I recently came across the tweets and blog of fellow Tampa twitterer @In11Months, and needless to say I saw a lot of myself someone who’s bio read “see how I will successfully use Social Media to achieve some major life goals.”, last year I went through a bit of a quarter life crisis. I still didn’t have a job, my fiancee and I split up, I was trying to run a consulting business by myself, living somewhere I didn’t want to be in the middle of nowhere without a vehicle, taking care of my very ill father and having my family turn against me while I nearly had a breakdown was one of the roughest times in my life. I vouched then I would pick myself up and never look back… well, it’s still been a bit of a rocky road, it’s like running through mud… it’s tough, tries to pull you down but there’s always dry land on the other side. I feel like I am finally at the light at the end of the tunnel.. business is picking up, i’ve got a packed traveling schedule, a possible book on the way, taking better care of my health and I am slowly learning to build up my confidence and trust people again after a rough few months. Most of all, I am learning to love myself and feel inspired… I found some great inspiration in this recent blog post by @In11Months that really hit home, he stated his frustration with his current state, albeit comfortable is wanting much much more out of life.
“A time flexible job, making decent money doing something I love to do! Is it really that hard??? Why is this so seemingly challenging to create for myself.”
Can we really create a different life for ourselves in less than a year through social media? You bet your bippy you can… here’s what I had to respond.
Hey there @In11Months,
I was in the same boat only two years ago, yet unemployed. It was a long process of reinvention, using social media to do exactly that and I still am not exactly there yet. But proud of what I am doing, you betcha. It was a long journey building my personal brand, online and offline… a boatload of networking and making me stand out to make people/companies realize my potential and worth. I’ve got amazing high priced job offers across the country but have turned them down for the flexibility and control of owning my own company (Head of Lettuce Media) and seeing it grow. It was a lot of sweat, tears, and that biting uncertainty and naysayers going “You don’t have a real job” again, I would say “Do you enjoy what you are doing with your life?”many times they couldn’t answer. Again, money is nice but it can’t buy happiness, i’d rather live comfortably then being rich and stuck in a prison. But there is many things you can do to find both… the world is your oyster.
1. Get Yourself Out There!
After work networking events. Events like Barcamp, Red Carpet Mondays, Business Buddies, local “tweetups” or industry conferences can def get you out there and make those connections and build those relationships that can possibly guide/inspire you to your next career move and or clients/partners. Connecting with key influencers and establishing good relationships is important as they usually have good insight and a story as well, not only just connections however if a job opens up they’ll usually be the first to let you know. Remember to just be personal, memorable, kind to others yet make yourself stand out of the crowd. If there’s something unique about you physically, career wise or character wise focus on that and make sure other people have something special to remember you by. There’s a whole bunch of things I like to do social media wise such as making sure people pull out their phones and follow me on twitter right on the spot or joining in the conversation and establishing relationships before the event meeting people on the event hashtag on Twitter or on the Facebook event page.
But as I have learned there are many snakes in the grass. Florida is ranked high for amount of con artists and all together “shady people”… i’ve had some awful experiences and could hardy trust even close friends. Just be careful who you get involved with and don’t be afraid to ask around about the rep of a person. This has saved my butt so many times… listen to your gut. Surrounding yourself with positive people that support you doing something you want to do (Entrepenuers and startups are the best!) can really make you gain focus to break out of the mundane and inspire you to do something you never thought you would be doing.
Maybe one suggestion is to take your experience and become a consultant, a gun for hire or find a company that is more flexible.
My friend Sean Davis has recently quit his job to start a startup in Tampa. I’ve never seen anyone so motivated, of course he runs into nasty naysayers, but he keeps the focus in his heart and keeps going. Read his blog here about his journey.
2. Get Yourself A Mentor or a Muse
When I first started I had NO idea where to start looking, I started off as a blogger so I turned to people like Gala Darling for muse like inspiration. When I started networking in Greenville, SC.. I learned about Olivier Blanchard and Trey Pennington, who first got me interested in actually using social media to promote myself and build a brand. I was starving, unemployed and needed to come back home to New Port Richey to take care of my father, in this happening I met Barry Moltz, Scott Stratten, Chris Brogan and these three really pushed me to keep on going and gave me the confidence to keep my head up during tough family times even despite nasty haters and the self doubt. And writers like Paul Carr really inspired me to write, showed me what I could of become, to stay on the right track in the industry and how to fight through personal vices. I’ve always had a few secret muses in my life that have always supported me despite distance or time, I would like to call these people my guardian angels. I have always been inspired by musicians and my friends that have broke out of the “that’s not a job” mold and have really kicked some serious ass in life. If you meet anyone doing what you want to be doing or that inspires you, ask questions, most of the time they have came from the same place and can really help you and maybe even help you make those connections you need.
3. Keep your options open
Can’t quit your job? Make small steps to create something amazing. If you’ve got a story, tell it… people want to know how they can use social media to change their lives, I get asked about it myself. It’s all about telling your story to inspire others that is important. Look for local conferences and events that you can possibly speak at. Make that blog into an ebook or even a real book. Believe it or not, you can make a pretty formidable side income or even quit your job for awhile doing so. I highly recommend the book The Art of Conformity and make sure you get Design Your Self for some ultimate inspiration.
4. Do something legendary, be a superhero.
No, you don’t need a cape and spandex. Again, money will be gone after we are, to truly become immortal we need is to have a legacy carry on with us and to over all just make the world a better place for future generations, one way to do this is every chance you get to help someone or if you have a passion in your heart for a certain cause. You want to be known for who you are and what you’ve done, not what you do. I love my job at Head Of Lettuce but we make sure we give back to the community as much as possible, with free charity social media classes and offering discounts for unemployed people. Don’t know where to start creating the legacy? Dig far down into your heart and find what makes you feel alive, or even feel angry.. use that passion for good. No matter if it steps on some toes or just starts small as helping some random person on twitter you’ve never met… so far with the power of twitter i’ve helped someone get new legs, helped a kitten get an important surgery, raised money for friend after a robbery, help rebuild a house and endless number of other small favors. However social media has great power, I mean just look at what happened in Egypt. It can change governments. If it can do that, it can change one life… make sure you change others first.
Don’t find the light at the end of the tunnel, be the light at the end of the tunnel…