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

Archive for the ‘money’ Category

Moving Forward

Game on — I am working on the job search and taking steps every day.  The recruiter job is not an option — they want someone with a background slightly different than mine.  I sent a Hail Mary email about transferable skills and diversity of thought, but I’m pretty sure it fell upon deaf ears.  I have applied for another job in a big bureaucracy — my skills are ideal for it, but I don’t have any inside advocates for it.  That will be a problem, but I’m thinking about who I can enlist to advocate for me.  I’m also in the process of scheduling an informational interview with a former colleague who has gone on to fame and riches.  He is a generous man and immediately agreed to a meeting….now getting on his calendar is another challenge.

With small, but action-oriented steps, I am making progress.  I got Robin an interview that went really well and they asked her to shadow a key employee — the very employee who got her the interview at my bequest.  My fingers are crossed for her because she is financially struggling so much and a stable job with health insurance is a dream come true for her.  Regardless of this job, I am going to talk to Robin about ratcheting back on some of my monthly overhead expenses for her.  I think she’ll be fine with it, but I don’t want her to feel like I’m firing her.

The other big relief is my son going to Asia for a year.  By postponing grad school for a year, I’ll be freed from paying his monthly stipend, health insurance, cell phone and the like.  Perfect timing.

The Hunter and I have begun the house-rental hunting process and this time we are discussing each and every move.  We are consciously talking about what each of us wants in a neighborhood and a home.  We talk about the Kracken and how he impacts our decision-making.  My Shitz Tzu passed away this week.  I’ll write about that because it’s a sensitive topic for me and brought up some interesting emotions.  We have a garage sale coming up and I have to get my shit together both literally so we have stuff to sell and figuratively with putting out internet ads and the like, trying to get some neighbors to join in, etc.

Busy, busy, busy and, and there is Maggie & Co, still churning along with a trickle of a pipeline.  I had an idea this week about a current client that could land an unexpected windfall. We are having lunch this week, so I’ll explore it with them.  The windfall would buy me the time needed for the job search.

I need to sit down and do the numbers, but my fingers and toes are showing me that by getting a “real” job, I could reduce my overhead dramatically because I would no longer have the Maggie & Co expenses.  The number was surprisingly big which is great because it will give me a lot of salary flexibility.  Anyway, I am chugging along…..more thoughts to come.

ACT

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I Better Not Say This

I got an email from a colleague.  She is the one who sent me the shitty client that made me realize that I need to change my work life dramatically.  Perhaps when I safely land, I should thank her. Anyway, her world is turning upside down as her biggest client moves to another provider and she is now adrift in the world of freelancing.  I wrote her the following and then realized it was too much to send to her, so I’m putting it here so I don’t forget these words of advice and I can remember my mindset these days:

 I was thinking about you and this email this weekend. You and I are in a tough spot – this entrepreneurial gig isn’t an easy one. I have to confess that I have been re-thinking it and Robin & I have had a series of heart-2-hearts about where this is all going. Part of me is realizing that the age of the internet could be making our business model dinosaurs when it comes to small to medium size businesses. I hate to sound all doom & gloom, but I see issues with:
• technology providing enough information that clients don’t need us
• gender issues so it’s harder to be picked over men (it’s true, let’s just admit it)
• relationships always trump expertise
• income instability leads to saying yes to things that you should say no to

I don’t say all of this to be Debbie Downer on a Monday, but to let you in on some of the insights I have been realizing over the past couple of months.  I decided to hunker down and go back to the things that I know best and focus only on those. I have got my LinkedIn profile open to inquiries from recruiters. I am thinking about how my skill set translates to jobs outside of our industry and how to explore those options. Suffice it to say, something needs to change for me…

I am running across a number of women in our situation – middle-aged, very smart, quite accomplished and under- or un-employed. How the heck does that happen? Why are we somehow struggling now? When we sit and talk, it’s about a work environment that is changing at a rapid pace. Look at your situation for example. Another example is a high-level sales exec I met last week and she has been with 3 start-ups that have all gone bust. The last one went bust when she made a $14 MILLION sale and they said, “Ummm, we can’t fulfill that order, so um, you won’t get your mid-5-figure commission and we are closing shop”. WTF? Now she has no income, no health insurance and is on the street because SHE DID HER JOB TOO WELL. I have another friend who was hired by a competitor out of a toxic work environment. She was willing to bust her butt for the new company for saving her and taking on her legal issues with the former employer. They wanted her accounts, not her.  They settled the legal issue by giving up too much and now she has discovered a whole trail of gender discrimination and bias issues after a couple of years of frustration. I can go on and on, but you see where I am going with this.

