Barefoot Writer Alexandra Gualtieri
Barefoot Writer Alexandra Gualtieri

Congratulations to Alexandra Gualtieri for Winning the April 2016 Barefoot Writing Challenge!

(Your $100 prize is on its way!)

The Challenge was to write an essay that answered this question:

If you could choose between your own personal chef, masseuse, or housecleaner, free of charge and available at your beck and call, which would you choose and why?

Alexandra dug deeply into the meaningful benefits of hired help, including a peek into the positive change it could bring her writing career. Enjoy her winning submission:

Funny story. Well… maybe not funny ha ha, more like funny hmm.

I used to work in the marketing department of a major distributor of professional cleaning supplies. Stuff for carpet cleaners, janitors, hotel maids, etc.

One day, I overheard a couple of our top marketing guys talking about how women reacted to our catalog. He had taken it to Thanksgiving dinner, of all places, and the women in his family were oohing and aahing over some of the products, like the commercial-grade vacuum cleaners and carpet-spotting chemicals.

“Women just love to clean!” he said.

I kid you not, he was completely serious. It was all I could do not to punch him in the throat.

Instead, I calmly, through gritted teeth, explained that women, in fact, do NOT love to clean. What women love — what everyone loves — is a clean house.

It was a lightbulb moment that changed the way I wrote and marketed our products.

Even the professionals of our industry don’t enjoy cleaning. But they do enjoy having a successful business, making money, and supporting their families — and that’s the message that we drilled day in and day out with great success.

So which would I choose: a personal chef, masseuse, or housecleaner?

A housecleaner. Hands down. No hesitation or second thought.

As I write this, there is an embarrassingly large pile of dirty dishes in my sink. My four-year-old’s cereal bowl is congealing on the table, and the fruity purée I fed my seven-month-old is turning into a thin layer of cement on her high chair.

The house needs a good vacuuming and dusting, and there are water spots on the mirrors in just about every bathroom. I’m not even going to mention all the toys strewn about the floor like little landmines.

I work from home, but am a slave to the clock — desperately trying to put in enough billable hours before I have to pick up my kids from day care.

Time that I take out of my day to clean is money lost. Plain and simple.

After reading all the success stories and great advice from AWAI, I’m more determined than ever to have the successful — and lucrative — writing career I’ve always wanted. One that gives me enough disposable income to hire a housecleaner.

Because seriously, who in their right mind wants to clean?