... of my money. And how you can help fix that. (No, I'm not looking for charity. I'm looking for help. So if you don't have anything nice to say, go troll someone else's diary. My blood pressure is high enough already.)

I know I'm not unique. I'm one of those 15 million Americans MB keeps writing about who aren't counted in the official unemployment statistics because we've given up looking for a job. Too many applicants for too few jobs, I guess. Like some, I've started freelancing and for the most part, that's been a good thing. Less commuting, more time for the kids. I've gotten some nice projects in the last three years too - for Fortune 500 companies such as Sherwin Williams as well as local businesses like my neighborhood music store. But lately... nothing.

I apologize for the "woe is me" tone this is about to take. But I need help, and I'm desperate.

If you're still with me, take the jump over the Orange Squiggly Thing to see how you can help.

I want to be clear - again: I'm asking for help not a handout get me through this dry spell.

I know I have myself to blame for this predicament. I should have been out meeting people, expanding my professional network all summer. I knew that it would be good for me both professionally and personally. I don't have an advertising budget so getting in front of people is realistically the best way for me to drum up new business. On top of that, getting out of the house is good for my health. I have clinical depression and isolation is damaging.

I knew that. So this summer, when I started feeling anxious about getting out of the house, I was so relieved when my old landscaping boss called me and asked if I wanted to pick up some hours, I jumped at it. And forgot about my own business.

Look, I like landscaping work. It's hard, dirty, honest work that leaves me satisfied on a deep gut level. And my boss is a good guy to work for and with. But after schlepping around for 8-10 hours with a weed wacker and backpack blower this summer, I just didn't have the energy to put into identifying and contacting new prospects, or going to professional networking events. So, like I said earlier, I knew this lull was coming. I just didnt want to think about it.

Was it unrealistic to think I could sprint out of the gate and fill my pipeline as soon as the landscaping gig ended? In hindsight, yes. But I was actually feeling pretty confident after a summer of fresh air and sunshine, ready to start writing again. And I had a couple of "hot" leads (from my kids, believe it or not) that I thought had the green light. I was going to work with Kossack and webhead extraordinaire Brainwrap for the trickier bits too. Winning! Those should have been enough to get me through the end of the year, with the promise of more work to come after.

Maybe that was wishful thinking, because one of those projects got killed before I had a signed contract. Turns out the other one was just stringing me along, using my bid to beat up another vendor on price. In the meantime, I kept telling my wife not to worry, go ahead and get the kids' presents, sure we can have Christmas dinner here, I'll have the money for the house payment/electric bill/life insurance/groceries by the second week third week end of the month... She's about had it with me. Threatened to boot my ass out after Christmas, and I understand why she's so mad. Kinda puts a damper on the whole Christmas spirit when you're waiting for GMAC to serve you with a foreclosure notice. Again.

So here we are, December 22, with nothing to work on and the rest of the month to do it. Luckily (embarrasingly) I was able to borrow the money for the house payment and electric bill. (From my 74-year-old mother. how mortifying. And to make matters worse, I haven't even bought her a Christmas gift yet.) Which "just" leaves the phone (about to be turned off), life insurance (due to be auto-debited Dec. 27) and groceries for the next two weeks. (One of the "good" things about struggling, and having a wife who is disabled with MS, is we're eligible for (some) food stamps. Not enough for the whole month, but we'll be ok when the 8th of the month rolls around.)

Remember how I said, back before the Orange Squiggle, that you Dear Reader could help me out of my self-inflicted cash crunch? Here it is.

I need eyes and ears. If I'm going to make any money by the end of the month, I need to "shoot the moon" - find a business that A) still has budget for this year B) has a project ready to go C) is working next week and D) is willing to hire me NOW. That's going to probably be one of two flavors:

  • Big companies, that are already outsourcing some of their marketing communications - ideally one that already uses freelancers. If your company has an employee directory and you can find someone with "marketing manager" or "communications director," I would LOVE to get those names. Or even better - an introduction to those folks. Message or email me for a painless email script you can use; or
  • Small businesses that need marketing materials and/or website overhauled to be more effective and persuasive. Or a small business that doesn't have a website - yes, there are still lots of those. I can set up a basic Wordpress website, probably for less than they think.

Or if you're still looking for the perfect gift for your favorite business owner/communications director/marketing manager, how about a gift certificate?

I'm not exactly what the site rules are about self-promotion, so I'll just point interested readers to my contact info in my Kosmail, or to the blurb in the Kos Katalogue diary (first listing under "Services"). Put "Kossack special offer" in the subject line  - good for at least a 33% discount! Or just email me directly.

And again, I know I'm not the only one in this community hurting now. But I could really use a helping hand (or two, or a dozen).

Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 10:17 AM PT: I've added a Paypal link, per a suggestion in the comments. The amount is left open: Paypal


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