Rogue Ink

April 22, 2008

Bragging Rights: I Am the Greatest

Filed under: Entrepreneurship — Tei @ 4:46 am
Tags: , , ,

I admit it. I am completely and utterly addicted to Naomi’s blog. I know, deep in my heart, that after reading every single blog post she’s ever written, I will still wind up emailing her and hiring her for her two-hour doppio espresso marketing shot, because it is quite possibly the best deal I have seen, anywhere, and yet I cannot help myself. I read this whole series. And it was fucking amazing. Every single post got me thinking about something I do or do not do (note: when I don’t do it, it is usually because I am being an idiot) for my business. Let us discuss one of these idiotic things.

For those of you who are interested, this is the blog post that got me thinking about this particular idiotic thing that I do. It will not help you, because it only makes sense in the associative game that is my head. (If you play The Game and continually lose, go here. It will make everything better. If you have never heard of The Game, I am very, very sorry. Go to the link, it’ll fix it.)

The big thing that I should do, that I do not do:

Brag.

I should brag WAY more often. Not in an annoying way, not in a ‘check out these big guns’ kind of way. I find, however, that when I discuss what I do for a living, very infrequently do I append “and I’m AWESOME at it” to the end of my explanation.

Why is that?

I AM awesome at it. I have customers who tell me so. In fact, I have never once had a customer who was less than excited about working with me again, nor have I ever had one who was remotely unhappy with my writing. By and large, they actually thank me for going above and beyond their expectations.

Now, this is great. But already, I feel like kind of a jackass, telling you people this (hi, you people). Already I feel like some dip at a party who can’t be quiet about whatever thing it is that they do (you make widgets? I don’t care. Actually, if you make WordPress widgets and you can fix whatever’s wrong with my RSS feed, I want to know all about it). Why is this? Why do we feel like jerks for stating the facts about our skills? I’m certainly not claiming anything that isn’t true. I don’t pretend that I generate more sales than Bob Bly, because I don’t. In fact, I don’t do sales copy very well at all.

I’m great at telling people what I suck at.

This? This blog? This is largely me, discussing what I suck at. I am very comfortable talking about what I suck at. I could tell you all day long how I can’t get my website up and running, and why I was an idiot to think I could design it myself, how much time and money I wasted, and how I don’t know anything about running a business. Why IS that? Why am I so at ease telling people about the things I cannot do, and completely uncomfortable telling them what I’m good at?

A reference guide, for those of you who do not know me in person:

Things I am good at:

  1. Writing
  2. Stealthy displays of affection
  3. Pretending to be calm while secretly panicking
  4. Making chocolate cake
  5. Sex. (What? Like you wouldn’t put that down on your list.)

Things I suck at:

  1. Drawing
  2. Introducing myself to strangers over the phone
  3. Following a budget
  4. Breakdancing
  5. Pretending to find ugly babies adorable

The stuff on my list of things I’m good at? A lot of those things are relevant to my clients (not the last one, no. I don’t have THOSE kinds of clients. I would make a lot more money if I did). I have clients who love working with me simply because they know that when they call up, freaking out because they need five pages of web copy in the next twelve hours, that I will put my soothing voice on, tell them everything is going to be just fine, and panic quietly to myself while I pull an all-nighter to get the thing done.

I never tell new clients that I’m willing to pull an all-nighter for their benefit. WHY?

Assignment for everyone: think of something completely awesome that you do in your business that you never tell anyone about, and think of a non-assholish way to communicate it all the time. It can be silly. “I am not shy about cursing.” It can be relevant. “I am a grammar Nazi.” It can be a little freakish. “I get so paranoid that my clients won’t like me that I will go through a real-life version of level 7 of Super Mario Bros., with the spiked turtles and all, to get their copy to them on time.”

That last one? TRUE. Also the second and first. But seriously, if anyone knows where I can go through a real life version of Super Mario Bros, I will give you my firstborn.

Go forth. Brag. Hell, brag in the comments. Tell me what you’re good at. It feels pretty good, after the initial self-asshole check.

Want to hear me brag some more? Subscribe. I’ll be back tomorrow.

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16 Comments »

  1. 1. Thank you for saying nice shit about me.

    2. Investigating The Game immediately.

    3. When confronted with ugly babies — and I am an expert on this because my son looked like a fat tomato with a rash until he was three — this is what you do. Find something about them, and it doesn’t have to be a cute thing, and preface it with, “Aww, look at his [or her] little …”.

    For example:

    “Awww, look at his little nose!”

    “Awww, look at his little shirt!”

    “Awww, look at his little hair!”

    If they are particularly disturbing to look at, do a rapid intake of breath, say “Ohhhhh, I can’t look!” in a high-pitched voice, cover your face in your hands and turn away. This makes parents think you have a loudly ticking biological clock and cannot stand to be in the presence of their little prince or princess. (This one only works if you’re a woman.)

    I should charge for this shit.

    Comment by Naomi Dunford — April 22, 2008 @ 5:32 am | Reply

  2. 4. Investigated The Game. You’re a total psycho.

    5. From the “Stories” forum on the game site:

    “I was told that if you kill the person that first told you about the game, then you win. “

    Just sayin’.

    Comment by Naomi Dunford — April 22, 2008 @ 6:06 am | Reply

  3. Re:
    1. Anytime.
    2. I’m so, so sorry.
    3. My daddy says I was the ugliest damn baby he ever saw.
    4. Not! I never lose the Game. I forget it exists. Other people keep losing it around me, though.
    5. This is why God put you in Canada and me in Boulder, and the Mounties in between.

