How to Pitch Collaborations + Not Piss Off Madeline Albright

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Pitching or “asking” well is something that I’ve become passionate about. {Read part one here.}

Y’all know that I’m serious about productivity. I’m on a constant quest to do things smarter. Which means I want that for you too. And thus it’s dishearting the number of poor pitches I get to my inbox with growing frequency. 

Here’s what it comes down to: That elusive work/life balance that’s always of interest but has been covered as of late by top women entrepreneurs like the Marissa Mayer, Sheryl Sandberg, Arianna Huffington & Erin Callan.

How does that apply to pitching?

An “ask” is either about work or life, business or friendship.  To confuse the two ignores what those powerful women are working to model well {& sometimes not so well.}

When I receive a request to do something for free from someone who would not call me up in tears at a breakup or receive a business proposal that doesn’t explain how it helps my business -- I’m not being respected as a businesswoman. And if I accepted, I wouldn’t be respecting myself as a businesswoman. But the real reason I’m writing this, is that the asker isn’t respecting themselves as a businesswoman either.

When I get asked to swap advertising with a brand new blog ... a year from now they will have good traffic & get asked for the same win/loss trade by a new site. 

When another freelancer asks me to style their photo shoot for free ... they’ll be asked to do something for free next month that they deserve to be paid for.

When a busy mom says she can’t afford my coaching services & offers to trade me, but isn’t sure with what ... she’ll soon be asked by a stranger for something that takes her time, which would take time away from her kids.

Email requests are about honoring for ourselves & for one another, the healthy quest for work/life balance.

It’s acknowledging that every ask that takes our time, takes time away from our families, our friends, our cherished pockets to recharge. And that when we respect that in one another, when we’re clear -- I’m coming to you with a win/win business ask, or I’m hiring you for your time, or you’re one of my best friends & this ask will delight your heart -- we do our small part in culture to make it easier for women to do it all.

We commit to collectively being smarter business women, setting boundaries, choosing rest & giving generously because we have the reserves to do so from running an intelligent business.

Then we can all achieve inbox zero, pay our mortgage, pump up Beyonce’s “Girls Rule the World” & have a drink with our best friends. Which I believe is possible. But it's a lot easier if we'll help each other get there.

What do you think? How do you try to honor other women's time? What asks have you received that the other party didn't realize weren't a win/win? How could they have changed that?

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P.S. For a little amen, start at minute 11:30 of Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright's Ted Talk. You really should watch the whole thing. She talks about how she uses her jewelry to control the media message. But if nothing else, watch from 11:30. And then go tweet her last line. {wink}

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