Gefilte Fish Out of Water

March 27, 2010, 9:24 pm
Filed under: Infrastructure, Struggles, Work | Tags:

I’ve got a lot of major changes coming at me all at once.  I’m starting to look for a new place, hoping to move out on April 30.  And I had a fantastic new business meeting last week that could bring me a lot of new work.

This is good stuff.  I put together my first PowerPoint presentation on how companies can use Facebook and Twitter, and I killed with it.  I’ve been asked to put together a proposal for next week, where I would do monthly social media trainings for this company’s clients – and be available to do social media implementation work for their clients.

This is fabulous, but I’m mostly just interested in the monthly trainings.  Even if a small % of their clients decide I was so impressive during a training that they want me to handle their Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin pages – say, 10 out of 138 – that’d still be a lot of new work all at one.  Too much?  And too much of the same kind of client – nonprofits – when I’d also like some fun, pop-culturey, commercial ones.

I’m all for replacing the remaining bit of work I’m letting go from my main nonprofit client when I stop working with them in May – but I might want to be more selective with who I replace them with.  Let self-belief drive a little while and give fear a rest.

The good news is all these changes are temporary.  In May, I’ll have a more stable roster of clients, and I’ll be living and working in my apartment by then.  But for the time being, I’m just in major flux – with two twin-biggies: housing and working.  Even though I know it’s temporary, I’ve still gotta hang on for dear life right now.


Heating Up
March 13, 2010, 10:01 pm
Filed under: Work | Tags: , , ,

Really just a quick note to say that my consulting business is progressing very nicely.  I am very busy, and enjoying my work very much.  I’m trying new things and seeing good results with them, and I’m gaining new clients, too.

I’m not going to talk about specific clients on here anymore, because I don’t think it’s smart.  They may not appreciate it; why risk it?  Also, it’s just not necessary to be that specific for this blog to work.

Since I last posted, I:

  • Created an online press room for a client and widely-yet-targeted distributed a press release for them
  • Started following-up on the press release and already generated some coverage for them (much more to come)
  • Started a Facebook fan page for my 3rd client
  • Designed and launched a Facebook gifting application (!!!) for a client that’s already been used 400 times !!!
  • Had a job interview for a 4th client and am working on my first power-point presentation for them on spec.

I’ve been working very, very hard – but it’s been very, very fun! 

Workin in a Coal Mine
February 27, 2010, 7:30 pm
Filed under: Work

Hey, Guys – gonna bang out a few posts now, but they’ll probably be short ones.  I’ve had a great Shabbat, just sleeping the day away, and catching up on American Idol w/Petey. 

I soooo needed it, b/c I think I had the hardest working week of my life.  My ex-boyfriend     soon-to-be-ex-landlord     nemesis     dementor    soon-to-be-former-boss left for a month-long business trip on Thursday, and before he did I put together a huge, 400-piece outreach mailing, continuing a year-long project of introducing our NGO to various groups and agencies we feel are likely to support us (schools, law schools, NGOs, Fortune 500 diversity groups, LGBT community centers, more).  Each group got a different letter and press clip, so it wasn’t just the volume, it was the number of different moving parts to keep straight.

Another client is approaching venture capitalists next month to raise a new round of capital, and they are looking for media hits ASAP to be able to show potential investors.  So, in less than a week, I wrote multiple drafts of:

  • Two press releases
  • Three corporate bios
  • A “Q&A” press kit piece
  • 5 core messages (key internal document)
  • “At-A-Glance” (fact-sheet; another key press kit component)
  • boilerplate paragraph (to be included below all press releases)
  • ALSO:
    • creating multiple, targeted media lists across all mediums
    • drafting blueprint for online press room

That’s a lot of writing!  We will reuse and repurpose a lot of these documents for a long time.  But the ramp-up and creation of these key materials is time and labor intensive.  It requires not only brilliant writing, but a lot of thought as you try and crystallize and articulate the company’s story.  (Now, I have two days to put together a core “A” and “B” list of our top target bloggers to give a preview to in order to convert their attention into the media coverage we are seeking.  My work has been outstanding so far, and my strategy is solid.  But it was some days of writing for 11 hours straight, and I had to be at the top of my game.  The entire program is coming from my head only – it will succeed or fail as a result of my efforts alone.  There were times when I had finished a lot of writing for one day, but because there was so much more to do and such a hard deadline, I had to just take a break and walk the dog, then make some more coffee and get right back to it.

I also had my first work-session for a limited social media campaign I’m putting together for my newest client.  I worked on site, so the client could have input and feel that I’ve got their concepts down enough to turn me loose and have do the implementation work on my own after that.  It’s a really fun client, but again – the ramp-up phase of working with a new client is always the most labor and time intensive.

