You never know what awesome shit is on the other side of the hard stuff. This is why I kept going:

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Six years ago I decided I was going to “do” Social Media.

I didn’t really know what that meant outside of the fact that all of a sudden, businesses wanted to pay people to post things to Facebook and Twitter for them – and it seemed surreal that this could be an actual “job.”

And I wasn’t especially qualified for this “job,” nor did I have any idea how to go about freelancing.

All I knew is that I was now living in the big city of New Orleans, which meant that anything was possible, and that Aileen Bennett told me that I was something special (and I desperately wanted to prove her right).

I started out with one very simple goal: to make enough money managing social media accounts to be able to support myself (which, at the time, really didn’t require much).

I was living alone in a $500/month one room apartment, took advantage of free meals at networking events and from sweet friends who seemed concerned that my fridge consisted of a jar of olives, a jar of tiny pickles (they are SO GOOD), and a block of cheese.

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 11.16.56 AMThe first time a potential client asked about my rates, which I hadn’t thought through, $500 seemed like a great number to shoot for per client per month. After all, just one client meant my rent was paid.

Within a few months, I had FOUR CLIENTS, and was pulling in $2,000 per month – and I thought I was BALLIN.

And how did I keep these four clients?

By putting every skill I had at their disposal. Unlimited.

I managed social media, of course, but I also wrote blog posts, ran analytics, created original videos, took pictures anytime they asked me to (at least once/week), literally anything. And I was always available. Meaning I didn’t really have time to take on any additional clients or projects. Or breathe.

And that’s when the realization (panic) hit:

I hadn’t started my own business and I wasn’t on the road to financial freedom. 

I was trapped in a 24/7 job that maxed out at 24k/year. I wasn’t my own boss. I had FOUR BOSSES. 

I considered calling it quits and taking a full time job.

I considered moving back home.

I considered both of those options to be failure…and failure was not an option. I had something to prove.

I COULD DO THIS.

I WOULD do this.

And if I still wanted to quit after I had figured out how to be successful doing this thing, then it would be okay.

Looking back, this was probably the bravest decision I’d ever made and I feel really fucking proud of 24-year-old me.hey its megan

I started scaling back on deliverables and/or going separate ways with existing clients, I raised my rates, and I hired an assistant to help out with the workload to keep me from getting overwhelmed about having to always be “plugged in.”

I took advice. I accepted help. I learned from people who had done this before.

I took risks. Mostly those didn’t go so well, but sometimes they did. I said yes to almost everything. And I can’t say that I was wrong to do that back then, because I wouldn’t have known who and what was a “good fit” if I hadn’t found out who and what was a “bad fit.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 11.15.15 AMI found a community of people with similar goals, and immersed myself in that community.

Six long-ass, amazing, exhausting, beautiful, exciting, terrifying years later:

I’m still learning. Every single day.

And because of that – my Social Media Company – Conversations – is a success.
(At least by my own standards; which is all that really matters, or so I’m coming to realize.)

IMG_7355I hired 2 full-time employees (besides myself), and have 3 contractors that we work with regularly. We have an office of our own in downtown New Orleans, and we are working with really fucking awesome businesses and very good people.

I’m still learning how to scale.

I still make lots of mistakes.

And every now and then I have a month where I wonder how on earth I’ll make payroll.

But if I take a step back and really look at this journey so far, I can’t image doing anything else.

When I started out, I had no idea how big this world would be, and had no way to visualize all the different faces of opportunity that I’ve come across. I’m just so very grateful that it all unfolded this way.

In a couple of weeks I turn 30.

And if you remember how I turned 25 about three times, you may be thinking that I’m freaking out.

Actually: I’m feeling like this is just the beginning…

 

Today I took a “work-cation.” Here’s what happened:

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In my world there are two types of to-do lists:

1. The mandatory actions list

This consists of action items I need to accomplish in order to keep my business and life running (and my clients happy)! So things like paying bills, creating and sending reports, writing blogs and social posts for clients, etc.

2. The Someday list 

Also frequently labeled as “the long list,” and including things like writing personal blog posts, creating new workshops and courses, refining my business website, and lots of “exciting and brilliant ideas” that I never actually get to – because List #1 is always #1.

I decided that today would be different.

Today I didn’t answer phone calls, texts, or check my inbox.

(Gasp!)

Why?

Because if you’re always RESPONDING, then you’re never CREATING.