My advice is to figure out how to keep your freelance gig going as a side hustle while you find something stable. You may need to look at the big firms because what you’ll trade in income will be compensated by stability. These days, I’ll take stable income over a bigger paycheck. If I had a more robust pipeline, maybe I would be singing a different tune, but I’ve been on this roller coaster for over 15 years and I have just about had enough.

Well, enough Debbie Downer and Pragmatic Patty  for one post.  On the good news:  my son is headed to Asia for a year.  He was accepted to a fabulous teaching program which means he will be deferring his exceptional graduate study program for a year.  My son — the stealth achiever.  I’m very proud of him.

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Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Monday is not a Fun Day

Do you ever feel overwhelmed? I have been feeling that lately. I am sitting at my desk trying to figure out how to eat an elephant and quickly. What should I be doing? What is the most productive use of my time? Why do I feel like I’m simply banging my head against the wall of business development?

I’m busy, thankfully, but these are quick projects that will soon be over. Now is the time I need to double down and focus on finding my next paycheck. Lately I have been having doubts. Should I keep doing this? Should I just fold up Maggie & Co to join a big corporation for the steady paycheck? Am I even employable? My work is hard. I fight for the business, then I fight to execute the business, then I fight (sometimes) to get paid. That’s a whole lot of fighting for someone who is a lover, not a fighter.

I have not been helping myself any because I continue my quest for the Holy Grail of business development. I am not doing myself any favors in this crusade because all I am finding is that old saying, “Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one”. Everybody has their method (often with a price tag attached).

One thing I know for sure – I need to be in front of people. I made the mistake of taking a cool frenemy to some networking events with me. I adore her – she’s fun and a really good friend, BUT…. bringing her means I have brought my competition with me. I had the rude double slap in the face last week of someone that I have been trying to meet being at the event. I knew his company and details of some changes that means he needs my services. I had been trying to reach him (OK, not stalking, but I had reached out several different ways to no avail at this point). Not only had he selected someone 3 weeks ago from a referral source, BUT, then he turns to my GF and says, “too bad because I would love to work with you”. HELLO – I AM STANDING RIGHT HERE AND I’M THE ONE TRYING TO MEET YOU. Ugh. I went back to the bar.

It’s those types of rejections that beat me down. Look, I understand that I have a niche profession. I understand that not everybody needs my services now or sometimes ever. That’s fine. I get it. But when I have a fish swimming around in front of me, I really want it to grab MY damn bait not someone who doesn’t even have bait in the water!!

Back to work….20 more outreaches and I can end this day’s painful business development efforts. I have to be more optimistic and positive—BLEH. That reminds me of the story about the two little boys being tested on their optimism. One little boy was put into a room full of new toys to play with – he sat and cried, refusing to touch any of the toys. He was too afraid he was going to break them. The other little boy was put in a room full of horse poop. When they checked on him, he happily was shoveling it around. They asked him what he was doing, and he replied, “With all this poop in here, there is bound to be a pony somewhere under it all.” I need to be that boy and go find my pony. Giddy-up!

What’s in Store for 2018?

This is the time of year that I spend a lot of time thinking and planning for my business.  I’ve been working with my coach, reading some books, listening to speakers and really trying to figure out the secret sauce of success.  One book that I strongly recommend is Finish- Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff.  He takes the premise that the obstacle to not meeting goals isn’t laziness but perfectionism.  My copy of the book is almost entirely highlighted.  He’s witty and funny writer, so it’s an easy read.  It’s probably the best self-help book I read in 2018.

The Hunter was gone last week hunting and he asked me how we were doing.  I realized that when I am distracted and anxious about work,  it translates to aloof and distant in our relationship.  I need to work on that.  I have moments right now of being happily optimistic about 2018 and completely terrified because once again I am facing an empty bank account in about 3-4 months.  I’ll have to tap into my 401k again and that’s no fun.

