Worksheets. eBooks. Wallpapers. Icon sets. Fonts.
There’s an awful of of free stuff for the taking as you traverse the many roads and routes available for social media travel.
A download here or there doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but eventually you’ll be forced to face the overwhelm that can come with too much stuff.
Yes, you can ACTUALLY have too much digital stuff!
Stop The Free Font FOMO!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of fonts (all right, all right … I know they’re typefaces. Stand down. I’m going for a little alliteration here and it’s not easy to do so with “typeface”).
But, how many of those fontastic freebies have you actually managed to use in a paying project or prototype?
Probably not that many.
Free fonts seem like a good deal … until you find yourself scrolling through a seemingly endless list, looking for the type that will transform your next branding effort.
Ever been so jazzed about a groovy script that you immediately download it and then never manage to use it? If your hand isn’t up in the air you’re either a liar or you don’t work in design and visual marketing.
Clear out some of those tempting, but sadly unused, typeface files. Many of them just aren’t designed well for actual use. If they fail their intended purpose, why do you hang on to them?
Work That Sheet Or Walk Away!
Free worksheets. They’re everywhere! Checklists and to-dos and how-tos, oh my.
But how many of these worksheets are actually adding any wonderful to your workday?
Admit it! You downloaded it as a reference for a future worksheet of your own. Nothing wrong with that. As long as it’s really just for reference and you aren’t going to get a little too grabby with concepts, ideas and design and copy it a little too closely.
If you’ve never taken the time to actually fill out the worksheet, not even once, it’s just more clutter. Delete it or pass it along to someone who will use it.
You cull clothing and footwear you never wear from your closet, right? Do the same with those worksheets. If it’s not working for you, it’s just taking up space!Do SOMETHING with those downloads ... or clear out the clutter!Click To Tweet
Read Or Release!
Much like worksheets, you’ll never have to look too far before you find a free eBook just waiting for your click.
How many of them have you actually read?
I’m an avid and voracious reader, and even I can admit I’ve got scores of easy download eBooks that I’ve never read. Taking up space and taunting me every time I peruse my file folders.
If it was free, trash it. If you paid for it, move it to the cloud or pass it along to someone who might actually read it and benefit from it.
NOTE: I’m not saying you should share digital books with the masses when the author means for it to be purchased. That’s unethical. However, if you bought it and never read it and never will read it, I see nothing wrong with passing it along, ONCE, to someone who might benefit. It’s like a gift.
But, I Might Need It Later!
If you’re not 100% sure you won’t ever use that typeface, worksheet, icon set, etc., you can clear your clutter in a two-step process.
Move the maybe files from your active files (on our computer or device) and keep them in cold storage on the cloud for a bit.
If, after six months or so, you’ve still not accessed or used the downloaded file for its intended purpose, consider a final delete!
Download With Intent & Purpose …
You don’t have to download every free file that presents itself.
Carefully consider each download. Is it something that truly interests you? Is it a file, font or image you can see yourself actually using in the future.
Don’t get sucked into downloading simply for acquisition’s sake. It’s a drain on your computer resources and space, and it can become a time suck when you need to make a decision in the future.
Do you really want to wade through countless downloaded files when you’re seeking the best solution for your business or that of one of your clients?
I’m clearing out unused files as I continue my summer streamline process. How about you?
- people or things that are no longer useful or productive
- useless personnel or material
These definitions were pulled from a variety of sources, after this Google search.
As part of my summer streamline initiative, I’m determined to clear the clutter. I’m also determined to delete some of the deadwood that’s clogging up my creative flow.
Ditching Deadwood Clients
This, for many, is the scariest part of a business audit, summer streamline or deletion of deadwood in your business. Many of us still work for what I call legacy clients. Those clients we took on when we were first starting out.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying all legacy clients are deadwood in need of deletion. I still have one or two clients who’ve been with me since the beginning. But, from time to time we find ourselves clinging to a client who no longer fits our brand, our business, our core message.
Often these clients still expect the same low, sometimes too low, rates that you put in place when you first started your business. Sometimes these clients fail to appreciate that your business has grown, as has your expertise, necessitating a rate increase. Sometimes these clients no longer fit in with the niche direction your brand and business have taken as it continues to evolve.
And sometimes, sadly, clients simply don’t appreciate you. Period.
In any of these instances, it’s okay to clear out when the contract is completed. No contract? Give proper notice, just like you would with a 9-5 job.
Your brand and business can’t shine if you’re still hanging on to clients that hold you back. Think I’m crazy? I’m not the only marketer/designer/freelancer with this topic at top of mind!
Deleting The Fluff And Fairweather From Your Feeds
We all have a few folks in our feeds that never interact, never engage, never acknowledge, never appreciate it if you share their fair to middling content.
My question to you, and myself, why are they filling a valuable spot in our feeds?
Clear ’em out and make room for some new ideas, reads and potential for sharing.
I’ve pretty much stopped sharing from the “by rote” generic sites. You know the ones, they regurgitate the same content they’ve been spewing for years and, even though the content’s not fresh, they’re a “big name” so they get thousands of shares.
