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Take the High Road, Don’t Low Ball!

Published January 31, 2019 by Maryanne

Maryanne summerDon’t let anyone low-ball you! 

As a self-employed business woman (ghost writer, blogger, Facebook updater, author, speaker) each year I compare the market as to what others in my genre are making. That’s how I come up with my prices. I’ve been self-employed since 2009 and for the most part, I’m living the dream.

Every now and then, I get a potential client who wants to price haggle. That’s when I have to pull the reins in and say, “This is not a good fit.”

You can read my article “The Four Types of Clients You’ll Encounter” and see why you shouldn’t say “yes” to every potential client: https://patch.com/new-jersey/verona/bp–the-four-types-of-clients-youll-encounter

I am writing this blog to encourage self-employed people, especially those who are just starting out, to not let anyone low-ball you. Know your worth and increase your prices each year, or every other year.  AND I would also like clients to stop price haggling business professionals like they’re at a yard sale! It is not cool!

Since 2009 I’ve been helping people write their books. Many of them are now on Amazon; some doing incredibly well. I’ve written four books myself, two picked up by a traditional publisher. My fifth is a self-help book. It’s is going to be published by KiCam and is set for an October 2019 release (see here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/).

With all that, it’s safe to say I know a thing or two about the publishing industry. So, it’s highly insulting when a potential new client asks me, “Is that your final price?”

Yes, it is. Or should I go much higher so you can haggle me down to my “final price”?

A few days ago I met a woman who had an incredible story. In fact, it was so incredible that one of my friends in the traditional publishing industry said she’d take a look at the story and possibly publish it.

Do you know what that means? As opposed to self-publishing (which most unknown authors do) it means the publisher was going to consider taking on this project and financing it. So, to use me as an editor, this potential client would still be way ahead of the game even though she thought my services were pricey. She wouldn’t have to pay thousands of dollars to a self publisher. She wouldn’t have to pay an agent to find her a traditional publisher. I could have helped her save so much time and money. But, no, because my per-hour price was too high, she took it upon herself to disrespect me and yell at me. Whoa, what a foolish woman!

I politely told her, “This is not a good fit. If you are worrying about money now, the project may never be finished.” And I hung up on her.

Nothing comes easy in life. If you want singing lessons, you pay by the teacher’s price. If you want therapy, you pay the psychologist’s price. If you want a health consultation, you pay the nutritionist’s price. So, if you want a good ghost writer/book editor, you pay their price. Get it? Got it? Good!

Try price haggling your doctor next time you go for a flu shot. (Or whatever it is that people do when they go to doctors. I don’t know, I don’t do doctors…but that’s another blog). My point is, if you want a good product, from a professional (that would be me) who has over 20 years in the publishing industry, you are going to pay for top quality.

Clients who have succeeded in working with me, from start to finish, have nothing but good to say about my work ethic. If I wasn’t that good, I wouldn’t be in business for so long. And it just keeps getting better because everyone who I helped write a book, tells their friends about me and I get their service too.

I’ve had many happy customers over the years, but I have to say, the happiest was Antoinette and Domenic Lombardi. I helped them write and publish their book 200 Letters, 62 Years and a War which was their love story. Soon after they started dating, Domenic went to serve in the Korean War. During that time, he wrote Antoinette 200 love letters. When I wrote the book in 2015, they were together 62 years. To this day, they send me a Christmas card every year, with a handwritten note, “Come visit us.”

But that’s besides the point. I don’t have to convince readers how good I am. I know I’m good. If I wasn’t, I still wouldn’t be doing something I love all this time!

So, if you hire me–or any professional–take the high road, don’t low ball. If you can’t afford a service, it may be God’s way of telling you to “wait, it’s not time yet.” But that’s between you and God, not you and the professional.

It’s more respectable to say to someone, “I can’t afford this…yet” instead of taking a shit fit over a price you feel is not affordable (as that lady did to me.)

