Qik Interview by Robert Scoble [en]

Yesterday morning, [Robert](http://scobleizer.com) caught me for an express interview on [Qik]() with his cellphone. Here it is. I speak about the beginning of my LIFT08 experience, and about [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net), of course.

Here is my blog post about [the open speech talk I gave](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/02/07/lift08-my-going-solo-open-stage-speech/) just earlier.

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On Being Wiped Out [en]

[fr] Epuisée mais contente. Si je ne vous reconnais pas, si je vous demande trois fois votre nom, si j'essaie de vous donner des cartes de visite trois fois... soyez indulgents. Je suis hyper contente de la réception de mon discours sur l'histoire de Going Solo.

My poor brain can’t follow anymore. I’m loosing track of who I speak to, who I’ve met, who I’ve given [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net) moo cards too (even to my friends). I’m delighted with the reception of my [speech about Going Solo](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/02/07/lift08-my-going-solo-open-stage-speech/) — swept off my feet, even.

Many people have come to tell me they liked my speech, that it was inspiring, that they are going to come to Going Solo, that they want to interview me (I’ve lost track of the number of interviews I’ve given today, honestly), or talk about partnerships or possible synergies.

I’m feeling bad, because I was [invited as one of the electronic media crowd](http://www.liftconference.com/electronic-media-crowd) to live-blog the event, and I think I’ve done a really crappy job of it. I hope to earn my pass tomorrow.

I’m not feeling [overwhelmed as I was at FoWA](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/10/06/too-many-people/), because I’m happy rather than frustrated and anxious. But I can’t keep up. Don’t get me wrong, I want to speak to you, and I’m going to. I also know that this is important for my event 🙂 — but if I look a little exhausted, if I ask you your name three times, try to give you Moo cards twice, or forget what you just told me… please be indulgent!

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LIFT08: My Going Solo Open Stage Speech [en]

[fr] J'ai fait une présentation très courte de ce qui m'a inspiré à organiser Going Solo tout à l'heure, lors de LIFT. Voici le texte sur la base duquel j'ai préparé ma présentation, et des liens (quand je les aurai trouvés) vers vidéos ou articles.

For the first time in my life, I actually rehearsed a speech. Ironically, my three-hour workshop yesterday required all of 5 minutes preparation time on the train in the morning (in my defense, I given similar workshop/classes before), but my 5-minute open stage speech had me preparing and rehearsing for at least three hours. My friend Sarah probably got sick of hearing it over and over again last night as she timed me.

It went well. Thanks again to all [who voted to see me speak on stage](http://www.liftconference.com/going-solo-being-freelancer-connected-world), and for your kind and encouraging comments after my speech.

You could probably see I was a bit stressed — quite a bit more than when I usually [speak](http://stephanie-booth.com/en/speaking/): you can’t really make any mistakes when you only have 5 minutes. It’s there, it’s gone.

I left a bit out, I’m afraid. Blame it on stress. The part I left out is about how important this “business” aspect of freelancing is — because it’s actually what’s going to determine how successful you’ll be as a freelancer. You can be the best at what you do, if you don’t know how to set your rates or find clients, you’ll starve.

So, here’s the text I wrote last night and I based my preparation upon. It isn’t a word-by-word transcript of what I said (I didn’t learn it by heart!), but it’s pretty close. Enjoy the insight into how I prepared this speech!

If I find videos and links later on, I’ll add them to the end of this post.

> I’m going to tell you a tale of inspiration, of a personal journey which led me to do things I never would have thought possible, like organising an event for freelancers from all over Europe — which I’ll tell you more about at the end of this speech. It’s not just my journey, it’s the journey of all those who have turned a passion into a living.

> Are there any freelancers or small business owners in the room? Keep those hands up. Any ex-freelancers? Aspiring freelancers, or people who’ve thought about the idea? This is about you.

> Two years ago I was sitting in this same hall. I was a middle school teacher, and I dreamed of being able to make a living out of my passion, the web — but I couldn’t see how. After LIFT in 2006, something clicked, and I saw how it could be possible. A few months later at the end of the school year, I quit my job as a teacher to be a full-time freelancer.

> It was easy at first. The phone kept ringing, and people actually wanted to pay me for stuff that didn’t feel like work. My biggest challenge was that I felt bad because I had the impression I was on holiday all the time.