I’m proud of myself for staying focused and not quitting before the job was done.  I had to be very self-disciplined, b/c there’s no one but me in my apartment lighting this fire under me (that needs to be there).  Of course I want to remain humble and give props to God, not think I do any of this alone, etc. – but I definitely do my part, and I really “showed up for myself” and worked hard this week.  In fact, I’m not exaggerating one iota when I say I worked the hardest this week than I ever have before in my whole life.  What a wonderful feeling to know that I certainly haven’t peaked yet!

Independence Day
February 20, 2010, 5:16 pm
Filed under: Work | Tags: , ,

Great news, Peeps.

Last week, I wrote about some fast changes that were  happening in my life.  Mainly around my career.  Well, last Sunday I met with my social media client, and we agreed to double my hours (up to 30/week now) and I would being implementing a PR campaign for them, while continuing my social media strategy and implementation duties.

What was especially great about this is that I got to contact my boss at my full-time nonprofit consulting gig and tell him I was scaling back my hours with him.  We spoke again later the same day, and he asked me if my plans included scaling back even further en route to departing the organization. I told him Yes.

There’s major history there that’s still embargoed for the time being, but do you think I liked it when he remarked that my departure would be “catastrophic” for the organization?  [answer: hellz yeah]

I’m also going to be moving in the middle of May, because there are several problems with this apartment.  Again, it’s not stuff I explore too deeply on G-Fish, but there is a connection b/t my employer and my apartment, too.  So, when I was recounting all these developments to my friend Juni, she said, So it sounds like the middle of May won’t be just Israel’s Independence Day, but yours as well!

Oh, and Juni’s becoming my client, also.  June is beyond remarkable.  She was appointed 2008’s Person of The Year by the Mayor of Tel Aviv (the real one, not some Foursquare shiz).  She runs an organization called Because We Care, which is all about educating Israelis to be accountable for taking care of our land and our society.  One of its most successful programs is called “Saki-Kaki,” which posts little doggy bags around Israel’s parks and streets and encourages people to curb their dogs.

I’m going to be doing a social media campaign for Saki-Kaki, and I’m so excited about it.  It’ll be great to work for a friend as dear as she, and I’m also glad to pick up another nonprofit client with a great mission.

I told you last week how I think I may be picking up a lot more work in May, when my other friend’s company relaunches with a much bigger social media component.  It’s a bit of a risk to tell my main client now that I’ll be leaving in May, b/c I don’t know for sure this work will be there.  It is a risk, but one I am willing to take.

Real quick, b/c I’m getting a little rambly at this point.  A shout-out to my Higher Power, who I feel (once again) did for me what I could not do for myself.  You see, I was always content to be the # 2 person, the wingman.

The real work – there was no question I could get that done, and do a great job on it.  If the boss was on vacation or unavailable, I could even step in and hold down the fort and make big decisions on the spot when called for.  But bringing in the new business?…paying rent for office space?…hanging my name on the shingle outside?  Not for me!  I’m a number two man, and I was cool with that.  Not everyone’s cut out to be the boss.  I didn’t want to work for myself, I needed a boss.

That was then.  As Yoda Jeremy pointed out a few weeks ago, I already contacted an accountant, filed for official freelancer status in Israel, got my own clients, etc.  And now with this PR campaign for my new client, I’m being given major latitude to run the program how I see fit.  It will succeed or fail 100% on my own efforts.  I’m not the number two man at all.  You see –

biscotti experiment
February 13, 2010, 9:47 am
Filed under: Published Columns, Work | Tags:

New biscotti post up @ ROASTe.  Was a really fun one to research.  I prepared various sweet and savory foods to eat with my coffee – in an experiment to see how each of them affected the coffee’s taste differently.  I think you’ll like it.

Fast Changes
February 13, 2010, 9:42 am
Filed under: Feelings, Friends, Work | Tags: , ,

Remember when things were ‘bubbling under?’  Well, once I started doing my two jobs, things got a little unmanageable at first.  I would kinda sleep too late to get all my social media client work done in the mornings and find time to work on my memoir and look for new work.  I’d get one or two errands done and maybe some powerwalking, but then it was time to take Petey to the dog park, and before I knew it, it was time to start my 2nd job, which I would do until 9pm.

Then, I’d bang out the client social media work, scram to the gym for the last hour before it closed, unwind w/ the web and maybe an episode of glee, and get to bed too late (2am) to get up early enough to prevent the cycle from continuing the next day.

I’m happy to report, after a few weeks of having both jobs, equilibrium did present itself, and I settled into a groove.  I was able to get the client social media work done in the a.m., which ended my work day about 90 minutes earlier.  Still had difficulty finding time to accomplish everything else I wanted to in the morning, but – progress, not perfection.

Anyway, then – in a flash! – the fast changes were upon me.  Late Thursday night, I was putzing around online, getting ready to go out to BEEF, when I saw some news from a client’s competitor come up in my Facebook news feed.  They were thanking a New York Times writer for mentioning them in his new blog post.  WTF?  I clicked the link and saw the coverage.  Crap, this wasn’t good.

