Feedback: The Breakfast Of Champions.

Does My Butt Look Big In These Jeans?

People say ‘gimme feedback,’ but when you ‘give ‘em what they want,’ which is honest feedback, it comes off as harsh or whatever.   It isn’t feedback that’s sought, but approbation, adulation & affirmation.  People truly don’t want your negative ideas, they want your good feedback.   They want you to say that their but does indeed rival Megan Fox’s, and that what they’ve created is perfect.

I have a confession:  I used to be the same way.  I used to get really prickly, really hostile when people would have the temerity to say that an idea that I created wasn’t a little better than Seth Godin’s, and when my writing–if not the equal of F. Scott Fitzgerald–was certainly close.  I’d use lash out responses: what have you done, can you do better, who the f–k are you?   And then what happened?   I stopped getting free advice.   I even got some feedback that was unsolicited a few times, and again, I’d vet the person and not the idea.  I’d be in Ad Hominem city.

But do you know what happened?

I stopped getting useful feedback.

I stopped getting people that wanted to help me, and instead, I got ‘hey great work,’ all the time.   I was left with nothing to think about, and I was left with nothing to do really.   I couldn’t trust the feedback because I made it so costly to give it to me.  I did this because I was insecure, and I did this because I was needy enough to seek the chorus of yes men.   And what I made suffered.

So, now, with thanks to Teri, thanks even to Scott, and others…for ideas that are like this.   I really don’t need a lot of ‘attaboys.’  While I crave more inlinks, I don’t work at it hard enough to make it happen.

And so, slather on the venom.  I want to hear the bad things, the things I can improve on.  My ego strength can withstand it, and I won’t even try and get testy or argue.

What kind of feedback do you seek?  What do you do to make sure it’s rewarding for others to point out your inevitable mistakes?

Clearing Out Projects To Take New Ones (A Freelancer’s Mea Culpa)

Some 4am Notes On Project Management, Deadlines, and Freelancing

I’m up because I’m up.  I was feedburnering people’s blogs, I was doing what I needed to do to make sure that everything happened correctly for my clients, and that the deadlines that I promised would be met.  I was working on people in order of the amount of money that they paid me…in lieu of the order of my promised commitment.  That’s not what I want to be in.  I’m grinding them out LIFO now, and it is well…with my soul.

I go through these cycles, not often and I don’t really sweat it.  I don’t sleep, it’s 4, and I’m fine with that.  I am reasonably awake for the time of day, and I plan to power through and drop dead around 10p.  The challenge is to not brag about being up all night to the people I have to see.  We’ll get it figured out.   I’m going to the gym in an hour, just for the novelty of getting there in the morning as it opens.  It’s interesting noting my physiology, and what different things, different experiences do to me.

Right now, I don’t have any problem getting work.   I’m grateful for that in this economy.  My business is steady and picking up every month.  GenuineWife is even happy about it.   I’m not perfect–I’m reinventing the wheel too often, and I have to quit it.   I’m working to diversify out of the FIRE (FinanceInsuranceRealEstate) business.  (Though I still have a lot to give).  I’m too eager to do things, but I’m defining what I want to make.   I’m learning a bit about how I work, though.  I thought a tool like Basecamp would change my life.  I dig Basecamp a ton…and I like the tool.  It doesn’t change my life if you don’t recognize how you’re fundamentally wired.  I’m not wired to multi task, I’m wired to single task or have a couple things in order to do.  “Support” isn’t my strong point.

I  need fewer, bigger, projects.   OR, I need a PM to grind the details and to continue to create the process.  Because I was worried about some impending doom, and hungry Jack…everything that I could do, I basically took in every paying client that I could find.   Anyone that didn’t have a huge credit risk or sell Porno, I took in.   And I kept cold calling, drumming up business.  That meant that I filled Basecamp up and had more to do.   And less, overall, was getting done because I was getting ‘where’s my deal’ IMs/calls/emails.   The week before thanksgiving was the worst, and I think I let lots of folks donw.

