Confessions Of A Recent College Grad: I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

I do email marketing for my company’s clients.

I sent out an email yesterday with a massive typo, and now my boss is reaming me out for it. Oh well.

But here’s the bigger probem: I have no freaking clue what I’m doing.

I honestly don’t. I went to college for marketing and now pay god know what back because of it, but many times I feel I don’t know how to actually market.

My belief has always been that marketing, above all else, needs to be awesome, but that’s for another post.

In a broader sense, I many times don’t know what I’m doing, and often feel insecure because of it.

First off, I stumbled into working in IT marketing despite not knowing a damn thing about it. I thought I knew what “IT” was because I worked with a lot of tech companies/startups to write up their marketing materials (copywriting).

But I made the mistake of thinking “IT” was the same as like, say, coding an application or developing the next cool product. And by the time I realized that, I was already knee deep in this job.

Many times when I’m on the phone with our clients I feel clueless as to what to say. Now, you’d never guess this because I’ve developed some pretty good telephone-talking skills, but half the time I’m panicking in my mind.

That’s my shy side coming out.

And don’t even get me started on the emails. I can only write an email that I think would be fun to read, but getting the client to sign off on it is nearly impossible, because the client is still on the train to boredom town.

I’ve begun to sign up for webinars and emails about how to do email marketing, because, once again, I have no clue.

It’s really started to stress me out lately.

Multiply that by the fact that I’m currently on an all-expense(and I mean EXPENSE as in EXPENSIVE)-paid-trip to learn about the software that I use, and you can see that I’m really starting to freak out.

I feel like I can’t keep the facade up for too much longer. Inevitably, they’re going to see that I can’t handle it, and that I don’t have any idea.

This theme has stuck with me since graduating college. I once ran out of a job on the first day (like, quit, without telling him) because I thought that I would most certainly be a waste of his money.

And then I got into writing. I became a journalist at the Inquisitr, where I got let go a few months later because I just wasn’t grasping SEO (I still don’t, that shit is COMPLEX).

How did I get these jobs you say? I wrote well. I turned some heads because of my writing, but the recurring problem is that I have yet to master some of the aspects that come along with writing.

Failures, failures everywhere.

Which gets me back to my original point: I’m floating around a year after graduation with no clue of what I’m doing.

What’s the message here? What’s the happy ending? I’ve written a pretty depressing story, I know.

Well, here it is.

A few years back I worked for a mowing company. We operated big ass machinery, and during my first year I made every mistake in the book.

I burned lawns, scalped hills, broke blowers, blew grass in the mulch, and basically was a general {insert curse word here} up.

I got yelled at, and many times felt insecure.

I always hated making mistakes. I just wanted to do right for my boss, not be a pain in his ass. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

BUT.

I came back the next summer and improved dramatically. I learned that you need to stay away from hitting small bumps in the lawn. I learned that you can put a flap down on the mower to stop grass from blowing everywhere. I learned that you can’t just turn on a dime because the rotation of the wheel will leave a big burn mark in the lawn.

And you thought mowing lawns was easy. It’s really not.

The conclusion is that through our failures we get better. But what about the part of me that freaking hates failure? That cringes every time my boss finds something wrong in what I’m doing?

Just shake it off, I guess. I’m sure many reading this may have felt the same way at one point. Don’t catastrophize (pretty cool word, huh?) it. If they fire you, they fire you. That’s on them.

All you can do is try to spot the wave and catch it. Learn. Improve. Grow. That’s it. If you didn’t grow fast enough, then get another job, and now you have all these failures and learning experiences to take into the next one. You’re better.

Something remarkable happens when you start thinking this way. It takes your mind off of failure and things oddly start to work out.

You’re going to fail. You’re going to have shitty days. Things are going to backfire. They may backfire every day. Just learn. We’re not a good or bad person because of what happens at work.

Thanks for reading guys, and don’t afraid to be clueless, like me.

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Post-Grad Survival Guide: Don’t Limit Yourself

When I graduated school I had one goal in mind: To make $15/hour.

That’s $600/week, and $31,200/year. Before taxes. Just to be clear with ya’ll, my degree must’ve cost me twice that amount of money.

I make that amount now through freelancing, and it just dawned on me that I’m making that because I put a limit on myself. Why didn’t I think bigger? It’s probably because I didn’t think I was worth $20/hour or something. My bar was $15/hour, and I’ve reached it.

One of the things I’ve learned is that whatever you think your worth is what you’ll make. Whatever position you think your worth, you’ll get. It’s that simple.

So don’t be sheepish.

Dream big, work hard, and you’ll end up getting exactly what you want.

Don’t limit yourself.

Why I’m Never Going Back To 9 To 5

Wake up. Brush Teeth. Eat Breakfast. Commute. Work for 8 hours. Go home. Repeat.

