It is easy to say you want to work for yourself. Deciding to be your own boss and set your own hours is a no-brainer. Bestselling books like “The 4-Hour Workweek” tell you you can do it.
News flash: Doing it is not easy.
Unlike my peers who are making magic consulting for their clients and helping them understand the myriad ways of success in the social media space, I am failing. I talk to potential clients but no green light. I apply for short-term contractual jobs but nothing pans out. Rejection knows me well.
Despite going out on my own in 2009 as a solopreneur to help organizations develop social media strategies, it took me a while (and I’m still learning) where and how my skills and experiences can best be leveraged. That first year witnessed a long-term engagement with Social Media Today managing two of their online communities. I also taught some new media workshops to government managers in Washington, D.C. and Chicago.
That was a short-lived year in retrospect. By the time 2010 came around, I raked in the dough with a few gigs but nothing spectacular came my way. When I thought I had something, it ended. This year, 2011, has the mark of more fruits, helped by my teaching college courses about social media marketing and social networking. But it only pays so much.
Going out on your own is hard work — and requires failure.
The thing is, college doesn’t teach you to fail. It’s about the A, not the F.
Experience teaches failure, and you need to fail to succeed.
I’m tired of failing. I’m tired of telling my family and friends not to worry, that I know what I’m doing, and that I have faith in my abilities.
My journey is not over.
Enter the wisdom of Charlie Harary.
I was familiar with the Jewish Orthodox organization, Aish HaTorah, providing the vehicle for Charlie’s voice. But I hadn’t seen their videos.
I watched one of his inspirational videos last week and encourage you to watch it now. This is not about Judaism. It’s not about Aish.
It’s about finding faith.
One view of that video and I was hooked.
I remembered why I wanted to work for myself.
It was different last summer. I was insistent to find a 40-hour-a-week job. Click that link and you can read a similar article I wrote with a goal of becoming busier. I met with a career coach and discovered how I could portray myself and my abilities in ways I hadn’t considered. I networked with a lot of people, applied for a lot of jobs, wrote a lot of cover letters, and interviewed for a lot of positions.
By the time I celebrated my 35th birthday last fall, I gained a better understanding of what I want to do now that I am grown up. And when the new year struck its bells, I learned one more thing about myself: working for The Man in a daily grind is not in my cards.
But something is off. Something isn’t working for me.
Is there something I am doing that I should do differently?
I flipped around the Aish YouTube channel and found another video about going the distance:
Bringing it together.
My New Year’s resolution involved a 2-prong tactic of developing social media strategies for public organizations by way of writing, speaking, and consulting; and securing a part-time role in marketing communications at a nonprofit association. While I await feedback on the former, I am about to switch gears and focus on the latter.
During a recent business lunch, I asked my companion for advice on pitching my target part-time employer. She worked in the industry and instantly knew what to tell me that I should do. She didn’t say the same stuff that others told me during past lunches, but she suggested I go about a familiar task in a different way.
I’m sure my family and friends will continue to worry about me. I don’t blame them, but I have faith that new ways of doing old tasks will achieve success.
The only question is how many times do I need to fail on my own before I do a 180 and give up trying it on my own and commit to working full-time for someone else. I can’t answer that question right now.
Wish me luck on my journey through the rest of 2011.
And, if you’re in a similar situation, here’s to finding the faith.