Trade In the Stupid Lemon Already! Part 2

Earlier in the week, I wrote about my car saga — my personal story of a choice that served me once, but then became a liability.

That’s a story from my personal life. Let me tell you a story from my professional life.

Years ago, I was bringing my young family back to the United States from a three-year expat assignment in Europe. My employer was under a global hiring freeze, so I took a job working on something I was completely unsuited for, in an organization that had no idea what it was doing.

I tolerated the ambiguity for the sake of a steady paycheck so that I could get a mortgage, buy a house, and feed my kid. I was exasperated, but I had a purpose. I could see that my organization was self-destructing, knew that my short-term choice was a path to disaster in the long-term, so I had to escape.

When another role opened up, I took it, and my former organization fell apart a few months later.

I made the right choice and dodged a bullet.

I tell you this story because it illustrates a basic point — sometimes you must make short-term choices that serve an immediate need, even if they set you back on your long-term plan.

But you must be ready to leap for a better option.

That’s a hard balancing act. As you grow your copywriting business, you’ll make many choices like these — where short-term need and long-term vision conflict.

This week, I’m trying to finish three large projects by October 5th, so I worked through the weekend. They are complex, difficult, and rushed — so I'm stressed. Doing these projects goes against my long-term vision for my writer’s life. I left corporate life for better work/life balance.

Working through the weekend, I felt my work/life balance really stank. But that’s okay, because I have my reasons:

  1. I want to bill these projects ASAP.
  2. I’m building better relationships with my clients.
  3. I’m getting more samples for my long-term marketing plan.

Making these choices — where you balance short-term needs with long-term vision — is often very hard. If you’re struggling with these choices or looking for better options, hearing an outsider’s perspective can really help.

How do you find an outsider who can help? Here are a few ways:

  1. Many cities have a small business incubator, often staffed with retired business executives, who provide free advice and insight. Check out for details.
  2. Often our friends have useful business experience we can leverage. I talk about business development with a friend at least once a month.
  3. Many copywriters also provide coaching services. Some of the best Business-to-Business copywriters out there, like Steve Slaunwhite or Ed Gandia, offer useful coaching services.

And of course, you can always ask questions in the comments section of this blog. How can AWAI help you as you move forward? What hard choices are you making?

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: October 4, 2012

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