Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Medalilng in Overnights

Did you enjoy the Olympics? Despite our tendency to hyperbolize, racialize, and misogynize  the games, I effing love the Olympics. Just like the Tour de France, it's an opportunity to see the best in the world at sports you don't get to watch everyday (at least not in my bargain cable plan). It's even that much more exciting because I wasn't boycotting this year!

In years past, I objected to many of the host countries for various reasons. Canada: Seal hunt. China: Cruelty to dogs. At least in Sochi there was media attention paid to the dogs that were displaced, resulting in rescue efforts. But, like with many of my boycotts, the Olympics didn't seem to be pining for my viewership. Let's face it, none of these instances are like the Berlin "Nazi" Olympics where our entire country threatened to pull out.

When the London games aired four years ago, I was supremely bummed to be spending most of those two weeks working. In addition to a full summer vacation client lineup, I was doing overnights in an unusual situation. The terrier, Rogelio, and I were going to be staying at the home of an elderly aunt who didn't speak English. Not to worry, her aide would be there the whole time ... who also didn't speak English.

Talk about awkward. Rogelio and I spent most of our time up in "our" room with figurines of Jesus and Mary watching over us. I desperately wanted to watch the games but felt like an inconvenience asking to change the channel from Sabado Gigante. For the record, they kindly offered me the remote and gestured for me to stay downstairs. I'm just an introvert even when I speak the same language. If I happened to overhear the games while heating up Rogelio's home made food, we would slide into the living room to watch for a bit. It was a pretty enlightening experience watching the games from an international perspective, Vamos Chile!

Reflecting back on my budget and technology in 2012, it's amazing that I couldn't "just stream it" on my smart phone. Now I can not only do that, but also brush up on my Spanish with the DuoLingo app. We've all come a long way in 4 short years, not just Michael Phelps.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Looking the Part

I had a new client consultation last night. Not with mini me, with the other contractor. The one who called me at noon because she couldn't find the keys to her car (?).

Our consult was with a potential little old lady client who didn't remember meeting me or having my business card. Her failing memory notwithstanding, I sensed that I was doing something unprofessional. She congratulated me no less than 3 times on starting a new business (I've been in business 6 years). Although hierarchy isn't my thing, boundaries are. She referred to my contractor as my friend, a co-founder of the company, and pretty much everything besides her actual role.

On the drive home I wondered, what is it that gives the impression I just started my business? Sure, a lot of it is the nature of the work. Dog walking is a relatively new career choice and most people assume you must be newly self-employed to do it. Everyone seems to have a story about a friend who walked dogs for a short while, so I'm certain that is being projected onto me and my career choice. But what am I contributing to this?

For my first several consults as a contractor, I would wear a sweater and slacks. When I decided to start my own business a year later, I wore a VistaPrint t-shirt advertising my fledgling company. Nothing shouts "I'm new!" louder than a free VistaPrint t-shirt.

Lately, I've had a wait list of clients to meet and greet, and frankly what I wear doesn't seem to matter. Any t-shirt and jeans combo sans holes and stains qualifies as "nice." This certainly hasn't turned clients away. If anything, my confidence attracts them even more.

Last night's meeting taught me that it's time to start presenting as a business owner, Knotty style. We have some organic t-shirts with our snazzy, local artist-designed logo on them. I think it's time to wear them to consults. Additionally, I went to the second hand shop and bought a snazzy jacket to wear over my t-shirt, to indicate my awesomeness:

Only $14 with the tags still on! Learning from my last post, I put it directly into the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes as soon as I got home. Now all I need is a clipboard, or maybe my tablet with a fancy intake app, to complete the look.