MadWoMan Chronicle #1: The Parking Ticket

It was literally a cold and rainy day. I had a pretty big print job to pick up and deliver to a client before heading uptown (during rush hour) to meet with a prospect I had been trying to meet with for months…but let me give you the backstory first…

The week before this rainy day, I had been trying to process a credit card transaction for one client’s print job and for whatever reason it would not work. I needed this transaction to go through so that I could have the funds to pay for the print job. In the end I had to go to the clients office, pick up the funds in cash and bring it to the print shop to put a deposit on the print job.

By the time the rainy day came to pick it up, the job cost more due to some last minute changes and I didn’t have the funds to cover it, nor was I going to go back to the clients office to pick up more funds, to go all the way back to pick up the print job to go all the way back to the clients office; we’re talking at least a 30-minute or more drive each way in rush-hour traffic. This didn’t break me down though I kept a cool head and thought of a solution.

My roommate at the time agreed to lend me the difference of what I needed for the print job and when I went to pick it up, I was still short due to a miscalculation somewhere. I must have pulled out every debit card, credit card, the last bit of change in my wallet to cover that job and the printer had to make an adjustment to the invoice so it met exactly what I had available. As much as this was a pretty humiliating situation as all the employees at the print shop kind of looked over their shoulder to see me scrape what I had left, I didn’t break-down here either. I still felt confident in that, this is what happens in business sometimes as you’re climbing your way to the top.

Anyway, I got out of the print shop with the print job and just enough time to make it to the client and then head off in the rain and traffic to meet with this important prospect. On my way to the client, I realized that I had scraped my wallet dry and had nothing left to pay for parking when I go to meet the prospect and that’s when the tears came down. I couldn’t imagine rescheduling the meeting; remember I had been trying to meet with this prospect for months, but I also, clearly, could not afford to get a ticket or towed away. As I thought about having to cancel this meeting, the pain build up inside of me because I really hate letting clients and prospects down and making myself look bad in the process. I was very concerned about how this would affect my reputation as a professional.

Suddenly, I had  thought to call a friend/client who I knew would know what to do, so I pulled over and explained the situation hoping she would have a solution to save me and she offered to pay part of her invoice early so that I would have the funds to pay for parking to meet the client. I felt such relief and back on track after we hung up. I proceeded to deliver my print job, but when I arrived, the client said they needed help to assemble the print job, which would cut into my travel time to meet the prospect. But how could I say no…you just read how I hate to disappoint a client or prospect. I assembled the print job as quickly and professionally as possible and surprisingly got out with enough time to make my prospect meeting.

As I drove down the street, on the way to my meeting, I was hit with another shocking reality. How was I going to process the money transfer my friend/client sent? I got so caught up in getting the print job assembled, I didn’t think to ask to use a computer to accept the payment so I can withdraw it from my account to pay for the parking and I didn’t have my laptop on me and with no 3G service on my phone to tether my iPad….again came the tears, I was right back where I was 30 minutes ago wondering how am I going to pay for parking to go meet this client? In the end, I decided that I was going to just take whatever parking ticket I was going to get and hope that I wasn’t going to be towed.

I arrived at the parking garage, parked my car, looked around, then got out and started to walk towards the elevator and just then, a woman pulled up and said to me: “hey do you need a ticket? I still have some time on mine and it’s good until the evening.” She might have seen the tears start to build in my eyes as I thanked her over and over. She drove off, I went to put the parking ticket on my dash and went off to my meeting with a smile on my face and praise in my heart because I knew that ticket came directly from God Himself and it lives in the armrest of my car until this day.

In the end, I had a great meeting with the prospect. She never signed contract but I was still grateful to have finally met her; she was such a lovely and pleasant woman that helped bring some light to my rather gray day. After getting that sweet gift of ticket, I felt so blessed that I wouldn’t let losing a prospect get me down. But there wasn’t a moment that whole day, that I didn’t wonder if I was going to go mad.

There are a few morals to this story:

  1. When the chips are down and you don’t know what you’re going to do, put your faith in God. He sees you and He wants to help, if you only let Him. When you surrender and allow God to takeover, that’s exactly what he does.
  2. Always be clear on exactly what your costs are going to be.
  3. Charge what you’re worth and don’t undercut yourself trying to make a sale. In the end, it will cost more than what you’ve been paid.

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Since 2005, Sandra has worked with entrepreneurs around the world to start, launch, promote and grow their brands. Using signature Business Consulting and Brand Strategy programs, Sandra coaches entrepreneurs to clearly define their business and brand to effectively position them in their markets, communicate with their audience and build a trusting and loyal community.

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