David Peterson and just asking why

Following the numbers, embracing authenticity, and finding what you suck at: Your guide to being better at what you do.
David Peterson and just asking why

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As a numbers guy who’s always deep into analytics, David Peterson spends much of his time thinking about the ways people act. Rather than using data to find the “right answer” to his client’s marketing needs, however, he lets the numbers tell a story. He doesn’t focus on how he can get people to do what he wants (click button A), but tries to understand how he can harness what they already do (click button B) to get results.

And he does it by asking why.

Listening to David’s conversation with Darryl on this week’s episode got me thinking about being a freelancer and running your own business. When you wear as many hats as we (the collective freelancer) do, it’s easy to focus on what we’re doing and forget to ask why we’re doing it. 

Plus, since so many of us built our businesses by finding the things that worked for us in the moment, we’re stuck using inefficient processes — and we may not even know it! How much time and energy could we save by just looking at the things we’re doing and asking why we’re not getting the results we want from them?

Just remember, David doesn’t use data to force a certain outcome. He uses what he learns to make the existing actions generate great results. When you know why your process are failing, you can do the same.

This week, I want to challenge you to start thinking about the ways you run your business. To give you a little inspiration, here are some of the whys I’ve been asking myself.

Why does my schedule feel constantly overloaded?

The answer to this question is one of my biggest weaknesses: I hate saying no. In business, this means that I find a way to fit every client request into my schedule, no matter how much I have on my plate. 

Normally, I would resolve to say no more often. (I mean, I should do that too, but baby steps.) Since I was following David’s method, I focused instead on improving the results. I had three opportunities to adjust the process for a better outcome just this past week. I asked one client if we could push the deadline back a bit for an unexpected assignment (she said yes). Two other clients asked if I could complete a task sooner than initially quoted. I said yes BUT I charged a rush fee. And they both still agreed.

In all three scenarios, I gained more by adjusting my response to the behavior (me saying yes) than I would have by changing it and saying no. And though I still took on more work, I gave myself more wiggle room to get everything done.

Why do I struggle to send invoices on time?

I’m a very forgetful person. If I don’t make a readily visible note or set an alarm on my phone, that future thing may or may not happen.

With invoicing, this means that I have to be diligent about staying on top of regular invoices. I can remember to send one when a project finishes without a problem, but monthly or bi-weekly invoices are more prone to falling through the cracks. I’ve tried making notes in my planner and creating project tasks, but nothing worked reliably.

The problem? Outta sight, outta mind. Thankfully, just when I was ready to cover my wall in sticky notes, I discovered a really helpful new feature in Moxie. When I have an invoice that needs to be sent on a regular basis, I can set it to automatically generate on schedule.

Short of a miracle drug, my memory isn’t going to get better. By accepting the reality and adjusting my invoicing process to include this nifty tool, I can serve my clients better and let go of the inefficient options I was trying to use. And because I asked why the problem was happening, I could find a solution that works.

If you have a why you’ve answered recently, let me know on social media at @moxie.hq !

For more about David’s analytics-powdered marketing tips, thoughts on being yourself, and the story behind his company, Tat2 Marketing Group, give the episode a listen here.

You can also find David online at tat2marketing.com and on social media at @tat2marketing.

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Emily Finlay
Emily Finlay is a freelance copywriter who thrives working with a great team and moonlights as an amateur home baker. Throughout her career, she’s had the pleasure of working with clients of all sizes, from local businesses to Fortune 500 companies. Aunt to eight nieces and nephews, she loves freelancing for the time it allows her to spend with her family and friends. When she’s not puzzling over the perfect word, she enjoys taking long walks, geeking out over her many interests, and trying new decorating techniques for cakes and cookies.
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