Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Accepting Who You Are

Before I left on my trip, I was thinking about how to market myself—and I was trying a lot of different things, from cold calling to networking events. Trying different marketing and sales tactics didn’t gain me a lot of business right off the bat—although it did make me some contacts that seem like they’ll turn out to be useful. But it did teach me about what I like, what I’m good at, and the tactics I’d prefer to avoid.

When I started copywriting, I didn’t think there was any type of writing job I should avoid as a professional. I’ve written about this before—I thought it was somehow unprofessional to say no. I’ve since learned that in fact as you grow and become more experienced in your business, you learn what copywriting jobs are most profitable for you—and when to say no to things that don’t work for your talents or business model.

I think the same is true for marketing techniques. If you do your research, you’ll find self-proclaimed “gurus” promoting all kinds of different methods for marketing yourself. Not all of these methods will work for you personally—even if they work for others. You have to choose the methods that fit best with your talents and natural proclivities. I’ve become a proponent of working with the grain of my own personality and abilities, not against them. Here are a few things I’ve learned.

Cold calling just isn’t me. Neither is any kind of aggressive sales. Don’t get me wrong—I love talking about what I do, and realize that can naturally promote my work when the situation is right. But I’m never going to be able to consistently care about “closing” a sale or call businesses cold to promote myself.

I love copywriting—but I don’t want it to be my whole life. In Europe, I started to question whether I need to grow my business to the extent that I thought I did at all. While I love copywriting, there are other things I’m even more passionate about –and I’m much more of a “work to live” person than someone who wants to work sixty-hour work weeks. If I can take fabulous trips to Europe now, what more could I want? I started to question the whole idea of working harder—un-American though that might sound.

So that’s where I am right now. Of course I plan to continue with my copywriting business, and with marketing—it’s how I ensure my stability. I’m not sure I need to push myself to be something I’m not. In the end, it’s most important to me to know what kinds of work make me happy—and as much as possible, avoid the kinds of work that don’t.


Lori said...

Sounds like you're ready to move beyond safe boundaries and do what appeals to you. That's growth. :)

Cold calling isn't me, either. Thank God for Twitter - it's been my "cold calling" in that I can be myself and still get work. Go figure!

I think our jobs are so cyclical it's difficult to say we're stuck in one area or another. In January I was the Blog Queen. Today I write one blog beyond my own and I'm doing more articles. Tomorrow, who knows?

I like that we can redefine our careers based on our current passions. It's my favorite part of the job.

So what would you rather be doing, as if I didn't know? :)

Kimberly Ben said...

@ Lori: You've been really working Twitter! :)

@ Jennifer: It's so funny that you posted this because I was just talking with another writer about how I was planning to "discontinue" some of the writing services I offered when I first got started.

I'm looking to streamline my efforts so that I'm focusing on more profitable and interesting projects. I'm also working on other projects that will allow me to utilize my writing skills in a way that will expand my bottom line.

I agree with Lori, it's part of growing as a business owner and a writer.

Jennifer Williamson said...

@Lori: Absolutely, and it's exciting! I've been using twitter but not getting great results with it--I think because I'm not really consistent with it. Would love to see a post from you about how you get more business with Twitter!

Oh, there are all sorts of things I'd like to focus on...novel writing comes to mind. If I'm going to make it happen I have to be proactive.

@Kimberly: I think it's a stage we all get to at some point. I decided a while ago I wasn't going to do grantwriting or press releases, for example.