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You’re the one who makes the rules.
This is your business. You create it.
Take the well meaning advice, shoulds, “Top 10 Must Haves for Your Site” articles and step-by-step-see-it’s-so-easy!-how-tos into consideration, and then DO WHAT YOU WANT. What works for you. What feels right to you. Because only you know.
It sounds so obvious, but is too easy to forget. I spent the first 5 or so years of my self-employed life feeling pressure and burden and guilt from my job, when I was the one who created my entire job description! I only answered to myself, yet nothing was ever good enough and I was finding myself doing a whole bunch of things in my day I sort of hated, or at least resented, a slave to my self-imposed to-do list.
It makes no sense.
“When you let go of something that blocks the energy, you create the space for something higher to come in.”
– Sonia Choquette, Trust your Vibes
Almost as soon as I let go of something big in my life, I had a resurgence of energy to put into my own business again.
We only have so much energy from which to draw from, and I had been stretched so thin, stirring so many different pots at once, that a whole bunch of nothing was getting done. I was starting to feel overwhelmed and depleted everyday, again, and totally unmotivated to go on.
I decided that I needed to let something go….
As soon as we made the firm decision to let go of The Maven Circle, a business my friend Jen and I have been partnering in for the last couple years, I felt this huge weight lift off my shoulders. The burden of guilt, overwhelm and hopeful expectation- released.
Ahh, I could breathe again.
And it’s not because I didn’t LOVE doing it. I did. I also thought about letting go of my personal business to be able to continue TMC fulltime, because I loved it so much. Either way, I knew it was time I had to pick one to focus on, in order to really create what I wanted to create with it.
My space here, all the years I’ve put into it, you guys reading, and the fact that my income comes from this :) all won out, in the end, but it was a hard decision.
If you ask an editor the real reason why they’re not responding to your pitch, they’ll usually say it’s because they’re just really busy, you’re not a good fit right now, for whatever reason, nothing personal, but they honestly don’t have the time to write you back and tell you that.
And that’s true. It’s not personal. And they don’t have time. They’re trying to have lives too, while trying to balance work and their passions and making money and taking care of themselves. They’re trying to do it all, keep up with it all, too.
In fact, they’re really quite similar to you. Just another person trying to share their creative talents in a way that they can make a living from.
But so often, when we write a pitch, we are writing to this SOMETHING, rather than someone.
We write to “the BLOG”, “the MAGAZINE”, and the blank void whoever that’s behind it. We write to an editor persona that we already think is, by definition- judgmental, critiquing, discerning (it’s like, in their job description.) Can we say, intimidating?
Especially the ones you admire, the blogs you REALLLLLY want to see your brand on, the magazines you look forward to every month that you so so SO want to see your designs in. Those places seem too BIG, too LOFTY, too PERFECT, too IMPOSSIBLE. They’re the peaks you hope to reach later, someday, as right now you’re struggling to climb up the mountain.
But those peaks can be reached by anyone. By YOU, right now, if you have something awesome to share that connects with the someone awesome on the other end of that blog or magazine.
That’s all there is to getting media exposure, when you really boil it down.
So, the bridge between you and that tippy top of the mountain is simply, your pitch.
It’s the first point of communication between you and an editor. It’s the handshake. The introduction. The blushing, eye contact, awkward conversation fillers.
Pitches are the first impression you’re making on editors, and way too often, they’re lacking any efforts of making a connection at all.
They’re cold, bland, expected. Yaaaawning.
They’re unfocused, indirect. Avoiding eye contact.
And way too many pitches are just like the guy at the party that you’re introduced to and he starts to tell you allll about his life and what he does and goes on and on about himself for the next 5 minutes straight, without asking you ONE question, or showing ANY interest in you, like, at all. And you feel like he could be talking to anybody right now cause he’s just talking AT you, not with you.
And you make an excuse that you have to pee just to get away from him, but you really just go stand next to the snack table and eat some cheese, because who wants to stand next to that guy? NOBODY.
It’s because those kind of approaches make you feel ICKY, whether they’re in person, or coming through the computer screen.
And therein lies the real, mostly subconscious, reason why editors aren’t responding to your pitch…because it made them feel icky. In some way.
Last week, I went to an “Urban Campfire“, a night for entrepreneurial women to come together to share stories, not about business, but about life, over dinner and drinks. There were five awesome speakers (my friend Jen being one of them) who told personal stories around the theme, “Rising From the Ashes.”
They opened up about relationship struggles, about recreating old patterns, ignoring their inner voices, about unbearable abuse and pain, including a woman whose baby and husband both died, about traumatic health scares and so many BIG SCARY things. The common thread through each story though, was that they all got through it: lessons learned, insight gained, perspectives shifted.
And their stories, as painful and hard to live through as they must have been, all led to these women, standing strong and brave before our eyes, baring themselves, inspiring and connecting us.
When it was dinner and dessert time, around our individual tables we were asked to answer some questions with one another. First up…
“What’s your biggest failure, and what did it lead to?”
I heard women from 30-something to 60-something opening up about their failed marriages, about having to declare bankruptcy (3 of them had!), of being misunderstood and not accepted by family, of health issues, of wanting to be better mothers- more BIG stuff.
So when it came time for me to share, the spiel I had been rehearsing in my head about how “well, I don’t really believe in failure, but if I did, I guess I’d say that my biggest failure is not being able to fully show my true self, come out of my shell, and these are the ways I’m working on it…” fell away, and instead, my mouth just spilled open…