self promotion and nuclear winter
To say I have a flair for the dramatic is a tiny bit of an understatement.
It makes sense, considering it was once my dream to write for television.
Mmmmm… drama. Delicious.
So I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise that I am good a catastrophizing.
Turns out this is a skill a lot of creative freelancers have… this magical ability to turn everything into an “or death” scenario.
I stay at my horrible job… or death.
I stick with this awful romantic partner… or death.
I stay safe with the devil I know (vs taking a chance)… or death.
Fun story: I once managed to convince myself that if I promoted myself as a freelancer and business owner providing a valuable service, the world would literally end in nuclear winter.
Here’s how I logicked myself down into the black hole of spiraling anxiety…
I figure I write a letter and send it to my cobbled-together list of potential local prospects.
It’s an offer letter, showing folks the power of copy and what it can do for your business… and hey! I happen to be a copywriter you can hire!
It lands in Jimmy’s office mail.
Jimmy opens it up and instantly flies into a rage at the audacity of this punk copywriter who thinks she can write a fancy-schmancy letter.
He realizes he’s late for a meeting across town and angrily wads up the letter, tosses it, grabs his keys, and bolts for the car.
En route to his meeting, he’s zig-zagging in and out of lanes, muttering to himself like a man possessed. One time he zags, and misjudging the distance between vehicles, sideswipes a bus while doing 80+ mph on the freeway.
The bus flips and rolls, and little Timmy is injured and sent to the hospital in critical condition.
Timmy, Sr. works at Lockheed Martin, the aerospace company and government contractor. When Timmy, Sr. receives word that his son is in the hospital, he throws his arms up in despair and brings his hands down on the little red button that launches the nukes that destroy all life as we know it.
All because I dared send my letter.
If you’re rolling your eyes at me right now, good. You have some perspective on my ridiculousness.
Obviously, I have since learned to promote myself and to my knowledge, we are not wandering around a post-apocalyptic landscape, dodging zombies and outbreaks of the plague.
But what about your ridiculousness?
It might not be as outrageous as mine, but it’s there.
It’s that little voice telling you that you can’t prospect UNTIL.
Until you have your business cards. Until you find your niche. Until you FINALLY FINISH THAT F*#@ING WEBSITE.
Because unless you have all your little duckies in a perfect little row, everyone’s going to know you’re a fraud and be pissed at you for your audacity.
I’m here to tell you… fuck that little voice.
Do it anyway and see what happens.
Reach out to your dream client. Create a product and put it up for sale. Pitch a service for what feels like an outrageous sum of money.
See what happens.
I’m willing to bet real money that the world will still be standing afterward.
And double or nothing you get some real clarity (and maybe even some clients and/or money!), just from the act of putting yourself out there.
If you’re an aspiring freelancer who’s working up the courage to leave the day job… good news! I’m sharing all the things I WISH I’d known before making the leap so that hopefully your journey goes a little more smoothly than mine.