Sunday, January 19, 2014

Goods and Services

I was hanging dill leaves over my front door this morning thinking about a recent conversation I’d had with an acquaintance -a nice, successful go-getter type of gal in my community whom I admire.  She asked why I didn’t have my picture on my business cards.  I explained that while I still dabble in a bit of consulting, I’ve landed a gig with a wonderful educational institute and the cards they provide me with are the standard fare they provide for all of their employees.  My name and contact information is on each one, but everything else comes straight from ‘the man’.

Oddly enough, she wasn’t the first person to ask me that question, so I feel the need to fully address the situation.

I began my consulting practice about five years ago with the intention of helping people learn how to dress and how to behave.  It eventually took on a ‘mentoring’ aspect, which I enjoyed.  Had it caught on completely, I might still be out there promoting it full-force.  It didn't, but no worries - the new gig keeps me blissfully busy.  I still have a handful of regular clients, so I’m just not inclined to bust my behind trying to get ‘me’ out there.  Those regular clients, by the way, came my way through word of mouth.  All the snazzy marketing materials, all the local meet and greats, the TV and magazine appearances and such amounted to nothing as far as the ‘bottom line’ was concerned.  In a perfect world, I wouldn’t have to eat and buy shoes, but as you well know, we do not live in a perfect world.

Anyway, back to the business card question.  In the super-early stages of my sole proprietorship, I did include my picture on marketing materials.  I then proceeded to get emails from a creepy (and married) individual who had no interest in my professional services.  I don’t consider myself a ravishing beauty, so it just goes to show that there are a lot of sad, desperate jerks out there.  Since I don’t like sad, desperate jerks, I removed my photo from said marketing materials.  He finally left me alone after the phrases ‘restraining order’, ‘your wife’, and ‘tire iron’ were thrust his way.

Promotion.  It should be a simple concept, but it’s not. 

Sure, business owners and those who provide various services must do it and do it well.  Self-promotion is an entirely different thing, and I discovered that the lines blurred for an awful lot of so-called professionals out there. 

Creepy Email Guy made me gun shy.  Combine that with the fact that I’m a pretty private person so you can therefore understand why certain types of promotion didn’t work in my favor.  In our age of technology, advertising should be easy, but it’s not.  I think we’ve got too much information at our finger-tips, and too many folks out there promoting things that may not necessarily be real. Our culture has become one big illusion in which everyone’s a celebrity (even if it is in their own minds).

“Look at me!  Look at me!”

No offense, but I’m tired of looking at you, quite frankly, and I’m okay with the fact that you’re probably tired of looking at me (I hope Creepy Email Guy is, anyway).  I’m incredibly happy doing what I do these days, and I’m content to limit my social media exchanges to things that amuse me that will hopefully amuse others.  Sometimes I even try to pass along information that might educate, but I no longer feel as if I have to do it every hour on the hour.

I’d much rather pursue other interests, like hanging dill above my front door.  You may wonder about such an activity, but as I mentioned earlier, I like to keep certain things private.