When I think about how I’ve grown and the shifts I have made in my career and business two things come to mind: time and money. For many years, I have been a person who has taken on special projects, provided suggestions and tons of great ideas. I have supported and showed up to all sorts of events. Volunteering to help out when I arrive, too socially awkward to just sit still. Then something happened. I got tired and I wanted more money. And I got real with myself and others.

When Special isn’t Special: Making Professional Change

change on the horizonMy outlook moved away from “special projects” to just projects. Adding “special” made it feel special instead of just another job that could and should be monetized. I still had to use my time, my energy and my skills. Why was this any different from any other work? I flipped my mindset from merely giving suggestions to consulting.

There are two active blogs which I named. One I don’t even remember the conversation that the name references, and the other, I set aside time with the owner to brainstorm titles. I haven’t been invited to write for either blog. Imagine, me, a writer having friends with blogs that I named who has not written for either. I am not upset by it, or at them. I am more upset with myself for being so cavalier as to think I could not use the extra exposure. I didn’t even ask or attempt to make a legitimate barter — just tossing out ideas and concepts and never thinking I could ask for something in return. Again, I don’t harbor any ill feelings, one of the women is my close and good friend. This is just evidence that my ideas are good ones and I should treat them as such.

Time and Expertise are Worth Money

My time, it does matter.

My time, it does matter.

My cousin reached out last night asking if I could make some centerpieces for a wedding. I said I probably could, but that my calendar said otherwise. This month is already booked and I would have to charge a premium rate for the time, effort and turnaround. There was a time when I would not have been so honest. I used to take on any project, for any lightweight price (if I charged at all) just to “build my business” and “gain experience.”

Then something flipped in my mind, “how long do you need to build this business when you can just do your business?” My foible was gearing up for business by constantly planting seeds for business, but not actually activating my business. How many more freebies would I offer? How many more could I afford to offer?

I am not suggesting we all start blindly charging friends and families for every task, but it’s okay if you do. Every conversation does not have to end with an RFQ, that might be ridiculous, however, start knowing your value and worth, and act and charge accordingly.

Featured Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash
Photo by Bryan Minear on Unsplash
Sometimes, activating professional moments sneak up on us. How do we change when they do. Here's how Maya James allowed time and money to activate professional change.