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Monday, May 05, 2014

Writers Worth: Who's the Boss?

Welcome to the first full week of Writers Worth! Thanks again to everyone who posts, comments, shares, and makes this a fantastic celebration of awareness and personal growth. There's still time for you to contribute, if you're interested. Just send me a note at lwbean AT gmail and let's talk.

One of my favorite people is back with some solid advice on how you as a writer can find your value and assert your worth to clients...and maybe to yourself, too. Thank you, Ashley, for a great perspective.

Photo: Kumar Appaiah, via Flickr
Who’s the Boss?

by Ashley Festa

Boss? What boss? I don’t see a boss.

Having no boss is one of the perks of freelance life, right?

Unless, of course, you’re me. I have two bosses.

One is short and strict and occasionally throws food at lunch. She might also suck a pacifier at naptime.

But she’s a decent boss.

It’s my other boss who needs a performance evaluation. That boss, aka me, could learn a lot from that little boss. Especially about self-worth.

Self-worth comes naturally to her. She values herself. She expects the finest treatment and makes a fuss if she doesn’t get it. She never stops learning. She doesn’t make excuses, and she doesn’t give up. She believes she deserves the very best – from herself and everyone around her.

Her perception of self-worth borders on selfishness. But I won’t hold it against her, because she’s doing a heck of a job keeping me in line.

And isn’t that what we freelancers need? If we’re running our freelance life like a business, we all need a leader who can keep us on track. We enjoy freedom, but we’re not free from discipline.

Here’s the key: Good leaders – the ones who push us to excel, to grow, to succeed – those are the bosses who deserve the greatest respect. That little boss of mine pushes me to be better every single day. That’s why she’s a great boss!

So, what has the big boss learned from the little boss?

1. Value yourself. My mini manager knows her needs come first and wouldn’t put up with any hemming and hawing from me. As manager of your business, you need to put your needs (paying bills, buying food, having a life outside of work) first too. Since you’re the boss, you determine how that’s going to happen. If you aren’t getting paid what you’re worth, give yourself a raise. Charge more. Get better clients. Find better paying markets. You’re the boss, and you get to decide how much you make, so don’t shortchange yourself when dealing with clients.

2. Expect better. My bantam boss doesn’t tolerate any callousness. Neither should you. Respect yourself enough to fire a client who treats you badly. Remember, you’re the boss, so you have the power to do it.

3. Improve yourself. My little leader loves to learn new things. She works hard at it, and it pays off: She gets smarter every day. So you should too. Make yourself more valuable by learning new skills, deepening your expertise and honing your craft. Then refer back to No. 1.

4. Ditch the excuses. My pint-size boss doesn’t make excuses and give up when she encounters a challenge. She believes in herself. She might not take a conventional path, but she gets the job done. Just as you should when obstacles arise. If you keep lying to yourself saying that you can’t do something, eventually you’re going to believe it. Would you respect someone who continues to lie to you? I didn’t think so. So stop making excuses for giving up when something – a client, an article, a niche – doesn’t work out. Just try again. Try something new. And keep trying until something works.

As a freelancer, you don’t answer to anyone but yourself. So you have to push yourself toward excellence. When you do, you are worthy of the greatest respect.

How can you be a better boss?

Ashley Festa is a San Antonio-based freelance business writer. You can download a copy of her free business blogging tips e-book on her website.


Cathy Miller said...

Love it, Ashley! Your little mini-me knows what she wants. ;-)

I think one of the struggles for new freelance writers is thinking of themselves as the boss. It takes time to transition from our boxed world as an employee. The day we realize we are the boss, we have the power to be one.

Lori Widmer said...

Amen to you too, Cathy! Great point about the power shift -- it's so eye-opening, isn't it?

Ashley, thank you. Terrific post. :)

Ashley said...

Yep, mini-me has always known she's the boss. One day, it's going to come as a huge shock to her when the power shifts back to me! :-)

Thanks for letting me contribute, Lori. I love reading all the advice during Writers Worth Month!

Anne Wayman said...

Nice, Ashley... good for both of you.

Sharon Hurley Hall said...

Great analogy, Ashley - sounds like you both know who the boss is! ;)

Paula said...

Sorry I wasn't around Monday to comment. I loved this post, Ashley! It was funny and insightful - which is arguably the best possible combination for making a memorable point.

Just think - pretty soon your boss will set aside an entire day to celebrate you. A Sunday, of course, but like any good boss I'm sure she'll make sure you have the best Mother's Day ever.

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