Where’s the room for feelings?

Deidre RienzoI’m a sensitive person who probably feels too much instead of too little. I think a lot of creatives are. And in our work, we often try to create a feeling through our design, writing, photography—we aim to create a feel with our creative work.

In my writing, I’m always concerned with how something feels to the audience. I want the audience to feel comfortable and informed. (I just wrote a newsletter about how consumers often make decisions based on feelings. Read it here.)

Here’s where it gets tricky.

Being such a sensitive, feeling person can actuallyget in the way of marketing your business.

Ilise told me once, “Feelings should be left out of business,” and I always felt sad about it. (See, feelings!) But more and more, I get what she means. We can’t let feelings get in the way of running our business! These are some examples where I’ve had to overcome my feelings:

  • I didn’t feel like writing my newsletter. (But I did it anyway.)
  • This client is so nice, I feel bad charging him what I should. (But I did it anyway.)
  • That client didn’t sound totally happy. Did I do something wrong? (No, she was just in a rush.)
  • I feel like I’m a failure at being self-employed. (Stop whining and get moving!)

Don’t get me wrong. I think there is always room to feel proud of yourself, and feel good about your accomplishments. There just isn’t room for the negative feelings. The better I get at pushing them out of my head, the better I am at running my business.

Maybe when we spend less time having feelings in the running of our business, it gives us more energy to create things that make people really feel something?

What’s your take on feelings?

BTW: You can meet Deidre at the Creative Freelancer Conference, June 23-24, 2011. Early bird deadline is April 1st!

4 thoughts on “Where’s the room for feelings?

  1. Chris Donnelly

    This post resonates with me. I spent years “feeling bad” about charging clients what a project was worth… and I gave so many discounts because “I liked them” – that I put my own business at risk. It took a long, hard look at profitability with an accountant to show me that I was, in some cases, actually financing their businesses because of “feelings.” When you are a compassionate, sensitive “people person” in a client-designer relationship, this is such a hard lesson to learn. You feel bad that their budget doesn’t allow the creative work that you know they NEED… and as a result… wow, did I give a lot away for free!
    Thanks for the post; it’s wonderful to know that I don’t struggle with this alone.

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  3. Jen Lombardi

    Wow. I am SO glad I found this article because I’ve experienced literally every one of those emotions/reactions in just this past week!

    Sure, logically you know what you need to do – be firm with deadlines, not let friendships with clients get in the way of pricing, stop taking things so personally – but of course that’s easier said than done.

    I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only professional who struggles with these issues. Somehow hearing it from your peers is way more meaningful than the emotional support a non-designer husband can offer! (But what he says is true, too. “If you want to succeed in business, you need to grow a thicker skin.”)

  4. Deidre

    Thank you, Chris and Jen!
    I’m glad you like the post, and it’s interesting to see I’m not the only one who struggles with these things.

    Chris, it sounds like you’ve totally been there! Even now, I still struggle with pricing. Sometimes I ask myself … am I doing pricing or nice-ing? Having a range of my rates written down for my own reference helps, but there are certain situations when I know I’m not pricing properly. I tell myself to quote this same project for a total stranger. If the numbers are different, I need to get myself in check.

    Jen, It is easier said than done! But I’ve realized that feeling emotional about all these things is so time and energy consuming. It’s good to have the kind of objective support that your husband gives you. I know it helps. But I’m the same way … when it comes from someone else who has experienced the same thing, it hits home more and seems more doable. We can do it!