    Comment by Tei — April 22, 2008 @ 6:52 am | Reply

  4. Addiction.

    I’m good at it.

    1. I can look at someone and give them one.
    2. I never get addicted.

    Comment by Jay Francis Hunter — April 22, 2008 @ 1:17 pm | Reply

  5. A preacher I used to know once mentioned the problem of complementing new parens on their ugly babies. His solution: “Wow! Now THAT’S a baby!”

    Comment by Matt Tuley — April 22, 2008 @ 1:17 pm | Reply

  6. 6. I could charm the pants off just about anyone (and damn near did unexpectedly with a few men I’d rather forget about). I shmooze like nobody’s business, and my freckles make ’em think I’m young and cute. I use this to my ultimate advantage.

    Comment by Lori — April 22, 2008 @ 6:58 pm | Reply

  7. I also never tell clients that I’m willing to pull an all-nighter for their benefit. WHY?

    Because I get really stupid when I’m tired and I don’t want to screw up their stuff.

    I am also very comfortable talking about what I suck at. I don’t take work that I can’t do – well, I’ll take it when there’s just no one else available, but I warn the client that it’s not really a good idea. I’ll help them find someone who can do it.

    Competent people don’t have to spin fairy tales. I don’t know everything, I can’t do everything. but I can do *enough to be valuable*.

    Comment by Tony Lawrence — April 22, 2008 @ 8:53 pm | Reply

  8. Shit. I just lost The Game when I was thinking about what to write here about learning The Game, didn’t I? The Game sucks!!

    I am good at…….. introducing myself to new people. Remembering their names after, or contributing to conversation in those little groups at functions after I’ve introduced myself, rather than nodding mutely, is something I need to work on.

    Comment by s g — April 23, 2008 @ 12:35 am | Reply

  9. Things you can tell just by looking at her writing:

    1. Despite her own words to the contrary, she’s so unaware of her insecurities that she feels the need to tell everyone she’s good at sex (always a tip-off of someone with an emotional problem or a troubled personal life).

    2. Her “stealthy displays of affection” are probably her way of compensating for the less appealing person inside who resents babies for getting attention despite the fact that they’re ugly. But people probably read through those stealthy displays, anyway. People are more polite than she, however, and they don’t say anything to her about how peculiar her affection comes across.

    3. Most people suck at drawing; most people suck at breakdancing, probably because nobody really breakdances anymore. As admissions go, these only give further credence to the notion that she doesn’t know her own strengths and limitations very well at all, despite her assertions to the contrary.

    4. Ugly babies are ugly; talking on the phone is no substitute for real contact, with all of its potential for stealthy affection. So she’s not good at being phony. Such self-assertions are is usually a surefire first sign of a wildly untrustworthy person.

    5. She knows what she can do; she knows what she can’t. Perhaps she is right. Perhaps it is a gift that will keep on giving. Like so many people whose narcissistic missives make their way into the deep space of the web, she will someday recognize how shallow she sounded when she was young and writing about her success at a job now long forgotten. She will someday be able to tell this about herself just from her own writing.

    Comment by Oscar Nardini — April 23, 2008 @ 1:37 am | Reply

  10. Jay: Lucky bastard. I have so many addictions. Current one: Boggle, online. How sad is that?

    Matt: Hah! Nice. I think preachers get away with this better than other people.

    Lori: Freckles rock. I love mine like little children.

    Tony: Oh, see, then don’t pull all-nighters. I work really well over-caffeinated and stressed out. I wish I didn’t know that, but it’s true.

    s.g.: Sorry, dude! Did you go to the link? xkcd will save you!

    Oscar: You should have linked to your blog, honey. Don’t worry, I did it for you. Check out today’s post.

    Comment by Tei — April 23, 2008 @ 4:59 am | Reply

  11. […] to hate commenter: that’s what I do, dude. Quit stealing my material.) You can check it out here, at the tail end of yesterday’s post. You can’t miss it. It’s the long, unkind […]

    Pingback by Milestones in Blogging « Rogue Ink — April 23, 2008 @ 5:24 am | Reply

  12. Just wanted to say I’m enjoying your blog ALMOST AS MUCH as Naomi’s (don’t wanna get in trouble with her). I’m a newbie to blog subscription but you guys are keeping me busy! Thanks, and keep em coming.

    Comment by Diana — April 23, 2008 @ 5:24 pm | Reply

  13. Yes! Thanks for the brag session.

    I think I’m funny. I think our blog is entertaining for those with a certain odd sense of humor. I think mental institutions should allow more computer to allow those to visit our blog more often.

    I think I’m also good at eating, visiting websites, commenting, Googling… what? computer time over already?? i don’t want to put on the jacket… al;sdkjskxcaxc

    Comment by cool dad — April 24, 2008 @ 1:36 pm | Reply

  14. I hope when you do those twelve hour turnarounds you’re charing the rush fee!

    And I agree — I NEVER tell a client when I pull an all-nighter. I don’t want that to become an expectation.

    And, if it’s a rush, there’s a good-sized rush fee attached,which then pays for the day at the spa I need to recover. I’m not 18 anymore; all nighters are no longer fun.

    Comment by devonellington — April 25, 2008 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

  15. I hear you. Sometimes bragging is hard.

    Comment by markdykeman — April 25, 2008 @ 11:44 pm | Reply

  16. Naomi could stand to clean up her language. Also, the page width on this site is a bit much.

    Comment by Anonymous — April 29, 2008 @ 12:20 am | Reply


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