> After a few weeks or months though, things became more complicated and less fun. I was charging too little, how should I set my rates? I was drowning in paperwork, I hired an accountant. I was contacted by clients I didn’t expect, like Intel who wanted to fly me all the way to the US, or a rather prominent local politician. I realised I wasn’t good at negociating and closing deals.

> Luckily I had friends in the business. I asked for their advice, and realised they had faced or were still facing the same issues. They were willing to share. I found support and learned useful things:

> – how to set a daily rate, for example. Decide how much you want to make in a month. Divide that by the number of days you have available for paid work — 10 maximum, maybe — you have your daily rate.
– I also learnt to stop being uncomfortable about how much I was charging for talks — people were paying for my expertise, not for my time

> I started learning that there is way more to freelancing than just doing the things you’re being paid for. There is a whole business aspect to freelancing which is not what draws people to become soloists — they go solo because they’re good at doing something and can get paid for it — but this business stuff is actually really important, because it’s going to determine how successful you are as a freelancer.

> When I decided to organize events, it was pretty obvious that the first one would be for freelancers. That’s Going Solo — it’s going to take place on May 16th, in Lausanne, just 30 minutes away from here by train.

> Going Solo is an occasion to gather freelancers from all over the web industry, from all over Europe and even elsewhere, and take a day off “working” to think about these business issues in depth. Seasoned freelancers like Stowe Boyd, Suw Charman, Martin Roell — and also Laura Fitton of Pistachio Consulting, which I’m announcing right now as my fourth confirmed speaker — will share their experience and dig into topics like setting your rates, negotiating and closing deals, finding clients, or better, helping clients find you, and even choosing how to work so that you actually have a work-life balance — something I’m personally struggling with these days.

> If you want to know more about Going Solo, come and talk to me or visit the website — [going-solo.net](http://going-solo.net), with a hyphen. If you have speakers to suggest, or partnerships to talk about, make yourself known. Otherwise, see you on the 16th of May!

– [interviewed by Robert Scoble on Qik](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/02/08/qik-interview-by-robert-scoble/)
– [interviewed by Nicholas Charbonnier on Tech Video Blog](http://techvideoblog.com/lift/stephanie-booth/)
– (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8270350768335569204)

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Busy! [en]

[fr] Je cours, je cours! Pas mal de nouveau sur le site de Going Solo. J'espère mettre les billets en vente dès mercredi!

Gosh, have I been busy these last weeks. My “one post a day minimum” resolution kind of evaporated when I started [running all around town](http://going-solo.net/2008/01/21/venue-stories/) looking at venues for Going Solo.

Well, [we have a venue](http://going-solo.net/2008/02/04/the-venue/) now, and today I spent a fair amount of time playing with [Expectnation](http://expectnation.com) to try and get it ready to [open registration](http://going-solo.net/registration/) less than two days from now (fingers crossed).

We also have
badges to display in your sidebar (thanks, [Carlos](http://design.osez.ch/)!) and [more content on the Going Solo site](http://going-solo.net/2008/02/04/more-like-an-event-site/). [Pulled the badges after some feedback. New ones soon!]

I also seem to have found our fourth speaker, which I’m quite excited about (no, not telling — both parties are going to chew on it a little before we make it offical).

Now, I just need to sleep, prepare my [workshop](http://www.liftconference.com/get-started-blogging), rehearse my [Open Stage speech](http://www.liftconference.com/going-solo-being-freelancer-connected-world), announce the Lausanne [blogging seminar](http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/particuliers/initiation/) for 26th February and figure out how to market it.

Uh-oh! Night night everybody.

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Thanks! See You at LIFT08 :-) [en]

A heartfelt thanks to those of you who following [blogged about Going Solo](http://del.icio.us/steph/coverage+goingsolo) or voted for [my Open Stage presentation](http://www.liftconference.com/going-solo-being-freelancer-connected-world). I’m actually going to be the first Open Stage talk, [Thursday morning before the break](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-program-thursday-friday). Exciting and scary!

[My workshop](http://www.liftconference.com/get-started-blogging) also got enough registrations to be provided with a room, which is nice. I can still accommodate a few more people (up to 15 as far as I’m concerned, but I’m trying to make sure the room is big enough). I’d like to insist again on the fact that this is a workshop for ***people who are not yet blogging*** — you’ll find it frighteningly basic if you’re already a blogger. Also, you will have to **bring your own laptop** as we do not have a computer lab. So, if you’re coming to LIFT08, aren’t blogging yet, but would like to get going, [sign up for the workshop](http://www.liftconference.com/get-started-blogging).

