Are Your Supposed Weaknesses Actually Your Strengths?

The summer after my freshman year of college, I approached the editor of a small, family-run, local magazine about the possibility of interning for him in some capacity. To test my abilities, he gave me an article assignment. But when I couldn’t get confidential information out of a source, the piece was scrapped, and he told me I wasn’t aggressive enough for the journalism industry.

I was crushed.

Fast forward about seven years. I was working full-time as a marketing associate at an academic book publisher, but still freelancing on the side. A family friend mentioned my name to this editor — the very same editor who had long ago made me doubt myself — and he contacted me about writing features for his magazine.

Obviously, he didn’t remember who I was. Not only that, but he ended up liking my work so much that he tried to lure me away from my job so that I could become a staff writer for his magazine. I was having none of it.

I eventually stopped writing for him because the pay was meh, and he kept introducing errors into my final copy. I also found him patronizing.

It was a valuable experience, though. It showed me clearly that while I may not be aggressive enough for hard news, my ability to develop a rapport with my sources when in a one-on-one, casual interview made me a valuable asset.

Plus, it was extra-satisfying to turn down a man who had once upon a time told me I wasn’t good enough.


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Is Your Business Flailing? Your Rates Aren’t The Problem

I'm so awesome they're throwing money at me.

Is business so slow you’ve considered lowering your rates?

I’ve considered taking similar measures in the past but, chances are, your rates ain’t the problem.

(And pushing non-stop contests and discount coupons will only cheapen your business, and make you seem desperate, so why don’t you dial that down, too?)

When I first launched my coaching business, I struggled with setting my rates.  Why? I was afraid. Would coaching rates turn off those who were used to consulting rates? Would my target client have the money to hire me? And if they did have the money, would they want to pay professional rates for someone who was such a n00b? Would I pay that much for me?

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Why Write? It Could Save Your Marriage

About a year ago, in the midst of the FLX query challenge and looking to branch out into new markets, I pitched Inside Jersey with an idea for a north Jersey wine tour. Basically, I thought it would be nifty to show how you could still enjoy tastings and wine culture in an area without wineries, via wine bars, shop tastings, etc.

The EIC thought it was a nifty idea, but then was all: how about you include wineries, and do The Ultimate NJ Wine Tour? And because it included the word “ultimate,” I got way excited and proceeded to visit all 33 NJ wineries registered through the NJ Wine Growers’ Association, in addition to wine shops, restaurants, bars, etc. My husband and I even took part in a wine making class (we bottle our Cabernet in September!).

We did it all in three, frenetic months, and I handed in my finished piece at the end of 2009. Finally, a full year after I first pitched it, it’s in print (go to page 66).

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Would I Pay That Much for Me? 5 Things To Consider


The other day, I had my very last coaching call with my mentor coach. Our goal for the call was to nail down the packages I would be offering to clients, and how much I would be charging. In order to prepare for the call,  I drew up a revised list of one-on-one coaching packages, with revised rates, and also came up with a ton of ideas for standalone teleclasses, and a kick-ass teleseries. I was seriously psyched to get my mentor’s opinion on what I’d pulled together.

And while she thought that was I was offering was seriously awesome, she thought I was charging far too little.

Why do I always have this problem?

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Writing: For What It’s Worth

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For a few months now, I’ve been working on a copywriting project made up of very adult content. And so, I’ve been spending my weekends at Barnes & Noble, researching sexting and lube and anal sex for beginners and writing furiously. A few weeks ago, upon telling my husband about the latest topic I was researching, he smirked and said, “I’m sorry, but I just can’t take your work seriously.”

I get the feeling this is a problem many writers have, even if they aren’t writing about nude wrestling and shower sex.

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