|photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc|
After a year and a half of bringing in only $100 - $300 per month with dog walking and pet sitting, I have given up on the pet care thing. It's simply never going to fly here.
I fell for the myth that says "Hey, if nobody else is doing it, then if I do it, I'll have a monopoly!"
And then I realized with bitterness that the whole social media marketing thing?
Nobody else is doing that around here, either.
Great, I'm on a roll.
When I'm not walking my one dog client or making the occasional pet sitting visit, I plan Google Plus classes, hoping to gain some credibility with local business owners. I stare at the computer screen 5-6 hours a day, honing my blogging and social media skills for five free accounts. Four of them are my own and Ralph's businesses; one is a nonprofit for which we're on the board of directors.
Oh yeah, and I go for walks, runs, and bike rides with the dogs and watch people ignore the big, beautiful sign on my bike that reads "Alamosa Dog Walking Services, 719-937...".
Meanwhile, Ralph puts in 28-hour days, 10 days a week, running his coffee shop, doing catering, and cleaning windows.
We do business debt-free, without credit cards or loans, so every penny of our income goes into buying business supplies, gas for the car, and the phone bill.
I sold my piccolo last month and paid forward a couple months' rent.
We've dropped every expense we can. No Netflix, no health insurance, no food, no car insurance (I have a perfect driving record; please don't tell the cops.)
Sometimes, idealism sucks.
I can't even get a job at Safeway. Guess their online personality quiz thingy makes me look like some kind of psychopath.
Right now, I'm holding the following inner dialog with the self-development and business gurus:
"Tailor your blog and social media posts around the questions your clients are asking you."
Well, I have no clients to ask me questions, so...?
"What do people ask your advice about? Use that to help you choose your business direction."
Nobody asks for my advice about anything except what kind of dog food I feed my dogs (and to save you the trouble, my answer is, "whatever's cheap and doesn't look like multicolored Christmas lights.")
"Work on your personal brand. Be authentic. You'll stand out in the crowd and people will like and trust you."
Really? Someone's going to hire me because I'm nice?
"Do what you love, do what you're good at, and eventually you'll get paid for it."
Once a week, people come up to me and tell me what a good musician I am, or how much they miss my voice on the radio.
Once a week, if I'm lucky, I might make $20 in tips playing music at a local pizza restaurant. Usually it's more like $5.
And then here's my favorite (with all apologies to Regina, whom I actually adore. It is her blog post that has inspired mine):
"...after you spend enough time caring for the needs of the other person (your reader), that person eventually will be “into you” and wonder what they can do to support you. If you keep creating content that really inspires, entertains, or helps people, they will WANT to share it. It will become an honor and a pleasure to spread your blog around."I take care of other people. I like other people. I want to help them. I know I'm a good writer. I know I can create good content. The few people who actually stop by and read my stuff say it's good, it's inspiring, it's entertaining, it's powerful...
I even wrote a book, to help other people. And now I can say I'm a published author.
Whoop-de-do. Nobody cares.
Yeah, I'm good at stuff. I'm accomplished. I'm hardworking. I'm creative. I'm focused. I'm smart. I'm even nice most of the time.
How is this going to pay my bills?
How is getting a whole bunch of blog subscribers going to pay my bills?
How is getting a whole bunch of fans on Facebook going to pay my bills?
How is playing beautiful music that people appreciate going to pay my bills?
How is having an FM radio voice like Margot Adler going to pay my bills?
To say that my self-confidence has been beaten to a pulp with a baseball bat and left to bleed to death would be the understatement of the century.
At this moment, there are four things that are keeping me going:
1. The story that Napoleon Hill told about the miner who stopped digging three feet before he hit the vein of gold.
2. Remembering that the toughest part on the Emotional Cycle of Change -- where most people bail out -- comes right before things start getting easier.
3. The following paragraph from Regina's blog post, How I Started Making a Full-Time Blogging Income (Story Time Y’all):
Realize you are not a fraud. You are a fighter.Deep down, it's about more than money. It's about value. We all want to be valued for who we are, for being our own individual, beautiful contribution to the world, for being ourselves, for having our own dreams ... not for what we contribute as a cog in someone else's dream.
When I was finishing my first book (on how to start a business), I was sleeping on an air mattress with a slow leak. I’d start off the evening all comfy, and I’d end up the next morning sleeping on the floor. Also, my business income was at an all-time low with all the changes I was making. And I almost never slept. It was the first time in my life I drank coffee. I felt like the biggest fraud finishing a book on how to start a business while my own business was suffering. You may feel like you don’t have the place to blog about your chosen topics, or that you don’t have the right to charge $XYZ for your services. Listen to me please: You are not a fraud. You are simply fighting for who you know you are. You are fighting for what you’re worth. You are fighting to make a difference in the world while other people are sitting around laughing. They wish they could have your courage. And maybe one day you will help them get it, but for now, YOU MUST FIGHT. Please, you must continue to fight.
At our very cores, we know we are valuable, that we really ARE gifts,
Just as we are,
Just because we are alive.
If we weren't, we wouldn't BE alive.
Why? Because God doesn't create junk.
Saying that someone isn't worth much, that WE'RE not worth much, is an insult to God.
Fortunately, God is all-loving and doesn't mind.
When the world doesn't reflect the truth of our dazzling beauty and brilliance back to us, when society DE-VALUES our humanity, when we let other people try to stuff us into little boxes into which we don't fit,..
This pain I'm feeling?
It's because I KNOW, with every fiber of my beings, that I AM valuable, just as I am, and I'm letting a fucked-up society distract me and try to tell me otherwise.
THIS is what we're fighting for. We KNOW that we are valuable, and that it IS possible to be valued, because GOD, the ALL-THAT-IS, the CREATOR of ALL MANIFEST THINGS VALUES US! Otherwise, we wouldn't even exist.
I am NOT going to back down from my dreams!
I will STARVE before I go back to being a cog in a sick machine!
I am GOING to figure this out!
And if you want to come with me, we can figure this out together.
Let's start a revolution!