I’ve been asked by a couple of people if they could come to the workshop although they don’t have a ticket for LIFT. That is unfortunately impossible, as the workshops are reserved to LIFT attendees (you should [come to LIFT](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/01/25/come-to-lift08/), it’s really worth it). (The [Venture Night](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-venture-night) and [Sustainable Development Sessions](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-program-thursday-friday#wattwatt) are open to non-LIFT public, however.) For those who might be interested, I’m planning to organize similar [Get Started Blogging](http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/particuliers/cours/) workshops in Lausanne (or elsewhere if there is enough interest). The first should take place on Feb. 26th (details to follow), in French. Again, if enough English-speakers are interested (say 6 people minimum) then I can also organize a workshop in English.

My [discussion session on multilingualism online](http://www.liftconference.com/all-these-languages-localization-and-multilingualism-online) thankfully didn’t make the cut (remember I’ll also be live-blogging LIFT08!!), but I’ll set up an informal meeting for people who are interested in chatting about this.

See you at LIFT!

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Going Solo Venues, Open Stage, and Link Love [en]

[fr] Sur le site de Going Solo, vous trouverez le récit de mon après-midi passée à visiter des salles de conférences à Lausanne. Ma proposition d'Open Stage pour LIFT'08 semble avoir du succès mais a encore besoin de vos votes.

Je me pose ensuite des tas de question sur les raisons pour lesquelles Going Solo ne semble pas attirer plus l'attention des blogueurs. Est-ce trop tôt? Pas assez d'informations? Ai-je épuisé mon capital social? Est-ce que tout le monde pense que les autres s'en chargent?

Pour que des personnes en-dehors de mon réseau direct puissent entendre parler de Going Solo et s'y intéresser, j'ai besoin de votre aide. Voici la (modeste) collection de liens couvrant Going Solo. Julien a parlé plusieurs fois de Going Solo en français (merci!), mais je crois que c'est à peu près tout côté couverture francophone. Oui, la conférence est en anglais. Mais vos lecteurs francophones ne sont pas tous nécessairement anglophobes, ni les personnes qu'ils connaissent à leur tour.

Que ce soit clair: je ne veux forcer la main à personne. Si vous trouvez Going Solo inutile ou même bête, ne perdez pas votre temps à en parler (ou mieux, en fait, racontez pourquoi vous pensez ainsi, ça m'intéresse). Mais si vous désirez soutenir cette conférence et que ce n'est visible nulle part sur votre blog... Prenez un petit moment pour ça.

Et si vous avez un éclairage à offrir concernant ma difficulté permanent à "rallier" les gens autour des choses que je fais (pas les choses que je blogue, hein, celles que je fais), je suis toute ouïe. Merci d'avance.

Just a note to say I’ve published [a blog post on hunting for venues for Going Solo](http://going-solo.net/2008/01/21/venue-stories/) (yes, on the Going Solo blog — what? you haven’t subscribed yet? what are you waiting for?). If you have any thoughts on the points I raise there, go ahead.

In the good news departments, it seems [my open stage proposal about organizing a conference for freelancers](http://www.liftconference.com/going-solo-being-freelancer-connected-world) is attracting interest. It still needs votes though, so if you [want to help make sure I hit the big stage](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-community-program-propositions#openstage) and you are going to attend LIFT, be sure to [vote](http://www.liftconference.com/going-solo-being-freelancer-connected-world). (Every vote counts. Thanks.)

*Prepare for slight digression.*

For some reason, I seem to always have trouble motivating people to “spread the word” about stuff I’m doing. There seems to be a disconnect between the picture people send back to me (“Oh, you have so much *traction*, you’re so influent, etc.”) and what actually happens when I try to get the word out about something.

I usually don’t have this problem when it’s somebody else’s stuff. If I sign up for your nice new shiny 2.0 service and like it, I’m going to convince dozens of people to sign up. Twitter. Dopplr. Seesmic. It’s even happening with offline stuff like [the neti pot](http://steph.wordpress.com/2008/01/19/morning-rituals/).

I guess one of the issues is that I’m not really comfortable promoting my own stuff. Some people seem to have no problem doing that — I always feel like I should shut up, and if what I’m doing is really worthwhile, other people will pick it up and blog about it. On the other hand, I am pretty comfortable [page-slapping](http://joi.ito.com/archives/2003/08/10/page_slapping.html) people with my own writings.

