Of Ideas and Putting Them to Use, and of Hobbies That GROW

If you’ve always wished you could buy me a coffee and pick my brain, please stay tuned: toward the end of this post, you can come pretty close to doing both. In the meantime, allow me to get sentimental for a few minutes. Dear reader, this is the 500th post at MCE, and milestones like this give me a chance to thank you.

 

“Watch out when a Capricorn lets loose on a new hobby,” I said to a friend last week.

Whether you believe in the pull of far-off orbs at the moment of your birth or not, for this January baby that’s always been true.

In July, 2007, the idea for the Maximum Customer Experience Blog was born, with the simple idea that great Customer Experience helps small businesses grow, and that I would always have far more Customer Experience ideas, tips, rants, and raves, than I have clients to share them with.

I hoped to offer help in bits and bytes (sorry, the pun was irresistible) to a much broader audience than I can ever reach here in the greater Philadelphia region. In that I’ve been successful, and I thank you, reading right now, and the many thousands of other entrepreneurs and small-business folks from all around the globe who drop in here, for helping me to make MCE a hobby I’m proud to be obsessed with.

 

The idea was born, but as all of us business owners know, a good idea is not enough. Execution is everything. Could I keep this infant blog growing?

Well, it turns out every post here is yet another birth, at least for me. I’ve never gotten the “serious” bloggers’ knack of writing ahead or planning a week in advance. Maybe that’s because I’m serious about Maximum Customer Experience, but I never want the blog to become too “serious” for us to enjoy—so I’m happy to wait for a little idea to give me a kick and say “it’s time.” Then the post is born, and it makes its debut with you.

In that I’ve been lucky again. Your input and your interest makes writing these articles week after week easier, and more interesting, in so many ways. Not only have these posts touched a chord with you, encouraging you to comment, to pass on the link, or even email me sometimes, but many readers have become trusted colleagues, clients, and even dear friends. So thanks once again—for reading, and for working with me, of course, but more than that, for connecting with me.

 

Now, this Capricorn has been let loose on many hobbies that have become minor obsessions over the years. Back in April, a former client and much-admired colleague asked, fairly casually, whether I could fit more writing into my schedule, and I gained a new hobby/obsession for a while. It’s been six months, and The Big Day is here for that TOP Secret project as well (and no, it wasn’t planned to go with post #500, it’s just worked out this way).

Ever wished you could buy me a coffee and pick my brain for a while, and get really in-depth on just one topic? This might be what you’ve been looking for:

Why Your Website Sucks—

and How To Fix It!

The latest in the TOP (Travel Online Partners) Mastery Guide series launches today, with your intrepid Experience Designer, Kelly Erickson, as co-author. My friend Andy Hayes and I have given birth to one of the most usable Guides you’ll find anywhere to website “usability”—making your site user-friendly, making it as easy as possible for folks to decide to buy from you, and closing the deal.

Now I want you to know, dear reader, that this 126-page Guide and action-oriented 28-page workbook (instantly downloadable e-books)were written specifically for the travel industry. Andy’s written books, magazine articles, and runs a nice-sized media empire dealing with the travel industry from a B2B and consumer perspective, so naturally we wanted to keep this Guide focused on real-world examples (and goofy asides) that folks in travel and tourism could appreciate. At VisionPoints and here at MCE, travel, and hospitality in general, are fields I have extra expertise in (and a soft spot for), so working with Andy was an easy Yes.

Though the examples come from one field, you’ll find the principles are universal, and the ideas we’ve put together for you are so easy to follow that… well, to put it slightly crudely, it’s pretty kick-ass. (If Andy can name it “Why Your Website Sucks and How To Fix It,” then I guess I can be a little bit rough in expressing how thrilled I am with the end result.)

Early word is that reviewers are flying straight to the workbook to start taking action right away—then loving the book as its companion. I should have predicted it—you may not know how your work will be put to use—that’s straight from Chapter 5!

And since we were talking about buying me a coffee and picking my brain, I might as well tell you that you’ll be picking my brain, Andy Hayes’, and in a fun little bonus, you can listen in at the coffeeshop, too, as Andy and I discuss the truth about usability with the ever-delightful Naomi Dunford of IttyBiz, in a 45-minute recorded call that we’ve packaged with the Guide. That’s a ton of experience all in one place.

 

It’s been an intense birthing process—just as 500 posts at MCE have been—so I guess it’s right that all this hip-hooraying should fit into one big post today. I’m ridiculously proud of the results. (And exhausted. And sweaty. But that’s another story.) When we put the last touches on the Guide I told Andy it’s better than anything I’ve seen in the stores and far more targeted toward what small businesses really want—to put ideas into action—and I love it so much I wish I could buy it.

(“At $37.99 for all we’re giving in this Guide, it’s a steal,” he said. “Treat yourself.” Hm.)

So if you’ve ever wanted to pick my brain, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Why Your Website Sucks—and How To Fix It. For six months, I’ve picked my own brain (and Andy’s, and for a fun hour, Naomi’s), to bring only the best pickings to the readers of this TOP Mastery Guide.

 

Well, dear reader, that’s a wrap. 500+ births and a special announcement, straight from my heart and my experience—to help you grow your business with awesome, rockin’, Maximum Customer Experience. I hope you’ll continue to find it encouraging, enlightening, and as much fun as we can squeeze into a business blog. You’ve been all that for me, personally and professionally.

And once again,

because birthdays make me all mushy,

my sincere thanks.

Keep reading, keep commenting, and keep spreading the word about the little blog with the simple idea—that great Customer Experience helps small businesses thrive. Together we’ll keep making your business Maximum.

 

As always, grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson