The sound still resonated in his ears, echoing the rhythm of his quickened heart. “Sic Semper Tyrannus!” he bellowed desperately as he leaped off the balcony to the stage below.
He gasped as sharp pains jerked from his knee, and started sweating profusely as heat and agony burned through his leg. He had acted on the plan, and for a moment he was satisfied before the numbness of his injury set in.
Time slowed as he focused on the audience before him, who only stared back at him in awe and amazement. He narrowed on the confused smile of a boy he had seen before, a regular to his plays. They think I’m an act, he surmised. His fame ruined his current declaration. The audience continued to gaze at him dumbfoundedly until it was broken by the shrill screams of a woman.
In the commotion of the president going down, the audience broke their sight of him to the balcony where soldiers amassed. Adrenaline bolstered his movement backstage, and muscle memory aided him to a back exit. His greatest performance, but he wouldn’t enjoy it.
As he lumbered to the horses staged behind the theater, he reflected on all that had gone wrong in the months before. The kidnapping plot that went awry, and General Lee conceding to defeat. He took the reins, heart reverberating with each gallop, resounding the shot he continued to hear. An echo that subverted the Federal Government of the United States.
As a mediator, I quieted my voice to make peace for others in hopes of making a healthier environment for my loved ones to feel safe. When my parents divorced, I quieted my voice for my dad since he didn’t have emotional support from anyone. I was his ‘sounding board,’ and I grew from 8 to 18 in a span of weeks helping him run his household.
I quieted my voice for the sake of my friends when they wanted to be mean to a girl I knew was standoffish because I knew she was suffering at home. For most of my life, I learned to quiet my voice, not make waves or be a bother, and in doing so, I lost myself over time.
When I found out about my husband’s demon, I quieted my voice trying to work through our problems.
When I had children, I quieted my voice to be a better parent to be able to listen to them and make sure they felt heard.
The wisest people listen more than they speak, but what good is their wisdom if they never express it?
I don’t claim to be a wise person, but I’ve lived through some unique experiences. Putting my stories on paper helps to process both trauma and build gratitude for the marvelous things in life. It would be impossible to appreciate the good in life if you did not also experience the storms.
I revolve to share my vulnerabilities more, express love and write and make bad poetry and art. To create is to free the soul, and I kept mine trapped for too long attending to my duties as a wife, mother, daughter, Soldier, worker. This year, I resolve to immerse myself in my art.
I resolve to share my voice because it may encourage others to do the same. In life, how you live is the greatest example for your children, coworkers, friends. It’s not hiding behind the escapism of TV shows, games, or gossip.
I resolve to be kinder to myself and let my inner voice be one that is caring for myself as a child, to quell the negative thoughts and feelings of self-hatred and inadequacy.
I’m at an age in my life where the beliefs I once held are no longer true to the person I am. The limiting beliefs of my childhood and the rigidity of the institutions I work for frustrate me. The roles of my gender are totally redefined on a daily basis as women break the ceiling for what they once were able to achieve. Really, there are no limits except the ones we impose on ourselves, and it’s time to let them go.
So how does one speak their voice today?
The universe provides answers if you are open to finding them. It’s mostly psychology and confirmation bias, you will find what you are seeking. The Law of Attraction, what you put out will come back. That’s how I found this opportunity.
There are so many platforms, opportunities, programs, and media outlets to help a person find their voice. Social media like Pinterest and Instagram help artists share their work. Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to keep in contact with coworkers, friends, and families. There are no barriers to what media you may to publish in. YouTube allows us to share video, and the web itself is a vehicle for sharing one’s voice and story.
It’s not counting content sharing companies like Medium, Vocal, and various other communities and storytelling platforms. The options are endless and almost daunting and limitless. All we have to do is create, and hopefully, find an audience that resonates with what we express.
Since the start of the new year, I enrolled in a Horror Course with AutoCrit, a community of like-minded people who love the horror genre. I joined Vocal because I like the contest approach with deadlines. While I am intrinsically motivated, I will lag indefinitely on my personal projects. Contests help add a restriction to the time I have to create a piece of work, and even if it’s not completed in my vision, it is at least finished.
More importantly, I resolve to be courageous enough to share my art. The path to learning is often by failure and growth only happens through the pain. People are happier when they confront things that scare them, and sharing my point of view is what has held me from being my most authentic self.
There are six ways I plan to share my voice during this next year.
1. Pick a few platforms and master them.
With opportunities everywhere, it can easily get overwhelming trying to figure out what to focus on. I plan to stick to Vocal and my website for my writing projects.
2. Set Deadlines and stick to them.
A challenge for the procrastinator that I am, but every extended deadline is a broken promise to myself. It’s the fastest way to kill your self-confidence.