So, what is it? Do people underestimate the support I need from the community? Am I one of those annoying people who [ask for too much and don’t give enough](http://www.horsepigcow.com/2007/11/24/you-may-be-a-community-freeloader-if-you/)? Do I squander my social capital? Is the stuff I do so lame that nobody has any interest in talking about it? Am I simply just “missing” a little something somewhere that I still haven’t figured out? Am I just not active enough in self-promoting?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about my [technorati ranking](http://technorati.com/search/climbtothestars.org) or about the fact that some of my blog posts have already been around the world three times (my stuff on [MySQL encoding problems](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/07/18/converting-mysql-database-contents-to-utf-8/) and [multiple WordPress installations](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/09/02/scripts-for-a-wordpress-weblog-farm/) have remained popular for years — the latter with spammers, maybe, I’m afraid). It’s more about *stuff I do* as opposed to *stuff I write*.

Take [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net). I know I haven’t really started pushing it out there, because we don’t have branding yet and the price isn’t quite set. But still. When I [announced it here on CTTS](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/14/announcing-going-solo/) (and before that, when I [said I was starting a company](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/13/im-starting-a-company/)), a lot of people stopped by to leave an encouraging comment or send me a nice tweet. I really appreciated it.

Now, not trying to make anybody feel bad here, but here’s [the coverage of Going Solo](http://del.icio.us/steph/coverage+goingsolo) that I’ve been able to round up (or the [technorati cosmos](http://s.technorati.com/going-solo.net). I’m getting into the habit of bookmarking any “coverage” links, because they’re easy to find on the moment, but 6 months later you can forget about it.

Is it because I haven’t explicitly said “Going Solo needs your link love”? (If that’s it, I’m saying it now.) Is it because it’s “too early) — ie, people are waiting for the venue to be set, the full programme to be announced, sidebar badges to be available and the tickets to be on sale? I personally don’t think it’s necessary to wait that long. I’m convinced Going Solo is going to be a really useful event for many freelancers out there. I want to get the word out and create interest for it, also outside my immediate network. And for that, I need you. You’re the only people who can help me reach “outside my network”. Or maybe I’m being difficult, naive, or expecting too much?

I’d like to understand what’s happening. I’d like more people to talk about Going Solo and try to promote it to their networks, of course, but my main issue here is understanding. So any insight will be… more than welcome. If you think Going Solo is worthwhile, but you haven’t blogged about it, it would help me if you left a comment to tell me why you haven’t (yet, hopefully!) blogged about it. Again — I’m not asking for justifications, just insight from “the other side of the fence”.

This week-end, as I was hurrying to get [my LIFT workshop](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/01/19/lift08-workshop-get-started-with-blogging/) out of the door, I was astonished (in a disappointed sort of way) to see how few people had come up with proposals for LIFT. I know people wait until the last minute to do it, but I also realised that I hadn’t really blogged about LIFT this year. I guess I was thinking that it was so popular anyway, a blog post of mine wouldn’t really make much difference. “The others” were already blogging about it.

Then I took a step back and thought of [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net) — how my frustration that people weren’t talking about it more. So I wrote a blog post to tell people it was [the last minute to send a contribution to LIFT](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/01/20/very-last-moment-to-propose-a-contribution-for-lift08/). Did anybody make one because I blogged about it, I wonder?

So, done with the angst-ridden rambling. I welcome your comments. And Going Solo needs your link love.

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So, What's Going Solo About? [en]

[fr] Un avant-goût du programme de Going Solo. Il ne suffit pas de "savoir faire des trucs" pour avoir du succès en tant qu'indépendant. Il y a plein d'aspects "business" au boulot d'indépendant que l'on sous-estime souvent au départ, et qu'on doit apprendre sur le tas. Going Solo, ce sera l'occasion d'apprendre des choses comme par exemple comment fixer ses tarifs, se faire connaître, effectivement décrocher des mandats (et se faire payer!), trouver des clients ou les laisser nous trouver, expliquer au monde ce que l'on fait, trouver un équilibre entre travail et "vie" (pas évident quand on a fait de sa passion son métier), ou encore gérer l'administratif qui accompagne la vie réseautée que nous vivons aujourd'hui.

Je donne dans ce billet un plan des sujets que je désire couvrir durant la journée de conférences que sera Going Solo. Trois orateurs sont d'ores et déjà annoncés: Stowe Boyd, Suw Charman, et Martin Roell -- vous les connaissez probablement de nom. Je suis à la recherche d'autres bons orateurs, particulièrement un peu à l'extérieur de mon réseau, donc n'hésitez pas à me faire part de vos propositions!

