Thursday, August 28, 2008

Time Flies

I just received a catalog from a company that is trying to sell me stickers to put on my written business correspondence. My first thought when I saw the envelope was I hardly do any written business correspondence anymore, so I certainly don’t need stickers. My second thought was why are they sending me stickers? I haven’t bought anything from them in years.

The sample stickers said “Bobbi Linkemer & Co. Celebrates 20th Anniversary.” Twenty years? Can that be true? It is true, I realize, or it will be on January 1, 2009. My third thought was something like time flies when you’re having fun.

I wasn’t aware as the years passed that they were flying. At times, I could have sworn they were not even moving. But they have definitely elapsed, and I had a handful of totally useless, shiny stickers in various shapes and sizes to attest to that fact.

What had I been doing for 20 years? Well, surviving for one thing. The financial ups and downs were often as unsettling as a roller coaster ride. Some years were in the clouds; others barely kept from crashing into the ground. And there was no predicting what was coming next.

Reinventing myself took a lot of my time. I had so many identities over two decades, sometimes, I didn’t recognize myself. Every time I felt I had a handle on what clients wanted, they wanted something completely different. It’s called market demand, and a freelance writer had better meet it or perish. Perishing was not an option.

Wearing all the hats — technician, entrepreneur, and manager, in the words of David Gerber in The E-Myth Revisited – occupied all of my time. The problem is that few of us are good at all three; and, if you can’t do it, you have to hire someone who can, which brings us back to the roller coaster metaphor.

This is a pretty superficial assessment of my two decades as an independent writer, but I have four more months to contemplate what I did right, what I did wrong, and what I would do if I could do it all over again. In the meantime I’m designing an online sticker-style icon that says “Bobbi Linkemer & Co. Celebrates 20th Anniversary.” Then I’m going to plan the party.


Patricia said...

Hooray!! a party! Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary.