"Love My Way, It's a New Road"

I Feel Better, but…

I wrote this back in August/September 2018 and somehow it has been sitting in my drafts…

I do feel much better these days.  Mentally and physically I just feel like my mojo is returning.  My daughter, Taz, remarked as much this week.  I still have some demons to deal with like the IRS and a small mountain of debt, but I feel like the financial stuff will work itself out.  I still have days where I feel a little funkish, but they are fewer and fewer.

Working for myself and being really the only member of Maggie & Co is a lot of work.  I have a lot of things I want to get done and not enough hours in the day.  I keep making lists and trying to prioritize, but it’s not easy because I get interrupted frequently and these aren’t interruptions I can avoid.

Then I do silly things like plopping in front of the computer and writing a post instead of working.  I worked on some things for a potential small new client that will be a complete waste of my time and I didn’t start on the moneymakers until late in the day.  Plus I didn’t really do any meaningful business development.  This is the kind of shit that gets me into trouble.

I do have a lot of work — good work that makes me money.  But I’m finishing up these projects and it will be time to begin new ones, but I gotta find the new ones first.  I refuse to stress about it.  Yes, I have lots of things to do.  Yes, my time is limited. But, that’s all OK, I’ll get it figured out.

The Hunter’s new company is rolling along and gaining momentum.  He is creating income streams where we didn’t think they would be.  He’s trying out new concepts and he likes some and hates others.  We discuss that it is all a part of prototyping.  He has been making more money this year than he’s made in the past two, so we are excited for him (and it takes some pressure off of me).

I think we are headed out of the woods now and it’s a big relief.  I cannot give myself too much slack on the business development side of things.  I have to create my own opportunities, so I cannot sit on my butt and wait for the phone to ring.  I just need to be strategic about it.

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Photo by Joanna Szumska on Unsplash

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I’m First Runner Up

Today I had my coffee meeting with OppA.  It was laid back at a cool hipster coffee spot.  I was early, she was late.  I got over-caffeinated which is never a good thing, but I reigned in my hyper speed and stayed on task.

It was a good meeting and there is definitely potential, BUT….they are talking to a “Big Team” and it sounds like they are approaching the finish line with them.  They wouldn’t be ready for me until mid-first quarter 2019.  This made to me hesitant for two reasons:

  1. Big Team means more internal competition in the same turf I wanted to stake out.
  2. I’m not going to be winning the Beauty Pageant; I’ll be a Runner-Up or just part of the crowd.

Man, can’t I just have a home run win sometimes?!  Nope, life isn’t that easy.

It’s not all bad.  We mesh.  We have the same values, the same collaborative, consultative approach.  That’s very important.

Two things I thought about as I debriefed with my BFF:

  1. I have a pretty good idea who the “Big Team” is.  If it is who I think it is, they are good guys, but they are sharks.  Meaning that they are constantly and competitively focused.  Not a bad thing, but they will trample you if you get in their way.  Do I fear them?  No.  I do have a healthy respect for them and perhaps there are ways we could work together.  I’ve always liked them.  One is a bit of a frat boy with a potty mouth, uncouth edge but he keeps it seemingly under control for the most part — no rumors about him stepping over the line. He is also pretty damn funny.  His partner is the serious one, but nice.  If it is who I think it is, I’ll write more about them later.
  2. I wonder if the OppA leader can handle having strong, assertive additions to her team.  Right now she is the Queen Bee and is leading this small division, but once you start adding in more senior people, how will she respond?  Does she want to continue to be the Market Leader for all marketing efforts?  Will her ego allow for others to take center stage in the press and the public on occasion?  Her current senior partner is a nice guy and easy to share the limelight with, but how much sharing is she comfortable with?  She worked hard to get this role, so I wonder if she wants all the glory because she “earned” it.

It’s too soon to say.  I asked a couple of questions for which she didn’t have answers.  These were involving some niche lines of business that aren’t handled locally.  The good news is the local office isn’t doing any work in those areas.  It would take a lot of time to ramp it up, but it could be quite lucrative.  She has worked one of those niches in the past and was open to pursuing it again.

