Suddenly Marketing

Brand Messaging | Content Strategy | Writing

Sometimes, marketing makes me cry

This is not the post I meant to write. In fact, it’s not a post I meant to write at all.

I had another piece prepped on the foundational importance of a strong brand, but when I sat down at the keyboard I just wasn’t feeling it.

It’s not that I don’t believe in the importance of a strong brand. I believe in that like I believe chocolate should be its own food group.


My problem is that I’m being forced to face some demons and I’m not loving the experience.

It has been one of “those” weeks. Delays on two major projects left my carefully integrated schedule in shambles. Chaperoning a field trip for my daughter’s third grade class (something I’d committed to a month ago) meant losing a whole day of work. Not chaperoning meant letting my daughter down. No way. Earlier this week, I lost a half a day with the lifesaver of a plumber who spent two afternoons sorting out a busted boiler. Just now, my tea bag burst and I broke two nails.

I just want to cry.


Is it too much to ask to be able to manage my business and have a life?

Apparently so.

I feel like I’m being punished for taking some time for non-work pursuits. You see, in addition to the scheduled field trip and unscheduled boiler crisis, I was a rebel and took a couple hours to share hot drinks and shop talk with a fellow writer. I also took Tuesday evening to hear Susan Orlean speak about her latest book.  Enjoying those things meant sacrificing some working hours. Taking life up on her offers of expanded perspective meant shelving (yet again) my own marketing intentions.

Now I’m paying the price: late hours, rushing through work, endless multi-tasking, and a long list of to-be-done marketing “shoulds.” I’ve backed myself into the corner where I suck at everything – bad mother, bad writer, bad business owner, bad girlfriend, bad me.

Why does it feel like I constantly have to choose between a lifestyle that’s all work and no play (making Jill boring and resentful), and a lifestyle that includes some play, but extracts the cost of that play from my hide (making Jill cranky and dysfunctional)?

I can barely keep up with my deadlines, let alone do the proactive marketing that I prescribe for my clients. Each time I utter the timeworn excuse, “the cobbler’s children have no shoes,” I cringe.


There has to be a better way.

And it dawned on me that what that I’m feeling – this angst, this frustration, this discouraged and downhearted dismay – is the same feeling that plagues other solo business owners just like me. I am not the only one drowning in the sinkhole of guilt and anxiety. I’m certainly not the only one pulling all-nighters or having to choose between my marketing and my life.


… choose between my marketing and my life …


Wow. That kind of says it all.

The thing is, I’ve been working for the last three years on a marketing framework and approach that is all about meshing marketing with life and creating an organic, holistic marketing “groove” that’s custom tailored to each person – working with her strengths and the realities of her life. I think about this work each morning when I get up, while I’m out for my morning walk, and often as I’m falling asleep. I don’t begrudge my ideas their persistent place in my thoughts. I’m energized by them.

And I just realized that I’m not crafting this framework solely to help my customers.

I’m creating this framework to save my own life.


Isn’t it funny when life suddenly smacks you upside the head with a two by four and then palm slaps her own forehead in exasperated relief when she sees you’ve finally gotten it?

The next week is still going to be chaotic and intense as I barrel through some tough deadlines, but I’m more excited (and committed) than ever to carving out the time I need to bring this solution to light. I have three years worth of notes, almost two decades of experience, and a burning desire to find a better way … for me, and for you.

I hope you’ll stick around for the (r)evolution. Thanks for listening to my rant. I feel better now. Hope you do, too.


Care to share what makes you want to cry? Go ahead. Don’t be shy. We’re all friends here.

Image Credit: Alex Proimos


Lies about personal branding


You have a right to be here – Marketing Mindset 101


  1. Love this post Jamie because it speaks to what so many of us solopreneurs deal with. And yes, we usually teach what we most need to learn!

    • Jamie Lee

      Thanks, Sandi. That’s SO true – we do teach what we most need to learn … and that’s where we find the best value – for ourselves and the people we’re teaching.

      Thank you for coming by with the virtual hug. Means a lot.

  2. Ditto what Sandi said! Thank you for allowing your vulnerability to SHINE, and taking inspired action toward bringing that balance not only to the lives of others but also to YOUR beautiful life!

    • Jamie Lee

      Thanks so much, Sabrina.
      Vulnerability has been on my mind lately. Some friends introduced me to the work of Brene Brown and even the tiny taste I’ve had of her work has got me thinking. Hard.

      Sometimes, even if it means you have to let your guard down, it’s good to know we’re all in this together and the best way out is collaboration. 😉

      Thanks for coming by. Always good to see you here.

  3. Carrie

    This is so, so, so perfect – and how you know you’re doing exactly what the world needs you to be doing. Thank you for doing it!

    And thank you for sharing your tears with us too. It has felt like one of “those” weeks for a lot of us, I think.

    • Jamie Lee

      Thanks so much, Carrie. I was surprised at the epiphanies that jumped off the page after I finished my emotional keyboard hammering. Clarity is starting to come – piece by piece, bit by bit. It’s a good thing. :)

  4. Outstanding post Jamie. I know you’ll get there and you’ll be living the dream: living the life you want to have.

  5. Jamie, your post is so timely! I had a bit of a panic attack this week because I am just feeling so very, very behind. This cobbler has no shoes . . . marketing my own business has taken a back seat to client work and developing new programs and trying to catch up on my accounting and freaking out about money and, well, life. Keep working on the framework. It is so needed in this world. And yes, it will save your life. And it will save the lives of so many of us who are in the same boat!

