Be Thankful, Damnit!

Gobble. Gobble.

In healthier economic times

I recall one Thanksgiving when I was in college when I was sitting at the older sister’s house in the dining room and we went around the turkey table detailing one thing we were thankful for. I haven’t been too faithful to this tradition (call it lack of discipline), but it doesn’t mean I don’t give thought to the things that make me all warm and fuzzy inside at least once a year. This year I’ve decided to take inventory online.

Drum roll please…

  • Blogging – When done right it can be a  constructive means of collecting thoughts, innovating, and bonding with other like-minded folk. And as a networking tool for the “brand of you,” pretty fab.
  • Twitter – So I wasn’t an early adopter and it took a while to get with the program, but I slowly understood the power of Twitter as a promotional vehicle. Not to mention apps like TweetDeck and HelloTxt that make it so easy to aggregate and align all my status updates across Facebook, LinkedIn, and any other network I decide I “need” to join. Besides, how can you not love an app that connects people by way of their shared minute-to-minute compulsive twittering AND takes allows us a vital distraction in our mundane lives?
  • Wading in the Calm – As impatient as we are with life, especially in such a fast-paced high tech world where we’ve come to expect on-demand 24-7, digging a little deeper sometimes can prove fruitful. This can happen when we get laid off a job, suffer a major personal setback, or just feel down in the dumps, often as a result of the former and latter. It’s also consolation to know professional and personal contacts don’t need to be compartmentalized as far as job networking and emotional healing go. They can be one and the same.
  • Digging Football – I squirm. I become irate. I scream expletives. Apart from blogging, watching NFL is my outlet for aggression. Moreover, it also makes me a believer. With the exception of my husband, there aren’t too many things that do that for me.

If I’m So Tough Why Can’t I Speak Money?

Me talk money one day

Me talk money one day

I pride myself on being direct and being experienced enough as a freelancer to know better. So why do I find it so difficult to bring up the dreaded topic of money and billing rates especially when I’ve already submitted a proposal to a client and go the extra step of doing initial exploratory work free-of-charge?

This particular instance which I’ve described above recently happened to me.

I felt even more worthless when I got off the phone with said client and realized I was so busy trying to sell myself that I’d forgotten to bring up my rates. In all honestly, my proposal outlined my hourly billing rates and he had skimmed it and given his initial “ok” but we’d never had a conversation specifically related to how much he was planning on paying me.

Ambiguity doesn’t sit well with me and in business, it’s the kiss of death. I realize that if I can’t have such a conversation with my potential client it might not bode well for our relationship longevity, but I opt not to think so deeply on this one. I don’t think it’s such a simple cause-and-effect.

I choose to think that much like I don’t like having to tell my boss I’m taking a vacation and might conveniently forget to mention it a few times before I eventually bring it up, this is another example of a conversation I’d rather not have because it makes me uncomfortable and ok, if you want to get deep here, I fear (more than the rejection) that ugly word: Conflict.

I’m not throwing in the towel on this project or this client. Yesterday I had to send him a document I created and I used that as an opportunity to remind him of my rates. Sure, it’s a bit of a pansy move and it does little to further the line of DIRECT communication, but work with me here. It’s a start.