The other good news is that she does want someone for an area that the Big Team wouldn’t be focused on.  This is a bit of an issue because I’m not focused on that area either — me and Big Team are stomping around the same water hole right now.  I explained that I could shift, but my current focus and contacts are elsewhere.  Sorry, I had to be honest.  She said she was OK if I was in the same watering hole with the Big Team.

The next step is for me to follow up.  I need to write her a polite, professional thank you email, then I need to contact her adorable Partner (per her request) and chat with him.  If I pass muster locally, then I’ll have some calls with senior leadership back at the Mother Ship.

Pros:  stock options, group health insurance, a nearby office location, ability to focus on those niche lines of business

Cons:  more internal competition than I was expecting, no signing bonus, she will divvy up any inbound leads which means she can keep the good stuff and dole out just the crumbs….

Am I disappointed?  No, I just got a reality check. Now, let me craft a lovely follow up email….

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I’m just one in the crowd, although I don’t have such a sour expression… LOL                            Photo by Flaunter.com on Unsplash

 

Friendship

I am reading MWF Seeking BFF:  My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend.  I have mixed emotions about this book.  On the one hand, it has a lot of great information about making friends and different approaches to take.  Rachel Bertsche is a great writer who combines the science of research with the fun of a witty memoir of her own journey.   On the other hand, it shows me how much my fucked up childhood has impacted my life long term which in turn makes me a bit melancholy.

Before I start my pity party, let me first congratulate myself on recognizing the fucked up aspects of my childhood and refusing to replicate that for my kids.  They grew up in one town, basically one great neighborhood with two parents.  My daughter has an extensive circle of friends from middle school through med school and beyond.  She stays in touch to the best of her ability and that really makes me happy.

My son is a bit of a different story.  He’s a guy, and friendships are different for men.  But he did have continuity and stability plus great team sports throughout his childhood which lead to him rooming with his high school buddies in college.  Mission accomplished.

But this post is about ME!  As I read this book (and I do recommend it), I have moments of sadness and regret.  Regret that I don’t have many close girlfriends from my childhood.  Sadness that I don’t have many close girlfriends now and apparently I haven’t been using the proper methods to attract such.  Sigh.

I get it.  I had a tough marriage that did not lend itself to giving me time of my own.  My Ex hated and actively discouraged me from having friends or “Girls Nights” or anything remotely symbolizing Me Time.  Here’s a classic example of how he would punish me:

When my son was several months old, a GF invited me to go shopping.  We went to a big outlet mall and spent a great afternoon without kids.  I came home at dusk to a home with no lights on and a crying baby.  My husband was lying on our bed with the crying baby.  His explanation was basically it was all my fault for being gone so long.  WTF, can’t you man the ship and give me some time off?  The answer was clearly no.  I was furious.  Furious that he wasn’t caring for our children properly and then guilting me for trying to have some time to myself.

Now this is the man that would come home around 8:00 in the evening after usually having a drink or two with “clients” or his partner.  Now how the heck am I suppose to have friends with an active saboteur in my bed?  The answer:  it was impossible, so I pretty much gave up.  If I could have lunch with my friends during the work week, that was the best I could do.  Anything else was a logistical clusterfuck.

One of the few times I carved out time for myself was when I had a brief affair and then it was only once a week and immediately after work — I said I was working overtime.

Towards the end of our marriage, I met the woman who has become my BFF.  He actively tried to sabotage that.  Interestingly enough, he had met one of her work colleagues and at first was OK with it.  Then the work colleague ended up being a complete bitch to my BFF and of course the Ex agreed.  I’m convinced that work colleague traded sexual favors for his legal expertise….but I digress.

Between a childhood of moving around constantly and an Ex who discouraged any friendships, it’s no wonder I feel like a social pariah at times.  I was thinking about the town I lived in the longest during my childhood and that duration was only 3-1/2 years.  That’s insane.  OK, I know that military families are moving constantly but that’s expected and usually those families actively help their kids address that situation.  There was no reason for my moving except for an impulsive mother and virtually non-existent dad.

