I have an announcement I would like to make: I am a coward.
No, seriously. Hiding in trees is what I am all about. The brave ones went off to be paladins and stuff. Me, I stuck to my roguish ways, stayed in the shadows, tried not to be noticed, and every now and then, I’d poke my head out and trick some unsuspecting customer into hiring me for a gig. This is how I operated my business. And it actually worked decently well. No one is expecting a sneak-attacked by a copywriter. It’s the perfect disguise. I appeared, fully geared up, resume and references in hand, charm at the ready, to certain select clients I had decided beforehand would be amenable to my proposal. It was a very roguish way to go about things.
It is also REALLY cowardly.
You can’t be a wuss and run your own business.
I had a little wake-up call on this the other day. I’ve asked the good Men with Pens to make me a website (and a new blog, so consider this your first announcement that Rogue Ink will be relocating shortly), and Harry came up with a banner for me. It is quite possibly the coolest thing that ever happened to life. I had a small orgasm just looking at it. It is entirely possible that I threatened to kiss Harrison, just for being the mastermind behind it. I immediately forwarded the thing to twenty of my favorite people, and every single one of them wrote back saying, “Dude. What kind of virgin did you sacrifice to which unholy gods to get this banner?”
Look. Isn’t it awesome?
Okay. So we have established that it is, in fact, awesome. I went to bed all excited about it, dreaming blissfully of my beauteous website-to-be, and woke up in the morning with that strange feeling of doubt and guilt and possible impending doom that usually accompanies a Coyote-Ugly sort of morning-after. I had doubts about the banner. I suspected it was perhaps the kind of cool banner that you take home one night only to discover the next morning that he is not a good banner, he is not good for you, and he stole twenty bucks from you for whiskey. I was gazing at the banner, which was still blissfully sleeping, looking beautiful, wondering when it was going to wake up and be a very, very bad idea.
Because I am a coward.
I came up with some reasons why the banner was a bad idea. That my clientele wouldn’t like it, that it was too aggressive, that I couldn’t pull it off. All of this was complete and utter bullshit, though. I was scared the banner was a bad idea because I knew it would get me noticed.
Note to everyone: You are TRYING to get noticed. This is a good thing. If you have roguish tendencies like me, screw them. Consider this your biggest con. You are playing the role of someone who loves the spotlight, in order to serve the greater you. You have to ride the dragon, baby. Get some balls and just do it. Get out there.
Ride the Dragon. Or the Purple Cow.
I just read Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow. Yes, I know everyone else has already discovered the magic of Seth Godin. I am coming a little late to this party. Why don’t we all just celebrate my arrival and let it go, shall we? Excellent. At any rate, Purple Cow. Fun name. Good little book. If he’d put it out in paperback I might have bought it. I am not questioning the lack of paperback, for I know Seth Godin works in strange and mysterious ways his wonders to publish, I just don’t like hardbacks and I am too broke to afford them. So instead, I sat in one of the big cushy chairs at Barnes and Noble and read the thing cover to cover.
The Purple Cow theory, in essence, is that nobody needs normal. Everyone wants exceptional, extraordinary, remarkable. So freakin’ cool they wet themselves. So why was I afraid of the banner? Because it was a Purple Cow. And you have to be a special kind of rogue to ride a Purple Cow. Seth mentions this, actually, that there are few people becoming extraordinary because it’s scary to become extraordinary. Which it is. It most certainly is. It’s also really freakin’ cool.
An Anecdote From My Geeky Youth. And Adulthood.
When I was sixteen, I learned to swordfight. I was really good at it. Naturally good, born-to-it kind of good. Nobody had expected me to be any good at it initially, since I was tiny, blond, and a chick, so there I was on the sidelines, stealthily beating everyone, systematically. There was a tournament at the culmination of our training, and I almost didn’t participate in it, because I was incredibly fearful that I would lose, and that all of the acclaim I’d been getting by staying on the sidelines and only showing up to be awesome would all go away.
I did go to the tournament. And I won. It was glory on a stick and wrapped in bacon.
That victory led to a lot of things. The fact that I am a swordfighter has always been one of the things that made me stand out, made me get noticed. It was what I wrote my college entrance essay on, and it was the reason one of the admittance counselors noticed me and wanted me at University of Chicago. It’s a great icebreaker at parties. It’s a good thing to talk to hardware store guys about. They always remember me. That’s the chick who swordfights. You can’t BUY branding like that.
Swords have done good work for me, all my life. And I was afraid of a banner that touted this brand that has always worked for me. That’s just dumb. It’s unforgettable. It’s exciting and daring and memorable. And I’d be a damn fool not to keep using it, scary as the idea is.
There is a moral to this story. Harrison was very sweet about the whole Tei-is-being-a-wuss thing, and quoted Polonius at me. I will not do this to you, because I believe in wielding Shakespeare in a wrathful manner, not a comforting one. The moral of the story, therefore, does not come out of the Bard’s mouth, it comes out of mine:
Do not be a wuss. It is bad for you.
Thank you. Subscribe. Ride the Purple Cow.