“Job-hopping” Built My Freelance Business

Conventional wisdom 30 years ago was to go to school or learn a trade, get a good job and stay there long enough to earn a gold watch (or whatever) after 30 years. UGH. BORING!!! Today, Baby Boomers and even GenXers give Millennials a ton of crap for “job-hopping,” moving from job to job looking for career satisfaction – how dare they! But why not? There are benefits to job-hopping.

I am not a Millennial – born dead in the middle of Gen X. But I’ve NEVER spent a full 5 years at any job. So no…. I don’t have a tidy pension waiting (does anyone our age?) It hit me this morning, as I prepared for a possible new client meeting, that I am incredibly fortunate. I have the MOST amazing network, and it’s THROUGH that network that I’ve gained all my business! I have not had to spend a single cent advertising myself or my work! But I wouldn’t have had that opportunity if I’d worked for one entity throughout my career.

I have been a freelance journalist for magazines and newspapers, was a food writer creating recipes to help importers sell odd products, done marketing and development for a non-profit science center, was the editor for the top visitors’ magazine in South Florida, worked for startups, was a media relations officer at a major university, and a content creator and strategist for the largest property management company in North America. And it’s that RANGE of experiences and connections that have built my business. I’ve been hired by friends who believed in me (based on evidence) but MOSTLY by former colleagues and business associates who are well-acquainted with what I can do: salespeople, fellow marketers, graphic designers and more.

Working for one firm for a long time is imperative and important if you’re an attorney or investment banker. In the CREATIVE world, sometimes a variety of experiences and industries is really the best course. If you’re good at what you do and work hard, people WILL remember!

So move on and ROCK ON if that’s best! You never know how it might work out.

Brave Enough to Suck at Something New

I love Ann Handley’s newsletters! Always thought-provoking and inspirational. This one especially resonated with me. As creative and gifted kids, we sometimes get the message that we shouldn’t do things if they can’t be perfect. But imperfection is where innovation is born! If you want to innovate in marketing, PR and other creative work, you can’t be afraid of imperfection or the “shame” of being less than perfect at every endeavor.

As the fabulous Brene Brown said in Daring Greatly, “When shame becomes a management style, engagement dies. When failure is not an option, we can forget about learning, creativity, and innovation.” I’m all about innovation and creativity, and after more decades than I like to admit, I’ve learned that they cannot co-exist with perfectionism. So let’s all be brave enough to suck at something new this summer!

P.S. Check out Ann’s book Everybody Writes! New edition coming this fall.

P.P.S. I had to take my own advice writing this blog because the trick to this new WordPress editor is a challenge for this old(ish) dog. So I’m doing something new and DEFINITELY sucking at it!