I like to take morning jogs, nothing too ambitious just 30 or so minutes will do. Most times I listen to music, and occasionally, I listen to podcasts. Today I’m glad I chose to listen to this Ted Talk by Dr. Meg Jay.
Don’t let the title fool you, I think the message here is just as relevant whether you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s. The idea that we have all this time to do all these things we want to do keeps us from pursuing what we really want to do with our lives.
My big scary goal: By the end of this year I want to get moving on making this blog a priority not a choice, and actively pursuing opportunities to grow its audience.
Here is the speech. Play it over your lunch hour, drive home, or whatever down time you have today, it’s well worth it.
Before I start work everyday, I sit down and write a blog post.
It’s based on whatever I’m thinking about that day, and whatever future goal I have in mind. I don’t always publish (I’m working on that) but I write something down.
How did you get here?
I love finding out people’s stories. How they got to where they are now. I came from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, to a small town on the shore of one of the great lakes in a city that freezing half the year. People always like to ask me that, in short, it’s a long story.
I work in a virtual climate, which is great but hard sometimes and I got my job a few months after graduating college.
When I see people looking for jobs, I harken back to last summer when I was sitting on my bedroom bed, sub-letting my friend’s apartment with no idea where my life was headed and facing job application after application.
It wasn’t like I hadn’t tried, I had three internships under my belt by the time I graduated. Where did that lead me? The afore-mentioned apartment, bed, application scenario.
I tried my hardest to pour my heart out to a computer in hopes that the select word I had picked from the job description would put me at the top of the list.
I hated it.
I hate online applications.
Hate. Hate. Hate.
There is nothing personal or real about them, if you manage to get a phone interview you are crossing fingers and saying whatever it takes to get an in-person interview.
And if you get an in-person interview even if it’s a “boring” industry or a “boring” job, you will say whatever it takes to get the job.
And after two years of working in a career center in college I knew exactly what to say.
It was depressing. Faced with the prospect of spending a depressing summer I decided that I was just going to start a blog and write about stuff that actually interested me, while I applied for jobs that well, didn’t.
I decided to set myself up as a consultant for small business because I figured hey, there are people out there who know a lot less than I do and if I can set it up to do small projects for them it just might work.
Heck, I thought, why not?
It sort of worked, and it kept me motivated.
I even crafted sales letters that I sent to local businesses I found through the local chamber pages.
When I wasn’t applying I was working on my hustle or hanging out with friends.
I don’t know what to do with downtime after about a day or two.
It didn’t really work out, I wasted the little money I had sending out mail, and hours in the computer lab printing stuff. I didn’t really hear back from any of those businesses, I got one or two projects from people who knew me, but in the overall sense my business was a fail.
Honestly though, it saved me.
Here’s why: It helped me get a job I actually wanted without any need for an application, or bullshitting whatsoever.
Building Your Brand 101
“Follow the dots, and trust that they will somehow connect”
If you want to do something you enjoy but have no idea how to get an in, in the industry work for free.
The blog I was running and my fledgling business –haha- got me the attention of a former fellow intern on LinkedIn and she connected me to a local marketing expert who kindly took me under his wing and let me work while learning the ropes. He hustled to get me hired at his company, all because I had shown genuine interest and initiative he later said.
Those job applications I did, well after about a month of those I got a few phone interviews. And one even got me two interviews at a legit job I might have taken. A few weeks into my new job, those boring applications got me 2nd interviews, but by that time, I was already saved from the hum-drum life; a life where I would have to fight to get to do what I do everyday now as a part of my job.
That’s pretty sweet.
If you want to get somewhere you’ve got to write it down. Then take steps towards it. Small steps. I’m all for the jump out and catch your dream but you probably have a couple of bills, and you will probably need some cushion for a little while.
But don’t be afraid to stick your neck out there and start somewhere, even if it’s a small blog moonlighting as a marketing consultant while you’re still learning 😉
What your hustle? What’s your dream? What do you want to wake up and do every day 5 years from now?
It’s not going to happen instantly, but if you take those small steps, it’ll happen.
“Follow the dots and trust that they will somehow connect.” -Steve Jobs
Best. Quote. Ever.
I’m fired by something else now, helping myself and others learn how to build a brand for themselves online.
I’m just doing it because I love marketing, and that field caught my interest. A quick Keyword research told me it has others curious too so I decided heck, why not?