Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Posts tagged ‘copywriting’

Giving Ourselves Credit for Jobs Well Done

Re-defining Work in the Context of Our Entrepreneurial Jobs

In the last few years, my perception of work has changed dramatically. As an entrepreneur, we often work more hours than we would for a steady paycheck, yet often we don’t see it as working at all. There are days I’ll look back over what I’ve accomplished and tell myself Look, you actually worked 6 hours today! In reality, I may have worked far more, but don’t take into consideration things like social media self-promotion, or making connections as part of that work.

Blog posts are another matter, especially with my aggressive posting schedule. I count the time I spend creating and formatting posts as work hours these days. But what about coaching sessions, or my morning pages where so many of my blog ideas arise? I don’t even count that as part of starting my day. In fact, I’ll often tell myself now that my morning pages are done, I can start my day.

It seems I put morning pages into the same category as sleeping. But as a writer, sitting down to write really is starting my day, isn’t it? It doesn’t really matter if it’s a blog post, an article for a client, a writing prompt, or my morning pages. Writing is writing.

Where Are You Failing to Give Yourself Credit?

How many other entrepreneurs sell themselves short when it comes to acknowledging the time they spend building and maintaining their business? How many of the necessary tasks they do are relegated to that time known as “before I start my day”.

We tend to ignore the fact that running a business involves a thousand little details we don’t think about. We just do them.

  • Organizing our work load
  • Planning out our week
  • Accumulating necessary supplies
  • Making phone calls to gather information
  • Research
  • Bookkeeping
  • Coaching sessions
  • Maintaining our scheduling system, be it manual, Trello, or some other mechanized format
  • Promotion
  • Learning new skills
  • Keeping up with changes in our market

The list goes on, but all of these are necessary parts of building and maintaining our business, yet all too often, we don’t give ourselves the credit we deserve for making them all happen, and run seamlessly.

Recognizing How Much We’ve Accomplished

I’m often guilty of selling myself short, much to my coach, Linda Clay’s amusement. My latest was realizing I could answer ads on FlexJobs calling for 2-3 years of copywriting experience. Haven’t I been running my own blog and website for nearly 10 years? Haven’t I written articles for other people for at least 3-4 years now? So what if they were ghostwritten and I can’t legitimately claim authorship? I’ve done the writing, so I can claim the experience.

I know I’m not alone in overlooking the experience I’ve gained and the hours I’ve put in. We all have skills and talents we dismiss as unimportant or not valuable. Stay-at-home moms are probably the worst offenders.

Stay-At-Home Moms Have Serious Skills

Many of us know what it takes to maintain a household, take care of kids, and work a full-time job. But what about when you’re home with those kids 24/7? A full-time job gives us a break and allows us to justify a certain amount of slippage in our housewifely duties. A stay-at-home mom gets no breaks, no sick time, no vacation, and no excuses. If it doesn’t get done, it’s on her.

Whether it’s keeping track of the kids’ schedules and getting them to school, lessons, practices, and appointments on time, or keeping the weekly grocery bill within budget. It’s all on her. If something doesn’t get done, it stares her in the face like a gloating gremlin who thrives on her inadequacies. She goes to sleep at night with endless lists running through her brain, and wakes to those same lists, distorted and out of control.

She takes chaos and turns it into order while doing another load of laundry, cleaning up breakfast dishes, and packing her brood off to school. And let’s not even talk about school vacations.

Dividing Our Time Between Jobs

So when I think about doing the mom thing alone since my girls were four, working full-time, and running a part-time accounting business, I finally realize how many balls I kept in the air, and never gave myself credit for. It became such an ingrained habit, I do it still today.

The only kids still at home may be furry, but they require my attention too, even if it’s only feeding and cleaning up after them. When one is ill, I have to take extra time out of my day to administer medications, take them to vet appointments, pick up meds, and in some cases, coax them to eat. Like children, they also require attention, and if I don’t take a break during my work day to do so, they let me know in no uncertain terms it’s time to stop and focus on them. It’s really no different than trying to work with the sound of arguments which need breaking up, or an endless stream of “mom…mommy…MOM’s” interrupting my train of thought. It’s still kids who need my attention as much as my business does.

Needless to say, it’s a juggling act every day, no matter what we call our job. For most of us, the word is probably plural anyway.

Is it Work, or What?

I’ve gotten so bad about recognizing tasks as work-related I’ll actually tell myself it’s time to act like a real business-person, and work at least 8 hours a day. Even if writing isn’t like the drudgery of working for someone else, it’s still work for me. I have tasks I must complete to help promote my business, even if it’s only adding content to my own sites.

When did I get it into my head it’s only work if I hate doing it? When did business have to be a drudgery? And why would I decide to go into business for myself if that’s how I saw it?

Despite the struggles and disappointments of the last 5 years; despite the many things I’ve tried which haven’t yielded the expected results, my stress levels have dropped significantly since I left Corporate America. I suspect the same is true for most others who’ve done the same.

Living the Entrepreneurial Life

Sure, we work more hours than we did when we worked for someone else. Certainly, we take less time off, and typically work at least one day of the weekend. Yet we tell ourselves too often we’re not working enough.

