“Well, that’s just it!”
I love it when Naomi says that. I really do. And I grinned from where I was folded up like a lawn chair in the back of the rental car. Her husband Jamie, our driver of the moment, was nodding, and we all agreed:
Some people just don’t get it. And that’s why their business is still limping along doing nothing.
But that’s not what you want to hear about. You want to hear about my summer vacation, don’t you? Yes, I finally took one. I was pondering relaxing on a beach near the ocean somewhere, but that’s about when Naomi from Ittybiz called and said, “You’re coming to downtown Toronto to see us.”
The train trip there was great. I love trains. The city was great, too. (Though I was heard to often mumble, “There’s a lot of people,” throughout the week.) The hotel was okay (I’ve seen better), the sights were amazing and the attractions were fun. Oh, and I went shoe shopping with Naomi. (For sneakers. Please.)
And then… my train ride home was canceled. In fact, all train travel across Canada were canceled. The workers had gone on strike. I was stranded.
I wasn’t worried, though. I could have flown home on a plane. (Yes, I considered it.) I could have hired a taxi driver. I could’ve taken a bus. I could’ve stayed another three or four weeks in TO. There were options – plenty – and I could afford them all. No worries.
Of course, when Naomi and Jamie heard about the train strike, they said: “We’re going to Ottawa.” So I booked us two rooms in a swanky hotel, we piled into Jamie’s rental car, and off we went. Just like that.
As we drove along, Naomi was sitting in the passenger seat leafing through Ontario real estate magazines looking for a house. She had no worries either – they’d just flown over from London, decided to stay in Canada and could choose anywhere they wanted to live.
That’s about when I mentioned money sure did make it easy not to worry. I wasn’t worried about how I’d get home; they weren’t worried about where they’d live.
And that’s when she exclaimed, “Well, that’s just it!”
But we know that many freelancers these days don’t have much money. They don’t have enough customers or work. They’re afraid of marketing themselves. They want to be nice and ethical. They don’t want to crow and brag. They don’t want to push and sell.
So they have no clients, no work and no money.
The money’s out there, though. That’s the thing. The time has never been better for freelancing and starting businesses. The problem is that fear is holding a lot of freelancers back, and someone else is taking the money.
The money’s out there, but it’s going to the freelancers who aren’t afraid of marketing or selling themselves, who aren’t afraid of putting themselves out there and who aren’t afraid of taking their hard knocks… they’re ones making the money.
“You know what, though?” Jamie chimed into the conversation. “It’s not like we didn’t make mistakes to get where we are. We made plenty!” Naomi nodded, and I was nodding too. We all knew what he was talking about. “We try ideas we think will work, and we make all the mistakes and screw up, and then we tell people how not to screw up.”
That’s what we do here, too. We’ve made the mistakes. Been there, done that. We talk about them to you. We’re not afraid of screwing up. We didn’t have a choice in the matter, either. When we began our business, there weren’t all these great resources telling us how to build it and run it and make it a success. We learned the hard way, just like Naomi and Jamie did.
Each hard knock we took was damned hard, too.
Freelancers really have it easy these days. The money’s there for the taking, and no one has to take the really hard knocks or learn through blind trial and error like we did. No way. You guys are spoiled. You get courses like Copyblogger’s Freelance X Factor. This one basically puts everything you need to know to fast forward yourself right to the clients and the cash in the palm of your hand.
We didn’t have that. No one taught us how to market or reach clients or draw them in. Naomi and I built our businesses the hard way, by putting ourselves out there and figuring out how to make it all work. We used our brains, our skills, our talents and our pure determination to succeed. We worked damned hard to get where we are today.
And today, we are all happily ensconced in a hotel apartment suite overlooking Parliament Hills in Ottawa, the Nation’s Capital, while we enjoy our road trip together without too many damned cares in the world. There’s no place I’d rather be.
Until Naomi chirped up. “Hey, we were thinking of heading out east to New Brunswick or something and renting a place for a week. Whaddaya think?”
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