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

Archive for October, 2018

Is it Time to Change Directions?

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

Just Keep Swimming

This week is both great and not-so-great.  For the first time in perhaps a couple of months, my calendar is virtually empty.  I have one networking event that I am pairing with a drink with an old work buddy, but otherwise, zilch.

First thing I did was clean up my office.  Tidied up my desk so I can see its surface.  I am writing some stuff both here and for my work blog.  I feel relaxed and happy to have some time to think, but…..

My business coach last week told me the reason I was doing well was that I was taking lots of consistent action.  Those two words:  consistent and action have always been a struggle for me.  Now that I have a lull, I need to double-down on both of those words.

However, even though I need to create actions, it is also time for me to start working on my business plan for 2019.  Yes, I am one of those folks who comes up with goals, writes them down and tracks them (OK, the tracking part is a bit sporadic, but please refer to the consistency issue stated above).  As I prepare for this, I will undergo a review of what sources generate my best clients so I can intensify those efforts and dump the non-productive stuff.  It’s always an interesting exercise.  Random Fate plays a role and she’s always hard to quantify.

One recurring idea that has popped into my head over the past couple of weeks is that I want to launch another business development effort — public speaking.  It’s been on my list for years, but I haven’t tackled it (please refer to the consistency and action issues stated above).

Yes, I am one of those weird people that has little trepidation about standing in front of folks and talking.  I enjoy Toastmasters (and need to return).  My content and themes need some polishing, but I can whip out a perfectly fine 10-15 minute presentation for the masses with little anxiety.  I have come up with target audiences, people to partner with to create a mini-seminar, worked on general content ideas, etc.  The idea is taking shape nicely and will be able to launch easily in 2019 if not sooner.

However, this thought popped into my head.  Why public speaking?  I do great when I engage one-on-one with people, so why am I seemingly avoiding business development opportunities that create those one-on-one opportunities?  I have two in particular that I avoid like the plague because they are too “salesy” for me.  I have never done them enough to say if they work or not for me because they are confrontational and I have never felt comfortable with them.  The comfort situation is my fault because if I would just do them consistency I could at least get to a place of complacent indifference.  Since i don’t do these tasks, it’s hard to quantitatively determine if they work or not for me.  I need to mull that over.

The other thing my coach and I discussed is getting my fees increased.  I’m not making enough per client.  There has to be a decent minimum involved for me to roll out of bed.  This year I grabbed whatever came my way.  I think next year I can be a bit more discerning and that should give me more time to work on business development.  Of course, when you have fewer clients paying more $$, there is always a bit more concern when one goes to shit….

All right, enough procrastinating.  Let me get to work on my stuff that actually makes money and make a list of the crap I can get done this week administratively now that I have some free time.  Finding an accountant is at the top of that list of yucky stuff I need to do….

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Remember Dora in “Finding Nemo”?  Just keep swimming…Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

 

 

She F*#king Hates Me

I was driving back from a great meeting and the above song popped up on the radio.  My mind immediately flashed back to my neighbors from about 15 years ago.  They were the beautiful couple on my street.  Young, handsome DINKS in a neighborhood full of traditional families.  He was hot with a fantastic body-building body and she was a gorgeous, tastefully fake-boob hair stylist.  The perfect couple to envy in the middle of boring suburbia.

My Ex and I finally met them when we decided one night to crash one of their many weekend parties.  We came back from dinner, put the kids to bed and said, “What the hell, let’s go meet the neighbors.”  We did, had a blast and went to a bunch of their parties thereafter.

The husband, let’s call him Tony (I can’t remember his name for the life of me), was really cool.  One of his hobbies was playing the bass guitar.  He would open his garage, have a couple of friends over and they would jam.  Highly entertaining.  I would wander over regularly to watch/listen like the pathetic groupie that I am.  His favorite song was “She Hates Me” and it was prophetic.

After a couple of years, Tony moved out.  I got the dirt from another neighbor.  It appears that Tony was having an affair with another neighbor about 2 blocks away.  It was quite scandalous in our boring upper middle class neighborhood.  I forget how his wife found out.  I think the other woman’s husband told her.

By this time, I was the wife’s customer.  I mean why not?  She was great with hair.  I went in for a haircut and the whole story came tumbling out – probably because I didn’t pry.   Plus we enlightened one another on a couple of things.  For one thing, Tony always claimed they weren’t married.  She confirmed they were – she even had wedding photos.  He was always outside on the phone.  She said because the neighbor was apparently only one of many affairs….  she took him to the cleaners….

Happy ending?  For the now Ex-wife, yes.  She went on to meet a great guy and moved out of this crazy state.  As for Tony?  Well, he had some trouble with the IRS, lost his job and had some kind of car accident.  Karma’s a bitch, isn’t she?

