I have been blown away by the comments on my last post. I am so appreciative of the kindness and support and all the ideas so many of you have shared.
I asked myself: why am I so reluctant to do Patreon? Melissa has been telling me to do it for years. And now so many commenters are telling me to do it, too.
The first, most obvious reason is that I’m terrified of rejection. As a writer I’m used to being rejected. It’s how writers get better. But I’m not used to being rejected by you. I feel like I have a much closer relationship with you. If I try Patreon and it doesn’t work, I would feel dumb. Like I thought you like me but you don’t actually really like me.
Also, I feel ashamed. I feel most ashamed that my parents are not helping me because I think everyone will think, “If her parents won’t help her then she’s not worth helping.”
One of the people in the comments – the one who everyone ripped apart – reminded me of the advice I gave her: “Pick yourself up and move on, your kids need you.”
It hurt to read that. And I have to admit I was happy that everyone told her to shut up. But as the day wore on, I started to like that advice. Which is probably why I gave it to her in the first place. I have to figure out how to keep doing what’s best for the kids.
So, I have to do Patreon because I can’t spend my life still seeing myself through my parents’ eyes. I hate even having to write that. I’m too old.
The other thing I learned from reading the comments is that I’m a lot like Britney Spears. I am good at earning money but not at managing my life. It looks like it’s just money that I can’t manage, but really it’s everything. I have a very, very hard time getting through a day like a normal person. Someone said that the times I’ve been functioning best is when I have someone there keeping me grounded. And they’re right.
A lot of my life I’ve had an assistant. If you are good at work, then work comes with an assistant. Well, that’s what I used to think — that I had an assistant all the time because I’m so good at work. I used to think investors always paid for my assistant because I’m so valuable. Then I realized they pay for an assistant so I don’t do things like have my car break down in the middle of an intersection and get the kids out of the backseat and walk home and then disappear for a week trying to get my car back. I did that once. But it was not a week — it was only three hours because I had an assistant who called me and figured everything out.
When I stopped working 100-hour weeks my assistant disappeared along with my job. I thought that would be fine because I was moving to the farm. But I didn’t realize the farmer had no intention of helping with childcare.
So I had to hire an assistant. And then the boys needed to go everywhere and the assistant didn’t want to do all the driving, so I hired a driver and then I basically had two assistants. The only way I transitioned from two assistants to zero assistants in Swarthmore is I told myself this is temporary.
The boys are used to having me and one other person run the family. I think the kids know life runs better when there’s someone with us. The kids don’t expect that person to be a father — because obviously I’m not good at picking that sort of man. But the kids do expect the person to be an assistant. They’ve spent most of their life seeing me with an assistant. My kids feel comforted by hired competence.
So, I am going to hire a full-time assistant to manage my life and my finances. I have had this type of person before. I know how to do it.
Just writing this makes me so happy. My phone service gets turned off all the time because I forget to pay the bill. I don’t get our prescriptions refilled on time; sometimes I spend all month worrying about the prescriptions and we still go days without medicine. Having an assistant back in my life will give me so much peace.
One of the biggest barriers to getting someone to help me is that I don’t have a steady income. Money comes in waves, which is not helpful for making life more stable. In the past, my startups have paid for the assistants so they don’t suffer from my crazy cash flow.
So, here’s my plan:
I do Patreon and I use the funds from Patreon to hire the assistant who will then manage the funds from Patreon and also the rest of my life. Melissa has built an empire by being the god of hiring assistants. She’ll hire mine.
She hires for startup founders who can’t tie their shoes. I pine for the days when I was simply a startup founder who couldn’t tie my shoes. Now it’s my shoes, and the kids’ shoes, and it feels like there are 50 million other pairs of shoes as well, even though I know there are not.
Get it? Not? Knot? For shoe tying?
I’m showing you how hard it is for me to focus on logistics enough even to get this post done.
What I want to do is write. If Patreon can make my income stable, then I can solve most of my problems. I can still do the things I like to do – career coaching and personality type stuff. But that’s not consistent income — and I’ve come to terms with the fact that if I want to create consistency in my life, I need to change.
You have all helped me recognize that having an assistant is not a luxury for me. And now I can see more clearly that asking for help is OK.
So here’s the link to my Patreon. I had so much fun putting Patreon together. I hope you like it.
When we went to my son’s piano teacher to say goodbye everyone was so sad. My son and the piano teacher are so close. The teacher said to me, “He’s very lucky. You’re an amazing parent to have gotten him here with no help. My parents didn’t do that for me.”
I need to hold that picture of myself in my head. My parents didn’t do that for me, either, which is why I so much want to be able to give both my kids what they need. What my kids need now is stability, and I’m getting that by asking for help from an assistant, yes, but really, from all of you.