Paying My Debts

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Though I am lucky to have a business that is not cash intensive. All I need to get my job done is my head. And hands. And my laptop. Even to get customers I just have to make some noise online. I am currently running an advert on LinkedIn and I set it to target companies that have over 10,000 employees (that would be multinationals) and with just $35 spent so far I have gotten a training request from a very big company; I have also gotten many requests from individuals working in those big companies, mostly sales managers. And all the infrastructure I built are mostly online: a very professional simple straight to the point website (learned from making landing pages), a very excellent LinkedIn presence (both as a company and as an individual) and putting up very good free content online that give people a taste of the value they will get from us. So even when my business wasn't making me enough money in the beginning I still was able to avoid debts; it only wiped out my life savings. Now things are much better, I am making more than my salary in the job I quit last year. Only that I am spending almost everything back into the business. I never thought that branding and marketing can be very expensive, and now I am having to see it eat away a lot of my revenue. But still I have no financial debts and hope to have no one. The debts I have are of a different type and equally worrying as having a financial one.


The debts I have are promises I earlier made. I still haven't begun the online Excel class I had people sign up for as my Valentine gift to them. I have so many other work related promises to clients, to business partners and to friends. I think part of the reason I have not been able to fulfill all these promises is that I feel overwhelmed when I think about them all. It would take me a dedicated full month of doing nothing else and I still might not clear them all.

But I am already taking a cue from one of my blog posts, How to eat an Elephant, and clearing my debts one tiny bit at a time. I have already begun. I have started delivering on the promises I made last year and January. I am already in the first week of February promise list. But I still have some promises are that are like GCE Maths questions, they have 1a, 1b and then 1ai, 1aii, 1aiii, 1aiv ... Now I am less eager to oblige any request. They quickly build up and get me working reactively instead of strategically. I keep moving from one task to another instead of strategically directing my business. I become unable to do more strategic activities that require dedicated thinking and planning. Then most of the promises are towards doing tasks that won't bring me any money and still deduct from the time I have to spend on the jobs that will give me money and, worse, deny me of any rest time. I don't get get paid a fixed salary so I have to work for any money I make and it makes it less easy to do too many free favours as there is no salary to expect at month end.

It's, no doubt, a learning phase for me. I am now more careful in being to sympathetic to a client as to try to fix all their problems for almost free. Or give free extra services. I am also now less accessible to friends for free jobs -- they cost me the non-free jobs. I try to stick to my chosen area of specialization - Excel - and stop making promises to business partners who know my varied skills and want me in on a project that does not align with my chosen niche.

Anyway, I have to fulfill the promises I already made. I have to pay the debts I already owe. And I have begun, hopefully before year end, I will clear them all.


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