My pipeline for 2018 is a small dribble of non-committal clients and one difficult project.  I know what I need to achieve and I am hoping that my roadmap is accurate.  I have an interesting predicament that I have been discussing with my biz coach.  My target audience now includes millennials and young GenXers — that’s fine because I get along well with them.  The problem is the old methods of business development don’t work with them.  That’s part of my secret sauce quandary.  I am slowly figuring out that answer and have some solutions that I’ll be trying in 2018, but the best solutions involve a lot of time and some $$$ and both of those resources are limited for experimentation.  But hey, you have to spend $$ to make $$$.

 

Just Keep Breathing

Today isn’t a good day.  Actually the whole week hasn’t been a good one.  Anxiety is overtaking me this week.  Although I’m taking positive business development steps, these steps take time and I feel like I don’t have more time.  Anxiety has been running through me constantly.  I’m worried, frazzled and then to make things even that much worse — I’m not working.  Yes, I have made it to all my networking events and was charming and nice.  Yes, I answered all phone calls and didn’t send them to voice mail.  Yes, I answered a few emails, but I haven’t done the work.  I haven’t made the calls.  I haven’t sent out this week’s introductory emails, snail mail, post cards, etc. that are essential for my survival.

The Hunter just left for a 10-day hunting trip.  I think it’s a good idea that he’s not here.  Let me embrace my panic and react to it with strong action steps.  Let me control my schedule and not be at anyone’s beck and call but my own.  Let me work as hard and as much as I can so I can reset my activity level.  Let me take some Me Time and sit on the beach to think about where my life is and where I am going.

I think what set off my anxiety is a frienemy who just published a book.  I started my company a couple of months before him and we talked about his pending company launch.  His launch went much better than mine.  He kept several good clients.  He has a free office if he wants it.  He just wrote a fucking book, has it on Amazon and even produced a cool video trailer (using some stock footage, but production quality is excellent) and he’s doing podcasts and small videos regularly.  WTF — it makes me feel like a slacker.  It doesn’t help that the Hunter is connected to him on LinkedIn and sees the guy’s constant stream of contents.  It doesn’t help when the guy tells me he has 4,000+ LinkedIn connections.  It doesn’t help when the guy tells me that he has made some good connections through all of this.  It doesn’t help that we DIRECTLY compete.

I feel like I’m making excuses or downplaying the guy’s accomplishments when I say, “the podcast lost me in the 4th minute”.  Robin agreed, but still.  I also have my own point of view about social media marketing in my profession.  I do it, but I haven’t done the podcasts or videos. That’s something I aspire to, so this guy’s actual execution makes me feel like a slacker. I send out regular helpful content to potential clients and clients alike, so it’s not like I’m doing nothing.  I haven’t bought the book, but my GF said he got a ghostwriter — so what, the dude WROTE A BOOK.  He’s getting activity and people are reaching out to him through LinkedIn.  I’m not getting that type of response.  The Hunter teases me and tells me to step up my game.  At first I laughed.  Now it stings a bit.

I am not living the life I dreamed of when I first left my Ex.  I am taking steps to correct my financial course, but they aren’t bearing fruit as quickly as I want or need them too.  I feel a bit disconnected from my business community and although I am going to networking events, I’m not meeting the big fish.  I’m only catching guppies.  I realize that big fish require patience, persistence, timing and the right bait.  I know that intellectually but try telling that to my lizard brain at 3:00 am.  I am in a business of high rejection and I guess that this week it is getting to me.  I know the size fish I need to catch.  I know exactly how many fish I need to catch in order to survive and thrive.  Now I just have to remember what my coach tells me, “Action, action and more action.”

As the Hunter was preparing to leave this morning, I told him that I was anxious.  He has seen this before so I know that he was thanking his lucky stars that he was headed out of town as I enter a full blown mental state.  I told him that I realize that I’m running a marathon and I’ve hit that halfway point when everyone wants to give up, but I just have to keep running.  I know all of this, but it still doesn’t keep the knot in my stomach at bay.

I have to go.  I have yet another networking event but the good news is I am following it with Happy Hour with my girlfriends.   I have more of the same tomorrow — a lunch with peers and then another Happy Hour with my BFF.  Perhaps being around my friends will help.  At least it will keep me out of my head for a few hours.

I Definitely Need a Break

Last night I couldn’t sleep. I needed to sleep because I was up before dawn to catch my flight.  I laid in bed listening to the Hunter’s deep, relaxed breathing.  He was sleeping that great rest that comes from a day of hard, honest work.