    • Jamie Lee

      Thanks, Erica. It’s such a tragedy that we KNOW there is a better way, but we can rarely slow down long enough to figure it out. It’s not rocket science … it just requires a little breathing space – something many of us are painfully short on these days.

      I hope your panic attack has passed. Here’s to finding an interim balance while we figure out the Big Stuff and get the little stuff done.


  6. Melissa

    I’ve always wondered why we are afraid to be vulnerable because, when we are, we find a community of others like us. Thank you for shedding light on an issue that all of us face. In contemporary society, balancing a good life and a good career is a very tough thing. It is especially tough for the solopreneur. We all share the pain. Well expressed (as always), Jamie!

    • Jamie Lee

      Thanks, Melissa. That’s such a great observation about community. Though our shared experiences, we know each other.

      So glad to have you here and in my world to share some of those experiences.

  7. Jeevan Jacob John

    Oh, life.

    Yes, it throws curve-balls at us, doesn’t it? (I think that is the best part of life. After all, what would life be with everything went the way we want? It would be boring and we wouldn’t LEARN much).

    I am glad that you wrote this post, Jamie. It helps (I have had those feelings – those bad days and weeks – I usually try to invest my energy into something else, and sharing our situation with others certainly can help).

    Hope everything works out for you!

    • Jamie Lee

      Hello, Jeevan –
      Curve balls, indeed … and fast balls and balls that hit you upside the head. 😉

      Thanks for the reminder that adversity is a great teacher. It’s so true. Everything I’ve earned in my life has come at the hands of that tutor – pushing me to be more and do more and try more.

      Nice job finding the silver lining!

      • Jeevan Jacob John

        Hahaha, Yes 😉

        Of course, that mindset with help us teach ourselves! (then there are situations in which we should really just give up and try some other methods. Our mind is tricky in that it is hard for us to realize when we have to give up and try some other method).


  8. Jamie, I hear you.

    What makes me want to cry?

    It’s 12:36pm on Sunday night and I am at the office finishing a presentation for a client. My wife is leaving for Vancouver on business tomorrow for a week. I won’t *really* see her but for 5 min in the morning.

    I really do hope you feel better and I hope you get past it. Keep your head up. I will save you a smile over here. Cheers.

    • Jamie Lee

      Oh, Ralph! I’m so sorry to hear that. Been there, done that … and felt bitter and angry and … well … you read the post. You know.

      I’m feeling much better now. Thank you. I hope you got more than 5 minutes with your wife and I hope that there aren’t any other impending all-nighters in your future.

      I see your smile and I raise you a hug.
      Good to know none of us are in this alone.

      • Yes thanks. We got about exactly 5 minutes. No, no more all nighters in the near future. Glad for that.

        Just a moment in time which makes the good moments even better. Cheers!

        • Jamie Lee

          Exactly – you have to survive the bad times to appreciate the good ones as much as they deserve. :)

  9. Hi Jamie,

    I hear ya. I thought life was interesting just over a year ago, then social media stepped into the picture. It’s an amazing, but sometimes all-consuming practice. No duh, right? 😉

    Running a business, working on building several side projects, bouncing in and out of social, then trying to have a family life. Well that becomes a challenge each and every day, and sometimes it sure as hell feels good to vent just a little. Ranting is good for the soul, me thinks.

    Can’t wait to see what you have in store.

    • Jamie Lee

      Thanks for indulging me, Craig. :)

      Social is the gift that keeps on giving, right? You can’t keep up, and it’s hard to step away … even temporarily (though that’s something I might try later this year).

      Happily, I’m feeling MUCH better and excited about what’s coming next. Can’t wait. :)

      Thanks for coming by. Always nice to “see” you here!

  10. Laura

    I hear your frustration loud and clear. Bad case of shingles, having to fill in for a co-worker who broke her back at a part-time job, trying to help my teen with college prep, big startup client delays software launch, household management… and what’s relaxation?
    Not enough money, not enough time and Nano is here and let’s not forget the power outage for the last few days!
    Bright side? Up and have power since last night! And, I’ve decided I can’t do it all so I am going to pick and choose what I am able to do without getting myself all wound up. Because after all, getting wound up is counter-productive. Life will move along eventually. The trick is in keeping your eye on the goal. I will eventually get around to being more adept at the social media and draft those blog posts that I’ve outlined.
    Thanks for being honest about your crazy life! Sign of strength, to be that honest rather than pretending and putting out a false image that you’ve got it all together. I don’t trust perfect people. They’re not REAL. :)

    • Jamie Lee

      You’re wise to distrust perfect people.

      You’re right – must keep your eye on the end goal.
      Sometimes, it’s okay to wallow for a minute; but then it’s important to get back up and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

      We need to admit (and revel in) the fact that we can’t do it all (and certainly not all at once). That’s okay. That’s even a GOOD thing. Trying to do too much means we dilute our efforts. Better to just step back, breathe, and focus on one thing at a time.

      Thanks for coming by. Hope you’re all better now!

      • Laura

        Getting there! Week 4 for shingles and feeling tired but pain levels down significantly. Not enough to stop the ideas from flowing!

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