If you want a ghost writer to help you write a book, it’s simple. Save your money. Or just own up to the fact that you’re not ready to write a book. If you want to do something, you’ll make it a priority. It’s as easy as that. Otherwise, this is not something you’re dying to do. Unless you want something so bad you can’t breath, you probably should be dreaming about doing something else.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is a motivational speaker and the author of “I Don’t Want to Be Like You” which addresses her experiences with being bullied. You can order the book from Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Her next book “BeExtraordinary” will be published in October 2019 by KiCam. To pre-order or visit the landing page, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

To book Maryanne for a speaking engagement, contact her at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Why I Left Young Living

Published January 22, 2019 by Maryanne

young-living

Perhaps “left” is a strong word. I didn’t exactly “leave” Young Living. I just decided to forfeit my status as a Young Living Star and save $100+ per month.

When I was first exposed to Young Living oils,  it wasn’t a bad thing. I loved the oils. And I still do. For four years I was excited to try various oils each month as well their soaps and body lotions, which are incredible.

Sales is not my forte, but I did manage to get a few people on my down line simply by speaking, organically about the oils and products in passing. I had a decent run of receiving small checks each month as well as free product for accumulating reward points.

There were times when I had a full bathroom cupboard stocked with about four YL toothpastes, five soaps, and three body lotions. In my kitchen cupboard were over 20 oils from their Vitality line that I’d never use in food because they are way too potent. Honestly, I’d rather use fresh herbs as spices than Young Living oils. And while some oils are great to use to help you get over certain ailments, hey, I’m a very healthy person. So, to be honest, I rarely use Young Living oils for my health! And, finally, there was all the stuff I’d never try–stuff I just wasn’t interested in. Currently, I have some favorite oils that I use as perfumes, but they are definitely going to last for at least the next 10 months.

When I gave up my Star status, and forfeited my Essential Rewards and the ability to get a check each month, which had now dwindled because the people on my down line who purchased the most had also left, I stayed on board because as I said, I do like their stuff. But four months later, there must be close to 100 bottles of oils in my house that I rarely use! When I thought about their fabulous body lotions, I signed in to get some for the winter. Then realized, there are body lotions by other companies that are just as clean and smell just as lovely, but cheaper.  I didn’t order anything. But who knows if I will in the future? As of now, I’m just not feeling it.

But, then, the biggest reason of all–Young Living is not my passion or my dream job.

When it comes to work, there are two things–and two things only–that I am passionate about. That’s writing and public speaking. I’ve been incredibly blessed that I’ve been able to make a living as a writer since 1995. Not that many people are as fortunate. For me to give up writing and public speaking, to invest in Young Living full time would be like Cher doing  infomercials; a total waste of talent!

Why on earth would I want to sell oils when I could be (and am!) writing books?! It just doesn’t make sense, right?

For years, in the business world, people have been saying, “Do what you love and you never work a day in your life.” Well, that’s me, especially since I ditched Young Living.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is a motivational speaker and the author of “I Don’t Want to Be Like You” which addresses her experiences with being bullied. You can order the book from Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Her next book “BeExtraordinary” will be published in October 2019 by KiCam. To pre-order or visit the landing page, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

To book Maryanne for a speaking engagement, contact her at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

The Four Types of Clients

Published June 22, 2018 by Maryanne
The Four Types of Clients You'll Encounter

By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

This article originally appeared in the Verona Patch online on March 20, 2013. 

Bending over backward to keep each and every client is the biggest mistake small business owners make.

When you run your own business, having more clients doesn’t always mean more profit. In fact, some clients can be so detrimental to your business having them onboard can make you lose business.

The key to running a successful home based business is identifying which clients to keep and which to pass on. There is nothing wrong with having a “pecking order” when running your own business, putting the more desirable clients at the top.