Here we go, with the promised post. I swear I’ve been wanting to write this “tomorrow” for a few weeks now, but something always gets in the way. It’s late and I have a mighty cold, but as I promised, here I am, typing away on my chubby MacBook rather late at night (my MacBook looks chubby now because the MacBook Air has just been announced… and it’d make any laptop look overweight).

When I decided to set foot in the event business, I pretty soon had a whole bunch of ideas for conference topics. As a first, I picked the one that seemed the most exciting to me: a conference about freelancing.

As a freelancer, I’ve learnt — sometimes the hard way — that it’s not sufficient to know how to “do stuff” well to be successful in business. I think many of us freelancers are in the business because we have a passion for which there is a demand (ie, people are ready to pay for this stuff!), and we often struggle with the “business” side of being self-employed.

Going Solo is a chance to learn how to do things like set your rates, make yourself known, close deals, find clients or let them find you, explain what you do to the world, find a life-work balance, or deal with administrivia in the networked world we web people work in.

I know that the best value people usually get out of conferences is the networking and the contacts, more than the actual content of the talks. I’ve had the impression, however, that this is starting to be used as an excuse for poor content, “false advertising” of talk topics, and lousy speakers. I want none of that. Of course, I want you to come to Going Solo and meet great people, chat with colleagues, enjoy the coffee with friends, and code in the bean-bags (I want bean-bags in the lounge — anybody got any?) But I also want the content to be rich, coherent, and well-presented. After all, that is primarily what you’re paying for.

Here is an initial outline of the topics I think are important. (This doesn’t mean that these are talk titles — this is stuff I want the various talks to cover.) I’d really like to hear you if you think I’m missing stuff out or including things that are irrelevant. This is for you, after all.

  • skills a freelancer needs (doing the work, marketing and networking, contracts and cash flow)
  • fixing prices, closing deals, negotiating contracts (the hardcore businessy stuff)
  • what kind of work freelancers in the 2.0 world do (some jobs are more suitable for soloists than others)
  • marketing and taking care of one’s social capital (blogging… and being a good online citizen)
  • tools of the trade (what software/tools/methods can assist you as a freelancer?)
  • coworking and staying in touch with “colleagues” (compensating for “working alone” — we remain social animals)
  • challenges in making a passion into a job, dealing with the blurring of the life/work distinction
  • international clients, travel, different laws and tax rules, accounting
  • soloist or small business?
  • adapting to different kinds of clients (in particular, how do you deal with big corporations that you approach or who have approached you)

As you can see, there is plenty in there to keep us busy for a day!

I’m happy to announce that Suw Charman, Stowe Boyd, and Martin Roell (all three great speakers and good friends) have accepted my invitation to come and share their experience as soloists and help you benefit from what they have learned over the years. We’re still in the process of determining the exact topics they will cover in their talks, but I already wanted to let you know that they would be here in Lausanne on the 16th.

As we will have more than three speakers (four if you count me, as I’ll probably grab the microphone to say a few words ;-)), I’m open to suggestions. If you know good speakers who could cover part of the program I’m outlining above, do let me know. I’m particularly interested in bringing in people from outside my immediate network — and for that I need you.

I hope you find this first draft of the programme as exciting as I do, and I’m looking forward to reading your feedback.

Cross-posted on the Going Solo blog.

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Working For Fame Or For Cash [en]

[fr] En organisant la journée de conférences Going Solo, je me trouve directement aux prises avec mes difficultés face à l'économie du peer. J'organise un événement qui dégagera je l'espère assez de bénéfice pour que je puisse me payer, ainsi que mes partenaires. En même temps, j'espère trouver des personnes prêtes à donner de leur temps en échange de la visibilité que leur apportera leur association avec Going Solo. Mais je ne sais pas trop comment m'y prendre. Je trouve difficile de rendre les choses claires.

I’d like to introduce this reflection by quoting [Tara Hunt](http://horsepigcow.com/), who writes the following in a post titled [Please Stop Crowdsourcing Me](http://www.horsepigcow.com/2007/12/21/please-stop-crowdsourcing-me/):

> I came and I thought, hey, this is kind of neat-o and it empowered me at first. I thought, “Awesome! They want my opinion! They listen!” and I offered it and the feedback was, “Great idea!” and I watched as you implemented it, then benefitted from it and I felt good. I was great at first, but then after a while, I started to feel a little dirty…a little used…a little like cheap labor, replacing people you probably laid off or decided to save money on not hiring because you were getting so much great value out of my time. Maybe it was because it seemed that you believed you could ‘tap’ my well of ideas or ‘pick my brain’ endlessly? Maybe it was because my generosity goes so far and you overstepped your bounds? Maybe it was because you had a chance to reward my efforts, but dropped me like a wet rag as soon as I asked?

