Pretty Good Advice

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Many of my friends have small businesses, so as I laid out in a previous post, I will be sharing links to their websites for those of you who want to support a single Mom who is now struggling, an artist who shouldn’t have to close up shop, etc. I want everyone to know that I stand with them because I only get paid for the work I do; my income isn’t guaranteed, so I fall under Freelance Independent Contractor status. Unlike most people, I don’t qualify for a stimulus check. I found out this afternoon, after I filed my return. Since I don’t owe anything and they’re not issuing me much needed funds, I refuse to mail the return in. Yeah, I MAJORLY pissed. However, I’m determined to do what I can to help others in this difficult time. I’ll live, but I’m not happy about it.

Let’s encourage each other, be supportive, and do what we can. I have many talented friends and individuals who would appreciate every penny, nickel, dime, and dollar. Many of these people also donate portions of their yearly proceeds to charity, just so you know.

This dose of shameless support is for Leslie Blodgett. Her book, #PrettyGoodAdvice hits shelves April 7th. Pre-order now at your favorite online retailer or you can use this link for a copy from Amazon: Pretty Good Advice book

Called the “Queen of Beauty” and the most influential singular woman to impact the beauty industry by the New York Times, you’ve never met anyone like Leslie Blodgett. Not only does she do the splits on boardroom tables, as CEO and creator of bareMinerals, Leslie pioneered the original power of community (before the idea of social media existed)—reinventing how beauty was sold.

Her warmth, empathy, and authentic bond with her global community of fans, along with her unconventional approach, set a new standard that continues to shape the beauty business today.  In 2006, Leslie took the company public in one of the largest cosmetic IPOs of the decade, and in 2010, the company was acquired for $1.8 billion.

Pretty Good Advice is Leslie’s next chapter. This refreshing book features 97 candid and entertaining insights on business, life, and beauty. Everything in this book is honest, all tried (and sometimes failed) by Leslie. Personal and often surprising, Leslie dishes on leading with humor, and why, “You owe it to your co-workers not to be boring.” Pretty Good Advice is full of frank, actionable advice to help light a fire under you.

Leslie is a beauty industry pioneer, angel investor, startup advisor, and philanthropist. For her efforts in reshaping the beauty industry, Leslie was recognized as one of the “Top Entrepreneurs of the Decade: 2000-2009” by Inc. Magazine, was named the first female recipient of the “Visionary of the Year Award” by Women’s Wear Daily, and received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the Fashion Institute of Technology. Leslie is a 2018 Stanford DCI Fellow and Humor Ambassador for the Stanford GSB program.

~Leslie created bareMinerals, a company many women are familiar with. She was a regular face on QVC for YEARS, and her original products are still the core of the company. You can find the products almost everywhere (Sephora, Ulta, etc.).

Since leaving bareMinerals, she has traveled, went back to school, became a Grandmother, and is now sharing her expertise with the world. Down to earth and kind, she’s opened so many doors for others in the beauty industry. I still recommend bareMinerals to people who’ve never worn makeup and want to try something, “subtle”.

Leslie had to cancel her 22 city book tour in light of current events, so I’m happy to be one of the people who tell you that you should pick it up. As one of #LesliesAngels, she sent me the coolest t-shirt and a stack of promo cards that, without a tour, saddens me. I so looked forward to catching up with her, despite her up-to-date social media posts and e-mails. She’s currently doing Zoom chats for the group. 🙂

I’ll keep featuring people, even if we aren’t close, because women should support other women.

**Side note: I might be thrilled for you and silently supportive of a new business venture, but I do have contracts and sponsorships that require me NOT to promote for a competitor. I also WON’T put my stamp of approval on anything I haven’t personally used or tested in terms of makeup or skincare. So if you’re selling something and have wondered why I am not visibly showing you support, that’s the reason. I can’t afford to burn professional bridges.

I Wrote Today…Be Thrilled

I am in excruciating pain. From the top of my spine to the top of my thighs, I cannot stand the torturous pain that only seems to get worse with every passing minute. After a point, you really have to ask yourself an important question: Do I take ANOTHER pill or do I pray this will stop at some point? It’s been quite some time since I’ve wanted a morphine drip, but right now, it sounds good.

While this pain attacks my being relentlessly, cutting off my early (for me) bed time by waking me up, I actually sat here for over an hour pouring over what shall forever be dubbed as “the manuscript from hell”. At this point, I can honestly say I am forcing myself to work and get it done. I am NOT enjoying myself in any way, shape, or form. I keep thinking about all the Biotin I will have to take to replace the hair this manuscript is costing me. God help me if my work ever tortures another individual so much! 😦

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On a more serious note, a fellow writer had her first book hacked by someone claiming to be an editor in India. After three months of “editing”, he hacked into her Amazon account, tried to pass the book off as done, and then stole her credit card information and, to my understanding, maxed out her card. He damaged her files to the point where she has just lost a year of hard work, work she cherished beyond measure. So now, she’s lost a book she was proud of AND she has to file all kinds of reports to avoid identity theft, and get her credit card charged back and replaced. This is nightmarish, and I don’t want it to happen to anyone ever again.