  1. High Profit/Low Maintenance. These are obviously the clients you want to keep because they pay well and are easy to work with. In other words, a small business owner’s dream! They are organized. They are easy to communicate with. They pay on time. They utilize your talents to the best ability. There is a mutual trust and respect. They may even give you a Christmas present or bonus! If you can develop a great relationship with these clients and keep them, you are so ahead of the game as you’ll be making money almost effortlessly.
  2. High Profit/High Maintenance. Whether you choose to keep these clients or not is up to you. The high profit/high maintenance client may drive you up a wall. There may be drama, unexpected phone calls when you’re on the beach vacationing, a ton of stress, disorganization and so forth. But the pay will be well worth it. To me, high maintenance can be amusing if you keep your sense of humor. Unless high maintenance goes too far by crossing the line of respect, eating up all your spare time, making you cry or reach for a glass of vodka after working with such clients, I say “go for it.” After all, sometimes big money comes with a small price.
  3. Low Profit/Low Maintenance. Sometimes a client may come along who doesn’t have a large budget or is asking for a task that doesn’t require too much skill or effort so the pay is lower than usual. But I say to keep these clients on board because it’s easy income. And you never know when you’re going to hit a slow period. Also note that sometimes a low profit/low maintenance client can eventually become a high profit/low maintenance client. That happened to me a few times. I did such a great job at a low profit level, a client willingly increased my rate!
  4. Low Profit/High Maintenance. I’m not afraid to say these clients are the worst and should definitely not to be kept. They will expect you to jump through hoops while paying you peanuts. There will always be stress, tension, misunderstandings, frustration and possibly tears. The hours will add up and you’ll have nothing to show for it but aggravation. You may find yourself passing up work from other clients because you are so wrapped up in this nightmare of a project, which isn’t fair to you, your other clients or your business. Just say “no” and move on.

By immediately recognizing a low profit/high maintenance client you can let him or her down easily by saying that you are currently over-booked and can’t take on a new client at this time.

Or just be honest and tell them their rate is too low. But try to keep the working relationship positive, as you never know what can change in the future.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the proprietor of Pear Tree Enterprises (https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/). She’s an award-winning journalist, book editor, ghost writer, blogger and more. She can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com or call 908-276-1514.

Celebrate Small Business Saturday!

Published November 29, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_6393Me having fun before one of my lectures!

Happy Small Business Saturday!

I’m pleased to say I’ve had my business Pear Tree Enterprises (www.peartreeenterprises.com) since 2008. I’ve helped many people edit their books and help them get published and I’ve published my own book too earlier this year. I also present many lectures in libraries and assisted living facilities and other odd jobs. Occasionally I enjoy working as an extra too.

Contact me for: book editing, proofreading, public speaking events, extra roles, typing, etc.

Support a small business today!

Evolving Spiritually in Business

Published November 16, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_6364Cherry Hill, New Jersey

(photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

When the Universe is Perfectly Aligned

On Saturday I had the experience of being an extra in a commercial for a new health product. The shoot was on location in gorgeous Cherry Hill, New Jersey. This scenario is nothing usual for me as I’m always finding cool, creative work. I’ve been self-employed since 2008 (www.peartreeenterprises.com) and the best part of it is being able to work with the most amazing people doing things I love.

Saturday was one of many perfect fits. The acting cast and film crew were absolutely spectacular! Everyone was nice, professional and easy to work with. Our team was so together we finished an hour and a half earlier than was excepted!

When I got home, I raved to my husband about how cool everyone was and what a great time I had. Like many other instances I’ve had since being self-employed, what happened on Saturday was way too much fun to be called work. From a spiritual standpoint, when you’re in the right place things are so easy you wonder if you’re dreaming!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

Of course in business, even being self-employed, things aren’t always perfect. We know that. And of course you roll with the punches. However, when things get so hard you’re in tears, that’s a major sign that things need to change. A friend once said, “The universe doesn’t always speak softly, sometimes it shouts.”

For example, if you’re not getting along with your co-workers it means a lot more than not fitting in. Do you feel overworked, underpaid and/or not appreciated? Do you have more bad days than good? Do you hate getting up in the morning? These are major signs that you’re in the wrong place and should make a change.