My gosh, it sounds horrible, and I’m never going back to that. Just to be clear, many love the 9 to 5 life, and I’m not saying The Digital Nomad lifestyle or Entrepreneurial lifestyle is any better than that. What I’m saying is I believe there’s a movement going on in the United States largely driven by Millenials that’s pushing towards a more nomadic lifestyle for all.

What do we want in a job anyway?

Flexibility

Fortune reports that many Millenials don’t view work in terms of time, but in terms of output. If we get all our work done for the day, what’s it matter?

Many companies like Virgin and Best buy are implementing an “unlimited vacation” policy, giving workers more flexibility just as long as they coordinate with their teams and get the work done.

In the end we want flexibility.

Reading this on the Fortune website was like seeing water in the middle of the desert–I connected with every word in the article. I do NOT want to feel like a slave to anybody, but many of my friends who have jobs must have a different perspective than mine.

What’s the appeal? Do they even know this life is possible? I sure didn’t! When I broke into freelancing it was like stumbling into some random door in a back alley. They’ll work. They’ll plan their two week vacation. They’ll come back from vacation and work again.

Some Are Content In Their Job

But one thing I’m missing is that many of my friends LOVE their work, and I’m truly happy for them about that. I imagine that work would feel less like work if you truly love what you’re doing every day. In a way they aren’t slaves. In a way they’re just as happy as I am. And that’s honestly awesome!

But gosh, I could never imagine it. I feel lucky that I can wake up at 9 and get straight to work without getting ready and without commuting. I love this stuff. It’s like I skipped right to dessert while everybody else is eating vegetables.

I Need Freedom Personally

And then it hit me. I can work anywhere, right? In theory I could go anywhere in the United States to work. But what about the world? Gosh. I can work anywhere in the world, too. This life is something else entirely. This life allows you to dream–it allows you to do whatever you want. It allows you to have a level of freedom that 9 to 5 doesn’t give you.

All the notions I built up in my head about life after college don’t mean a thing. I CAN see all my friends. I CAN see my parents for more than one week a year. I CAN go wherever I want to live. Then the world opens up to you.

I feel like I read some book that nobody else has thought to pick up. It doesn’t make me better than anyone–it really doesn’t! It simply means that I’ve found what I’m meant to do, just like my friends.

Let Me Show You How

That’s part of my aim with this blog. I want to show people what they can do, where they can go, and that a remote life is possible. How exciting! New places, new people–all standing right outside your doorstep–if that’s what you want.

I’m no freelancing guru just yet. I do make money, and I do support myself, but I’m honestly just a beginner. Think Luke Skywalker in A New Hope. But I promise that if you keep reading this blog, I’ll show you how I did it, and how I do it, and how I’ll do it in the future.

Thanks so much for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ever-Blurring Line Between Personal Brand and Personal Life

Since I started freelancing seven or eight months ago I’ve learned something about social media that I had been told countless times in school: There’s really no difference between your personal life and personal brand.

I remember sitting in class with the marketing director of a big Pennsylvania company in college and him showing us a picture of a job applicant’s Facebook profile. He was giving the camera the middle finger.

This is an extreme example, but I’ve found that every little way we interact on social media is on display–especially for freelancers.

Social Media Is Our Portfolio

Freelancers are supposed to look for clients on social media, but social media is also like an extension of our portfolio. How we write on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter is a sample of our writing.

Now people that I work with are friends with me and have connected with me. So I had to change my relaxed approach.

Get Rid Of Negativity

I also learned that I should probably stop putting out any kind of negativity at all. And I’m not talking about saying obnoxious things that are bound to get reactions–I’m talking about making dry comments about how my Chipotle didn’t live up to expectations.

People don’t want to see that anyway. We love positivity, and I learned (just recently) that social media should be about positivity only and nothing else–especially for freelancers.

Would you want to work with somebody that’s constantly putting out sarcastic statuses and tweets? It’s completely fine to be funny in my estimation, but sarcasm has a little bit of nastyness thrown into it a lot of times. It’s just not the greatest way to present yourself, and it’s time I realized that.

Business IS Personal

Freelancers are in the unique situation of being able to delegate some terms of a  business relationship. I often casually chat with my clients and ask them how they’re doing. Their personal life spills over in the slightest bit, but that’s okay, because we’re all human in the end.

Business isn’t just business–it’s personal, too. It will always be this way, and that’s why we need to realize that our personal brand is the same thing as our personal life.

It’s really a good thing when you think about it. If we make changes to present ourselves in the best way possible all the time then we become better people too. We’re forced to think about things positively and hold our tongues (or should I say fingers?) when we’re ticked off in traffic.

I used to dislike the fact that social media bleeds over into professional life, but now I’m quite enjoying it, and changing because of it.

Thanks for reading!