3. Be consistent, and publish weekly.
Be it a blog post, entering a contest, or sharing my art with friends and family, I need to share my work weekly.
4. Write daily, even when tired or not in the mood.
Writing is like exercise. The more you do it, the better it gets. I know I am the type of person that has to write daily. Once in motion, you stay in motion. Once in rest, you stay at rest.
5. Create every day.
Write bad poetry, work on stories, memoirs, flash fiction, or even drawing and illustrating my ideas. As long as I make progress daily, I am doing better than the day before.
6. Enjoy one day at a time.
The act of creation brings many mixed emotions, but the one I feel the most is joy.
If you haven’t guessed by now, these Process themed posts are about how I conduct business in providing both marketing consulting and design services. I mentioned in an earlier post how transparency is essential to personal branding because it is the easiest way to establish trust with your clients. This article may help new clients understand how I may conduct business with them, and they may help you determine and share your process for how you do business.
The Importance of Contracts
Contracts are essential to any design work because they protect both the client and my business. Contracts have legal implications that ensure that I will get paid for the work I have produced, and also ensure that you get a product that helps your business. Contracts are the best documents for creating a good working relationship with boundaries that will protect both parties. By setting up a contract, you show your clients that you mean business and are looking out for their best interests in creating the work. They are the best way of setting up a business relationship on the right foot.
I have designed my business to do all contracting and invoicing through AND CO, a company that allows me to create contracts, project trackers, time management tool, and sending invoices that will enable my clients to pay online for their convenience. It also tracks my business expenses, saves receipts, and helps to prepare my taxes. It helps me to keep my business documents organized and saves me time, so I can focus on doing the business that I love.
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Timelines and Payment Plans
One of the things I outline in my contracts is a timeline of when deliverables are expected to be completed. Deliverables are the actual products I make for you, such as your logo, copywriting, website designs, and final website build.
I make accommodations for my clients since they are mostly small business owners who may need a payment plan to pay for my services.
If the payments are over a couple of several months, deliverables will be spaced apart because I will have to find other client work to pay my bills.
If a client can pay the full sum, I require half of the payment up front, partly because it is a deposit, and because it is needed to purchase items such as website domains and other expenses that may be required to pay for their website development.
Final invoices are paid after the client is happy with their finished product.
Marketing and Consulting Interview
I am not just your designer, but also your marketing consultant. One way that my business is very different from other website or branding businesses is that I provide marketing consulting that takes more into consideration than just online marketing. I do research on your competitors, and I look into the other ways on how they find work.
For instance, your competitors may have profiles on services like Gigmasters, a service that offers business profiles for service based gigs such as face painting or party hosting. Getting a profile established on those lead website may also help to increase your business, and it’s slightly different for every industry.
Are you ready to give your branding or website an upgrade? Contact me today!
The hardest part of upgrading your branding or website is identifying the strengths and weaknesses of what you currently have, and how it performs TODAY. A consulting interview is essential in figuring out what work needs to conducted on your website or personal brand.
Rarely, there is a one-solution for fixing the issues that could be effecting engagement on your website. This is because small business owners often have niche audiences that require a different type of reach or engagement. It would be a mistake to try a one-type fix such as solely focusing on one element of your website.
What do I mean by one-type fixes? A one-type fix may be the redesigning the overall layout of your website, or rebranding, creating different social media engagement, or focusing on solely on SEO, or search engine optimization. A well-designed website will keep users on the site.
While Search Engine Optimization is essential to get your audience even to see your web presence, the algorithms, and methods that SEO regularly change. The SEO practices of five years ago would include creating large sites full of pages with repeating keywords to make the websites rank higher in search engines.
Today, the best practices include creating meaningful content that engages the viewer enough not to click away from the page but continue to scroll through the material. Content is king, and long landing pages with exciting multimedia content are what keeps users engaged.
If you would like to schedule a free consulting interview to see what could make your website level up, call me at 505-270-6794 or email me here.
See Your Website With a New Set of Eyes
A consulting interview can give you a fresh pair of eyes to see your website and branding. You are an expert in your industry, and it is easy to get caught up using jargon or technical terms that may not make sense to your audience.
A consultation with me can also help determine if you are promoting the right message, in the right tone of voice to your target audience.
For example, therapists will need to sound professional, but also human and approachable. Life coaches are selling themselves and the story of how you can improve your life.
Artists and writers may have artist statements of why they create their work, but telling it in a story or witty clips is more engaging.
One of the potential problems in working with an agency is the one type all marketing may not apply to your business. You may have a beautifully designed website, but need better-written content, or vice verses.