Working for Free (Seth Godin)

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Watercolor with August Wren (Creativebug.com)

…and now, for the continuation of my notes on Seth Godin’s Akimbo podcast on Freelancing:

The world will ask you to do work for free and promise that if this is good, then maybe they will buy it.

Seth’s recommendation – “That thing you do…that you sell…you should sell it. You should find something else to do for free. Something you do to have people see you and understand you.” For example, Seth gets paid to fly to places and speak. But his blog is free. His speeches are expensive.

Differentiate what is free.

People will walk away. People will leave. But you’re work is so good, people will miss it. There will ALWAYS be people who will give away what you’re selling for free. Always. Your job, then: Build practices and skills that no one can give away for free because you are a category of one. Be comfortable advocating for yourself.

You’re the sales rep.

How does a freelancer get more? How to turn this into a career?

The alternative SEEMS to be that you have to work harder and longer hours.

Or, you need to hire people in order to get bigger.

The THIRD path (and Seth’s recommendation): Get better clients. Clients who trust you and want better…why pay better. What will happen? Word will spread and you’ll get better. Good clients lead to better clients who lead to the best clients.

It’s Them, Not You

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I laugh a lot all day while I work.

Kids say the funniest things. There are entire shows and books about the humor of children. As a teacher, I also get a lot of hugs. AND, I really like the other teachers, my co-workers. We laugh a lot together. This job is pretty awesome.

Many years ago, I had a position in a money management firm where the “COO” (Chief Operating Officer, or soft murmuring sound made by a pigeon – (you choose)) walked briskly from his office to my cubicle and told me, “You are laughing too much and too loudly.” And then he stomped back to his office with a grand view of the San Francisco Bay. He made a lot of money. He died a couple years ago. I hope he laughed before he went.

I’ve held other jobs where I didn’t laugh all day. Isn’t that sad? I mean, it would have been inappropriate – unprofessional – to do so. The guys in suits, taking themselves so seriously and looking down at you for being….happy you.

You know what? It’s them, not you. You’re not too loud, or too happy. You’re not unprofessional (unless you’re taking lots of cigarette breaks, or calling in sick all the time, or just not doing your job). You are fine just the way you are. If your boss doesn’t like you, or if you’re unhappy,  you might consider changing your job.

Just sayin’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Investments

“An act of devoting time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result.” Dictionary.com

 

We don’t hesitate to put a portion of our income into investment vehicles because we have faith that making the sacrifice will pay off in the future.

We don’t hesitate to enroll our children in music or sports because we know that the payoff will be great.

We don’t hesitate to support our spouses by cooking healthy meals, lending an ear and giving words of encouragement.

But…

When it comes to paying tuition, taking the courses for a degree or going for that dream job, mothers tend to look at the cost to the family and consider it too “expensive.” They say, “Not now, it’s not the right time.”  Moms often don’t look at it as investment for the self.

I was talking to a good friend of mine who told me about her “dream job.” This job is just one rung away. She’s hard-working, super smart and talented. She just needs to take a test and pass it. Taking the test costs a fee. “Well, I think I should wait until the job becomes vacant. Then I’ll take the test. I don’t know that it’s a wise use of money right now.”

What?

Have you ever heard a man say that?

Invest in yourself. It’s not selfish. It’s your obligation.

 

Letter to the Doctor

Dear Friends and Family,

I just wanted to share a letter I sent to my first oncology surgeon with you. The most empowering, important lesson I have learned on this journey thus far is to take control of your medical records and your health! As most of you know, I was given my diagnosis in a very cold manner: “You have Stage I breast cancer.” That was it. He immediately recommended a mastectomy with reconstruction. I wrote him a letter weeks later, because that day will forever haunt me. Not simply because of the content of the news, but especially due to the delivery. Here is my letter:

Dear Dr. ________:

Although I am sure you have to impart bad news of cancer to many people in your week, each person you inform is hearing it for the first time (unless it’s a recurrence, which I’m sure does not make it easier). You are telling people (as a medical professional) their chances of survival. I want to help you be better at this. When you deliver the news, it is good to be factual, which you were. However, it would not hurt to be sensitive: offer tissues immediately as tears are sprung and look the patient in the eye during the conversation, not her partner.  I left your office feeling as if I was handed a death sentence.

I received a second opinion from another surgeon this week. His approach was different, although the end data was the same. He went over my pathology report line by line (it’s six pages)! He made sure I knew what “in situ” and “invasive” meant. He stressed the very good fortune that I discovered this as early as I did and told me I have time to make an informed decision. He did not press the surgery option at all. He gave me several choices: chemo, radiation, and surgery. He did tell me I need to do something: I cannot and should not let it be.  I felt empowered and hopeful when I left his office. Do not get me wrong, I know I face some serious hurdles in my future.

You strike me as a competent surgeon. However, I do not feel comfortable with you. There is absolutely no lightheartedness, no warmth or levity in our dialogue. I am blessed with an incredibly strong network of support and love within my family and friends. I am seeking the same in my medical team.

My best to you,

Caroline Chung-Wipff