July 19, 2011
In: Online Marketing
I'm in an airport.
Paris' Orly airport, to be exact, and while I keep trying to write this post, I keep getting distracted by the giant baguette to my right – I can't even finish a sentence without stopping to take a bite of this shit. It's that good.
A hoard of red-lipped French women look at me with disdain, probably calling me countless synonyms for the word “pig” in their heads, while I'm over here continually tempted to yank a stick of deodorant out of my luggage and wave it in the air, arching my eyebrows sarcastically. You may have Louie Vuitton, but I have aluminum chloride, honey. Hoh, hoh hoh hohhhh.
Indeed, France was fun. Evidenced below.
But now, I'm on my way to Barcelona–a place I've dreamed about going since I first went to London as a college student and met a Spanish pilot there who raved about his city.
Once in Barcelona, I'm renting a room for a month in a flat near El Gotico, where I'll be shacking up with a Mexican guy, a French guy, an American guy, and an Argentine girl. This should be good. In all likelihood, we'll either end up the best of friends or scorned lovers. Like I said, this should be good.
My room looks absolutely adorable, with vaulted ceilings and its own private balcony, overlooking a cobblestone alleyway. I really hope some guy comes and serenades me under the moonlight, at least once. I mean, what else are balconies good for? I will clearly have to call the Spanish pilot to see if he might be able to accommodate my wishes.
This is the first time in a while that I've actively been on the road; I spent the last 9 months living in Chile, and the last time I was on the go was when I did a cross-country trip across the U.S.A. with Colin Wright and Andi Norris last summer. Oh, how I miss driving 11 hours straight in a 2 door coupe, subsisting purely on Redbull and popcorn while trying to refrain from accidentally elbowing Colin in the face. “Accidentally.” Muah ha.
And let me tell you a little something about working from the road:
It's balls to the wall hard.
Hard like tying your shoe for the first time hard. Hard like watching your best friend marry someone he isn't in love with hard. Hard like never really knowing whether the fork goes on the left or the right, already. (Note: While working my first job ever at the age of 13, I learned that the forks go on the left because there are four letters in the word “fork,” and four letters in the word “left.” Seriously, where would you be without this blog?!)
I was going to make a cancer reference, but I figured that doing business from the road isn't really that hard. It can't compare to losing your hair and vomiting up blood. No, that's not me being insensitive. I HAVE HAD PEOPLE DIE FROM CANCER. Of course I have. According to @ErikaNapo, I'm the modern version of Typhoid Mary.
The thing about doing business on the road is this: You're on the road. And when you're on the road, you're…not exactly on your laptop. And that's where your ass needs to be if you want to, say, not have to file for bankruptcy.
It's a delicate balance.
Clients need you because they have deadlines, and rightfully so. Customers need you because they're experiencing trouble logging into your system, and you need to handle that. Readers need you because they're trying to actively learn from you, and you've got to have their backs. And YOU need you, because you've got to be developing your own collection of products and resources to diversify your income and make your mark on the world.
Business aside, let's not forget about everyone else who needs you.
Your parents, assuming you aren't Typhoid Mary and they aren't all dead, need you to call to check in and make them feel like they're still needed. Your significant other, assuming you aren't evil slash hideous and actually want one, needs you to keep the romance alive and make them feel important. Your best friend from high school, assuming you still talk, needs your support as she makes a career transition. Your best friend from college, assuming you still remember one other since the only time you spent together was at the pub, needs you because she's having a baby. Your best friend in your present life, assuming you have a life, needs you because she's having a quarter life crisis. Your credit card company needs you to pay the bills. Your body needs you to do exercise. Your mind needs you to sleep. Your hobby needs you to practice. Your soul needs love. And your libido needs sexxxxxxx! *
*I am not screaming that, despite the misleading exclamation mark that is only there because the word sex must be followed up by an exclamation mark, or you know it's boring sex, and we can't have that on this website. Also, I am well-aware that when there is a footnote denoted by an asterisk, the standard protocol is to put the footnote at the end. But I am breaking the rules. This should not come as a surprise, despite the fact I got straight A's in high school, and before that, in middle school, repeatedly refused to make out with Josh Fuller on the playground on moral grounds. Well, that's what I called it anyway, but I really refused because I was terrified of being put up against the wall–the punishment for pre-maturely sticking your tongue down the throats of adolescent members of the opposite sex. Wait. I mean, sex! Though, it's not the same meaning. But whatever.
Anyway, that's only the half of it.
Meanwhile, as you continue on trying to keep up with your regular commitments, responsibilities and relationships, you lose sight of why you set out on the road in the first place: To experience it. As in the road.
Hence that bullshit about balance that I just mentioned.
But if you're anything like me, which you probably are if you're reading this (hi!), then you get fed up with the whole balance game. It's exhausting trying to “have balance.” And to be honest? If you're actually kicking things up a notch and doing it the right way – whether it's your business, your body or your sex life – then balance can't exist. It's an oxymoron.
Sucks for you, eh?
Really sucks when there are Spanish suitors lined up outside of your balcony inviting you out for tapas and 7 bottles of wine, but you can't, because you're an entrepreneur, and you have work to do, and you take this shit seriously.*
*This WILL happen.
I'm bringing all of this up because sometimes, even the brightest entrepreneurs pussy out. Yes, that's right, I just used a vulgar word on a public blog! And I'm a girl! And I'm demeaning myself and my body! And I'm probably going to hell! But we all knew that from the beginning, didn't we?
Lexicon aside, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
You're not making any progress.
You're wondering if you're just wasting your time.
And chasing foolish dreams.
You're wondering if, perhaps, your dreams aren't foolish, but you are.
You're filled with anxiety that you won't be able to make it all work.
And then you have a good day, or a good week, or a good month, and you regain your confidence.
But you quickly lose it the moment you receive a criticism.
Or you don't get as many sales as you hoped for.
Or no one seems to care that you exist.
And you feel like you're at a stand-still.
But each day seems like a whole week, and each week seems like an eternity, and as more time passes, you start to lose the shimmer in your big batty eye.
And you think about giving up.
Because, after all, life is so much easier when you do what you're told, instead of having the responsibility of making up the rules–and break them as you see fit.
Because entrepreneurship is HARD.
While I might get to hop around, visiting glamorous places and doing fun things (eating questionable hot dogs from a French street vendor the other night does NOT count), I'll be the first to tell you that with the glory, comes the grind. I work harder now than I ever did in my corporate positions. And you will, too.
As an entrepreneur, you are NOT just a skilled professional in your craft – you've also got to play the role of marketer, sales person, creator, editor, critic, cheerleader, investor, accountant, boss, employee..and more. And yeah. It's exhausting.
It's worth it.
However. The moment you let one of those balls drop, your business will suffer. There's no sugarcoating here. You've got to find the time, and the energy, and the resilience to make it all work. And if you're not willing to pull some shit out of a hat to make it work? Then you probably shouldn't be an entrepreneur.
That said, despite the grime, and the perverted customers who think that you will favor them if they reference their penis in their emails (wait till you're in the biz for a while), IT IS WORTH IT.
Don't forget it.
As I type this section, I'm now on the plane to Barcelona, catching my very first glimpses (ever) of the Mediterranean Sea, hugging the coastline of the French Riviera.
It's Monday at 2:35pm.
In my past life on Monday at 2:35pm, I would have just returned from lunch, feeling the afternoon slump, hoping that the next 3 hours passed by quickly.