I realize that while I chronicle my overall personal struggles, confusion and very occasional triumphs here, that not everyone here reads or even gives a toss about my business-y, marketing-y or other non-core communicatrix-y stuff. (Although I could argue that as I am the communicatrix, pretty much anything I work on is de facto communicatrix-y, I will not, it is Friday, and I am far too tired and have far too much yet to do to waste energy on silly arguing.)
So, hey: if you HATE marketing or HATE business or HATE marketing-your-business stuff, go read some other stuff. Like all the crazy crap I've been posting to my Tumblr blog, or to my StumbleUpon blog, or...well, anything else on this page.
If you're still here, here's the deal. I hate marketing, too. And business. And marketing my business.
Well, not all of it. But a lot of it. I have weird issues around money and commerce, since grubbing over the former destroyed two whole sets of family for me and the latter pretty much robbed me of a father, an active, present one, anyway, for my entire life. (Although commerce was responsible for many fine hamburgers poolside at the Four Seasons, along with the occasional treat from the minibar during a Judge Judy/Law & Order marathon, and a whole lotta frequent-flier-mile-purchased airline tickets, so I won't totally crap on commerce. I'll just say that it has its place, and I've never felt that comfortable sidling up next to it.)
As many of you who have things like bills and mortgages and suchlike know already, it takes a certain amount of money (and, by extension usually, commerce) to fuel these mundanities. I won't lie to you: I've been outrageously fortunate in the money department. Outside of a rocky start ($15K didn't get you through an entire year in NYC even when the year was 1983), I've never really wanted for the stuff. Yeah, I learned to live modestly; there's a great story around that involving a yacht and a well-timed trip to the Executive Creative Director's office at my last real job. But I've also been lucky. Like, really, really lucky. As in, able-to-make-a-living-acting lucky, for almost 10 years, which involves these fantastic things called residuals that magically appear in the mail, and great health insurance, and a hobby that earns you pin money on the side. Lucky.
I could never really lean into my luck, though, and count on it. Thar be fools, and I ain't no fool: I'm a Virgo. Virgos squirrel things away and worry and figure out ways to, as my friend, Dyana, puts it, squeeze a dollar out of a nickel. Virgos clip coupons from their perches atop big heaping piles of cash because, well, you just never know when a pirate will skateboard in, distract you with shadow puppetry and steal your perch out from under you. (Don't laugh, it could happen.)
So I always worked on other stuff, even when I didn't know what the hell I was working on. I kept up my subcontracting and my design gigs and even (sssshhhh!) my copywriting, for a few select folkies. (They're grandfathered in, so don't ask. No new copywriting clients, period.)
And as far as bringing in business, well, I worked the things that worked for me: Email. Friend network. Referrals. Later, an actual website and posting to Flickr and of course some blogging and other newfangled types of (ack!) marketing that might spread my reach a bit. With ENORMOUS provocation from the mighty Ilise Benun, I even dipped my toe into the cold and unfriendly waters of real-life networking, which turned out to be...well, if not exactly delightful and restorative, certainly manageable and occasionally, fun.
I tried to remember the fun when I committed to this week's project. I tried sooooooo hard. And I still put off making (ack! eek! ook! uk!) cold calls until the last possible minute (almost) of the work week. That's right: the Virgo said she was gonna call FIVE people FIVE about these here acting workshops all the Angeleno actors raved about, and the Virgo was not going to back down. Mostly because she'd committed to it out loud in at least two places (and via audio). I mean, let's be honest.
How did it go? Well, I'll save the full story in all its horror and glory for the biggity-big blog post on Monday. But the gritty details don't really matter, not here, anyway.
What matters is that I'm here. I made five cold calls and I'm here. I picked up the phone and did something the very idea of which is so horrifying to me, I'd never actually done it. And then I did it FOUR. MORE. TIMES.
If this man can land a kaput plane in the river, saving the lives of every passenger on board...
If this man can volunteer for the toughest job in the country at one of the lowest points in its history...
If I can make FIVE COLD CALLS...
...you can do it. Whatever "it" is. Whether it's sucking up your pride to do something you don't think you should have to do, or taking a risk you were never supposed to have to take, or shouldering a burden you never thought you'd have to take on, you can do it. You do one little piece of it, then do a big honkin' piece of it. Or just eat the whole damned problem in one bite. Whatever. Your call.
Times have never been crazier, but times have always been this crazy for someone.
If you need a little more inspiration, go read this post of Tim Ferris's. Even if you have no idea who he is. Even if you do and think he's a jerk. Maybe he is, who knows? I'm a jerk. Everyone's a jerk. This post? You should read. And watch. Trust me.
You do it, that horrid thing you don't want to do, that you know you should do. And I'll do that horrid thing I don't want to do, etc.
And afterward, we'll all have a cold beverage and laugh a little and have some fun, hopefully, before we go out and do it again.
This is what we do, my friends.
We go to work...