top of page
  • Writer's pictureSusan Carr

At a loss for words...

Updated: Mar 10, 2023

I've seen two very cool things this past week, both of which have left me at a loss for words.


I love Sandhill Cranes. I cannot express this adequately. I will stop driving and pull off on the side of the road just to stare at these beauties.


The other day, this guy was just chilling in the grass. I saw him while driving in the thru-way behind a shopping plaza. I've never seen a Sandhill resting, so I was a bit speechless and probably looked a bit odd just gawking at a bird.

And then, I go outside one day and see this...


Howard is a new resident squirrel. (I'm still looking for Bertrand, but the chunky guy hasn't been around lately.)


And apparently, Howard is lazy. He literally jumps onto the feeder and LAYS THERE to eat sunflower seeds. I've never seen anything like it. Again, speechless.


My world revolves around words. It has been this way since I was three years old when I learned to read.


I spend between 6-8 hours every day either writing words or editing the words of others.

I'll occasionally work with graphics or images. But for the most part, I write blogs, articles, emails, or copy for companies. When I edit words for others, it's reviewing blogs, articles, manuscripts, website copy, how-to guides, and more.


I love words, love to learn new words, find out what words mean, and improve how I combine words.


But my mom is losing her words. Rapidly.


She recently lost her house keys and, in her attempts to tell me of her efforts to find them, she substituted the following words in her sentences:


Keys became file folders

Thursday became #4

House became mailbox

Neighbors became customers


So her description of her actions went something like this:


I can't find those things for my house, you know the file folders I keep in my pocket? Do you know if Susan is coming to see me on #4 of the week? She could help the other customers where I live and help look for them. They've been here looking through my mailbox, trying to find them.


We have a very unique relationship where I can intuit and interpret what she is trying so desperately to say. Almost like a mother can translate to others what her toddler is saying.


But it's becoming more challenging each day to know what my mom is trying to tell me.


The hardest part? She knows her mind is not working the way that it should. But the disease of dementia is so devastating that she cannot comprehend what it is doing to her mind and how it hinders her ability to find the words she wants to say.


Freelancing has given me great time flexibility and I am grateful for what this career opportunity has done for my family and me.


I would never compare a "bad day" freelancing to what a person with dementia, or their caregivers, deal with.


But the loss of words just hit home today.


Sometimes, in freelancing, one word has to be used that's really hard to say.


No.


I've been coached by an encouraging, empowering female business owner, and the biggest lesson she's taught me is


I bring value.


So when I had to tell two clients today, one brand new to my services and one I've worked with for over 5 months, "No," it was hard.


I understand budgets. I was a single mom, working full time, going to college, with one daughter just starting her university years and another gearing up for them. I know what it means to not be able to afford things. I know that many authors and small businesses have to pinch their pennies.


So saying this word bothers me because I feel like I should help others, and be willing to work within the budgets of others.


But it also brings about a feeling of fear.


What happens if I turn down this job, even though it will only pay me $12.50 per hour? At least I'm making some income, right?


I used to think the same way. Admittedly, sometimes I still do.


But this one project has been gnawing at me. It's for a long-term client, but the contract has been sitting idle for 3 months and keeps getting pushed further into the future. And since then, I've raised my rates for editing. But I haven't adjusted the contract.


So when the freelancing platform said we had to do something with the contract because of its status, it seemed like a good opportunity to share with the client my rate increase. I even offered a 25% discount to continue working together.


Her answer was "No."


And I get it.


Because my answer was still no.


I wasn't willing to negotiate any more than I already had. I am remembering to recognize that I bring value to others in what I do, which comes at a price that helps me earn a fair wage.


I work from a value-based pricing system, which is most beneficial for the client and myself. They get top-notch work, and I get compensation commensurate to that quality.


I regularly assess my portfolio and project history to determine how these, along with my skills and experience, influence my rates. As I've been able to secure more long-term client relationships and earn consistent 5-star reviews, I've been justified in raising my rates. This raise is a reflection of my personal and professional growth.


If you're just starting a freelancing journey, you must set this down in stone now.


You bring value.


Figure out what services you want to offer and then see what the people with your same level of skills are charging.


Build your business, portfolio, and testimonials from the ground floor, and then break the ceiling on your way to the stars.


My mom still has value, too. It doesn't matter to me if I have to be her translator.


I know a day will come when my brothers and I cannot take care of mom's daily needs, and we'll need more help. But that time is not here yet.


My mom's words may be confused and need clarification, but her laugh is contagious, and she loves life. Even if she is trying to tell someone about her favorite animal, the cow, and she calls it a "lump of black stuff."


17 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page