Now I have the time and a man that actively encourages me.  I am lacking money for serious friendship cultivation, but I think that’s surmountable.  I have a new goal:  expand my friendship circles by meeting new people and learning how to be a better friends.  Consistency.  Yikes, that nemesis of my character/being.  I need more consistency.  Now, let me go email a couple of women I have been trying to friend.

Oh and go read Rachel’s book.  It’s a good read.

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Why Adam Sandler?

My mind must be really churning these days.  I woke up having had a dream about Adam Sandler.  No, I didn’t fuck him.  I know, now you are not interested, but I blog about my dreams so I have a record of them.  Remember, this is all about me, LOL.

I often dream about celebrities.  I have no idea why, but they always take the same track.  They are a friend that just happens to be a celebrity.  We chat or hang out.  Rod Stewart was a go-to dream buddy for years.  I remember in one dream I was hanging out with him and his wife in Hawaii.  Usually it’s male celebrities.  I don’t hang out with Reese Witherspoon or Nicole Kidman in my dreams. Maybe I should change the channel and try that?

Back to my buddy, Adam.  Once again I am wondering why am I dreaming about him?  It was a rather mundane dream with no excitement, no sex, no huge celebrity wanna be moment.

I do remember that somehow we were in a situation where it was incumbent upon me to speak to him.  I told him that my favorite movie of his was Funny People followed by Spanglish.  He didn’t really say much, but I expressed my admiration about his work without being an obnoxious fan.   Obviously the dream was more about my thoughts than anything he would have to say….

In the morning, I immediately logged onto my go-to dream interpretation website, Dreamscloud.com to figure out WTF is my subconscious telling me.  Here’s what they say:
* May symbolize what the celebrity is famous or known for and how you relate to those abilities.  Hmm, I think I like how he’s been stretching in his acting roles but I also like how natural and relatable he is in his roles.
* May represent the part of you that is like that celebrity or identifies with his/her qualities. I like his vulnerability in those roles and also his “don’t give a fuck” attitude at times.
* May represent your obsession with a certain celebrity that is carrying over into your dreams. Yeah, not happening.  I’m not THAT crazy.
* May suggest a wish fulfillment in that you are wanting what they have. This is an interesting thought.  He’s expanded and grown in his career.  Could that be a clue?  That and the money he has earned…who wouldn’t want that?

There was a part before Adam popped in that I was helping an artsy woman make art using cut-up plastic straws.  I have no idea what all that was about.  I don’t even know who she was. I’m not even crafty or artistic.  Maybe that was about creating and collaborating in a new way?

Anyway, just another record of another interesting dream. I think I’ll ask my subconscious for something sexy tonight to liven things up….

 

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I May Have Choices

Why was I dreaming of weddings?  Because I’m thinking about a new commitment.  I am working on two new job opportunities.  I may have a third in the works, but for now these are the two on my radar.  Granted I have more conversations and negotiations before a decision by all parties will be rendered, but I have two that are occupying my thoughts.

They are the same, but different.  The companies have the resources I need, an office that is close to my home and people that, at first glance, would be a good fit ethically (a big deal for me).

One (let’s call it OppA) requires that I give up one aspect of my business.  This aspect is one that my business coach believes I excel in.  The other (OppB) will not only let me keep that aspect, but will potentially help grow it even more.

Before you say, “Maggie, it’s obvious that OppB should be your first choice”, it’s not that simple.

OppB requires one of the partners to do some significant rainmaking with me to develop the new business.  This partner, who is very well-connected, is also semi-retired.  Is she willing to jump back in?  If she isn’t, then I don’t want to go there. It’s could be that simple.

Also, the managing partner is pretty black & white — he doesn’t see a lot of gray and sometimes I have difficulty with people who strictly follow rules.  I see rules as guidelines and that doesn’t go to well with some.  I’m not saying I would do anything illegal or morally wrong, I just don’t believe certain commitments are necessary in certain circumstances.  I can’t really go into more detail on this one, but he made a comment at lunch that made me flinch because I am guilty of the very thing he was bashing…..

