work in progress

Lately I’ve had several discussions in which I found myself saying versions of what I don’t do:

Grant writing is a very specific niche and requires a lot of expertise to get dollars, so I would be more helpful in proofing your first or second draft.

The type of book you’re suggesting is equivalent in work and research to a master’s thesis and I can’t ghostwrite it for you; perhaps if you do the initial version I can edit it and make it better.

I can easily write SEO web copy but, trust me, it’s better for all of us if I don’t do the programming.

Also there was one conversation I thought but did not verbalize about my preference for getting a colonoscopy rather than working with a particular software company again.

The common theme—besides being asked to do things way above my experience level, which in its own way is kind of nice—is that after three years of freelancing (Latin for “do whatever pays the bills”) I have lost sight of my mission.

In broad terms, I help organizations doing good to do better—I work primarily with nonprofits because that’s where I have connections, and I typically provide organizational consulting, marketing ideas, copywriting, or project management to get it done.

And it’s successful because I usually can pay the bills. But that’s not good enough anymore; I need to think about other questions: What work is so fun I lose track of time? What ideas or causes mean the most to me? How do I want to spend 40-65 hours a week?

To kick things off I am rethinking what I’m best at. Here’s what I have so far:

• Finding great decorating ideas in magazines

• Leaving my house without an umbrella

• Buying used books

• Memorizing kind of lame Kelly Clarkson songs

• Updating my Facebook status

• Losing my keys

• Saving the environment by using a toaster oven to cook 75% of my food

• Feeling too lazy to flip the switch on the toaster and eating sherbet for dinner instead

• Walking in heels

• Planting begonias

This is why Stephen Covey makes so much money.

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