And every single interaction – answering the phone, reading and responding to emails, “troubleshooting” – all of those things take up a certain amount of energy and focus. And since there’s only so much time (and ability to produce quality work within that span of time) in one day, I decided to dedicate everything in me to the Someday List.

Just for this one day.

Just to see how much I could actually get done…

Here’s an overview of how this shit went down:

– – – – –

1. SPEAKING EVENTS / PRESENTATIONS:

I get asked to do these A LOT. 90% of the time, the requests I get are unpaid, and the pitch from event planners is that “it will be great exposure to potential new clients.” So guess what. We’ve got enough clients. In fact, we’re at capacity and in the process of creating our growth plan to include hiring a new team member (yay!).

What that means is: my time is more valuable now than ever. Not for going after new business, but for dedicating myself to creating strategies and content for our existing lineup of badass clients. Because they rock. And because we want to keep them.

And the time that I DO have outside of that, can’t be spent on Pro-Bono work. I’m constantly telling my clients that time is money and that they need to place more value on their time and expertise. Now it’s time to practice what I preach.

So today I developed my new presentation + workshop rate card, and a corresponding survey link on my website (to streamline the request process).

[CHECK!]

2. Social Media Summer Course Development

Last year, I created a program called “Next Level Social Media,” which was a 6-week online course full of innovative (duplicatable) strategies, templates and cheat sheets to help busy social media managers grow their audiences, create better content, and operate more efficiently.

But there were lots of problems.

I couldn’t get the forum or webinar system to work properly, I gave away too many free tickets – stretching my time thin for the individual component that I promised attendees, and there was a noticeable dropoff of people staying engaged – which I was too busy to track and troubleshoot at the time.

Looking back at this #Fail, I was able to identify specific problems, made some adjustments (like investing in GoToMeeting to host upcoming webinars, eliminating the forum component and using the live events as a Q and A space to incentivize attendance, and modifying some of the course elements so that I’m over delivering this time (instead of overpromising).

I’m also giving myself plenty of lead time to refine and update all of the information and resource components, by scheduling the course to kick off on June 1st.

Ta dah!

Introducing the new and improved: Next Level Social Media [Summer 2016] Online Course

But wait…what about those people who paid full price the first go round?

I thought of that too!

So today I also sent out the very first announcement to last year’s attendees, with a promo code to try it again (for free this time). Because that’s only fair.

AND – I prepped a new email announcement + scheduled it to go out to my primary email list next week. SHAZAM.

[CHECK!]

3. Blog: 2016 Social Media Management Tools

This is a blog post that I’ve been meaning to write since January.

That’s right. January. And it’s going to be APRIL in a couple of days.

 

Additionally: we’ve been way behind on posting new Social Media Blogs to the company website because we’ve been so busy helping our clients with theirs. And our SEO over the past few months has certainly taken a hit as a result.

So today I went ahead and cranked out my blog post for Conversations Media disclosing basically everything in our internal toolbox (with detailed explanations for SEO, and affiliate links bc, duh).

[CHECK!]

4. Posting a new blog for HeyItsMegan.com

This sort of just happened organically since I was logging my work-cation progress today anyway – but it’s very cool that I was able to push out a “bonus” accomplishment as a result!

[CHECK!]

Conclusion: 

HOLYSHIT I feel really good about what I accomplished today. Like really, really good.

Today’s work-cation allowed me to recover from regular task burnout, improve my business SEO, set the ground work and initial promotions for my upcoming online Summer course, and finally streamline and simplify my public speaking process, which I know will make me feel more confident in charging what I know that I’m worth for these types of events.

WIN/WIN/WIN/WIN

And now I’m going to have myself an ice cold dirty martini, up. Because it’s a fancy martini glass kind of day…

CHALLENGE:
If you’re still reading this, that’s probably a very strong indication that YOU, my friend, are in need of a serious Work-cation of your own.

It might seem impossible. It might seem like now isn’t the right time.

But guess what: It’s never going to be a GOOD time. That’s the point.

The world won’t collapse if you take a day off to catch up on all those pet projects, dream projects, and miscellaneous things on your Someday List.

And chances are – doing so will re-energize you and lift your spirits so that the next workday doesn’t seem so daunting, even with an extra day’s tasks piled up.

Don’t open your calendar to find an ideal date.

Just take a moment to jot down your Someday List.

Keep it on your desk.

And one morning, when the moment is right, and hopefully soon, you’ll make the decision that TODAY is finally SOMEDAY.

xoxoxo

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