And this guy is very vanilla.  He doesn’t really drink, watches his diet, and is happily married to a college sweetheart.  I like that, but it also contributes to some of his narrow-mindness.  I certainly have broadened my thinking since my divorce, so I tend to think he just hasn’t had some of the life experiences that create more empathy.  He reminds me in some ways of my old boss that I just left.  Very straight and narrow.  My business coach likes him a lot, and that does help because she talks to him regularly and knows how his mind works.

We are scheduled to have lunch with the semi-retired partner probably after Thanksgiving.  That will give me time to check out OppA and see if it is even a viable option.

OppA is an international firm that has a very narrow niche in my profession.  They are very professional and have the reputation of being the absolute best in this niche.  I have to admit, it puts pressure on me to be my very best.  Do I want this pressure?  It depends.

I like the local folks.  I worked with one of them and we sat on a board together.  He is adorable and well-loved by all.  I don’t know the other partner well, but we sat together at a luncheon and gabbed endlessly which lead to this opportunity.  I checked her out with my homies because we worked in different parts of town and never crossed paths.  She is also well-respected.  She’s got a great resume.  Mine isn’t too shabby, but she’s got more awards than me (better PR firm- LOL).

One thing that weighed on my mind with OppA is the question of where my profession is headed due to the major shifts technology is bringing to many.  This OppA has such a niche that the impact would potentially reverberate more with them than others.  How are they planning for it?  I stalked their website and industry articles about them.  They just finished one big change which will help, but what else are they doing?

I called a GF from my days with the big corporate giant.  I’ve been helping her as she launches her own consulting firm.  She’s great and immediately connected me with another corporate giant refugee who now works for OppA.  He’s a heavy-hitter and he immediately took my call to chat about the company.  He’s working with both the local folks, so I know that word may trickle back to them that I’m already doing my due diligence.  That’s fine.  I’ve got nothing to hide.

The other interesting thing about OppA is that they need me.  They need someone with my experience because they have work to be done, but not enough depth to execute it effectively.  It’s 2-3 senior people and several rookies.  Only one of the senior people does specifically what I do, so they do need to shore up their bench.  They lost a senior person over the summer.

Actually the local office underwent a huge upheaval a couple of years ago when the entire local team (except that one senior guy) sold out to a big corporate giant.  The company has been re-building down here ever since.  That happened to OppA several times resulting in a massive restructuring to lessen the brain drain.  I get it.  When folks are approaching retirement, it’s easier to cash out by selling out and putting a few transition years before riding off into the sunset with barrels of cash….

In my world, these big transitions create opportunities for others like me.  Plus OppA will push me to be better.  Be better in business development.  Be better in business execution. Be better in time management.  Be better in mentoring and developing new talent.  Can I handle that pressure?  I like to say yes if the pressure is positive and not a dragon breathing down my neck.  I could have a partnership path.

OppB would also allow for some similar profit-sharing opportunities, but not ownership.  I like the people of OppA better at this time.  I am slightly concerned about the cultural fit of OppB.

This is a big deal because the plan for both would be to secure the position, sign the contracts and make the switch by January 1st.  That’s only seven weeks away folks and with the holidays, time is short.  I don’t need to rush it, but starting 2019 at the new job would be the easiest shift from an accounting standpoint.

Stand by, I meet with OppA late this week and this will tell me if they really want to consider marriage or am I putting the wedding before an actual proposal.

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Which road do I pick?  Photo by Vladislav Babienko on Unsplash

 

Talk about a weird dream — this one is way up there.  I was dreaming this morning and now since some time has lapsed, I am forgetting most of it, but here is the gist of it:  I was sitting in the back of a church? with my Ex as we prepare to get married AGAIN.

We were sitting together and he leaned over to say, “You know this is for the best for everyone.”  I was reluctantly agreeing.  Then it was time for me to put on my wedding dress but when I went to the parking lot, my car was gone.  Stolen.  I was so relieved because obviously I can’t get married without a wedding dress.  Crisis averted.