That’s when I sprang into action.  I:

  1. emailed the client’s three owners (only one of whom I have direct contact w/, but the other two’s addresses I’ve seen in emails I was copied on)
  2. gave them the link and asked them if they’d seen this yet
  3. reminded them I have a professional background in PR
  4. stated that the competitor clearly got into this blog post b/c they have a PR program
  5. initiated a swift and brilliant crisis-management plan, where I ghost-wrote a comment and had someone else post it, getting my client’s name into the first comment below the article, only sentences away from our competitor’s coverage, and virtually making us part of the article, too, now  (the next day, another commenter referenced us, so I had my client wrote an official response; now, we’re practically the dominant theme in the comments in a way that is not overkill

Wow, the rush was exhilarating!  After thanking my HP, I remembered to ask Him to help me let go of those feelings, too – b/c if I fed them too long, they could become disruptive and harmful to me.

Anyway, the client responded that same night with an offer for me to begin doing PR for them, too.  (We have a meeting tomorrow to talk about this.)  Now, I’m sure this is what I was after – otherwise, why would the first thing I have done been to remind them of my PR background and drive home the fact that our competitor’s success came b/c they had PR and we didn’t?

But, waitaminute – did I actually want to get back into PR?  Despite being a very talented PR professional, I feel that my career in New York sort of ran its course, b/c I was unwilling to do what was necessary to break myself through to the next level where I ran my own company (or ascended to VP level at a bigger firm).  And I’ve been so excited about being led down this new path into social media consulting.  Would a return to PR be a step backwards for me?

I’m glad for my instincts.  My actions that night were very smart.  My friend Felicia helped me see my go-to thinking (that a return to PR would be a step backwards) as unnecessary and untrue.  She pointed out that:

  1. It could provide a comfortable place to do what I know best, and buy me the time to study up and become better at social media strategy, until I have the knowledge to match the social media implementation I am already doing
  2. This would be In-House PR, which I’d never done before.  Unlike at a firm, where having different clients meant the media you had to target was vast and diverse, here my media universe would be much more niche….almost a way to take my existing PR skill set and go 2.0 with it, to push myself to that level I was uninterested in achieving back in New  York

Felicia helped me realize that this moment I was at didn’t have to be bad or scary just because it was heralding the unknown.  If I just rubbed my eyes, I could see all the hope that was present.  Thx, F !!

Later that day I spoke w/ my friend Debra, another social media professional.  She was very supportive of my taking the PR meeting with my client, and stressed the value of keeping one’s professional skills flexible and always growing.  Thx, Deb!

After that, I had a super (and super-long!) call w/ my dear, longtime friend (and former supervisor) Meggles.  She revealed her own plans to reinvent her PR/marketing company with a much stronger social media component and asked me if I’d want to do social media implementation for her clients.  Meg and I have worked together before, and I can’t say enough good things about how she inspires and brings out the best in me.  Meg, you really are such a kind cheerleader, I feel quite a bit of love for you.  Besides our practical discussion, we also went off on social media’s explosion in general, and it produced an extraordinarily stimulating discussion.

Later that day, I spoke with my friend and former boss Pat.  A kind and talented PR genius, Pat helped me crystallize the ideas I want to present to my client tomorrow.  Thanks, Pat!

So – I must remember to keep focused on taking the next, right action, and constantly turning it over to my HP – but in such a short order, from my likely-to-expand hours with my existing client, to the new work I hope to get from Meg, I can see the light where I’m ready to decrease my hours working for my full-time nonprofit client and maybe even close that chapter definitively.

This is an incredibly exciting prospect for me, and I’m just so grateful to be visualizing that idea – albeit with the proper balance.

I’m so grateful to God and everyone I mentioned in this post.  I can some it up in this Tweet/Facebook status update from yesterday:  Huge bath of love from the universe right now – from peeps recent and all the way back. My history pushing me forward. Love.

ScottyP Killed the YouTube Star
January 16, 2010, 12:38 pm
Filed under: Work | Tags: , , , ,

The wait is over, people.  The first video segments that me & my friend Shabi produced for are up on our YouTube channel.

Look, I’m not embarrassed by them, but I also don’t think these are good enough to send as links to the producers of the English-language evening newscast here in Israel.   With no budget or teleprompter, I am reading the stories from a script in my hand.  My head is bobbing up and down faster than Pamela Anderson in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ locker room.  But it’s OK.  Next time we are going to try a creative solution – slowly filming us moving the script upwards in front of the camera, then playing it back on a monitor next to the camera when we record me.  Makeshift teleprompter!

Stick the popcorn in the microwave for these.  But don’t take a sip of water before pressing play – you might just do aspit-take.