Sunday, February 28, 2010

Blogging: The Ultimate Form of Productive Procrastination

Spaz post alert - I feel like writing again even though it's only been one day since my last post. Pour que? Because I have two projects to complete tonight and a blog post is the perfect form of productive procrastination. Take that whirling-yet-lazy mind that keeps avoiding projects because you think they are too big and don't know where to start. I will blog some sense into you!

When I finish a blog post or any other project that you can actually tell is done, I feel a sense of completion, and that sense of completion gives me confidence. I need confidence right now like Popeye needs spinach.

The projects I'm working on tonight require a superhuman mental energy to complete. A completed project - such as this blog post will soon be - is the ultimate spinach. A dose of spinach and I'll get 'er done tonight (click on that, I promise it's funny). In other words, as I once eloquently said in a facebook status update, it's time to rev up my get'rdunitude. What do you do to get on a roll and feel confident?

Ok, so here are the two projects I'm tackling first by writing about them (classic procrastination strategy but it really does help). This is why I need someone other than this creature (Clementine, CraterCom's VP of Business Development) to talk to about work stuff. Good thing today I met with my first potential hire.

Project A: This is a research project for a new, very exciting client. It's a really cool assignment but one I've avoided sitting down to finish because it involves spreadsheets. Spreadsheets freak me out, don't ask me why, usually because I don't get the formatting. I have all kinds of words for the nightmare that is excel - such as when in Exhell I need an excelpert who can lend me their excelpertise...oh how I love the wordplay. Boxes across a scrolling screen - my skin is crawling just thinking about it, especially google docs. I'd sooner clean the litter box than populate a Google doc spreadsheet. Mostly I don't like them because your boss/client can check in on your work at any moment. I prefer to keep it all to myself until it's ready to show, no peeking in on where I'm at with something (usually because 90% of a project is in my head and/or scattered throughout notebooks at any given moment).

Project B: Messaging document. selling a new service. Involves thinking, positioning, writing, etc. I know this stuff but really need to crank it out. That verb choice sounds awful but, hey, it rings true. Let's be honest, as much as I love it, writing is hard work, n'est-ce pas? That's why people pay other people to do it. But it's very rewarding and for this particular assignment, it's pretty exciting where this one-pager is leading.

Ok so there, I wrote a blog post and it's done. That them there was some good spinach! Bleck...but hopefully once I push "publish post" the energy rush will kick in and I'll have fun with my work. Thanks for listening!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Chronicles of CraterCom

I have never been happier since leaving my so-called corporate life and becoming an entrepreneur. I have also never been hungrier.

Going through some photos, I found this one taken on the Saturday after I got laid off back in June 2009. It's amazing how happy and calm I look considering I had just finished packing up my belongings from the cubicle where I practically lived for the last year and half. I actually loved working there - the thrill of the job pushed me learn new skills and work harder than I ever had.

Moments before this picture was taken, my hands were shaking and I had tears in my eyes. Frantic and resentful, I was packing every last file and office supply into boxes as fast as I could. I knew I'd need to hustle to keep the beach apartment I had just moved into right before the lay-off and had madly fallen in love with. I felt frantic yet assured I could get new work before August rent was due. Sadly peeling the picture of my new place off my padded cubicle wall, I vowed to work hard to keep that apartment throughout the rapidly shifting employment situation (ha, nice euphemism, eh?). Snap, picture - the camera must have caught me in that thought.

I had severance to last me for the next month and half, and I used part of it to buy a computer and desk for my new home office (you gotta spend money to make money, I believe that). I was committed to trying out my own thing and knew I had to take a leap of faith and commit 100%. Being an entrepreneur is downright scary, especially first starting out. The hardest part is consistently having money in the bank. When my steady retainer-based income didn't cover expenses (which was the case for three months) I had to rely on multiple freelance projects to make up the difference. As a result I couldn't go grocery shopping until I got paid, and I was hungry sometimes. I put my student loans on hold, used my credit cards to pay bills and ate every free meal I could at my parents' houses (thanks Mom and Dad!).

But, the hard work and uncertainty is paying off. I am meeting amazing people, going to incredible events and am really living my dream. I have three new clients I just started working with and another one likely to sign next week. I'm interviewing my first potential hire tomorrow. Since I last wrote, I entered a business plan competition, organized a panel I'm moderating next month, traveled to San Jose for a conference and wrote a bylined article for Environmental Leader. I also choreographed and performed a modern dance piece to "System of a Down" (which I will share once I have the good version) and recorded this (admittedly cheesy) video about CraterCom. When I say all that it sounds like a lot, but for some reason I almost constantly feel like I'm not doing enough and I should be working more. The vicious guilt complex - never helpful. Some of the best advice is to get out of your own way.

By just having two clients in the beginning, I was able to focus on doing a quality job and building up a base of work. I also got to apply my marketing and PR strategies to my own business. I had work samples to show my new prospects and have built great relationships so far that are really helping my business. Now I am frankly scared again about the new workload, but I'm meeting with someone tomorrow who I may hire to help me manage it. This is my update and I will keep you posted - pun intended:) I wonder what the story is for other entrepreneurs, especially those that started their businesses after being laid off. Thoughts?