I had to figure this out, so I went googling around the internet and the answer that most resounded with me was this one:

“If you dream of a wedding dress or wedding ring, you may be evaluating a current relationship and considering the prospect of getting married; you may be considering making a commitment to someone or something.”  This came from DreamCloud.com

What commitment am I contemplating?  That’s my next post….

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Photo by Morgan McDonald on Unsplash

I started the week all gung-ho and happy to have some time to sit back and think.  But there is an inherent problem with sitting back and thinking — the actual output of that sitting and thinking might not be what I intended.  WTF?

I dissected the sources of my business from the past two years of Maggie & Co.  It showed an interesting balance and there weren’t too many surprises.  The one area of my business that I want to increase will be hardest as a solopreneur and it has me thinking that perhaps heading back to an office environment might not be a bad idea.  I dissected that thought last night with my BFF and here were my primary issues:

  • Running Maggie & Co involves some serious overhead.  When you add up my healthcare, car expenses, necessary services and subscriptions, my overhead comes to over $43,000 at a bare bones budget.  That’s a lot of dough for a single-person working from home.  I was spending more but I’ve been slashing costs like a samurai warrior with more to come.
  • Chasing the business that I want requires some infrastructure to make my potential client feel comfortable hiring me.  Having some administrative resources plus a back-up to me makes it easier for a new client to say yes.  There aren’t many clients out there that will agree to taking on a one-woman show.  I have two such brave souls, but we are almost done and I don’t see any significant work coming from them next year.
  • Chasing the aforementioned business is easier if I  have a senior/seasoned manager helping and a network to make the right introductions.  The business opportunities are out there, but the decision makers are not the type to make bold decisions.  They want to make easily defend-able decisions in case things go to shit.
  • I kinda sorta miss the office environment.  There, I said it.  Ms. Independent is a bit lonely.  I keep seeing photos on LinkedIn of some colleagues having team meetings/gatherings/outings and my FOMO kicks up.  I had a meeting at a big co-working office last week and really enjoyed the energy and vibe permeating the place.  My BFF agreed and said it was time for me to stop hiding and crawl out from under my rock.  In my defense, I do spend a lot of time networking and showing up at industry events, so it’s not like I’m a hermit, but I don’t get daily banter.

The other part of my business comes from folks who tend to be quite flaky.  You can’t rely on most.  One day you are the trending topic and the next day they ghost you.  I can spend time and effort on something just to have my part be eliminated.  Yeah, it’s life in the trenches.  After over a decade of this flakiness,  I have grown a skin like a rhino, but even rhinos can get hurt.  The past two years have provided a new, higher level of flaky which has resulted in more than my fair share of letdowns during the past two years.  One of my goals for 2019 is to weed out the flaky ones immediately.  Easier said than done sometimes….

I am having lunch next week with someone who is opening a new office.  He’s merging with a much larger firm and I’m on their radar.  How flattering.  I’ve met him once and my business coach speaks very highly of him.  I would have an office 10 minutes from my house.

I also am planning on having a conversation with a firm that has wanted me for years.  I recently had lunch with one of their senior folks and she likes it there.  I always thought the founders were a bit greedy and I’m not 100% sure how much I would trust them (therefore everything will be in writing).  Having just disparaged them, I also have to say they have always been gracious and generous with me and her experience was quite reassuring.  I have another girlfriend who has been there for years and she’s doing quite well.  She is a tenacious, stubborn bulldog and as she has gotten older, I tend to avoid her due to her inability to listen….  The firm does have a gap that I could easily fill.  The biggest problem is the commute to their office will be a major pain in my ass — it’s really, really far.  Do I have to go all the time?  No, but part of joining a firm was going to an office….

The one thing I’ll have to dance around is what I have to offer to the new firm.  My book of business is pretty shallow right now, so I need to play up my experience and capacity to take on new business.  The rest of the year will be quite interesting…..

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Photo by Pablo García Saldaña on Unsplash

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