I am a very happy, happy lady. I am living back in southern California, just purchased a car (a Ford Focus I call Bruce Wayne’s Bat Mobile or the “Bruce Caboose” after my dad who picked it out.) and am loving my running training. I just added two new races to my schedule and have been wining and dining with old friends the last two weeks. Life. Is. Good.
So, Chicago wasn’t really feeling like home for the last few months. I’d finished graduate school and was working as a freelance social media consultant and problogger from my apartment. My lease was up at the end of August and wasn’t planning to renew at the uber-cheap apartment. I decided to move back to a small town in California and look for work in a big city elsewhere as a social media strategist for a larger company.
Well, I made these tidy little plans and started packing. Then as I was taping up boxes and planning said-tidy-life, I fell in love. Yes, my boyfriend is in Chicago, and he is awesome. My life in California is also awesome. I think somewhere between the day I left him and the day I arrived here, I realized that I needed to reunite with him, whether I wanted to admit it or not.
So, running my own business has been going well financially and professionally. I love it but of course, I have my doubts. I have my M.A. degree in sociology (has to be paid for) and while my business means I’m getting by, as a financial blogger, I’m not making enough money to hit my lofty financial and personal goals. I also lack health insurance and don’t feel like I’m putting enough aside for the future.
I’ve been applying for social media strategy jobs at some stellar companies- but the problem I face is that I lack 3-5 years of managerial experience for a larger brand. Most of my clients are bloggers, authors or entrepreneurs- which for some reason, to recruiters isn’t “big” enough for them to feel I can handle a larger brand project. Bummer. I’m still scratching my head on how to demonstrate worth without the sleazy feeling that comes with “getting noticed.” I know there’s a balance between bragging and simply pitching your skills, the line seems uncomfortably fuzzy for me.
I’ve worked hard thus far, and am willing to do a lot more- but what if I’m not doing enough? There are both advantages and disadvantages to being a work-for-yourself freelancer type… you have complete control over your day, but if you have a bad month, it’s your dime. Additionally, as a solopreneur, there are opportunities for professional growth, networking & exposure I may not be able to land on my own. I feel there is still so much to learn and experience, and if I can do that without having to dip into my emergency fund during a slow month, that’d be nice too. Beyond the money issues, I’ve worried that if I don’t land a snazzy “corporate” job, I won’t get taken seriously if I choose later to re-enter the work force.
But then- there’s part of me that wonders if I could be doing just fine on my own. I’ve built a successful blog (thank you.) and a great list of clients at Cake Mix Media doing social media for like-minded business folk like myself, and it means that I can travel whenever I want. I love the one-on-one time with clients and the ability to work with small businesses and such authentic, hardworking people. Being able to make social media goals to amplify the reach of small businesses and solopreneurs is a blessing I could lose in a big company. Additionally, when I want to attend a conference or fly upstate for a baby shower, I can travel on the fly…pretty snazzy!
I’m estimating I will need about $50,000 in income to hit these goals (and paid vacay wouldn’t hurt). So, hitting my travel, fitness & savings goals will take some money and even some flexibility. I’ve been applying for jobs and have had a lot of interest, plenty of emails and call backs- but the fun stops when I just lack the “years of experience” they seek… for 3 months it’s been a tough series of applications and I’m getting frustrated. It’s your typical “new grad in a down economy” sing song. I’m ready to fly.