Learning as I go

I’m about two and a half months into this new adventure of mine (a slightly generous accounting, since it took me a couple weeks to take my first appointment, but who’s keeping track?).

I’m a self-guiding, self-propelled missile. I did my research beforehand, but no amount of absorbing information from others is a substitute for Doing The Thing (and failing early and often). I hit Go the moment I had the basic building blocks in place, knowing I would learn as I went.

So here are a few things I’ve learned, or am in the process of learning. 

  1. Clients are lovely. The clients I choose to see are sweet, considerate, smart, accomplished and damn good company. I adore them, and when we part, I wonder when we’ll meet again.
  2. This was an excellent decision. I’m happier than I’ve ever been. My skin is glowing, my muscles are limber. I have a built-in appreciation society for my fitness-related pursuits. My creative juices are flowing. My mind races with delicious scenarios. I’m on fire, in the best way possible. 
  3. The flip side of the previous item: It’s hard to shake off the self-sabotaging myths that I’m less-than or passed-over. I was an awkward, unpopular kid, prone to acne and panic attacks. That feeling can flood back to me from time to time. A cursory glance at social media suggests that my colleagues are all doing amazing: A paramour is taking them shopping at Barneys at this very moment; later they will dine at Per Se and he will surprise her with tickets to Bali. The same will happen to me, if only I had…it. The right body, the right friends, the right … something. No. It’s easy to spiral into thoughts of inferiority or even hopelessness. Which leads me into the next item:
  4. My success lies at the intersection of 1) having fun 2) being myself and 3) finding my people. It does not lie in conspicuous consumption, posturing, myth-making, or a competitive, zero-sum-game mindset.
  5. My personality is my greatest asset. I’m floored by the number of clients who are compelled to write me because they like what I’ve written on my website, Twitter or ads. This is excellent encouragement to keep sharing my goofy self on the Internets, so thanks, all!
  6. Those clients who really want to see me, and deserve my attention, make themselves known. (And when the time comes when I require deposits — they will gladly pay them.)
  7. The most crazymaking part of this pursuit: fantasy bookers, time wasters and the occasional no-show/last minute cancellers. (Another argument for deposits and airtight cancellation policies and fees.) I envy providers who employ booking assistants — this nonsense is rampant and time-sucking. 
  8. In general, clients are allergic to my booking form, and prefer to message me first, most likely to discern 1) Do I respond to messages? And 2) Am I available when they want me? (The answer to both questions is yes, by the way). For now, I’m going with the flow. I politely ask for screening info; if they supply it, we’re off to the races. If not, this wasn’t meant to be. This approach leads to a lot of wasted time on my part. I’m seeking a balance between cultivating a friendly rapport with potential clients from the very beginning, and protecting my own time and sanity. It's a work in progress.

That was a pretty heavy post, so I'll conclude with a photo of yours truly balancing a coffee cup on my derriere. Enjoy.

Shae Ashbury