I’ve told a story about a man walking by a house with a dog howling on the porch. He asks the owner sitting nearby why the dog is howling. “Sat on a nail.” is the reply. Why is he still howling, asks the confused man, “Must not hurt enough.”
I’ve had a nail that I’ve been sitting on myself. It’s called procrastination. You can call it something elegant and technical like Inefficient Time Management, but it’s pure and simply putting things off until later and when later arrives having to either work like mad to get the desired result or making excuses for a sub-par result.
Presently, my income-producing mechanism has been Mystery Shopping. I’m not getting rich but it brings in money. My wife presently has been looking for work since she was laid off from her position at Ft. Lewis. She’s been looking north and as far south as Southern Oregon and if something like that went through then she would get an apartment there and we’d meet 1/month or so. She’s been willing to make that sacrifice for our financial well being. What can I say I’ve done? I have the capabilities to be a professional speaker based on my time and experience with Toastmasters and other venues. I’ve also become proficient at recording and producing video on assorted live events and she’s been gracious in letting me accumulate some equipment I had talked with her about.
I referenced the Ghostbusters’ pricing motto previously; no job is too small, no fee is too big. My obstacle is I’ve not charged much of a fee at all. I, like many beginning self employed people, gave away quite a bit of time that although wouldn’t have netted a mortgage payment, might have paid for gas or some other cost we had. In the speaking and film business it is acknowledged that you will give away and/or deeply discount your work at first to reflect your level of experience and also to get some listings for your portfolio. There comes a time though when you have to decide if it’s a business that you really want to make money at or is it a hobby that you mess around with – the latter the IRS pays close attention to if you try to take tax deductions on.
Putting off charging for my work, putting off seeking work hasn’t been fair with the effort my wife has been putting into our family.
I started this blog with the focus of ACTION – some time ago you may note. It’s time now to get off the nail and talk about and do some ACTION
What is ACTION? Look at the word and you see the elements I, ACT, ON. That is what we, and especially myself, need to do. What do you Act On? Is is the need to be healthier? To have a better relationship with your family? Are you an underearner? (That’s a term they use in Spenders Anonymous for people who chronically don’t perform to their fullest potential and thus earn less than they potentially could – not to be confused with when the burger flipping job is all there is, but if the market is available for you to be making six figures and you’re flipping burgers).
I’ll go into more details in the next post – soon, I promise, about the details and importance of each element of ACTION, but for now, think about what it means to you. Are you going to be the dog on the nail? Does it hurt enough? Or are you content to howl about it to all who will listen.
Stop howling. Take ACTION.