I am going to tell you a
few secrets about me.
Besides the fact
that I suck at
I want to be a business woman with a heart. This is a deliberate choice I make that is counter intuitive to someone whose drive is simply to make dollar signs.
I could be that person too, in business. Put money before relationships and cash before integrity. Truth be told that if I was willing to compromise my integrity just a little, I’d probably be driving the Audi instead of my Hyundai. Instead, I drive my ‘almost new’ Hyundai that we got on a discount because it had higher miles for a two year old car and… there is this mystery smell in the front that they are going to fix by tearing out and replacing the carpets as soon as my permanent plates arrive.
I’ll get a courtesy car for a couple days and chuckle. I bought a smelly semi-new car and saved about $15k off the cost of a 2012 instead of the 2014. I won’t do a car payment more than $350 per month because I have a budget. I still rock my super sexy (albeit slightly stinky) car and feel like I got a great deal.
They should de-stink it next week. Right now it smells fruity because of the tropical scent the well meaning car salesman put in there. It makes me want a pineapple vodka.
No idea why I felt it necessary to share that with you. Sorry. It’s the digression thing.
I know people who over price themselves. They are great at sales and are able to talk themselves into business contracts that are more than the client can afford. I’ve worked with that kind of agency and those types of consultants (they drive Audi’s or BMW’s not stinky Hyundai’s). So for me to critique them would be strange I think. After all, they own a house (I don’t) fancy cars (I don’t) have extensive staff (I don’t) and fancy threads (I don’t .. but have some nice heels).
When they fail to deliver to the expectations they have sold, the client dumps them. Which is also why this type of Marketing Consultant tries to lock them into a contract making it difficult for the client to back out without financial penalties.
1) Client is unhappy.
2) Client feels trapped and lied to.
3) Client develops opinion that all marketing professionals are cash thirsty and full of shit.
Then there are people like me.
I tell my clients that we have a four week contract. They have to give me four weeks notice (I work ahead on posts and blog articles for them so that ensures I am not left high-and-dry if they wish to terminate).
I show my clients monthly what I am doing. How many people did I follow on your networks? How many posts did we do? How many views did we get on your LinkedIn or Facebook? I demonstrate monthly that I am doing my job and educate my clients on how to tell that I am.
Dangerous huh? I believe that informed clients will see more value in my services. It’s a trust thing. And then my pricing I have been told, is about 1/3 what it should be on some of my enterprise accounts, where I am writing my backside off and consulting, doing blogger outreach programs and more.
Wait… what?! There are people out there doing less work than I am and getting paid more? I must clearly suck at business management right?
Except my clients don’t go away. They stay. They get the best of me (to my own detriment) regardless of how much they pay. The flat fee pricing needs some work because it is hard to establish boundaries with that. I’m working on a better contract that will honor both my clients needs, and my own need for balance.
Because I care so much, it’s easy to take advantage of me. That’s always been the case. It makes for good customer service… but also pretty long hours sometimes and that needs fixing.
I’m still learning. But then again, every once in awhile I give a special client $1,500 worth of services for bargain basement pricing. Like a small new client in Dallas that I like. They clean homes with organic cleaners only. A husband and wife team. I respect them and want to help.
I love entrepreneurs and helping them.
The first year in my business I made more than my departing salary at the College of Pharmacists. I considered that a victory (even though I had no benefits or pension).
The second year in my business I am on track to increase that by about 40%. But before I bow, I am still working an average of 70 hours per week on my business. Just like every other small business owner I know. There isn’t enough of me to go around and I truly need a full time assistant to work with, but one is not in the budget. Yet. I’m in the sticky growth stage where it’s still pretty much all me with a little bit of assistance. I outsource about $800 per month.
And I am still learning.
I grew up in a house where my parents worked their 9-5 and never had any real thought about being entrepreneurs. They weren’t risk takers. They wanted to attend a job, do the minimal they needed to keep their job and collect a paycheck.
Punch-clock mentality. And that is fine. Some people find that to be secure and comforting. I miss a steady paycheck and benefits too. But not more than being my own boss, working at home full time and having two dogs nudge my toes and the ability to have supper on the table (sometimes) when he gets home.
The lack of security does scare me. Every… single day. Please don’t call me brave. I’m not.
But I do my laundry on my coffee breaks. I like that. It frees up my weekend time to be with family, in their pool, and playing mermaid barbies with my nieces, or having diving contests with my step-sons and nephews.
I live in a state where the days are long, but I am getting better at managing the gargantuan work load virtually solo. Cool. Crunching that back to a more reasonable 9-5 is going to take some time. I’m not perfect. I haven’t got it all figured out yet.
I’ve never been more tired. I’ve never been more alive, and this soul has never felt better. Audi or not, my heart is blooming cautiously but steadily. That must mean I am getting something right.
PS: I may have danced to this song this morning. Try that in the middle of your office! LOL!