Last Friday was my last day at the media agency where I have worked for five and a half years. I started there in 2006, three weeks after graduating from college. Like any job, there were times I felt frustrated by the quick turnaround for deliverables, the hours, the salary, and the occasional lack of support.
But I learned SO much, and at the heart of it, I enjoyed what I was doing. I got to work with magazines every day, and I got to work with some really great people. The knowledge I gained from buying magazine advertising space will help me now and in the future--experience in relationship building, communicating, negotiating, understanding the content and audience of various publications, managing my time, etc.
Me being me, I am always looking ahead. At some point, I started to really think about what I wanted to do long-term. And I knew I wanted to do something that I was truly passionate about. You know how they say that you should look back at baby pictures in order to figure out what haircolor suits you best? Well, I thought back to kindergarten in order to figure out what I should be when I "grow up" (I guess I am a grown-up now?). When I was little, I had a handful of careers in mind: teacher, writer, actress, fashion or interior designer.
There are still parts of me that relate to each of these careers (I love mentoring and training people, I am a bit of a drama queen, and I enjoy putting together outfits and decorating), but the one that has always been my dream is being a writer. I have been doing it since I was four years old--whether I was writing a story during centers in kindergarten, an article for my high school newspaper, a press release during my internships, a paper for an English class at Notre Dame, a presentation for work, a blog post right here, or a portfolio for one of my master's classes.
Words fascinate me. Content is what I crave. Communication is at the heart of my relationships. I knew I wanted to write. But how could I make a living doing it?
I've been a member of Chicago Women in Publishing since October 2010. Last February, I attended their monthly meeting; that month's topic was freelance writing. I had heard about freelance writing before and even taken a class at StoryStudio Chicago a couple years ago, but I didn't know enough about the nuts and bolts or how to really get started.
After the CWIP event, I was truly inspired. I learned there were opportunities out there--and also plenty of challenges. I heard tips and advice from people in the industry, and I received a checklist of steps to take to start your own business. So I did everything I could to learn more. I started to set things up (you may remember my announcement about my business back in April). And then I decided to take the leap.
I knew I needed to dedicate time to being creative and building my business, Melrose Street Custom Content. After much thought and prayer, many conversations with Scott and my family, several calculations to assess our finances, and lots of planning, I put in my notice at work.
Today is my first day of self-employment, my first day without a corporate job. I'm a business owner. I'm a freelance writer. I'm nervous and excited... but I feel like I'm doing the right thing. I'm pursuing my dream.
Maybe it seems a little crazy to some. But I don't want to wonder or regret not doing this. I have to give my dream a chance.
A big thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way. (I especially want to thank my husband since I truly could not do this without him!) And of course, I'll keep you all posted on this new adventure.
|A poster my sister C. gave to my youngest sister J. (J. has it hanging in her dorm room at SLU.)|
I think this depicts what I'm feeling right now :)