Tara Hunt, Please Stop Crowdsourcing Me

I just came upon her article a few minutes ago as I was aimlessly clicking around in my newsreader. It’s funny, because I’ve been thinking of this post I wanted to write for a few days now, and it’s right on the same topic.

I’ve already [felt uneasy about the “Peer Economy”](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/12/09/donnant-donnant/) (if I may call it like that before). About the fact that certain businesses actually get a lot of stuff for free from their enthusiastic users — stuff they would have to pay for, otherwise. The point I understood about a year ago is that the fact that people contribute voluntarily to help improve services like WordPress, GMail, Twitter, and countless others is what allows us (the community) to benefit from great tools like these free of cost or way cheaper than what they’re worth. I’m comfortable with that.

However, I agree with Tara, there is a fine line to tread. As a company, you don’t want people to feel used. And like Tara, I’ve had more of my share of people/companies who want me to “take a look” at their stuff and “tell them what I think” — picking my brain for free. And I don’t like it. If I’m [passionate](http://headrush.typepad.com/) about your product, then yes — I’ll give you feedback. You probably won’t even have to ask me. I’ll blog about it. If you’re smart, you’ll point out what I wrote, give me credit and link-love, thank me publicly. But I didn’t do it for that. I did it because I liked your product, or because talking about your product fulfilled one of my agenda, in a way. I’ve given products/companies like [WordPress](http://wordpress.org), [Dopplr](http://dopplr.com), [Twitter](http://twitter.com), [coComment](http://cocomment.com), [Seesmic](http://seesmic.com) and a bunch of others valuable feedback *because I wanted to*, because I loved their stuff.

That doesn’t mean that I’ll do it for any product or service that crosses my path. If you’re one of the lucky ones, well, good for you. If you’re not, you’ll have to pay cash ([experiential marketing](http://climbtothestars.org/focus/experiential-marketing/) is one of the ways a company can use cash to make up for lack of immediate passion on the part of this particular human being). Just like I’ll help my friends out for free and open blogs for them just because I love them, some companies out there benefit from “free intelligence”. Others need to pay for a similar service.

You get the idea, I think.

Now, here’s what I really wanted to bring up with this post.

As you know, I’m putting together an event for the month of May, [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net). (If you’re a freelancer or a small business owner, you should plan to come, by the way ;-).) This is my first event. I’m not going to be doing it alone. Thing is, I realised I’m a bit shy about asking my friends to help me out, because on the one hand, I want to keep the event expenses to a minimum, and on the other hand, I don’t want people to get the impression I’m trying to “crowdsource them” — as Tara expresses above.

This is made worse (and way more uncomfortable for me) by the fact that this is not a non-profit venture. I’m going to be investing quite a lot of time in this adventure, and I hope to be able to pay myself enough to have made it worthwhile. Ditto for my sales and logistics partners. So, yes, we’re hoping the event will make a profit (against all odds, it seems — everybody tells me that if you’re first event breaks even, you’re very lucky).

So, I know that part of the difficulty I’m facing here is my own inner workings. Despite what some people on IRC may think 😉 I’m somebody who doesn’t find it easy to ask for help/stuff. I always feel I owe people (except when I feel I’m owed, in a kind of weird back-swing dynamic).

There are certain things that I need for the conference, where I’m hoping I’ll manage to find somebody who is willing to “work for fame”. Taking care of the website is one. Design is another. Similarly, I’m hoping to strike up a partnership for the WiFi and bandwidth we need for the event.

In fact, there is some similarity between “working for fame” and being a sponsor/partner. You provide stuff for free (or almost), and in return you get visibility. So maybe I need to switch mindsets. Instead of looking for “people to help me”, I’m looking for “individual partners” for the event.

I feel like this is a thought in progress. I’m not exactly sure what I think, or what to do, or what is “right”. I’m particularly embarrassed when I start talking with friends or contacts about this or that they could do for the event, because it’s not clear from the start if we’re talking about a partnership (work for fame) or Real Work (work for cash).

Any insights appreciated. I feel like I need to step out of my mind a bit to find a way out, and you can help me out with that by sharing your thoughts.

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