How do I know? I’ve been there, many times over. Even being self-employed and loving what you do, it’s not unusual to get hooked up with the wrong clients — or outgrow clients you’ve been with for some time. Perhaps your business has outgrown what some clients are still paying you. While money isn’t everything, let’s be realistic, taking two hours out of your day to appease a client who is paying a low hourly fee is not helping your business grow.

Suppose you’ve grown as a person and now you cringe at a client’s misogynist comments you once found funny. Or maybe a client never gave you mutual respect from day one and never will. The more you hang on, the more you go backwards, over-analyzing situations and figuring out how to make it work. Frustration leads you to secretly wish certain clients didn’t need your services anymore. Unfortunately you can’t wish bad clients away. You have to do the dirty work to get from Point A to Point B.

Spiritual Evolution in Business

One of the first signs your business is evolving spiritually is when you realize there is definitely more to life than profits and business. It’s about treating your clients (and having them treat you) in a responsible, caring way. It’s more than a cash cow. It’s talking to others with respect and creating a “family” vibe.

It’s always awkward when I feel like “just a number” to a client. Brief “all business” emails weird me out, especially the single word “okay” as a response. Ew … just ew!

As a sensitive — no, make that hyper-sensitive — person, running my business in a sweet, caring manner, for the good of all, is very important. I like to get up in the morning and feel like I have a purpose in life, not just thinking about the money I am making. I want my clients to feel comfortable with me and know that I am on their team.

Each morning I say a prayer to bless the day with the highest good for all involved. And then when you put the trust in the universe, you can sit back and watch the magic happen. Because it always does. When you operate your business from a spiritual standpoint, you can kiss good-bye excess marketing on Face Book and stressing yourself out seeking clients. Because good things ALWAYS happen to good people! And oftentimes effortlessly.

Vultures

Published February 22, 2013 by Maryanne

vultures

I love freebies. I think almost everyone does.

But it needs to be pointed out that freebies are a way of advertising for companies and people shouldn’t act like vultures when it comes to freebies. “Freebies” does not mean a literal free for all — not only on the end of the consumer but on the end of the company too (and I will get to that shortly).

A couple months ago I was in Vitamin Shoppe and they were having a free sample day. I was so happy because I was able to find a natural headache solution that worked. Had I not tried a free sample, I would have never known of this product. Now the company has a new satisfied customer because of me trying their sample.

The key words here are “a free sample” — not “all the free samples you can stuff into your bag.”

That same day I saw some samples of a very pricy chlorella product. A woman grabbed ALL of them. ALL! I took my one sample and wanted to get another for a friend who was with me, but at the other end of the store, and thanks to that greedy woman none were left.

People stuff things in their bags whether they need them or not. Even if they don’t know what something is, they will take it because the price, free, is right. It bothers me is that people don’t consider others, that others may need a free sample more than they do. Perhaps a certain sample can be the key thing a heart or cancer patient needs to put him/herself back on track? So, please, people, remember that it’s not always all about YOU.

On weekends Whole Foods usually has a bunch of tables set up for free sampling. If I’ve already tried the product, if I’m already using the product, or if I don’t intend on buying the product, I do not take a free sample.

These workers are standing on their feet for four hours straight and some get commissions on what they are selling. It’s important not to be a T.W. (Time Waster) and have respect for this person’s job. Do not let greed and gluttony get the best of you when it comes to free samples. It’s a sampling table for cryin’ out loud — don’t make it your white trash luncheon affair!

When I have some extra money that is when I’ll sample something because then I could afford to buy if from the person selling. This is how you properly show respect for these hard workers. And if the person is really nice, I’ll even go as far as putting something back that I originally intended to buy in order to buy theirs so they could get a credit/bonus.

Now, on the flip side of the coin, sales people can be vultures too. Several months ago I was thrilled to be going to the Mind Body Spirit expo. But I will not attend again this year.