I, on the otherhand, laid in bed with my eyes wide open in the dark. I thought about my taxes – they aren’t done.  Not only do I need to do them, but I have to come up with the $$ to pay my awesome accountant AND to pay the taxman.  He cometh whether I’m ready or not.  My plans to tuck money aside fell by the wayside as I scramble to pay my day-2-day expenses.  Then my anxiety creept to other money issues, my need to push business development and thoughts of success versus failure. Then I got anxious about getting from the airport to Taz’s apartment.  That’s when I thought, “WTF, I love to travel and that should be a cinch”.  Then I realized that my anxiety may be more of a problem than I thought.

I need to do some research and reading on anxiety.  

I have been thinking about success and failure quite a bit lately.  I run amongst a crowd of very successful people.  They have multiple investments/side hustles that generate additional income.  Multiple homes, expensive cars, amazing trips — all the trappings of success.  I live in a house I rent and dislike, have no savings to think of and a modest 6-figure retirement fund as my major asset.  My dad and stepmother are very comfortable, her sisters all have comfortable retirements,  but somehow I feel like I fucked up.  Like I missed opportunities, never realized my potential during the critical years.  

I was always an underachiever in school.  I made A’s and B’s with little effort throughout school.  When I hit college, I realized I never learned the art of studying, but I cruised through college in liberal arts and graduated with little drama.  

I read books on what makes people successful.  It’s structure and self-discipline.  I have officed next to highly successful people and watched them first-hand.  They are structured, delegate, network unbelievably, perhaps a bit more ruthless than me, but not that much smarter.  They are selfish with their time and don’t waste it. I don’t do that.  

I am thinking perhaps a business loan will give me sone breathing room.  I have no idea if I can even get one since I have no assets to secure it.  My Ex had Lines of Credit for his law firm.  I just know that this aniexty will be the death of me.  I cannot let it get the better of me.  It can hurt me in so many ways: physically, emotionally, my relationships with others, the list is endless

But this weekend is all about my mental health. I wrote the above on the plane.  Then I successfully and effortlessly navigated the airport, train & Lyft to Taz’s apartment.  I strolled through a lovely park, chatted with the Hunter while watching dogs frolic and then grabbed a sandwich & chilled on the rooftop terrace of Taz’s building.  I’m relaxed.  Now pour me a delicious adult beverage.

Stinkin’ Thinkin’

I talked to Robin, my colleague, today and she said what I have been thinking all week. September is gone — a complete waste.  Between Labor Day, 2 weeks of Irmageddon and my pending vacation, the month is over.  It has created quite a bit of anxiety for me and a bunch of negative thoughts.  I have to get my taxes done and money brings up a tsunami of anxiety for me.  I just have to remember to take small bites of the elephant.  The Hurricane has given me an extension, but I probably will still have to pay taxes and I have no idea how I am going to handle that.  I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

I am taking steps to alleviate the anxiety.

  • Retail therapy:  I went clothes shopping yesterday and spent $$ I really don’t have on clothes and shoes that really made me happy.  This isn’t always the best solution, but I felt great afterwards and still felt good about it today as I sorted my new stuff to decide what to take on my trip tomorrow.
  • Book Club:  the ladies decided last minute that they would descend upon me since it was my turn to host the monthly meeting.  I had less than 24 hours to prepare and when you add in my 4 hours of retail therapy, I was under the gun to have a quasi-clean house, food and wine.  I pulled it off and ended up enjoying the evening.  I was a bit frazzled at the beginning, but with a glass of wine and interesting conversation, I calmed down quickly.
  • Planning:  I spent a lot of time contacting old, new and current clients to see if they needed any help after the storm.  I fixed by CRM to move all my tasks to new dates so that I don’t have to see all the Overdue ones.  I’ve been thinking about the steps I need to take for the remaining three months of 2017 to insure that 2018 will be extremely successful.

I need to get myself on some strong routines.  Routines are one of the things that separate extremely successful people from the rest of the pack.  I need to focus on self-discipline.  Once again, a trait of very successful people.  And patience.  That important quality that is in such short supply with me.  That and money.  Money is in short supply, so I better get back to work and hustle up some new clients.  Sigh.

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