I want everyone that is a writer to be VERY careful when hiring an editor. I highly recommend sticking to your country of origin and asking for a contract and non-disclosure agreement. That is my standard method of dealing with all of my clients and while some of them may drive me insane at times, I have never, not once in 20 years, released their names or discussed what their work was about. It’s okay to say your job is driving you nuts, but as an editor it’s crucial to my reputation to protect my clients’ work.

At the end of each day, I don’t OWN their manuscripts. I can ask to receive credit as the editor for those that self-publish, but three months after a job has been completed, I release my hold on any and all files. I keep them for that short time period on the off-chance they will need me to fix something or need a backup copy, but after that, I delete the work. I have no rights to it whatsoever, and each contract states that.

If you’re writing a book, back up your files to something external. A thumb drive, a microSD card, an external hard drive, etc., and put a hard copy on a CD or DVD, and put it in a safe place. If you can put it in a safe, I highly recommend that as an option. Don’t EVER allow someone to access your work remotely. Do not give passwords out! Shield everything you put your name on and protect it with your life. There are seriously evil people in this world that are, without question, predators to some extent. Do not allow yourself to become a victim of anyone professing to be something that are, quite clearly, not.

There are plenty of legitimate freelancers and there are even more that are simply liars. Aim high when searching for someone legitimate to assist you with something so important. If you have any questions, I am happy to assist where I can.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Does Creativity Pay?

It’s Official, I Lack The Ability Of Dumbing Myself Down

A few weeks ago I officially signed up with an on-line Freelancing service that allows you to submit proposals for a laundry list of writing jobs, as well as other creative endeavors. Every single job that I am 1000% perfect for has either been A) Canceled because the entire project was scrapped or B) Given to someone else. I guarantee you that anyone who got a job over me dumbed themselves down in order to get it.

I’m not saying that a person that got a writing job over me is stupid. I don’t know them. However, I know that the low bid is always the one that gets the job. People can say a lot of things about me, but I’m NOT stupid.

I’m not going to apologize for placing my actual worth and value into a proposal. I have 27 years of writing experience, 19 years of editing experience, an incredibly vast array of knowledge, and if I wanted to be paid by the hour, I’d look into becoming a hooker (I’m kidding, I’m too tired to seriously consider that.).

Truth be told, if Fibromyalgia wasn’t killing me each day, I might contemplate a “normal” job at someplace like Sephora where my knowledge of fragrance, skin care, make-up, and all things beauty would be appreciated, albeit at an hourly rate. The only reason I’ve never done it is because I know I can’t get out of bed nine days out of ten and show up at a job like that. No company wants an employee that can only show up once or twice a week, that’s simply not going to fly.

Being a writer is one of those professions where people either assume you’re loaded because “J.K. Rowling made millions.”, or they assume that with magazines folding constantly and eBook sales up (Want to know how much you can be paid to write an eBook for someone else? Between $10-$125, and in many instances, your name will not be the one credited for writing it. I find it insulting beyond words. If you want me to write a book of 50 recipes and you want it in a week, you cannot come to the table with scraps. A high school student or a freshman in college might take a job like that, but an experienced writer is going to laugh at you.), you’re either okay or a step away from being on the street. People accept “Writer” as an occupation without questioning it too much, unless they don’t know a lot about what it takes to be a writer and make a name for yourself.

Since my sign-up date, I have done nothing, but write job proposals. Placing a price on your hourly rate, or your rate per 100 words, or your per job rate is tough. Like any other creative being, I want to pay my bills, put food on the table, provide for my health, and be able to breathe. If I have a rough week, I want to know that I don’t have to write my ass off this week in order to make ends meet.

So, after writing all of these proposals, I finally got a response. It seemed promising, until a little while ago when my original quote of $300 is now being asked to go down to $30-$45 a month. I understand it’s a newish business, I respect that, but here is what I am being asked to do: Monthly blog posts, creative marketing, and some creative PR packages to get jewelry into fashion magazines. That entails a lot of work, and truth be told, $300 is not my normal rate. The more we go back and forth, the more she seems to want out of me, and I have to wonder if I am simply up against the eight other people that also bid on the job, or if she really thinks that is what my time is truly worth. Regardless, she has received a sample of my work and can decide for herself. If you want quality work, don’t insult me.

After handling that, I was then sent 15 pages of a novel for another job. I have to say, I was annoyed when I got to the end because even with all the mistakes and changes that would have to be made, there was an awful lot of potential in there and I wanted to keep reading (and correct everything, because it’s force of habit!). I bid on the job. I gave a very decent price for editing a first novel, well within the person’s budget, and I will see how it goes. However, I am sick and tired of the bullshit involved.

If you want something done professionally, don’t insult the professional you’re trying to hire for the job. If you want someone experienced and intelligent, don’t expect them to waste their time if you aren’t willing to properly compensate them. Never have I tried hiring someone for something on a creative level, and then insulted their intelligence and effort by countering their quote. It’s hard enough for me to put a price on myself, but when you insult me, it makes me want to respond by letting you know how unprofessional you are.

You want something done right? Come to play, or get the fuck out of my way.

copyright © 2014 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED