31 Oct 2015

Sometimes I post bitter rants on Twitter and Facebook and then I feel like I shouldn’t have and that I’m going to lose business because of it and that I don’t want my “brand” to be tarnished by crabbiness. But you know what? My brand is me. And I am a real person. Sometimes I’m in a great mood and sometimes I’m in a bad mood. Just because I own a business and write books and teach classes, doesn’t mean that I’m always in a good mood or that everything is always going great for me.

When I look at my Twitter and Facebook feeds, sometimes I get down because almost all of the other writers, business women, and designers I follow are always saying how great they are doing, how they are selling shit-loads of books, how their classes are selling out, and on and on. These things happen to me, too. But sometimes my classes get cancelled because no one signs up. Sometimes I have a bad week. And sometimes I don’t sell many books.

Right now I am in a bad mood, and I don’t see why I should hide it or go away and shut up until I feel better. Why am I in a bad mood? I just got back from the most wonderful writing retreat I’ve ever attended. It was completely inspiring and I got to spend time working with and sharing with seventeen other amazing women writers. Now that I’m home and thinking about how I can continue with the momentum I experienced at this retreat, I’ve been looking at the websites of writing and creativity coaches I would like to work with. You know what? I can’t afford to work with any of them on a regular basis. This pisses me off. I resent that the coaches I would like to work with charge so much that I can’t afford them.

These coaches are charging an average of $400 for an hour-long one-time call and $600 or more a month for ongoing coaching. Would I get a lot out of it and increase my income in my business if I signed up for this? Maybe. Probably. But I don’t have that kind of money to invest. (Yes, I realize it would be an investment.) I know people want to pay the bills — so do I — but I am really offended that so much in our society is structured to give more and more to the people who don’t need it. I probably undercharge for most everything I offer, and that’s because I do not want to be a business that is set up to serve only the well-to-do.

I *get* why people charge $400 an hour or $600 a month for coaching. But I will never be able to afford that. And I don’t want to charge that much for my Birth Your Knitting Book coaching because I know there are so many talented designers and writers out there who have fantastic ideas for books but who also can’t afford to pay that much or more for help making their way as they start a new business or learn about the writing and publishing world.

I’m not complaining because my business doesn’t make more money. I’m complaining because society is structured to give priority and benefits to people who already have money, while those who have less are left to fend for themselves.

I like my life but I think it sucks that rich people can buy whatever they want — like time with coaches and better seats on airplanes — while those of us who are not interested in playing the money game get smushed into seats so small that we can’t even turn the pages of a magazine. I do not believe that having more money makes you better or more deserving and yet that’s what our society is saying from my perspective.

Maybe you’re an aspiring or successful author, designer, or teacher reading this and maybe you’ve struggled with being real in a world where you are expected to be upbeat, happy, and positive all the time too. Maybe seeing a tiny bit behind the scenes of my frustrations will help you feel better about where you are in your business. I hope so. Let’s be real people and stop pretending.

Frankly, I’m planning to kick ass in my business next year, and I’ll figure out how to do it on my own and with help from my husband. But it sure would be nice to be able to work with one of the coaches I respect and admire to get regular feedback on our ideas and to receive some in-depth, intensive help and advice on shaping our business as we move forward.

Well, Mr. Donna would say hiring a coach is a crock and a waste of money anyway. Maybe he’s right. But no. I have had several opportunities of lower-priced products from the coaches I respect, and I’ve done group coaching with them, and taken workshops and attended retreats. And I have not wasted 1-cent of my money on these things. I just feel like I’m ready for a more intensive time working with a coach in the coming year and disappointed that I may not be able to make it happen.

Now, is it wine o’clock yet?

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4 Responses to Being Real
  1. I totally get where you are coming from Donna. I had a course that I wanted to do and had to pass on it for the same reasons. Sometimes it’s just nice to hear that other people have the same issues.

  2. I totally feel this whole post Donna. I dye yarn and keep trying to find more time to design patterns but keep getting stymied by my utter lack of expertise. Having a coach would be a boon. Working with someone who has the ability to help me make a reasonable plan would be delightful, but like you, I can not afford it right now. Here I was thinking you were so much more successful and with it than I am. All I can offer is a virtual hug and the assurance that we are all trying to keep it going together. I needed to read this today. Thank you.

    • Sarah, I’m doing ok. I mean my husband and I are both working in the business and we are paying our bills. But in no way am I getting rich. lol. I love what I do but it’s only been two years since we started doing this business full time with neither of us having outside jobs and takes time to grow a business. Of course I’ve been designing and writing part time since 2004 so it seems like forever but for the first 10 years I was moonlighting with the knitting and I did contract work for technology companies and my husband also had a day job. So it’s all very different now!

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