

Then I realized that I was wrong, for two reasons.

  1. First, there are LinkedIn groups that concentrate on my local area, just as there are LinkedIn groups that concentrate on biometrics. I had already quit a number of the dormant Inland Empire LinkedIn groups, but I was still a member of two such groups and could (tastefully) market there.
  2. If LinkedIn doesn’t provide an opportunity for me to do something, why don’t I tailor my use of LinkedIn and provide myself the opportunity?

Specifically, some of you may recall that I only have two LinkedIn showcase pages, but I have three Facebook groups.

  • “Bredemarket Identity Firm Services” is present on both LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • “Bredemarket Technology Firm Services” is present on both LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • “Bredemarket General Business Services” is only present on Facebook.

I explained the rationale for the lack of a third LinkedIn showcase page in a nice neat summary:

Using myself as an example, I have segmented my customers into markets: the identity (biometrics / secure documents) specific market (my primary market), the general technology market, and the general business market. I don’t even target the general business market on LinkedIn (I do on Facebook), but I’ve created showcase pages for the other two.

If you consider that “local business services” is a subset of “general business services,” some of you can see where this is going.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

But it took a while for the thought to pound its way into my brain:

Why DON’T you target the (local) general business market on LinkedIn?

I could just create a new showcase page, a process that would only take a few minutes. I wouldn’t even have to create any new artwork, since I could simply repurpose the Facebook general business artwork and use it for a LinkedIn local business showcase page. (Repurposing is good.)

(As an aside, my approach to artwork for Bredemarket’s marketing segments was dictated by LinkedIn Stories. Which is now disappearing. Oh well.)

So anyway, LinkedIn is now the home of Bredemarket Local Firm Services.

Now I just have to populate the showcase page with content (and continue to do so), invite people to follow the new showcase page, and proceed on my plan for world domination, one loft at a time.

Call to action time

And if you’re a small business in the Ontario, California area, here’s some information on the services I can provide to you.

And if you want more detailed information, please visit https://bredemarket.com/local/. (Read to the end.)

And if you want even more detailed information, contact me.

So which assumption will I shatter next?

I’d like to prove THIS assumption wrong:

(Still waiting for that $10,000 per hour client.)

And now I’m unboxing tangible collateral

Yes, this is post five in a series.

We”ll start with the end result, and then detail how it got here.

(Yes, I know an unboxing post is supposed to save the final result of the unboxing until the end, but I got excited. I’ll repeat this picture at the end to keep the story straight.)

I created tangible collateral

As I detailed in the third post in the series, back on August 9 I was preparing to attend my first in-person event in a long time.

I’m going to an in-person event next week. For my younger readers (i.e. those who developed awareness after 2019), an “in-person event” is something where you are actually in the same room as the people that you are meeting, rather than looking at them in boxes on your computer screen

Who knew that this was the future of communication? By screenshot, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34177604

After registering for the event, I realized that I had never printed business cards for Bredemarket. So I designed one on Canva and ordered it that same day, August 9.

I waited for tangible collateral

Canva filled the order and turned it over to a delivery service on August 10. I won’t name the delivery service, but it does business with the federal government and has an express business in addition to its ground business.

And the delivery service provides some good tracking of all the packages that it handles. I’d simply reproduce the tracking entries, but the most recent stops are first, which doesn’t lend itself to storytelling. So I’ll just reproduce selected stops on the way.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021
8:30 PMHENDERSON, NVLeft FedEx origin facility
6:32 PMHENDERSON, NVShipment exceptionBarcode label unreadable and replaced
6:05 PMHENDERSON, NVArrived at FedEx location
3:06 PMHENDERSON, NVPicked up
8:05 AMShipment information sent to FedEx

That’s actually pretty nice, I thought at the time. The order was fulfilled within a few hundred miles of Bredemarket’s world headquarters in Ontario, California, and would certainly arrive in time for my in-person meeting.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021
1:05 AMBLOOMINGTON, CAArrived at FedEx location

Very nice. Bloomington is within 20 miles of Ontario, so obviously I should expect my business cards to be delivered by the end of the week.

Friday, August 13, 2021
11:55 PMDEMING, NMIn transit
10:52 AMBLOOMINGTON, CADeparted FedEx location

Um, wait a minute. (Only now did I realize that this transit happened on Friday the 13th. Figures.)

I won’t reproduce the next few entries, but suffice it to say that as of 3:12 pm Central Time on Saturday, August 14, the package arrived at a location in Fort Worth, Texas.

By Tuesday, August 17, my package was still in Texas, and obviously wasn’t going to make it in time for my Wednesday night meeting. As I noted in the fourth post in the series, however, I had a workaround.

So that’s what I handed out on Wednesday, August 18. (Well, the first person only took a picture of the handout rather than taking the handout himself, because he prefers intangible things.)

At one point my expected delivery date was Thursday, August 19. That date came and went without business cards, but at least I got a podcast episode out of it.

Late that night, with my package still in Texas and no updated arrival date, I contacted Canva (even though it wasn’t Canva’s fault) because there wasn’t an efficient way to contact the delivery service. At the time I wondered if the package were truly lost and if I’d need Canva to replace it. I received an email from Canva that pretty much said to wait and see what happened.

