“I’m Mad As Hell – At Myself!” Or “I Want To Believe, Again”

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This will definitely be a rant, so if you’re sensitive then close this page and seek out today’s “warm and fuzzy” quotes.

If you’re still with me… read on.

I’ve been truly inspired by the people of Wisconsin and the support by so many other (hopefully) working men and women.  It tugs at my childhood, growing up in suburban Detroit, when just about everyone on my block and the next block worked for one of The Big Three. Everything was connected to the automotive industry in some manner.

My own grandfather had immigrated to the United States in the 1920s from England and spent the rest of his adult life proudly working at Ford Motor Company.  Passing away on the very day he went to apply for retirement benefits. (Benefits that assisted my grandmother until her death at age of 104 or so.)
(My father standing with my grandmother and grandfather, next to my grandfather’s new Ford Galaxie and my little bro sneaking into the picture, suburbia Detroit circa 1966.)

By the time I graduated high school, I was smart enough to realize that staying in an economy entirely dependent upon the automotive industry was not my dream. Thus, I had a plan and found myself living in Chicago when I was twenty-one.  College, career, urban life, marriage, kids, condo… happy.

Now, decades later, I find I’m struggling to motivate and breath new life into my ten year-old business (again) because my values have changed.  Let me explain:
  1.  I’m sick of working on client projects for Chinese-based companies!
  2.  I’m sick of reading that people are losing their jobs to simply satisfy Wall Street greed!
  3. I’m sick of the business philosophy that anything & everything is on the table to satisfy the bottom line! (Except their excessive expense accounts, of course)
  4. I’m sick of corporate & legal wrangling delaying approval!
  5. I’m sick my receivables being stretched by accounting departments!
  6. I’m sick of the BS that feeds the stock market!
  7. I’m sick of ‘rockstars’ who are all show and no substance!
  8. I’m sick of everyone telling me to stick to “old school methods”! (See #3)
  9. I’m sick of people squeezing me for extra money without providing anything in return!
I’m mad as hell — at myself! I sold myself out so that I could scrape by to pay the bills, thus suppressing my core values as I’ve matured as a woman and solo-preneur in our new economy. Call me stupid. Call me niave. Call me irresponsible. I don’t care.  The first 5-7 years of my company was going gang busters!

This article may come full circle to some of my clients or contacts and not be considered very professional. That’s OK with me because I’m a different person, now.  I want to work with like-minded people who are eager to do business with other like-minded people. The Danielle LaPorte interview with David Siteman Garland’s Rise To The Top webcast was raw and gutsy, hitting some salient points for me. Particulary, Danielle’s comment “I’m an entrepreneur because I don’t like people telling me what to do.” 

What’s professional about selling your self out?

  • I’ve supported and negotiated fees with clients just to make a few bucks to pay the electric or cell phone bill.  NOT ANYMORE!
  • Accounts stretching out payment for 45, 60 or 90 days, NOT ANYMORE!
  • Continually demand rush creative service, NOT ANYMORE!
  • Call me at 4p Friday and expect an update back same day, NOT ANYMORE!
  • Refuse to provide a full creative brief or direction for the project and reject my ideas, NOT ANYMORE!
Since the ‘financial crisis’ of 2008, my husband and I lost our shirts with a short-sale on our house in northern Michigan, moved back to Chicago (a blessing), sold our cars (completely pedestrian which is OK), donated nearly 50% of the stuff that filled the 4-bedroom house (shedding the junk is liberating), our health insurance ended and on and on.  Life happens.
  • I’m not a greedy person. 
  • My donations, contributions and pay-it-forward activities have been very generous over the years. 
  • I’m a fair and flexible person.
  • My rates are not excessive.
  • I contribute my talents to non-profits (1-2 per year).
  • I help start-ups.
  • I support those escaping the ‘cubicle nation’.
  • I’m kind and understanding.
  • I’m a good listener.

I want to believe, again. Well, I’m made as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore. Stay tuned ‘cuz I’m fired up and want to believe in something bigger and better for me, my family and… you.  

I only hope my grandfather would approve.