It’s 10:18pm on a Monday night now, and I’m not sure exactly where my day has gone. Today was very much like many of my other days: Wake up, drink coffee, work, work out, back to work, dinner, and now back to work again.
What keeps me from absolutely going crazy from all this work? A few things…
I’m thankful that I have work to do, as many people these days are without an income. I am especially grateful that every day I get to wake up and do a job I love. I get to be creative, I get to write, I get to work with creative people, and I get to travel. But what really keeps me going is the light at the end of the tunnel: success. Not monetary success, but riches in adventure. Almost every month of the past year, part of my paycheck has gone into plane tickets. I’ve been to 5 different countries in the past year, with at least a few more before yearend. Because my job allows me to work every where, I no longer have to skip camping trips with my family to work for a boss I can’t relate to. I don’t have to miss my nieces and nephews growing up because I’m too busy working and trying to afford a high rise apartment in the city (although it was also an awesome experience). I get the privilege of doing what I want, every day.
The honest truth is, I’m always working. I decided a long time ago that I didn’t want to work at a 9-5 job. I wanted to be able to work from anywhere; my home with my family, or in a Parisian cafe, on a Thai rooftop, or a studio apartment in Barcelona. I gave up security of an office job with 12 days vacation a year for a job that allows me to work where and when I want. I may have to answer emails while I spend the week in Hawaii, or be on a conference call at 4am while I’m in Paris, but that is a small price to pay to be in those places in the first place.
But it didn’t come easy…and it’s still not always easy, but a few years ago I started putting my dreams into actions. Knowing the end goal, I started planting seeds. I couldn’t just open my own online marketing agency with little to zero experience at age 23. I applied for a job on Craigslist for a 9am-6pm position as an administrative assistant. I made $9 per hour. I could barely afford my $650 per month apartment and most of my meals consisted of some sort of pasta from a box (or cup, rather).
After a few months of working there, I decided to take action. The CEO was considering hiring another administrative assistant, but I convinced him to let me work 2 extra hours a day, to save him money, if he promoted me part-time to be the assistant for the Marketing Director. Getting into the office at 7am and leaving after 6pm each day, I was exhausted, but learning a lot. Soon, the Marketing Director decided to leave the company to be a stay-at-home mother, and I was promoted to Marketing Director. After 2 years as Marketing Director, I left the company to start my own company.
Even that wasn’t easy. Leaving the company meant leaving my paycheck, which I had spent a great deal of time negotiating pay raises. I was back to square one. Back to eating noodles from a cup, but this time in a smaller apartment in a bigger city. I knew if I wanted to be successful with my business, I had to go after bigger fish, and that meant leaving Sacramento behind and moving to San Francisco.
I went to every network event, even started my own networking group with a few friends, and tried to meet everyone in San Francisco. I made it happen, with the generous help of my friends, business contacts, and support of my family.
Fast forward 3 years later and here we are. Looking back, I know that every opportunity I had is because I created it. So, thanks for the advice, Mr. Hope.