This is the hashtag for a movement I am thinking of starting.
This movement is for the creatively self employed -- designers, copywriters, photographers, illustrators, videographers, and any other marketing professionals who are struggling with no clients or the wrong clients.
The goal of the movement is simple: to stop the feast or famine syndrome by putting yourself first.
We need this movement because I see too many creative professionals putting yourself last:
- prioritizing client work as "real work" but your own business development as somehow "not real" or less valuable.
- giving up too quickly when what you want to happen doesn't: when the people you want to work with don't respond to your messages (here's my approach to that)
- putting your own self promotion on the back burner and literally doing your own stuff last or not at all!
- you are forced to take whatever comes along (a.k.a. "word of mouth") because you believe you can't afford to do otherwise
- you settle for cheap clients, and sometimes even abusive clients
- you suffer through the stress of Feast or Famine
This must stop!
When you put "paying" client work ahead of sending out your email newsletter or attending a networking event, you are focusing on the present, at the expense of your future!
And that's exactly what leads to the feast or famine syndrome -- you set the table for famine when you focus only on the feast.
This hit me hard when a new mentoring client was telling me how important it is to do her absolute best work for clients. It's a point of pride -- I heard it in her voice.
But when she talked about how she treats herself and her own business, her voice got so much smaller. She puts everyone first -- except herself!
She is not alone. I hear and see this every day. And I see it as a betrayal to yourself.
That's where #MeFirst comes in -- it means:
- committing to doing your absolute best for yourself -- first!
- prioritizing your own business activities -- strategic planning, self promotion and outreach, especially bookkeeping and billing, to make sure you get paid on time.
- carving out time for yourself in your calendar and protecting that time with your life -- as if it were your lifeline, because it is!
Treat yourself like a client, if that's what it takes to put yourself first.
This is not hard. All it takes is a little bit of your attention every day.
I've been experimenting with a few clients on this. One designer sent me a simple email message every day last week that said, "I put myself first today." On Friday, the message read:
I did it again, on the bus! I really appreciate you saying that it just takes a little bit every day. I was able to do some research into agencies I want to get in touch with, and send an email to a buddy who I want to reconnect with work-wise.
That's all it takes -- couldn't you do that every day, if you put yourself first?
Here's all you have to do:
Tend to your own business growth first -- first thing in the week (don't leave it for Friday) and first thing in the morning, when you are thinking most clearly about where you want to go.