I’ve never been the one to take the conventional route when it comes to making big leaps.
Most of the entrepreneurs I know who took the leap into this adventure did it in a somewhat conventional way. They had a steady job and a side-hustle, which then became their business. They had savings. They had the experience before leaping into action on their own. They followed a path their passion somehow built for them.
I jumped and built my wings on the way down. Sort of.
My compass was always pointed at becoming a lawyer. But I dabbled in communications, had a passion for being online, and when I lost my last true full-time traditional job, I leapt into the unknown.
I didn’t have the marketing skills, nor did I have any savings whatsoever. In fact, I had a lot of debt.
But I had passion and gusto and the willingness to learn. I was also lucky to have found mentors along the way who took a chance on me and taught me more about myself, as well as this industry, than I could’ve ever gotten out of a textbook. As long as I could have a roof over my head, I didn’t care too much about what I was getting paid since I kept growing and learning.
This may or may not be a humblebrag but I have accomplished a lot in the past eight years.
However, the unconventional path I’ve chosen, with its struggles, has reached the end of its current road. I’m facing a cliff and sure, I could jump again but I’ve decided to take a different approach.
Growth comes in different forms
Some people may look at my decision as a failure but I look at it as an opportunity for growth, which will in turn make my business even stronger. Most people who are driven by entrepreneurial fire can never see themselves as part of the 9-5 grind again. And for most, that never has to be a consideration – especially if they took a safer path for slow & steady growth.
Over the course of the past year, I’ve done a lot of thinking about what I want my business, and more importantly, life, to look like in the next year or five years. That picture has evolved and changed over the years but one thing has remained the same: I am never driven by money. Yes, I deserve to get paid what I am worth but the amount of money I’ll make is never the deciding factor when weighing my options.
For me, at this stage in my life and business, growth looks like a full-time job. Not a full-time contract, but joining a company and proudly declaring it.
A decision like this doesn’t come easily. There were a lot of factors that went into deciding where to apply, what I look for in a company, and how this will help me serve my community better.
Here are the questions I asked myself, and in turn, the companies I interviewed with before accepting an offer.
- Will I be challenged in the right way? I’ve had a variety of incredible opportunities, and therefore experiences, over the past decade. But as I narrowed my focus and began working with small businesses, that also narrowed certain learning opportunities for me. As a consultant, I’m beholden to the tools and software my clients can afford, which usually means software I already know. But technology moves pretty fast, so I’ve felt like I’ve really hit a plateau as far as keeping up to date with different challenges. I’ve also truly honed my skills as a content marketing strategist, but that means my social media & community management skills have become a little dull. While it would’ve been easier for me to slip into a senior level content strategist or director role at a company, I looked for a different kind of challenge that would also help me continue to grow.
- Do I still crave variety? This was a major factor in deciding whether or not I would go in-house at a company or leap into agency world. The answer is “yes, I still need a little bit of variety” so even if I’m focused on a single client, an agency can offer me more opportunities to touch on different campaigns.
- Are the company values aligned with mine? Just like I’ve fired clients over the past couple of years whose values stopped being aligned with mine, this was a major factor in which jobs I even applied for. I have had a “dream company” list since I moved to Seattle that I always keep an eye on for openings.
- What opportunities will I have to grow within the organization? Hiring a new employee is a major investment for a company, and it’s also an investment for me as an employee. I would never want to join a company if there is no clear growth opportunity, which would mean I would have one foot out the door at all times. I actually turned down a few job offers over the past couple of years because I knew this to be the case.
- Where does my well-being fall on the benefits chart? A steady income plus health benefits are nothing to scoff at, but what does this job actually mean for my well-being? Work-life harmony is an important factor and not only does this company value that, they’re also actively involved in community & volunteering. Let’s not forget about the benefits of being part of a team again after working solo for so long.
- How will this impact my business and personal growth outside of this job? Starting a full-time job isn’t my way of quitting my business, or leaving everything I love about my online communities behind. I’m excited to work for a company and manager who not only values personal growth, they encourage it. So while I’ll be busier during the day, this will actually a lot more beneficial for my business and personal brand in the long run.
Stability is the key to growing my business
I’ll be writing a longer post about this but we don’t talk enough about the toll anxiety and the stresses running a business takes on an individual’s psyche. As a creative soul, I’m looking forward to leaving the “hustle” part of my business behind so that I can create the kind of resources I talked about in my last post.
Yes, I am a little (read: a lot) nervous
This is an exciting new challenge for me on many levels, including getting out of my comfort zone to let a new set of humans see me on a regular basis. I’m going to try not to embarrass myself too often in front of my new coworkers.
But wait, where are you going to be working?
With a resounding yes, I accepted an offer with an incredible B2B agency in Seattle. Be sure to follow me on Twitter & Instagram to find out where and how I will be adjusting to the office life once again.