self-employed

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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

Best of 2018!

Published December 29, 2018 by Maryanne

DSCF29105-4-3-2-1 HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

Looking back a year ago, I was sad to see 2017 go, because it was a great one, mainly because no one close to me passed. However, 2018 was a year of visiting loved ones in the hospital; therefore not the best. But me being the eternal optimist, I’ve once again compiled a “Best Of” because so many super cool things happened. Mainly with my husband, Dennis, as we’re always seeking out music of old and new; great friends; and always something cool is going on in my career. Let’s take a peek back at the highlights, shall we?

January 2018

My popular library program, The Learn & Listen series, kicked off the year right as I had the opportunity to work with Charlie Fusari. We gave the presentation, “The Life and Music of Michael Jackson” at the Elmwood Park Library, Elmwood Park, NJ. I spoke about the career of Michael Jackson, followed by a stellar performance from Charlie, which even included moon walking!

February 2018

The Learn & Listen series continued on it’s full force when I gave the presentation, “The Life and Music of Freddie Mercury” featuring Rob Fusari at Kinnelon Public Library, Kinnelon, New Jersey. This was a dream come true, to not only share my feelings about my favorite band’s front person Freddie Mercury, but to work with three-time Grammy Award winning producer, Rob Fusari. A great time was had by all!

June 2018

June was unbelievable! I was thrilled to be a guest on the Health & Wellness Show! You can view the show here on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VS3w8p-4nIk&feature=youtu.be

And Sunday, June 9, 2018, I was incredibly honored to speak on anti-bullying at Montville High School, Montville, New Jersey. I was invited by teacher Anthony Sia who started the Coalition for the Human Condition (https://www.facebook.com/Coalition-For-The-Human-Condition-209170233169424/) with Alus (https://www.alusofficial.com/).

I was up first, then followed by a powerful performance from Alus, and later, the incredible Montville School of Rock (https://www.facebook.com/msorrocks/).

Supported by my husband Dennis and some friends, I was happy to speak for the first time in front of a high school. Prior to that engagement, I’ve done mostly libraries and senior citizen groups. I didn’t have much time to get into how I was bullied as a child and teen (though I am writing a book about it!) but I did get to speak about teen spirit. And that the one most important thing we need in this world today is love.

August 2018

My birthday month! Yes, birthday MONTH! Celebrations for my 55th happened all month long, being spoiled by good friends, family, and my amazing husband!

September 2018

September I was ecstatic that my fourth book was published by Higher Ground! It’s also available on Amazon and is climbing the charts! My book “I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is my memoir about being bullied as a child. You can get it here, from Higher Ground: https://highergroundbooksandmedia.com/product/i-dont-want-to-be-like-you

And, once again, I was invited to read my poetry at the West End Arts Festival, in Long Branch, New Jersey.

September was also the month, that my husband and I took in another cat. A beautiful feral we named Bennie. He’s just the sweetest thing! He loves, loves, loves to cuddle! The vet told us he has feline auto-immune disorder, but we promise to give him the greatest life for as long as he lives!

BennieBennie

October 2018

There was so much movement in October! It all began with a road trip to Columbus, Ohio, with my friend Jayne for “Summit of Greatness.” Exploring the town, and spending full days being inspired by great motivational speakers was a life-changing experience. In fact, I ended up joining Toastmasters as soon as I got back home, so I could also hone in on my speaking skills and become greatness myself!

I also launched my anti-bullying channel Be YOUnique on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLq6J9MSvcjd-haQ30ycLWA?view_as=subscriber

December 2018

The year ended in a bang, career-wise, as I got invited as a guest, once again, to the Health & Wellness Show. Here’s another great time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-U3OIu7as40

And in addition to all of this, so many beautiful times spent alone with each other and with our great friends. These things, my husband and I choose to keep private.

ALSO, a major book publishing company gave me an advance to write my fifth book! It will be published early 2019–STAY TUNED! AND, I continue to help people edit their books, blogs, and websites; as well as ghost writing, memoir writing, and book editing. Clients include: Brute Force!

AND WISHING EVERYONE A VERY HAPPY 2019! 

The Best Acts We Saw in 2018 

In no particular order: Jackknife Stillettos; Tommy James; Sheila E.; No Future; “Ladies of The 1980s” with Rob Fusari, and Taylor Dayne; and Cher in Oxen Hill, Maryland. (As of writing this we also have tickets for Felix Cavaliere and Gene Cornish’s Rascals, with Carmine Appice on drums!)

Also, John Cusack  Live -“Q&A: Say Anything” was amazing!

Ric Ocasek, in person at his art show, Short Hills Mall, New Jersey.

