Marketing and self-promotion are two things I hate and therefore am a complete and utter failure at pursuing. If this was how I had to make my living in a sink-or-swim situation I can see myself setting up house on the ocean’s floor. Thankfully it’s not. Thankfully I have other skills that keep our lifestyle afloat.
But I was thinking about it this morning because of work and a client meeting today. For whatever reason, one of our biggest clients absolutely adores me. I mean, they want to talk to me, the person who sends them the hefty invoices every month, before they want to talk to their project manager, so I have by default become their quasi-project manager. It’s amusing to their actual PM; he says I make it simpler for him to get the work done because I am his schmooze buffer.
Anyway, this client recently aquired a few new properties and need our help, which is GREAT for us. So they called last week to tell me about the new acquisitions and to jump-start the process of assessing and making recommendations on how to proceed before the regulators get antsy and start sending their nastygrams. Their PM and the other senior staff are having a working lunch meeting with them today, and I must attend as well. Because they like me so much. While I enjoy the occasional free lunch, it is difficult to give up a couple of hours on the last day of the month, but they pay us a lot of money so I can certainly humor them.
Still, I am not marketing so much as being cordial and nice to paying customers. I like them fine as people and usually enjoy our monthly chats (the CFO calls me every month to talk about their invoice, the big boss calls me whenever he wants information about the project work). If I had to try to sell them something, though, I do not know that I could. I seem to fold up into a flat caricature of myself when on the spot to produce results.
Which is also why I cannot see myself being self-employed. The side gigs I have are either because I knew them before I started contract working for them (the case of part-time jobs #1 and formerly #2) or am referred by someone I do know (the case in part-time job #3). If my full-time gig fades away we would be okay with my existing part-time gigs, but I would most definitely have to expand my to other clients or M would have to return to the workforce. Health insurance alone would be a very uncomfortable line item to add to the budget.
We work with a lovely marketing professional who makes it look so easy. She is not pushy or overbearing, yet the brochures and marekting materials she has devised are impressive. And ours is not an industry that lends itself to flashy or clever marketing campaigns. Watching her interact with clients and potential clients, there is an undefinable quality she has that makes one instantly give her words more confidence, more weight of trust, like she is not really trying to sell or persuade so much as present and let you decide, and choosing us should be a no-brainer. It is intriguing to watch, especially since I feel like the villiage idiot in comparison.
I know we all have are strengths and weaknesses, work we have to work at with everything we have and work that comes so easily it does not seem like work. When I am in the presence of someone really good at tasks where I falter, I admire them and try to pick up some simple things I can try out on my own. She is so smooth I end up admiring her skill and being glad she’s there so I do not have to try that hard.