“Cause we all have wings, but some of us don’t know why”- INXS
Usually when I get asked what I do, I tell people Social Media Consultant. *blank stare* “Uh, I community manage and create brands online…” *blank stare* “I play with twitter and facebook.” OHHHHHHH….You can get paid for THAT? *faceplant* “Yeah, most of the talented ones make over $100,000 a year”
So, uh… why don’t you get a real job?
Ever since I was five years old, I said to myself… I was never going to have a normal career. I wish I could go back and tell my five year old self to never stop believing that. I started in band promotion and the music industry when I was 13 years old, I smartly got out of it when I was 18 and went to college. Graduated from a university while unemployed living in a strange state that wasn’t my home, I couldn’t collect unemployment or food stamps. I did what I could to get by… working for Livenation and a few copywriting jobs for a little while and living off Subway sandwiches for two days and of course Bruce’s Yams.
I started building an online brand as Miss Destructo, weeks at a time trying to design business cards, logos, websites and accounts. This site itself has already been through five design changes. Then came the time to get connected on social media networks. I found Twitter and my life will never be the same. I used it for networking, connecting with the best of the best in social media in my area of Greenville, SC. I learned about how important of a tool social media is becoming not only to create yourself but for companies to connect to their public. A lightbulb went off in my head, this is exactly the field that I belong in. I knew there was going to be a long journey ahead to actually stand out and make a difference in this new lunar landscape of marketing, but I was willing to spend some of the little money I had and put 100% of myself into it.
Moving back to Tampa, I was able to start many other projects such as Foursquare Day, Bruce’s Yams and working on two huge website projects at the moment with other partners. But the real job has been that I currently live with my elderly and ill father…which has been tough, staying up till 5am just so I could check to see if he was still breathing. Trying to focus on work and having a sick parent in the “workplace” has been the biggest challenge I have ever went through, I’ve had to cancel business calls and almost trips just so I could help him take care of the house and himself. He will always come first, but there’s sometimes I have to decide when to lock myself in the room for the day just so I can remain positive in such a sad state of atmosphere.
I love the travel aspect of my job but being gone on the road has been the worst part with my father being sick, being in Canada without a cell phone was tough… later this year I will be traveling 75% of the time for conferences, speaking gigs and tours. I just ordered a new Palm Pre Plus for this reason, again.. if there are rough patches in your life, do what you can to make yourself available to others. Always be connected to your roots and remember those people that got you to where you are.
It’s been almost two years now since Greenville, SC and despite the constant 8am to 5am lifestyle of seemingly endless struggle with trying to find my next project and lack of paying work. I’ve accomplished more than I ever thought I would be able to, it’s been more than I could ever dream of. I wake up everyday with a sense of adventure on my mind. When my friends say “Oh you are so lucky…” Damn right, but luck comes from very hard work and self discipline. There is no boss to give me orders, I have to force myself everyday to get content produced for my own site on top of mangaging online communities and my own personal brand. You’ve got to be your own accountant, booking agent, PR person, marketing dept, ad agency, webmaster, bounty hunter and life coach. My little blue head everyday wears tons of hats during my business and personal life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. You just have to extremely organized, focused, study your ass off about self employment taxes (taxes up to 5 times a year!) and thanks to Freshbooks and Outright for giving me some sanity in this whole process.
All that being said, could I get a “real job”… a real job is not an option at this point, the amount of present money I would make would take time from the future money of greater amounts I could possibly be making. Plus… not many people will hire with blue hair, my brand and image is important to what I have created. There is no way in hell I would give that up to work at the mall. Sometimes you have to do what you can and push through those present restraints to contribute to your future. If you’ve got something good going, do not stop. Despite how much your current situation is or the lack of money, if you see a silver lining… don’t walk… run towards it.
Ask the naysayers how happy they are with their real job, most of the time there is an underlying boredom with their current career. Help them destroy their boredom by showing them how they can use social media for networking and other tools to make a change. Anyone can accomplish anything they set their minds to, even if that means being poor for awhile, making sacrifices and jumping into an unknown career path. Whatever the case if you have passion behind something anyone can take the 9-5 routine and tell it goodbye. YOU ARE THE BOSS OF YOUR LIFE.