When I started my “big girl” job at a marketing agency after college, I thought I was a strong communicator. But I had a lot to learn.
The key to success in the working world is to build relationships, and that’s really what communication is all about.
On Day 1, it definitely didn’t occur to me to send emails like a receipt of acknowledgement, a recap, or a thank-you to build credibility and develop stronger relationships with clients and coworkers.
It took me over a year to recognize the immense value in these messages (and to make a habit of sending them regularly). I want to short-cut the learning curve for you. This is not what you’re taught in school. And if you can implement these strategies, you’re sure to stand out — because nobody else does it this way. …
As a freelancer, time is your inventory.
If you’re not tracking your time, you’re missing out on valuable data about your productivity, your workload, and your profitability.
When I started freelancing, I often gave clients more of my time than they’d paid for. The problem wasn’t necessarily that I’d logged unbillable time, but that it was unintentional — and by that, I mean, I didn’t keep track of the hours I’d put toward the project and spent more time than I was willing to give.
So I began using a spreadsheet to track my time for client projects. For one of my clients, the summary of hours revealed that I was spending on average twice as many hours per week than I was paid for. It was a wake-up call. It didn’t seem like a big deal to give this client an extra 10 minutes here and there until then. But it adds up, and I was losing both time and money (neither of which I could afford to lose). …
Writers and comedians have a lot in common.
At first glance, comedians are merely performers — funny people who have the confidence to stand up in front of live audiences and make them laugh. Us writers, on the other hand, are such solitary creatures. Our words take the spotlight.
Comedians are writers, too. Some of the best comedians in the biz spent years writing jokes and honing their personal creative style to entertain their audiences.
I made a friend recently who’s in stand-up. He’s self-taught, and he told me what his life was like when he performed 3–4 sets each night in New York comedy clubs to fast-track his learning curve. …
Every day, my dad goes to “work” in our guesthouse (his office). He wears Hawaiian shirts and takes a long bike ride every Thursday morning.
He’s a small business owner, a web developer, and he’s worked for himself for the 24 years I’ve been alive. He gave me the entrepreneurial bug. I’ve always been impressed with his flexibility and control over his schedule.
I’ve dabbled with the entrepreneurial lifestyle, but it wasn’t until 6 months ago (when I was laid off due to COVID) that I decided to go all-in on my dream of working for myself.
Well, it hasn’t been the straightforward path I thought it’d be. (Is it ever?) …
It’s been a month — or two — since you last touched your novel.
Life happens. Maybe something came up, or you hit a spell of writer’s block. But now it seems impossible to pick up where you left off.
Coming up on Act II of my first draft, I choked. What loomed ahead was uncharted territory. Rather than diving in to figure it out, I took a “break.” I felt too pressured to match my previous daily word count.
And while there are loads of activities to get the creative juices flowing again, they are often procrastination in disguise. (Believe me, I’ve done enough of them to know.) …
True character reveals itself in stressful situations — especially when you receive criticism.
Criticism is a hard pill to swallow. It’s tough to hear how you’ve messed up or fallen short. And it’s doubly difficult to take negative feedback without an attitude or emotional response — much less a positive one.
I’ve been there. It’s impossible to go through life without making mistakes. And in the working world, it’s someone’s job to point out those mistakes and make sure you learn from them.
“If you’re making mistakes, it means you’re out there doing something.” ~ Neil Gaiman
Like anything else, it’s all in how you look at the situation. Feedback — even criticism — is a learning opportunity. …
Do you struggle to organize your ideas, to-do lists, random musings?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve scribbled notes on post-its, scraps of paper, and in notebooks strewn across your desk. These are usually bits of information I need to jot down quickly. Someone’s name and phone number, or a reminder to send an email, etc.
While these timely notes are critical for my daily productivity, I don’t need to keep them around.
Enter Obsidian’s “Daily Note” feature. Your “Daily Notes” create a space for ephemeral thoughts and ideas. The folder is an easily accessible catch-all. …
What role are you playing in your life — are you acting like the hero or the sidekick?
In the romantic comedy The Holiday, Kate Winslet’s character Iris befriends Arthur, an elderly gentleman who was a big Hollywood screenwriter. They’re at dinner together, and he says,
“Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady. But for some reason, you’re behaving like the best friend.”
When we face challenges or seasons of hardship, it’s difficult to keep a positive outlook. We feel physically and emotionally drained. We withdraw and sink into our own self-pity. …
Think about your biggest dreams, goals, and desires for your life. How many people know these things about you?
It’s all too easy to make grand plans but never lay claim to them.
I read an article by Benjamin Hardy recently about shaping your future self. He writes, “You must fuel your desire into a concrete commitment,” and one of the ways we do this is by publicly committing to what we want.
The key word in that phrase? “Publicly.”
It’s not enough to pursue your goals behind closed doors. …
When I was 12 and 13 years old, I wrote a middle-grade fantasy trilogy and self-published the novels on Amazon.
I wish this were a success story about how I passionately and relentlessly pursued creative writing and became a bestselling author (alas, it’s not). Rather, it’s a cautionary tale about what can happen when you put too much pressure on yourself to achieve an outcome, and lose your love for the process.
It’s a familiar tale of growing up and succumbing to perfectionism and fear of failure. …