Slogging and Blogging Through the Bad Times

blogging through the bad times

This is not the blog post I had intended for the first post of 2018. This is not a blog post I EVER intended to write. But in the spirit of keeping it real, of giving you behind-the-scenes access, and of hopefully inspiring you with this message, here it is.

2018 so far has not been the stellar opening to a new year that it could’ve been. It’s been bitter cold. So cold, in fact, that my trusty Volkswagon Rabbit refused to hop on New Year’s Day. Her battery had died over the weekend. Two short days of sitting out there in the driveway in the nasty cold had dissipated her will to go on. Thankfully, my neighbor had a battery charger that allowed me to revive her enough to get to the auto parts store in town. Then, more bad news. Just like health care for humans, health care for Rabbits has skyrocketed. Her new battery is going to cost over $200! I know where the first extra $200 is going this year. Oh, and I awoke New Year’s morning to find the ice and snow had pulled the rain gutter off the front of my house. Only half of it or so, leaving it dangling right in front of the double windows. It’s still there, as no one will come out in the bitter cold to fix it, even if I knew who to call.

Then came 2 January. It dawned bright and sunny. The Rabbit was back on her paws, umm tires, and things seemed to be looking up. Until 10am, when my son called “Hey Mom!” in THAT voice. You know, the one reserved for REALLY BAD STUFF. I entered the room to find him pointing at our Max the Cat. He was bleeding from his face. Apparently, cats can get dental abscesses that can just burst through the skin. The vet won’t even see him till next week, after it quits draining and heals a bit. Anyone who has ever tried to give medical attention to a squirming, squalling, growling, pissed off 12 pound tom cat knows how the rest of my day pretty much went.

Nothing, though, of the first two days of the year could prepare for or compare to the next day, 3 January. The day started rough, with a sick cat and little sleep, but then came the news in the afternoon that the dear sweet daughter of a dear sweet friend had suddenly died. She was a bold, beautiful, sassy teenager who had her own sense of fashion, style, and taking life by the horns. The world is a whole lot less sparkly and bright without Finn in it.

So, that brings us to today. Blog post day. My head hurts. My heart hurts. Every fiber of my being is screaming at me to take a bath, read a book, eat some chocolate, or do all three at once. ANYTHING but sit down at the keyboard and pound out a blog post.

So why do it? Because I should. Because I need to. Because some semblance of normalcy is necessary. Because it’s good for me AND you. And because Finn. Her life motto was “Be yourself”.

I see so many blogs, so many businesses, suffer when the owners hit bad times. Hard times. There’s this mindset that ONLY the GOOD stuff can be written about. That ONLY wins to be celebrated can be public knowledge.  That to share the dark stuff, the sad stuff, the bad crap that happens somehow makes you a bad business person.

I call bull…t. Absolute bull…t. Business, whether B2B or B2C, is all conducted by and for humans. It’s all about people. It’s all helping other humans solve their problems. Which in my book means business is based on problems. We ALL have problems. And sometimes, like now, the problems seem daunting and seemingly have nothing to do with business, and everything to do with us as humans. And since humans run business, it has everything to do with that, too.

It’s time for the business world to get real. To stop being phony. To let the rest of us in your bad days, your tough times. Show us your slog through the muck Life throws at you. Why? So we can learn from your journey. So we can feel better about our own trips through the cesspits of Life and business and this we call being human.

As the Greek philosopher said, “No one is wise by choice.” We gain wisdom and strength by working through the bad times. We learn what we can do. We learn what we are CAPABLE of doing. And when we can learn that from others without having to go through something ourselves, we can become wiser and more capable still.

So let’s be real this year. Let’s be honest with ourselves and others. And let’s hope 2018 is one of peace, joy, and prosperity for all of us. And for being ourselves.


The Entrepreneurial Life (or What Cow Are You Milking?)

enrepreneurial life

Take a good look at that meme.

Can you relate?

Do you want to?

A great deal of this entrepreneurial life is NOT all sunshine and roses. It’s closer to manure shoveling.

It’s work. It’s grind. It’s daily getting up and getting at it, whether we feel like it or not.

It’s hard. And it’s harder, sometimes, to see the WHY in all of it.

When that project falls through, or the website is still glitchy, or the client is bitchy, it’s tough. When the sales are down and the bills are up, it’s rough. When the to-do list is long than the today, it gets discouraging.

I know. I’ve been there.

And the way I see it, you’ve got three choices:

1.) You can quit. Give up. Pack it in. Pull the plug. Go get that J-O-B and forget the whole stinking mess. Admit the entrepreneurial life isn’t for you and that it kicked your ass to the curb.

2.) You can milk that cow for all it’s worth. Gripe, whine, complain. Shout from the rooftops about the mean client, the sucky website platform. Play the blame game. You haven’t got enough money. Enough time. Enough help. Enough support.

3.) Take a step back. Figure out what went wrong. If need be, get help. Learn from those 5 minutes of “bad” and go on to something “better” from there.

Here’s how I see those choices:

1.) Fine. Not everyone can make it in this entrepreneurial life. While it can BE for everyone, it isn’t something everyone is willing to suffer through. At least you tried, right? Now, find some other way to make those dreams and goals you have a reality.

2.) Not so fine. I see a lot of so-called business people spending more time whining about what’s holding them back than they do working to move themselves forward. Or they get lost in “learning” and “training” but never apply any of it. They milk that cow for all she’s worth, and wonder why they never get anywhere.

3.) My preferred method. In all honesty, in all transparency, I used to do a lot of #2. I used to come up with every excuse in the book. And then I realized it was mostly out of fear. I was afraid of what might happen if I DID succeed. Now, I learn, and move on. Get up and try again. Find the help I need. Learn and move on.

Here’s some of what I’ve learned:

I’m no good at technical stuff. Skype sometimes stifles me. And that’s alright. I used to want to build funnels, because I thought it would be a great service to offer. Not anymore. I’ll write the content for those bad boys all day long. But the back end tech stuff? No thank you!

I’m not much good with numbers. You want to analyze your data, go right ahead. You want to create spreadsheets and reports? Fine by me. I’ll just sit over here and write copy, thank you. I do good to understand Facebook’s Insights features for the pages I manage. (Oh, I quit managing other people’s pages, too, because I just don’t always get even THOSE numbers right.)

I’m very good at teaching. At coming up with new ideas. At finding the problems. At explaining how things work. I might not enjoy building sales funnels, but I can tell you how they work. I might not be very good at understanding data, but I can tell you what data you need.

In short, I’m a valuable asset as a marketing consultant. And a copywriter. And a friend and professional contact.

I’ve learned my “thing”, found my “happy place”. Carved out my “space” in the entrepreneurial world. It’s a good place to be. There’s a lot fewer cows in my pasture. And a lot of “better” days.

Have you found yours yet? Learned your thing? Or are you still milking that herd?