How do we measure enough though? Is it dollars? Sales? Customers? Blog hits? Productivity? In a service-based business, the metrics aren’t as cut-and-dried as a product-based business, but either way, we discount so many tasks as non-work-related, when they really are.

When we’re at a social event and someone asks what we do, don’t we spend a little time talking about our business? We’re not trying to sell something, per se (or at least those of us who don’t like to be pushy about it aren’t), we’re answering the typical questions.

What do you do?

What do you write about?

Have you been published?

Do you have a website?

Promotion as Natural Social Behavior

And so on. In effect, we promote ourselves without reservation, because it’s general conversation. As someone who is self-employed, I find I naturally get more questions about what I do than someone who works for a bank or an engineering company. People are curious and frankly, I love talking about writing to a willing audience. Again, if I were working for someone else, I’d consider myself on the clock during these conversations. As an entrepreneur, I don’t.

The same is true of interactions on social media. Every time I post a tip, or get into a conversation with someone about something they wrote, or re-post one of my blogs, it’s adding value to my business.

It’s time we gave ourselves the credit we deserve, even if our sales numbers have yet to reflect our efforts. You can’t build a skyscraper without laying a firm foundation.

My Grateful Heart

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for recent epiphanies which build up my sense of self-worth.
  2. I am grateful for friends who are willing to share their stories with me.
  3. I am grateful for the kicks in the butt which are starting to make me see my own value, and the value of the tasks I perform.
  4. I am grateful for every minute more I get with my sweet girl, Munchkin. I know her days are numbered (barring a Christmas Miracle), and treasure the love she gives me now, and has given me for more than 12 years.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, love, joy, connection, inspiration, motivation, sharing, dancing, community, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward.

January 9, 2015 Admitting Failure and Making it Work for Me

Yesterday, I made a decision with far-reaching implications, and today, I worked it through.

Last year, I purchased the Accelerated Copywriting course from AWAI. Over the last several months, I’ve done my darndest to work through it, but it was in fits and starts at best, and by July, I was really struggling to keep going. I kept promising myself I’d get it done and had it on my To Do list where the row for time spent was more often than not blank.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve done a lot of soul searching, exploring the real reasons I’d purchased the course, and reached a couple of conclusions which should have been obvious all along.
1. I started the class with the sole purpose of finding a source of income while I worked on becoming a real writer.
2. The course was hindering my writing by taking up time while I both fretted over it and tried to make it work.

Admitting these things to myself was painful, as most brutally honest admissions are. They led me to admit a certain amount of failure, but also allowed me to let go of something which wasn’t working. Thankfully, AWAI has a money back guarantee and were very nice about refunding my fee.

It is always humbling to admit that a decision you made with the best of intentions was not the best of decisions for you.

Once I realized that I’d registered for the course for all of the wrong reasons, it was easier to make the decision to give up on it, despite the awful feeling of failure I am experiencing. I put that energy to good use, however, as the day started off in direct opposition to my plans anyway (a rather common occurrence lately). I thought I’d do some organizing and went searching for notebook dividers I was sure I had. In the process, I cleaned out a bin of office supplies, then moved on to the last, and worst of my desk drawers. This one is used for files and had an accumulation of stuff in it that was beyond anything I remembered.

Not only did I clear out decades of those odd things we save, then wonder why, I found an old letter which I thought I’d tossed years ago. It was written by a cousin who gave me a lot of information about the brother we never knew my grandfather had as well as sisters and cousins. As a friend had been helping me with my family’s rather twisty-turny genealogy, this letter was an incredible wealth of information to help us in our search. I was also able to finally fix the rack which holds the file folders so the drawer will be far more manageable now, and will allow me to clear some of the accumulation on top of the desk too.  Sadly, those dividers never turned up, but the fruitless search had very fruitful results.

Sometimes, all we need is a good clearing

As I travel along life’s unpredictable highway, I have learned that there come many opportunities in our lives to clear things out so we can start fresh (and here is where my friend, The Tower, often makes its appearance). Often, though, it isn’t the clearing out which is difficult, but the admissions and decisions leading up to that clearing which turn us inside out. I think, in its own way, the decision to stop doing something is just as much of a leap of faith as a decision to start doing something. Either way, you’re changing direction, though perhaps in a smaller way.

One thing is certain tonight. I am feeling considerably lighter of heart and clutter. These can only bode well as I slip into this second week of the New Year, full of new dreams and goals. Removing things from my life which weren’t working will make space for those which are already there and anything new which might have been waiting in the wings until I stopped trying to force my hexagonal self into a round hole.

So ends the lethargy and “stuckness” I’ve felt for the last few days and as far as I’m concerned, good riddance! Now I can take that spaghetti squash and kale I got in my Harvest Box this week along with some lovely fresh basil and make turkey spaghetti sauce to eat over the squash. Maybe even a little steamed brocciflower on the side.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for life’s leaps of faith, both large and small.
2. I am grateful for the things I found while reducing my clutter some more.
3. I am grateful for the turkey/kale spaghetti sauce which is simmering on my stove and the spaghetti squash which is just waiting for me to separate meat from rind.
4. I am grateful for the support of my friends, even if I don’t always express that appreciation properly.
5. I am grateful for abundance; space, time, friends, love, compassion, encouragement, joy, peace, harmony, cooperation, health and prosperity.

Blessed Be

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