It’s been a week.

To be honest…it’s been a couple of weeks – a few hard-won weeks.

There’s been an incredible amount of balance required in order to get tasks done. You know what I mean. Some weeks just seem more challenging than others…

And while I just recently celebrated my 6 year anniversary of owning my own business(es), I’m still learning what it means to stay organized, keep balanced, hustle hard and align appropriately.

And, I’ve had more reasons to be thankful for my business community than ever!

For those of you not familiar with my story – a quick background:

I started blogging in 2008.

I created my first company in 2011 in order to purchase ISBN’s that would direct to an official entity, instead of pointing to me personally. After creating an online community and self-publishing my second book and organizing book tours at local businesses, I began offering service contracts.

That wasn’t really the plan, but when you’re eyebrow deep in social media marketing, people notice – and start asking if there’s something you can do to help their efforts…

As a single mom in an odd phase in life looking for a way to pay the bills, I realized that offering what I knew – and could learn – to business owners might be a more profitable way to move forward in the short term.

This is really where my creative track took a pause, while I explored what digital development on the business side could mean for my life.

Since then, I’ve worked in many different capacities within different industries of different sizes (and budgets). It’s been an interesting ride, and I am thankful for the lessons learned and the contacts made – who have become friends – along the way.

I spent this evening reviewing slides for a presentation I’m giving tomorrow morning on how to leverage the digital space to curate online reputation in an effort to secure a position.

This is a talk I’ve given before – and hope to give again – and I am always amazed at what I learn while talking to a group of young and middle aged adults about how to strategically use social media.

In this industry, it’s always about learning.

And I supposed that’s true of any industry, but I’m just speaking to my experience here.

Being flexible is so important. Nimble is another word that fits.

But I think it’s also important – VITAL – to understand your purpose.

What’s the strategy behind the effort?

Why are you using that platform, that tool, that device?

It’s so easy to go with the flow, to jump onto the newest bandwagon and ride it for all that it’s worth…and continue to jump at each new SHINY toy…until you’ve spread yourself so thin, it becomes a question of quantity vs. quality.

I’ve worked for myself.
I’ve worked for friends.
I’ve worked for family.
I’ve worked for start-ups with no bank.
I’ve worked for the corporate man who gave me the opportunity to leverage thousands of dollars each month.

Quality matters.

And, if you’re not taking the time to think through the purpose, the strategy, the WHY – then you’re wasting time and money and effort — you’re wasting life.

My recent experience with RA and my increased pain levels have been a real lesson in quality lately.

Yes. Yes. I know I’ve told you that there’s a blog post coming explaining more about my RA and what’s going on…hang tight.

There are days that I’m in so much pain, it’s hard to get out of bed. I’ve had to cancel meetings. I’ve had to rearrange timelines. I’ve had to make apologies and work weird hours (well…social media never sleeps, so it’s always weird hours, but you get my point) to make up for time lost.

When there are so many shiny distractions available in digital development, the virtual space, it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in the tasks that could be done.

My recent experience has taught me to be more definite with clients. To set expectations even more clearly. To make sure that effort aligns with business needs even more closely.

Otherwise, my time…and their investment…is mismanaged.

I’ve learned that I can’t always do it on my own – and that I need to be more proactive about asking for help.

RA sucks my life-force – and fatigue is a real BEAST that keeps me away from the screen; and sometimes, when I fight to be at the screen, my thoughts are jelly, hard to capture and develop into objectives.

I’ve been really honest with my business community – the contacts I mentioned above – and they’ve had my back. And I’ve noticed, even with new clients – as I strive to be more transparent, more real about how their investment in me and my work for them will translate into development – they too are supporting me through this weird phase.

I cannot even begin to express how thankful I am.

I’m being given the opportunity to be 100% me – both human and wonder woman – and continuing to earn a reputation for being committed to my work.

A recent client of mine who decided to close her own business and transition to working for the man (or the woman, in this case), expressed some concern about some cold calling she planned to do.

“I get caught up in having to sound professional. And I worry about it so much that I stammer during the conversation,” she confessed. “I come across sounding anything but professional.”

I looked at her and said, “You have mad skills. You are a ROCKSTAR provider. No one can disagree with this. You know it. You know your business in your bones. It’s what you’re passionate about. That IS your professionalism. You don’t need to sound professional. You need to sound like yourself – because that’s who people will learn to know and trust – and ultimately, love.”

I explained to her my own growth…

I don’t claim to know it all. I know what I know – and I am committed to learning. That is what my industry requires of me. I am passionate about it – about telling great stories – and I have tools at my disposal to amplify the message. That is my professionalism. And I’ve learned not to get caught up in the facade of being professional. I’m a great fit for a lot of businesses. Not all. And that’s okay. I don’t want to work with everyone, if I’m being honest.

A long time client – someone who has had more faith in me than I can ever say THANK YOU for – looked at me and said, “I appreciate your energy.”

What an amazing compliment. I was so honored.

He understands that my “me-ness” is what I am bringing to the table to help share the story of his business, to help educate the customers and help encourage the employees.

So, even when I’m hobbling around his office – taking things slow because my mobility is compromised, I know that my effort is valued – and will ultimately work towards a good outcome.


And, back to this presentation I’m sharing tomorrow…

When my client first asked me to speak to her students, I was so nervous…wondering what could I possibly say to a group of grown individuals to help them with their social media…

I realized I was making it harder than it needed it to be…

I tell them my story.

Images to PIN:

These are graphics that I’ve created as I’ve been living through the professional growth process in the last couple of weeks.

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