One upside, amongst many downsides, of the pandemic is that it taught me how to sell my services better. I’m serious. Back in January, I was in the comfortable position of having work lined up until August. Then COVID-19 happened, some of my clients got depressed, others lost their jobs or a part of their income. And just like that, my editing calendar turned into a tabula rasa.

Two months later, it’s practically filled up again. Because I gave up on selling diamonds and started peddling potatoes.

Now, I’m not sure how much of it shows through my writing, but in real life, I’m your typical frontman. I can go on stage, talk to crowds, sell dreams and grand visions, no problem. I gave speeches to live audiences of a few thousand people and held them spellbound. 

Put me behind a market stall and give me something—anything—to sell, and I’ll be calling you within the hour to bring more stock. That’s because selling things I don’t care about comes naturally to me. I regret having been born four centuries after the colonial era because I would’ve done well for myself trading spice, silks, and exotic fruits between the continents. 

But online? Yeah… Different story altogether. I don’t see the person in front of me, I don’t know what I’m doing, and I care too much about what others will think. I mean, it’s no small wonder, I’ve been polishing my writing and editing skills for nearly 8 years now.

Enter my wife, Edyta, who recently gave me a piece of advice that stung like hell, but helped me learn something important. She interrupted me mid-rant and said:

“Honey, you’re a natural salesman. You could make a fortune selling furs or potatoes because you don’t give a damn about furs and potatoes. But you can’t sell your intellect because you care too much about it. You want it to be worth something.”

Ouch.

“Sell it the way you’d sell potatoes and you’ll be fine.”

 And you know what? It works. My ego is somewhere in the corner of the room, all soppy, but in the last two months, I created more business leads than I did the year before.

It’s all about the potatoes. (Or kartoffeln as you’d say here in Germany.)

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