The reason I took half the work I did wasn’t because I liked it…it was because I figured new and more and better work was never coming… I still have the Ohio Scarcity mentality–that if I don’t really crank, I’ll die.  But, the quality of my delivered stuff went down and (B) the deadlines got missed.  And deadlines are the only the currency that I can trade in. Right Right Now’s core premise is hitting a deadline with a fiduciary level talent.  I spent the last two weeks really hammering details of little projects.   Doing blogs, instead of pursuing my muse.   And I felt better.    Each time I got to close out of Basecamp made me smile a little more.   Going from 18 to 12 to 9…feels good, and then having the big projects under “my” company instead of others…felt better.   Each one loosened the noose around my neck and away from that doomfog that comes to cause procrastination.

I’m not out of it, but it’s managable, and I no longer worry that I’m never gonna get control again.  I got a lot handled and controlled and now I’m in a position where I feel like if I can’t take new work soon, I’ll be able to work ON my business (getting my website done, getting a core cadre of freelancers vetted, getting more of a sales process/bidding process).

I wanted to make some cumbersome thing, but right now, I think I will do the projects 60-40 with 10% going to a PM, 30% going to me, and 55-60% going to the person that executes for me…provided they execute at the grown up level and need little folllow up.   This is a draft–I’m sure I’ll revise it, but I’ve got a welcome freelancers letter that I think works well.  (See it here) It’s got some of the Ohio Scarcity that I wanna avoid in it, and so I’ll have to keep thinking about it.

I was going to do it in some more complicated/less transparent way, but I don’t really want bookkeeping hassles.  I paid a bunch of people this week and it was stupid.   I’ll noodle that over the holidays.  I want to be different than a contract house, to honor freelancers, and to make sure that a business runs well.  I can sell jobs, no problem.  A straight percentage does things.

My friend Laura talks to me about really minding my store and keeping all expenses down.  She laughed at my willingness to pay paypal’s vig when authorize had a lower one.  OK fine.  But really, instead of maximizing every single dime I get, why not really work hard.  Not having to think about stuff, not having an extra password and an extra loop to process is well worth it to me.   I have plenty of tools, kludges, and places to ‘check’ as it is.    If paypal charges more, but I have less to think about and a 60 day chargeback window, I’m a happy dude.

Anyway, if you’ve got a project due it’s on its way.  I’m not taking in new work till I get my current stuff completed, my muse launched, etc.   I’m cafinated and going tothe gym now.

Scheduled this for 7:34.   Only two weeks and 8? working days left this year.  One week & one day till Christmas.

Perfectionism, Learning F–k Therapy.

Permission to think your thougths.  That’s what Teri called F–k Therapy, the new book that I’ve got coming out in just about 36 hours.  I’m excited about it because I’m proud of it.  I learned the mechanics of making an e-book with LO Survial guide (buy it because I AM taking it down).  This time, I’m going to learn how to promote it, as I go.  I’m excited about it.

Beyond the kitschy BS that we used to make, Steve and I gave every effort to make some good advice.   And it’s a blast, saying that your basement doesn’t need to look like Brutus Buckeye’s asshole, and making money doing it.  It’s going to be a blast promoting this over the holiday break, and doing what it it takes to sell this thing.  And it’s going to be a blast to do this.

Stay tuned compadres.  More f–king goodness is available.

Also–for those of you that read me, I’m going to give away the 1.0 and 2.0 stuff that gets me more freelance business than I cn handle.  I want to make sure that I keep freelancing alive and kickin’ and thus, in the sidebar is a way to get my e-book.  Yes, I want to build my mailing list, but yes, I also think that permission rented is permission destroyed.  So sign up, especially if you’re a freelancer.

Freaky Good Blog Post.

So I’m cruising the web as I finish up F–k therapy, loooking for CC licensed work to use for commercial purposes. I see a couple of good images, and then an incredible tutorial on how to create propiganda:

http://thefishery.typepad.com/the_fishery/2008/08/why-obama-may-n.html

Go look for yourselves. AMAZING.

More posts soon, including one on how to write an ebook.

F–k therapy is two weeks late, but friends, it’s the best thing I’ve done.

http://thefishery.typepad.com/the_fishery/2008/08/why-obama-may-n.html