She Hates Me

Met a girl, thought she was grand
Fell in love, found out first hand
Went well for a week or two
Then it all came unglued

In a trap trip I can’t grip
Never thought I’d be the one who’d slip
Then I started to realize
I was living one big lie

She fucking hates me
Trust she fucking hates me
La la la love
I tried too hard and she tore my feelings like I had none
And ripped them away

She was queen for about an hour
After that shit got sour
She took all I ever had
No sign of guilt
No feeling of bad, no

In a trapped trip I can’t grip
Never thought I’d be the one who’d slip
Then I started to realize
I was living one big lie

She fucking hates me
Trust she fucking hates me
La la la love
I tried too hard and she tore my feelings like I had none
And ripped them away

That’s my story, as you see
Learned my lesson and so did she
Now it’s over and I’m glad
’cause I’m a fool for all I’ve said

She fucking hates me
Trust she fucking hates me
La la la love
I tried too hard and she tore my feelings like I had none
And ripped them away

La la la la la la la la la love
Trust la la la la la la la la la love
Trust (la la la la la la la la la love) And she tore my feelings like I had none
(Trust la la la la la la la la la love ) She fucking hates me

Puddle of Mud

Who am I?

Today was funny, I had the accomplishment of pushing another woman into recognizing her own worth.  Even though I don’t know her well — she is a LinkedIn acquaintance who has been calling and texting me lately for some advice — I candidly told her that she needed to stand up and take control.  She was very grateful and I felt like I had my shit together.

Then I had an afternoon call with a frenemy.  I was checking in with him because it’s been awhile since I’ve seen him.  He was back from a very successful business trip.  My green-eyed monster lurked around a bit, but mostly I hung up the phone and thought, “Good for him, but WTF – what is wrong with me?”

My thought process was why wasn’t I doing something similar?  Why are my business development efforts not so bold?  I listened to a woman last week, who I like tremendously and see as a role model.  She’s not much older than me, but what a career!  She has done it all including having kids, taking time for them and still kicking ass and taking name, but on her own terms.  I listened to her story for the first time last week and realized how many similarities we have and  yet she has great success and I’m just showing up.

I’ve been thinking about why that is.  How did I miss the magic train to career stardom?  I know that it’s because of decisions I made early in life and heck, let’s be honest — decisions I have made throughout my life.  I decided that my kids would come first, always.  Couple that with a controlling husband who was always jealous of any success and that put a kaboosh on me doing anything rock star with my career.  Am I making excuses?  Are those my limiting beliefs?  Perhaps, but perhaps that is also my reality.

Am I OK with that?  No.  I want a replay.  Actually I was writing, “I guess” and I realized that fuck no, I want the replay.  I see young women coming up in my profession and I’m jealous of them.  They have their careers ahead of them and they are pushing up the corporate ladder.  I didn’t get that.  People talk about their mentors.  I didn’t have one that helped me.  Seriously — I haven’t had one that truly helped me.  What is wrong with me?  Am I just the norm and everybody else is lying through their teeth or am I the outcast?  Am I really unpopular for reasons unknown to me?  Am I too honest in the corporate world and I should keep my mouth shut more?  Naw, that wouldn’t be any fun.

Last week I spent a morning with a potential new client.  It was our first meeting. She’s in her 20’s.  It didn’t go off well.  She warmed up towards the end, but I knew that she wasn’t comfortable with me because I AM TOO OLD.  WTF — seriously?  You think I’m kidding?  Nope, I got the rejection email this morning.  It’s fine, I understand completely, but geez louise.

What’s funny is I’m OK.  I’m a little concerned about business which of course is why I’m ranting about this stuff, but it’s also Monday and I tend to rant on Mondays.  I’m in a great mood, life is good and I’m busy as can be.  I need to be grateful for what I have.  Yep, that’s my next move:  a nice hot soak in the tub while I think about all the things I’m grateful for.

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Photo by Karla Alexander on Unsplash

 

I’m Alive

I’m Alive
So damn easy to say that life’s so hard
Everybody’s got their share of battle scars
As for me, I’d like to thank my lucky stars
That I’m alive and well
It’d be easy to add up all the pain
And all the dreams you sat and watched go up in flames
Dwell on the wreckage as it smolders in the rain
But not me, I’m alive.
And today, you know, that’s good enough for me
Breathing in and out’s a blessing, can’t you see
Today’s the first day of the rest of my life
And I’m alive and well
Yeah, I’m alive and well.
Stars are dancin’ on the water here tonight
It’s good for the soul and there’s not a soul in sight
This boat…
It’s been awhile since I started with a song lyric.  I heard this today after a lovely lunch with Robin.  We got all caught up on how the other was doing.  We talked about how long it takes to finish grieving for a marriage that has ended, how to be kinder to ourselves as we sort out our money issues and a host of other things women of our age talk about.  It was good.
Then as I got in the car to head to an appointment, the above song came on.  I hit repeat and listened to it again.  I’m not a Whoo Whoo religious person, but I know that the Mother of our Universe sent that song to me.  Thank you.  I needed that today.
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Photo by resa cahya on Unsplash

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