Sales people at the Mind Body Spirit expo were extremely vulture-like, trying to get you into their booths and to buy what they were selling, some coming out into the middle of the floors running up to you, even using scare tactics to get you to sign up to come to their facilities. (And they would make a face if you weren’t interested. How very Mind/Body/Spirit of them! *note sarcasm*)

That reminded me of a clothing store my sister and I used to go to in the 1980s. It was in a mall and the saleswomen would come out of the store into the mall and try to get you into their store. My sister put it perfectly, “They attack you!”

You see, on both ends of the spectrum, nothing that is forced is ever a good thing. No matter which end of the table you’re on, giving or receiving, there has to be a mutual respect without pushiness, without greed, without urgency, without a sense of entitlement.

So, to all receivers, unless your admission price includes a free goodie bag, please keep your hands at a level of gracefulness, not grubbiness.

And to all givers, give greatly, not begrudgingly. Give your samples, but don’t act like people owe you something if they are not interested. Because you never know, someone may not be interested right now but they could be in the future. And don’t think they can’t sense you making that face at them when they turn away!

Trust me, they can!

 

 

A Beautiful Day!

Published December 11, 2012 by Maryanne

beautifulMy husband took this one, one of my favorite photos

I was dreading today for about a week now because I had to make a major change in my business, concerning two other people who hired my services as an independent contractor for promotions and marketing.

When it comes to business, I am definitely a “people pleaser.” I don’t like to let people down and I do not like to say “no” to anything. If there are 24 hours in a day, I will make that day be 26 hours. I’m a former workaholic, but I now know where to draw the line and have a beautiful, balanced life.

A few weeks ago another opportunity came up for me that I ended up enjoying very much because it’s challenging and I love to learn new things. So I had to make room for this opportunity by eliminating something else in my working environment. I chose to eliminate the above mentioned only because the other stuff I am doing involves clients who have been using my promotions services since 2009 and I couldn’t possibly let them go. Then I need half a day to do some personal assistance for another client and the other half of the day (and some evenings) to do my writing/editing jobs and/or work on my book. This makes up a full five day week of about 30 hours, but now I’m helping out a health food store on Saturdays until January too. (And I think I may love that the most of all the work I’m doing!)

I hate saying good-bye, but I am just one person with only so many hours in a day. But as the old saying goes, you must leave something behind to move forward.

I am blessed that I had such a positive reaction to my decision. That I will be missed. That I could still be of service in the near but with less hours. That I got a group hug when I said “good-bye.”

Because of this positivity that happened early today, I was on cloud 9. Moving ahead is a wonderful thing. With the new opportunity I will be learning more administrative skills, which I desperately need to know in life. I was once told by a former client that I am “too creative” for administrative work. I want to prove that wrong. I want to do good and be successful in everything I can try. I don’t want to be afraid of anything life has to offer.

I couldn’t wait to share the good news with my husband. He was so happy and so happy for me.

Isn’t it great when things just fall into place like that? So effortlessly and better than you could have imagined?

And what is even better, I’m finally all caught up in regard to all the business I lost due to Hurricane Sandy. I’m, as they say, “back on my feet.”

I spent the rest of the day promoting my musical clients. Now I’m excited about getting back to the new gig tomorrow. I have a blessed beauty of both worlds — working at home and getting out a few days. Life is so great! My husband is usually off on Tuesdays, so it’s fun to work at home and be with him and the kitties, working with nice music playing in the background.

Our home is so peaceful and loving.

Christmas cards have started to come. We’ve been married over a year now, but I am still so excited to see my name as a “Mrs.” on the envelope.

Friends are answering my emails in regard to our yearly holiday party on Christmas Day Night.

The days are shorter, but it’s so cozy being in our warm home.

I look forward to each day, waking up, burning candles and incense, working out and making breakfast. Doing all kinds of work that I love and having an amazing person in my life to support me.

Then at the day’s end, I love to have a nice dinner, maybe a glass of wine, and snuggle with my love.

I think life just works out when you are living in harmony with all life has to offer.

And that’s when you know, you are doing something right.