Favorite Movies of 2018

“Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Mr. Rogers: Won’t You Be My Neighbor”

Rest in Peace

In 2018 we’ve lost so many in the media, but the one that most hit home was author and spiritual guru, Shatki Gawain. The date of her death was November 11, 2018 –11/11/11 (2+0+1+8=11).  Eleven is the most intuitive of all numbers, a master number associated with faith and psychics. I always kept her books at my bedside, my favorite of all “Creative Visualization” which I first read in the 1980s. I had the book so many times, and gave away so many copies. Yet another copy always finds its way back to me. 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an international author and speaker. She is available for events. For availability and pricing, contact: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

She is also a professional blogger, book editor and ghost writer. Contact today for rates: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

My Guest Slot on “Health & Wellness”

Published June 26, 2018 by Maryanne

DSCF2377

Above, left to right, Dennis Lords, Ryche Chlanda, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta and Maryann Castello.

Last week I was honored to be a guest on Maryann Castello’s “Health & Wellness” show. Maryann was an awesome host. We spoke about my career, my three books (and upcoming book), music, health, and so much more! You might even hear your name mentioned!

The show was 1.5 hours long, but it went fast. Enjoy the You Tube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VS3w8p-4nIk&feature=youtu.be

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award-winning journalist, author, and public speaker. 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.

Make Way for Happiness!

Published July 8, 2017 by Maryanne

SAM_2842Hello Happiness

This is why I’m more a believer in pronoia than karma …

First, I must explain “pronoia” since everyone knows what karma is. According to Wikipedia, here is the definition: “Pronoia is a neologism that is defined as the opposite state of mind to paranoia: having the sense that there is a conspiracy that exists to help the person. It is also used to describe a philosophy that the world is set up to secretly benefit people.”

Blessings in disguise are necessary to one’s evolution. It really sucks to be going through a bad time, but that’s what moves you to a better time. A quick example would be my career. Thanks to always trying to escape nasty people and office gossip, I’ve advanced myself to places I’ve always dreamed of. Starting out as a shipping clerk right after high school, I’ve learned all aspects of the working world — A/R, A/P, credit/collections — then went on to more creative venues, from typing, to proofreading, copy editing, writing features, learning design programs, and authoring three books. (As well as helping other people write their books). I am now superwoman. The more I learn, the higher my rates become; and the more I can pick and choose what work I want; and the more concerts I can go to, the more clothes I can buy, and the more vacations I can take. Go me.

Had I been someone who thrived on negativity, I would have stayed put. Fortunately bettering myself, away from back stabbers, always meant advancing in my career. Thank you Universe.

But pronoia doesn’t just work in career, it works in just about anything. A prime example happened a few weeks ago. I got hooked on a particular eatery and was spending much time (and money) there. However, I realized, being a health fanatic, the options were limited once I got bored with the dish I enjoyed most.

I also had to coach them to let them know there were certain items they put in their foods that I didn’t consider healthy, such as grains; almond or coconut milk from a brand that uses cane sugar; and bananas, which are extremely high carbs.

One day there was a new counter girl, having a hard time with my order. I was extremely patient, with a smile on my face. Fifteen minutes later, the grand finale was that she put granola on top of my finished product. (I do not like granola at all!)

I told her I was allergic, which gets you more compassion than just saying you do not like something — sometimes. But not this time. The owner was very snippy with me and said, “You’re allergic to nuts?!” as if I bothered her.

Right then and there I made up my mind that I would never step foot in that place again. I never really felt comfortable there to begin with. It was just an all around bad vibe as they tended to cater to people they knew personally, making it clique-ish. Plus, that day I saw fruit flies on their samples. It was no longer an inviting place to eat.

Is this the universe speaking? You bet! Read on …

I spent 45 minutes on the internet looking for another healthy place to eat in the area. Well, I found one that was much healthier — all raw vegan foods with no processed sugar, no grains, and many items minus bananas! I’ve been going every day since. The service is better. The owner even came out to shake my hand for writing a good review about them. That’s the way to go!

But wait, there’s more!

You get “points” for your purchases! Now, not only is this place, healthier and friendlier than the first place, but less expensive. And with the points, I’ve already had two free healthy desserts (made from natural, organic fresh fruit and cacao).

Then the real reward is that going to this place takes me through the back roads, avoiding all traffic. So instead of just looking at cars, I can see deer (and fawn!) romping, rabbits, swans, etc. It’s an all around prettier trip.

If you pay attention to pronoia, you will see how it happens often. Bad things almost always push you in a better direction. If you feel uncomfortable in your place of worship,  job, or the person you are with, it’s definitely the universe (or God!) telling you that you belong somewhere else, or with someone else.

While “pronoia” is the official term, I like to call these things The Parable of Sonny & Cher. As the story goes, Sonny and Cher were so down on their luck, they had to sell all the furniture in their home to make ends meet. This is when Sonny Bono wrote their hit “I Got You Babe.”

Did you ever lose it all, then get your dream job? Or win the lottery?

Did someone you love deeply die recently? If so, watch how many great things start happening to you almost immediately afterwards. Whether it’s the universe repaying you for your loss; or your loved one, now in heaven, taking care of you from above — it’s a given that tragedy leads to precious gifts.

