DonnaM » Blog Archive » Taking myself seriously

Taking myself seriously

When I posted my IA Summit wrap up a couple of days ago, I mentioned I had made a decision this year (in my IA Summit decision tradition).

This year’s decision was not as profound as previous, but still important to me and my year and I want to tell you about it. But it needs a little back story.

You may know I quit my consulting job 2 years ago, in order to work for myself. I chose to freelance – to work for clients or other companies. I think freelancing is different to consulting in that it allows more hands-on, deeper work, which is why I chose this approach. It had been working well – I did a few pieces of work for small web design firms and a few for government clients. I continued to speak at conferences and teach occasional workshops.

Late last year I took on a contract I was initially uncertain about (so took 6 months rather than a year like everyone else did). I was unsure about it as I worried about getting buried in an organisation & losing my ability to take on a variety of work with a variety of clients. The potential benefit was that the work could be interesting and the team could be good.

Well, predictably, I became more buried than I realised. I cut my hours back this year, but was definitely getting embedded in this organisation.

And then came Summit…

Somehow I ended up having a long conversation with Jared Spool and Dan Willis about my work situation & later revisited the discussion with Lou & Ant. I justified my approach and stood my ground. But a few days later, things started ticking over in my brain and I realised I had allowed myself to drift into a (dis)comfort zone.

So, to cut a long story short, I made a IA Summit resolution. This year it is to take myself more seriously. I need to acknowledge my skills, value them and sell them. I need to stop drifting. I need to manage my business better and more professionally.

To that end, I may try an experiment. I think I’ll do a fortnight-by-fortnight (week-by-week is too fast) look at my freelance business. I’ll discuss how I’m managing my business, how I’m promoting it, how I’m working with clients. I think I can do this discretely and in a way that will help other freelancers. It can’t hurt to try…

PS. Thanks Jared, Dan, Lou & Ant guys for giving me a kick in the pants!

7 Responses to “Taking myself seriously”

  1. Gary Barber Says:


    I have been there and done this on several occasions, I have used this “embedding meter” as a skills test and a reminder to myself why I’m not into log term fixed embedded contracts. Even if the money is better.

    I would be very interested in your fornightly overview, in fact if you need any off the record discussions contact me.

  2. Jared M. Spool Says:

    Good for you!

    I’m rooting for you.

    Glad I was helpful,


  3. Peter Van Dijck Says:

    That’s a great idea! Can I steal it? :)

  4. Donna Maurer Says:

    Thanks guys. Peter, steal away!

  5. Andrew Boyd Says:

    I can but agree with Jared – good for you! :)

    I can’t say that I am rooting for you, because it means so much more here in Australia… but… I believe that you should take yourself seriously, because the rest of us have for years.

    Cheers, Andrew

  6. magia3e Says:

    Yes – take yourself and your amazing abilities more seriously! It’s something I had to do as I moved to being a consultant and try to continue to do.

    It’s good that my colleagues remind me how valuable me and my skills are. So come around any time, have a glass of Shiraz, and us other IAs will remind u also.


  7. Noreen Whysel Says:

    This has been a pretty inspiring post for me Donna. I like your approach and have been wanting to step up my involvement in freelance & subcontract work myself. This doesn’t mean I’d even think about not doing the IAI gig. I just see some open skies ahead & want to keep my sleeves rolled up.

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