Barefoot cobblers and unknown marketers

Give me those prepubescent secret lies, I'll hold them and I promise I won't share.

Bebri made rainbow-coloured glitter.

Understand: I do not mean that she made glitter in every colour of the rainbow. I mean that the glitter she made ran giggling through the spectrum of light, every single tiny flake eye-catching and mesmerising. Each fleck was a red-hot button wired to the inner three-year-old in every soul; an awe-machine the size of a grain of sand.

Bebri took her darkest shirt and pants and shoes and gloves and woollen cap and dipped them all into her glitter. Attired like the Aurora Borealis on disco night, she walked out into the world to sell her glitter.

Her first sale closed even before she left her driveway. Her entire stock was cleaned out within thirty minutes. Pleased and rich, she returned home to make more glitter for tomorrow.

Multi-faceted light-prisming glitter is not easy to create, and she could never make enough to keep up with demand. Every single grain she made was delivered to her buyers, who flocked to her stall every time they saw her glimmering self arrive.

But her attire glimmered a little less every day. Some glitter fell off, and some was slyly picked off her clothes when she wasn’t paying attention. Soon she wasn’t a supernova of light, but a shimmer. And far too quickly, all her glitter had worn off and she was dressed in drab black.

The stall lost its lustre – literally. Business evaporated. And Bebri said, “Oh! If I give all my glitter to others to illuminate themselves, then there is none left for me. And when there is none for me, then no-one can know what I have to offer. By giving all of my work to others, I impoverish myself. Shitballs!

A new container was created in Bebri’s workshop, labelled Me. And this container was always the first to be refilled, so that Bebri could shine brightly at all times.

All the rest is glittering technicolour history.

The moral of the story

It’s far too easy to give all your best and juiciest inspiration to your clients until your work for yourself starves to death. (And then, more literally, so do you.) There are plenty of web designers with outdated sites, VAs with every client’s work 100% complete but three stacks of their own paperwork to go through, and marketers who never promote their own work because they’re too busy putting all their inspiration into their clients.

Congratulations, you now have a new client: it’s called Your Business.

Your Business is your most important client and should be treated accordingly. Your Business is on retainer and requires at least as much time as any of your other clients; book time in your calendar every week – maybe every day – to thoughtfully consider Your Business’s needs and implement amazing work for Your Business on a consistent basis.

Do NOT use the time in your calendar for any other client. You wouldn’t treat any of your other clients so shabbily, because they would leave you. Your Business deserves respect, focus and as much of the zingy amazing best work you deliver to your other clients.

This new addition to your workload may require you to let another client go. Long-term, this is the best solution: Your Business will, if neglected, take the whole client list down in a fit of spite. Treat Your Business well and it will stay with you for many years to come, rewarding you more handsomely than any other client could.

Shine on, my lovelies.

P.S. Are you ready to strap the fuck in and commit to only doing your best work? Because if you are, you need to be signed up to the Mo’Cash Mo’Joy newsletter. It’s here to help!

Creative Commons License photo credit: Julija Felajn

24 thoughts on “Barefoot cobblers and unknown marketers

  1. An extension – catherine – of your business is yourself. You have to treat yourself well and know your preferences/dispositions so you can exceed your limits. I myself go testily nuts (like really nuts) when I don’t get rest over a long period of time. A good friend is given over to massive bouts of procrastination when he doesn’t get rest.

    I had to refund some clients to make my business OK again.

    I wish I hadn’t taken them in the first place, but if I had done their stuff, I’d have fallen further behind.

    1. “I wish I hadn’t taken them in the first place, but if I had done their stuff, I’d have fallen further behind.”

      I agree totally. I found myself with a vortex-of-suck customer, recently, and was thinking the very same thing…”if I hadn’t taken on this client, I could’ve worked on my website/blogs/online ads..etc.”

      Good for you recognizing what needed to be done and for following thru and doing it.

  2. A tale nicely woven, Catherine!

    I’m feeling a little teeny bit good because I spent 20 minutes earlier today tweaking the “read more” settings on my post archives, and reordering a series of posts I’d written. Both for more user-friendliness.

    And I have to ask myself, what if I did that every day? Or what if it was (gasp) an entire hour? On my own site? What amazingness might follow?

    Only one way to find out!

  3. Oh, yeah – time for ME. I’ve been neglecting that and it’s come around to bite me in the hinterlands.

    This week, I spent a few days “off” reflecting and introspecting (like prospecting only way better) and things are a little brighter now. Such a timely post – Thanks!

  4. Wow, you write very well. You know how to get the message thru your story. This is very informative and relevant and a real wake up call!

  5. Fantastic article! I definitely went through this in my copywriting business several years ago. I found myself a burned out and more than a little bitter. I stepped away from the business for awhile. I’m so glad that I read this article as I am relaunching the business. A strong reminder not to fall into the same trap. Thanks, Catherine!

  6. This is so funny, I had to laugh, because it makes me think about the hairdresser that can give you a slammin’ do but her hair looks like a rat’s nest!

    I make fashions for the home, including bedding….I won’t say, outloud, online, that I’ve been using tee shirts as pillowslips because I haven’t made time to make bedding for myself…LOL!!!

    I actually think that I would like to hire someone to do the “other stuff” on my biz so I can concentrate on sewing. I give them the gist of what I want and they go do it and I tweak along the way.

    I know where I want to market and to whom, I can just point someone in that direction and say, “go forth and be fruitful..” LOL!

    That’s not abdicating, it’s delegating. 🙂

  7. Ooh I’m loving this post. Lots of awesomeness is contained in this one, and although I do my best to wear shoes at all times – it happens that one falls off rushing down the steps. It’s all about making time right? 🙂

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