Did you ever have a horrible day, followed by a fantastic evening? That is also pronoia at work. Bad things motivate you to grab the good. It’s a survival mechanism.

How has pronoia worked for YOU? Feel free to share your stories; I’d love to hear them!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of three books, including “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon. If you like positive, fun, silly books that don’t go in a downward spiral, this one’s for you: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

Her third book “The Gypsy Smiled” will be published by GenZ later this year.

 

 

 

 

Too Busy

Published January 4, 2017 by Maryanne

busy-2

Last night I was reading my old diaries from 1993. I was only 29-years-old and really loving my life. At that time I was living in a beautiful world people can’t even imagine today. Even as a very good-looking young woman, I had my dateless, lonely nights. The difference was, if you had the blues back then you could count on a phone call from at least five friends in one night! So being sad was not an option.

Today, other than my husband who I could always count on, I can’t imagine conversing with any of my friends without first making an appointment to speak with them. People are always so “busy.” Picking up the phone is no longer an option. So, I just cry instead.

The first of the year usually means new beginnings. As someone who is self-employed, this is usually the time when my business takes off. People always come to me for ghost writing, book editing, and public speaking engagements because they know they can count on me. There’s an old saying, “If you need something done, ask the busiest person you know because he/she will get it done for you.”

That said, I have to question everyone else’s version of “busy.” Because even when my version of “busy” gets so crazy, I’m glued to my desk for hours without getting up for a drink or to go to the bathroom, I ALWAYS sincerely answer an email from a friend who is in need.

This week started out as one of those busy weeks. Then one person cancelled an appointment — at the last minute. So not cool. And another just totally stood me up — no email, no phone call, no explanation.

I was heartbroken for being slighted. This is not the way I do business. This is not how I’d treat somebody. For all the technology we have in this day and age, this should not be. In this modern world, no one can be too busy to type three simple words in an email: “Can we reschedule?” And, I might add, at an appropriate time, not at the last minute unless someone very close to you died. Even so, I think back to when my father-in-law, who sometimes lived with us, passed away three months ago … I still was able to conduct business in a professional manner. And I still listened to problems from friends who needed a friend. Is it so much to ask the same in return?

It is not narcissistic to expect to be treated with respect. My time is just as important as anyone else’s. But here I am, crying my eyes out in the middle of the day, waiting patiently for my husband to get home so I can cry on his shoulder.

It is far from being “unprofessional” when you are disappointed by how so-called professionals treat you. There really needs to be a book on manners in this day and age. What happened to the Miss Manners column that ran in newspapers on a daily basis? Oh, I know, no one reads newspapers anymore.

No one does a lot of things anymore that they should. It’s a sad world we live in. A world without manners. A world without consideration. A world where people do whatever they please as long as it suits them.

And nothing can be done about it either. Just wait for the good karma you’ve been owed … so then things will turn around … and you’ll get everything you’ve ever deserved … because you already have a lot of it … Like a husband who truly adores and loves you. Because you were never “too busy” to find someone you adore and love.

So, hooray for demystifying the “too busy” myth! For those who are “too busy” will never seep the rewards that come from making time.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award-winning writer and a public speaker. Contact her at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

 

 

 

Getting Psyched for “Love Cats” Promotions!

Published June 1, 2015 by Maryanne

back cover proof CORRECT“Love Cats” back and front cover

The biggest thrill for any author is seeing your book in print for the first time!

Last year when my first book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” was published, I was so ecstatic, I kept the book at the foot of my bed, so when I woke up, the first thing that would come to my mind was: “I’m an author!”

Over the weekend my first copy of “Love Cats” came in the mail to check for color. It looks absolutely beautiful! Darlene Foster (www.darlenefoster.com) did such an incredible job.

Now  my next step is ordering a bunch of copies from the publisher and getting out there and doing the book signings.

Last year with “Guest List” I had a blast, going on radio shows, signing copies at libraries and even doing a rock ‘n’ roll signing at a record store, accompanied by Stu Deutsch, original Plasmatics drummer (as he endorsed my book!)

SAM_4811Book signing for “Guest List” last summer

I’m still pretty chill, as it hasn’t really hit me yet that this is my second book! (And my third is finished and I’ve been seeking a traditional publisher).

My husband always said to just enjoy the ride. From start to finish, all of it, as it will be on-going. It’s true, as I do have one last book signing for “Guest List” this September. When “Love Cats” came out last week, “Guest List” Amazon rankings went up. One book always helps another. So this is a positive thing I am looking forward to!

Get your copy of “Love Cats!”

Here’s the links and thanks in advance for your support! :

Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YBGVJQS/

You can also purchase “Guest List” (a musical memoir) on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

Or those local to New Jersey can stay tuned for events I’ll be at this summer. I’ll be booking within the next few weeks when I receive my first batch of books from the publisher.