Friday, August 30, 2013

Walk the Walk... Don't Just Talk the Talk

I want to start off by saying that I love all of my readers, you guys are truly awesome. I love your emails, your loving support and well... it gives me a reason to keep typing these words. I truly am thankful for ALL of you. Now... I meant EVERY word of what I just said, and I hope that you know that. However, I am hoping that one of the reasons that you love me is because I am real... no "faux" going on here and with that comes brutal honesty, my favorite thing to receive, because I learn from it and quite honestly, my favorite thing to give because YOU learn from it. Brutal honesty is NOT negative, it's simply the "real" and not so fluffy stuff that can either put you on your butt or get you off of it; a reality check in a loving way... at least it is when it comes from me.

So... here it is, tonight's topic, and although it is geared more towards the self employed freelancers out there, anyone in business for themselves can take the advice; and perhaps even those who are employed can find a hint of something in here to take to the "thought bank". Because of my vulnerability and openness regarding the adversity and life struggles that I have faced and overcome, I am sought out for advice from all angles all of the time. Most of the time, I freely give that advice to those who ask. (freely AND for free.) That is how I roll... I love to teach; an educator at at heart, as well as several times in real life over the past 22 years in my career. I LOVE TO TEACH and have people GET it, seeing that light bulb go off is exhilarating. However, once in a while, I am asked advice by someone whose lack of knowledge makes me scratch my head.

Now, before you jump to conclusions thinking I am knocking some one's intelligence... hear me out. I do NOT mean this disrespectfully at ALL. I am however baffled at how many people are out there like that little cartoon dude saying "which way do I go...duh? Which way... tell me, tell me." They have SO little knowledge about what they are doing that I am shocked that they even feel comfortable and confident enough to get up and say that they are in business every day, let alone to be taken seriously. Am I THAT much of a nerd? Makes me wonder.

 Freelancers galore.... everyone is an expert these days... buy some "high-end" makeup at Walgreens, some fancy brushes from MAC, (which you can name by number) watch a few makeup tutorials on You Tube taught by a 15-year old with killer eye shadow skills and VOILA! You are a makeup artist charging $75 an hour for your "expertise." Drop some coin on a Nikon or Canon DSLR, an umbrella light and a fake brick backdrop and BAM! You are a photographer. You have no website, no portfolio, no identity on Social Media and no plan, but you want to make the money I make doing what I do, or what he does, or what she does after we have spent many, many years of sweat equity, thousands of dollars in tools, gear, business essentials, seminars, training and hours of actual WORK, some paid, and some which we did for free just to prove what we can do because of all the "Fakefessionals" out there. We have a website, taken the time to build a reputation, developed a business savvy nature and have become successful at what we do because of all this which is why WE get asked for advice. It's like it is assumed that we have some sort of "easy button" that you can borrow to become an overnight Rock Star.

I hate to break your hearts...mainly because of how much you mean to me... BUT it does not work that way. Quit being lazy, become PASSIONATE about what you do and INVEST in your career, and I mean way more than fancy tools and equipment. PLEASE EDUCATE yourself; GOOGLE is FREE for goodness sake. If you don't have the money to attend seminars spend a few hours a day, a week, online learning from the pro's. There are plenty of free or extremely inexpensive online courses to take and you will find the time to take advantage of them if you stop watching reality TV and worry about your OWN reality. Don't tell me you cannot afford a seminar when you drink Starbucks every darn day. Excuses... excuses; they get you nowhere or even worse. Stop watching Joe Blow Camera and 15 year old girls with fierce eye shadow skills, learn from your peers... the people who count, the ones that can HELP you build a REAL career and take it to the next level. There are some amazing beginners out there, and I am in no way discrediting them because I have learned from students... but my point is there are way too many people not willing to put in the time, money and effort to become a true professional.

As I prepare to head out to Las Vegas on Monday for Photoshop World 2013, I am excited to be surrounded by these pros yet another year. It's energizing and I am not even a photographer; I am just their makeup chic. They make ME want to pick up a camera though... I can't lie! Good thing for them all of those buttons intimidate the heck out of me because with my makeup, hair and wardrobe skills I could probably give them some serious competition. ;)

Once I come back, I will be prepping for an amazing makeup and business training event with The Powder Group; "THE ARTIST SUMMIT" held in my home state of Massachusetts at the tip of the cape in beautiful Provincetown. I am investing in my career once again... and know that it will be well worth it.

So here is my advice to all of you reading. PLEASE... if you are going to be in business BE IN BUSINESS. Before you worry about getting clients and work, LOOK THE PART, HAVE THE ESSENTIALS AND GET THE TRAINING. Stop trying to make what I make when you have not done what I have done to get where I am. Plain and simple, with hard work, money invested, dedication, and true conviction... YOU WILL GET THERE... but if you don't have a business card, a portfolio, and at minimum a basic website, go back to the drawing board because THAT is your beginning. I don't care if you do makeup, hair, photography, write books, food service, jewelry making, carpentry or any other freelance career or small business... you need these things. I have had a website since before websites were necessary because I learned "first things first", and whatever I did not have I figured out how to get it and IN THE RIGHT ORDER. When you climb the Empire State Building, you don't start at the top.

Last but CERTAINLY not least realize that if you want to make a living in your craft one day, you are ruining it for everyone including yourself by being out there "pretending" to be what you are not yet. You may charge less for lower quality work, but by doing so, you devalue the industry you are so desperately trying to be a part of. Then when the ones who are pro's show up with rates that are equivalent to their knowledge and true expertise, we get looked at like we have three heads and have to explain why we charge what we charge. Let's ALL join hands and put the value back into our industries because trade work and bartering will NOT put food on anyone's table, and I don't believe the power company will accept a makeover on trade. I am thankful to have clients that value my expertise but I want EVERY client out there to value YOU the industries that I love so much.

If this blog doesn't help you... just wait. I have a book for you, (I just have to finish writing it; hint-hint) Now go have yourself an AMAZING weekend! I love you all and want nothing more than for  EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU to LOVE and LIVE what you do and live your life to it's absolute fullest potential!



xoxo
Shells
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