Our records show that your print order…is currently in transit to your shipping address….

For a more detailed information about the delivery status, we highly suggest reaching out to the carrier since the order was already dispatched.

However, at the same time that I was filing things with Canva, I was also tweeting about it. And for those who don’t realize this, the social media people for many companies are proactive and really want to help.

Here to sort this out for you, John! Could you DM us your ticket ID (JTP-###…)? We’ll take a look! ^cv

The tweet actually contradicted the email (which said to contact the delivery service). But by the time Canva tweeted the request for my ticket ID, the delivery service had updated my status.

(And yes, I was checking Twitter before 5:00 am. Normally I don’t, but by this time I was really getting bugged about my wandering business cards.)

Later that day, my package finally left its Texas location. I had a momentary fear when it departed…a fear that people who live in Ontario, California will easily understand. Was my package headed back toward Ontario, California…or on its way to Ontario, Canada?

Thankfully, my package was in Deming, New Mexico on Friday evening, so at least it was headed in the right direction.

By Saturday, August 21, the package was back in Bloomington, California. But where would it go next?

Oh, and to top things off, in the middle of this I received a phishing attempt at one of my non-Bredemarket email addresses. Obviously this had nothing to do with my REAL shipment, but I still found it pretty funny.

Just in case anyone is unclear about this, the email DIDN’T really come from DHL. And if DHL were to ask US customers to pay a fee over the Internet, that fee wouldn’t be charged in Australian dollars.

Back to the question of where my package would go when it left Bloomington. Did my package have a lover in Deming, New Mexico that it wanted to visit for a third time?

Sunday, August 22, 2021
8:51 AMCHINO, CADelivery exceptionFuture delivery requested
7:46 AMCHINO, CAAt local FedEx facility
5:35 AMBLOOMINGTON, CADeparted FedEx location

Chino is even closer to Ontario than Bloomington. This was a positive move.

Let me explain the “future delivery requested” part. I was promised at one point that the package would be delivered on Sunday, August 22. Unfortunately, my business address (a UPS Store, competitor to the delivery service) is closed on Sunday.

Apparently the delivery service realized this too late, and told me that the package would be delivered Tuesday.

Then I was told that the package would be delivered Monday.

Monday, August 23, 2021
1:24 PMOntario, CADeliveredSignature on file
5:41 AMCHINO, CAOn FedEx vehicle for delivery
4:20 AMCHINO, CAAt local FedEx facility

I drove to my business address and proceeded with the unboxing.

Remember the August 10 entry that mentioned the replacement of the unreadable barcode label.
As is usual for shipments, the actual shipment box was placed in a larger box. This time I was thankful for this.
Completing the story, here’s the business card again.

So that’s done. And since I’ve never really used business cards all that frequently, this order should last me a while.

When is my next in-person event?

(Bredemarket Premium) Bredemarket tips for aspiring biometric freelancers (the 8/23/2021 11:45am edition)

So I just wrote a post that contained general tips for freelancers. But before launching into the meat of the post, I said the following:

I almost considered putting the Bredemarket Premium tag on this and making you pay to read it, but I’m not THAT much of a freelancing expert. (Yet.)

After I completed that post and shared it on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, I returned to my Bredemarket Premium idea. While my tips in the other post can help general freelancers, there are some things that I can share that are specific to BIOMETRIC freelancers.

This is NOT an example of biometric enrollment, but the entry device is secure from network attacks. By Rita Banerji – flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18222218

So, here goes.

Subscribe to get access

Subscribe to Bredemarket Premium to access this premium content.

  • Subscriptions just $5 per month.
  • Access Bredemarket’s expertise without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Bredemarket tips for aspiring freelancers (the 8/23/2021 10:15am edition)

I have marketed myself as the biometric content marketing expert and the biometric proposal writing expert.

Now I’m marketing myself as the freelancing expert.

“But John,” you may ask, “how can you do this? Yes, you are making money freelancing, but there are freelancers who are making a LOT more money than you are, who are working from exotic locales and are well known.”

Well, at least the locale is exotic, even if the hardware is very 20th century and the scribe only has anonymous Wikipedia/Flickr fame. By Rita Banerji – flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18222218

Before I succumb to imposter syndrome, let me assert that I DO have some tips to offer based on my experience. Frankly, all of us do. Even if you’ve only been freelancing for a week, you’ve probably learned something that someone who has never freelanced would NOT know. So share it.

Before you read my tips, note an important point. I’ll caveat my tips by stating that MY experience may not necessarily apply to YOUR experience, and that sometimes it’s good to ignore the experts (or so-called experts). You need to do what is best for you.

How do I know that I have tips to offer?

Because someone whom I met via the Freelancers Union (see the link on the word “ignore” above) just asked me for advice, and by the time I was done answering her questions, I had written a LONG email.

So I figured that I’d share parts of the email (the portions that were NOT specific to her) with you.

I almost considered putting the Bredemarket Premium tag on this and making you pay to read it, but I’m not THAT much of a freelancing expert. (Yet.)

