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  • Writer's pictureSusan Carr

"Work the problem, don't guess."

In one of my favorite movies, Apollo 13, these words were spoken by Lead Flight Director Gene Kranz. He told the engineers to figure out what the Lunar Module (LEM) and Command and Service Module (CSM) could do when an oxygen tank on the CSM overheated and exploded, causing the third NASA mission to the moon to be aborted.

He knew what the modules were all designed to do.

He needed to know how much more they were capable of doing.

It's hard to believe it's been half a year since I left the most financially lucrative job I've ever had. With extreme fear and trepidation, I walked away from that position. But many different circumstances pushed me forward.

In the process, I discovered what I wanted out of life and what would bring me job fulfillment.

And I discovered how much more I was capable of.

This is Howard. He's the new kid on the block and started out doing things the same way Bertrand did, like this:

Then, instead of continuing in this way, he began to do this:

He's looking pretty lazy to me.

Or is he?

Maybe he's just figured out that he's capable of climbing onto the feeder and laying down to eat seeds, so he doesn't have to exert as much energy to enjoy a meal.

Actually sounds pretty genius. Howard got me thinking about how I've been learning more about my capabilities, too. We had a pretty good conversation about how his methods inspire others.

So, now, drumroll, please...

I have started my own business. Java and Ink is official. Like Honeybook official. I have two signed client services contracts. The people I'm working with have "spoiled" me with their prompt communication, timely payments, and great collaborative attitudes. I have actual paid invoices.

I'm learning to be a savvy business owner and put myself out there as an expert in my field. (Even saying expert brings on that old imposter syndrome.) I do not have a degree in editing or writing, and I don't even have certifications yet, although I am working on them. I do have over 30 years of experience with analyzing, critiquing, and reviewing the works of others. From naturally editing everything I got my hands on, to helping my girls with their high school essays and college process, to working in different areas where I've taught myself how to write in an engaging voice. So here I am. A business owner.

And as I learn just how much more I'm capable of, in the past week:

  • I've sent out a rate increase to a client with a request to partner for the long term.

  • I've sent a proposal to another client for a substantial opportunity.

  • I've sent a polite decline to take on a project I really don't want to do, don't have the time to do, and wouldn't make as much money as I would like if I did.

There have been some days recently where the weight of struggling to succeed as a freelance editor and writer hasn't felt as heavy as it did a few months ago.

Days where I can breathe a little easier because I'm putting automations in place, honing my skills, and intentionally focusing on providing a better client experience.

On these days, I can relax a bit and enjoy what the hard work has produced.

Relax like Howard.

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