Hello SOTGC community,
am an optimist. I believe that in the not so far future, we will be able to look back and say” “Can you believe that women used to earn less than men for the exact same work?” Just like we now look back and say: “Can you believe laws used to segregate people based on the color of their skin?”
For the most part, I’ve had a charmed life. Growing up in Germany, going to college and landing in California during the dot.com boom as a high-tech intern. My Scottish husband-to-be and I met two weeks after I arrived in the USA in a bar in Palo Alto; that was 20 years ago.
Fast-forward, and I am running my own social media consultancy – MarketingXLerator – with a focus on connecting people for business. It’s been a long road with many lessons, mistakes, failures, but also joy, a feeling of independence and autonomy, and best of all a long list of wonderful people who have supported me, educated me, pushed me, and cheered me on.
The funny thing is, that I knew running my own business would be hard, but somehow, I did not really believe it until I was actually doing it. I had no idea HOW hard it would be and HOW discouraged I would get at times. And this is me, the optimist.
For every client I work with, I’ve written many proposals that went nowhere. I’ve made the mistake of taking on the wrong clients, not ask for money up front, estimated too low and earned too little. BUT, it’s all been worthwhile.
I think what I like most is the flexibility and freedom I am provided; especially as I work mostly on my own, directly with my clients. People always assume that I want to expand and grow my business, but right now, I just want to enjoy what I do and hopefully, be able to give back a little.
In my free time, I teach yoga and take a lot of yoga classes. It’s a real passion for me, beyond getting more flexible and stronger, yoga gives me peace of mind, and our local studio is a community where I have made many very close friends.
I also do some volunteering, e.g. mentoring an Afghan war refuge, which always helps me to gain perspective on my own life. I learn a lot from this girl I mentor, as she is grateful to be here in the USA. Once we were out for dinner and she said: “If we were in Afghanistan, we would not be allowed to be here together like this as women. I am so glad to live in freedom.”
But I am digressing. The main point I want to convey with this blog is: don’t give up when times get tough. It’s easy to “know” that something will be difficult but often we don’t really believe it until the tough times get going. When things don’t go as planned, you fail, and it’s not as fun as you thought: don’t give up. Hang in there and give it your best shot, “Lean In”, be creative, rethink your strategy but keep going.
What I do today and how I do it is different from what I envisioned when I left my corporate job at SAP. I almost gave up early this year, but then I gave myself permission to change my original plans and follow my gut and heart. Since then, I’ve been having a wonderful time. As women, we sometimes get discouraged to follow our intuition and are told to rely on facts. I have learned that I can’t afford not to follow my intuition if I want to be successful and happy.
There are ups and downs in running my own shop, but I feel very lucky that I get to do work in a dynamic area like social media that is evolving daily and which let’s me leverage a huge array of my skills that I have acquired over the last 15 years.
Even better, I get to be authentic and honest, and pick clients who share the same values. I feel very optimistic.
Photo credit: shareenelisabeth.wordpress.com