We’ll get to the whole topic of personal pictures later. This picture was taken in 1980 or 1981, but doesn’t necessarily reflect my business or show my expertise. (And yes, I’m terrible at darts.)

As I said, these are edited versions of my responses to the Freelancers Union contact, with some additions as I thought of other things. (I forgot to mention to my Freelancers Union contact that repurposing is important, and iteration is important.)

So, here goes.

If I offer multiple, potentially very different services, is it too overwhelming to list all of my services on a single page?

For purposes of this discussion, I’m going to assume that the “single page” is a LinkedIn company page or a Facebook business page. (In many cases, it’s best to separate your freelancing page from your personal page. Again, some disagree with me.)

If you think that all of your multi-services are too much to list on one page, then you have the option of creating “showcase” pages to highlight specific aspects of what you do. For example, if you wanted to differentiate two different sets of services, you could create two separate showcase pages.

Using myself as an example, I have segmented my customers into markets: the identity (biometrics / secure documents) specific market (my primary market), the general technology market, and the general business market. I don’t even target the general business market on LinkedIn (I do on Facebook), but I’ve created showcase pages for the other two.

The Bredemarket Identity Firm Services page on LinkedIn. Of course, your view of this page will vary; I doubt that 116 of the showcase page’s followers are in YOUR network.

I have a similar structure on Facebook.

In addition, my website also has targeted pages. I won’t show examples here (EDIT: I didn’t share links in my original email to the contact, but I did share links in this new post), but I have a page that’s just targeted for general identity, multiple pages targeted for the biometric aspect of identity, one targeted for the content marketing aspect of biometrics, one for the proposal writing aspect of biometrics, etc. Therefore, if I’m talking to someone about biometric proposals, I can just send the link to the biometric proposal writing expert page.

I actually market on Twitter (@jebredcal), but I don’t go into that level of segmentation there. In fact, my Twitter account isn’t even solely devoted to my consulting. In that case, I don’t feel it worthwhile to create segmented Twitter accounts for my various submarkets, but it may be different for others. 

However you slice and dice your market, dedicated pages for specific market segments allow for a more targeted experience. And the good thing is that it’s all free. (I actually pay for my website, but it could be free if I were fine with a mycompany.wordpress.com URL.)

How do I compensate for my liabilities?

TL;DR talk about your strengths.

In my case, I compensate for what I don’t do by emphasizing what I do.

I did not draw this myself. Originally created by Jleedev using Inkscape and GIMP. Redrawn as SVG by Ben Liblit using Inkscape. – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1692938

For example, I do NOT create graphics (stick figures exhaust my capabilities), so my marketing materials emphasize my creation of text.

In addition, as I stated earlier, I emphasize the markets that I DO address – I talk a lot about biometrics/secure documents/identity, some about technology, and a little bit about general business.

And I don’t talk about graphics at all. (Whoops, I guess I just did.)

I’d like to use a photo of myself to personalize my service. What photo should I use?

If I were you, I’d take a minute to think about the picture you want to use. How will this picture show that you are the best provider for your specific service in the entire universe? What should be in the background?

  • For example, if you’re a master coder, should you have a computer screen behind you with something specific on the screen?
  • If you’re a writer, should you have a bookcase or perhaps an entire library behind you?
  • If you’re a certified forensic expert, should you show a murder scene behind you? (Maybe not.)

Look at it from the point of view of a potential customer – would I want to do business with this person? 

Of course, different marketing efforts call for different pictures. I actually had a reason to use the 1980-1981 t-shirt picture that I posted toward the beginning of this post: I was talking about the fact that I have been writing since my college days. And at other times, I use a Users Conference picture in which I am talking about a smartphone app that I populated. It just depends on the context.

What question from the Freelancers Union contact received a response that I am not posting here?

She asked one additional question about other reasonable ways to get her service out there. With one exception, I chose not to post my full response to that question here for two reasons:

  • First, my response contained some very specific details about the nature of my business that I have chosen not to share with the general public. If you really want to hear that part of the discussion, I’ll create a Bredemarket Premium post and make you pay to read the response.
  • Second, my response was a very good example of “your mileage may vary.” For example, I noted that I have not had success with a particular freelancing service, but noted that many other people HAVE had success with that same service.

So what’s the exception? In response to a specific comment that my contact made, I offered this response:

You never know when your existing network will yield opportunities.

I’m not going to print the rest of the paragraph from my email to my contact, but suffice it to say that the majority of Bredemarket’s business has been won as a result of people who knew me at IDEMIA, MorphoTrak, Motorola, or even Printrak.

  • Some worked with me and became “free agents” at the same time that I did.
  • Some worked with me but left long before I did.
  • Some used to work for competitors.
  • Some are now working for large companies, others small companies, and others are sole proprietors.
  • In some cases my contact directly asked me to consult, while in other cases the my contact talked to other people (sometimes in other companies) who asked me to consult.

In the end, you never know when those contacts you made months or years or decades ago may result in something new…not just in business, but in life.

P.S. One more thing: content calendars.