Taking the leap to start my own company
How did you end up with your job? Is it the one you dreamed about growing up? I have been thinking about how I ended up doing a job I love.
My first job was a lifeguard at the neighborhood pool. It was the perfect first job with just enough responsibility (thankfully, I didn't have to jump in and do any rescues). I worked with friends, listened to music and on rainy days we played card games.
During college, I spent a few years working at a daycare center. My plan was to someday become an elementary teacher. I have some great stories of the adventures of hanging out with a group of kindergarten-age kids. I loved their honesty (most of the time) and creativity. One of my favorite activities was to have them write stories. At that age, kids won't say, "I don't know." They give you a best guest, or give it a try. They're not afraid to be wrong.
A few years in to that job, I determined that was not what I wanted to do forever. Although I loved working with kindergarteners, their parents... not so much. So I knew that I wouldn't be a teacher. I thought about social work, but I wasn't sure that was the right path. I knew I wanted to help people, and that no matter what direction I went in, I needed to improve my writing. That led to the decision to attempt to use my random credit hours toward an English degree. It wasn't an easy route, but I'm glad that I pushed myself to complete the degree.
After graduation, I decided to explore a degree in non-profit management. Then I would be sure to end up in a career where I was giving back and helping the community. During this time, I also began to volunteer with Communities In Schools. Every week I participate in Lunch Buddies, which paired me up with a student at an elementary school that needed a mentor. I remembered how much fun it was to get that honesty and the perspective. We've been meeting since she was in kindergarten, and now she's in 5th grade.
I (finally!) figured out that if my career didn't exactly line up with my expectations, I had options to volunteer and get involved with the community.
I finished the degree and worked for a few years in economic development. I built relationships with entrepreneurs and people who dreamed of someday owning a business. I learned so much from them and was inspired by their ideas. My job was to connect them to resources through workshops and research (marketing, demographics, community information).
When my position was eliminated, I was devastated, but it didn't take long before the people I had helped along the way contacted me and asked me to work for them. They needed research, help with an email newsletter, grant proposals, advice on social media. I realized that I could still run the small business workshops, with help from generous sponsors. I still had the passion to help small businesses. It was rewarding and I had the resources to do it.
That is how Clever Ideas Marketing was created. It's a little backwards from the normal business start-up story. Maybe sitting in on all of the business development workshops influenced me. I didn't dream about running my own business, but at that time, I didn't have a choice but to take the leap.
I know that I have been successful because of my involvement in the community and willingness to help out when people asked. I love to do workshops because I want to teach small business owners and non-profit directors and staff how they can use tools and resources to help grow their organization. I have always wanted to help people, but until I started doing it, I didn't think about it being through a marketing company.
I may have taken a longer-than-necessary journey to figure it out, from the summers at the pool, surviving a room full of kindergartners, and switching majors a few times. I'm happy with where I ended up.
This post is Day 4 of the Your Turn Challenge. I'd love to connect with you! Find me on Twitter @CleverIdeasCO