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.
The 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.
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.”
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.)
I 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…