You know what, if it works for them – and it obviously does, good for them. But, it doesn’t work for me, nor for my audience. So, I don’t follow those sites, I don’t fill my feeds with content that can only be deemed feed fodder, and I don’t add my single share to their thousands.
The same goes for the fairweather “friends” (and the quotation marks are used advisedly) in my feed.
There is, of course, a reciprocal nature to social sharing. But reciprocity, like anything else in business, has to maintain a balance. Sharing that one article that made me take notice of you, that prompted a connection, isn’t enough. When you go silent and pull a runner shortly after a connection, you’re of little value to me.
I’m looking for the reciprocity of shared ideas, conversation, discussion, even a little discriminating dissent.
When I hear nothing but crickets? Time for a connection to cease.
Do Something With Deadwood Content! But, Don’t Delete It.
We all hope that our content, so carefully crafted, will stand the test of time.
But let’s face it. Evergreen isn’t a description we can attach to everything we write. Some content simply becomes clutter. Or worse, if we continue to share stories that are not longer relevant.
It’s time to undertake a content audit, especially if you use a plug-in like Tweet Old Post. Stop automating the sharing of sucky and sadly outdated information!
Repurpose what you can. Consider retooling reads for use on Medium or Linkedin. Archive or even remove (with the proper set-up of a redirect) anything that no longer adds value or, worse, might do a client harm.
Sharing outdated information isn’t just lazy or vain. It’s dangerous. What if a prospect or a client follows your outdated advice and it works against them? You’ve lost a lead or a client. And you can bet your sweet bippy someone else, down the line, will find out and pass judgment about your value as a business and brand.
Yes, content audits are time consuming. But they’re necessary when you need your entire site, home page to contact page, to provide value.
Wondering If I Practice What I Preach?
I’ve fired three clients over the past two months. I’ve been clearing out my feeds, both content and connections, for the last week. Heck, I’m writing a whole series about the process!
I’m intent upon seriously streamlining by business in order to better represent my brand. It’s not easy. Letting go never is. Especially when it comes to dollars in the bank. But sometimes you must sacrifice in order to set yourself on the path for future success.
I’m willing to do so. How about you?
Have you ever met someone who constantly calls on you to lament or laud the fact that he/she is perpetually busy? These individuals just never have any spare time to smell the roses, to spend time with family and friends, to take a few seconds to sit down and simply savor the fruits of their labors.
I’ve known quite a few of these people. And funnily enough, I found many of them to be the least productive people I’ve ever met, despite their constant hustling and bustling and busy buzzing.
Busy Is NOT A Badge Of Honor!
Busy is, plain and simple, a buzzword. But it’s one that needs to be retired, and fast.
Busy is often incorrectly linked to productivity. Actually, the two terms are mutually exclusive and here’s why I say that:
Busy is about bustle and bragging. How often do we hear certain individuals boasting about how very busy they happen to be?
Yet, if you actually look for the fruits of their very busy labors, you’ll find the harvest surprisingly small, the payload never delivered.
Productivity is tied to things actually happening, projects delivered, deadlines met. You know, actual shizz getting done.
When Busy Becomes An Excuse …
Ever called on someone to take part in a round-up post, a Twitter chat, or possibly an interview for your blog or podcast? Of course you have. It’s part of being connected, being influential and part of creating and maintaining our online reach.
I’m willing to be that you’ve often been turned down with the phrase, “I’m sorry, I’m just too busy to take part right now.”
Here’s the deal. We could all easily use the buzz of busy as an excuse, but it’s a cop out. All business owners, if you fine it down, are busy. We all, every day, engage in the activities entailed in the management, maintenance and growth of our brands and business.
Thus, using busy as an excuse is bogus. Entrepreneurs, business owners, managers, even the lowest of lowly underlings can, and DO, make time for tasks, projects and ideas that matter.
Thus, when you tell me you’re too “busy” to take part, rather then providing a legitimate reason for your lack of excitement when asked to be included, I can only assume my request really doesn’t matter to you. And that’s A-OK hunky dory. but I’d really rather you just bust out and say so, instead of hiding behind the cult of busy.
It’s Time To Bust The Busy Myth!
At some point, in the annals of marketing history perhaps, being “busy” must have reaped rewards and brought a bounty of benefits to those who put it to use.
Today, not so much. It’s a term that’s been used, abused and, when used today, can cause groans, grumbles and snorts of derision.Busy is simply bluster. It's a bid to appear more bountiful, a bid to buoy clout and importance. Busy can't be measured with benchmarks.Click To Tweet
Focus too much on appearing busy and you’ll fail to take part in the activities that can actually benefit you, your business, your brand AND, especially, your paying clients!
Busy Works For Bees, Not Brands & Businesses
It’s time to realize that tossing around busy brings little benefit to your brand or business.
At best, it makes you appear a little boastful, as if you’re bragging. At worst, it can appear as if your brand and business fails to find the requests and queries of customers and peers all that important in the greater scheme of things.
Have you ever been brushed aside with the buzz and bluster of busy? How did it make you feel?