Living the Project- Based Life
Sometimes the word “business” can be a little intimidating.
I love people like Danielle Laporte, Marie Forleo and Oprah Winfrey who have been able to rewrite what the word “business” means by combining their passion for money making with their passion to heal, educate and delight people.
That being said, I still hear the word “business” and I break out in hives. Unfortunately, I have been taught that entrepreneurship often means money chasing, and doesn’t often mean enthusiastic creative process!
When I think of spending my #internofme summer “running a business” I feel like I have to focus on numbers, on data, on making money as quickly as possible. I can’t read in the park (as I did today…for 2 hours!) without feeling terrible, and I have to dedicate at least a brutal 3-4 hours a week on social media marketing planning posts and tweets that don’t always feel authentic. *Look forward to a WHOLE post on social media btw…
As I learned last year, freelancing can very quickly become a prison. If you don’t watch yourself, freelancing can become an office outside of the office where money and busy work are gods, and an exciting, vibrant lifestyle (the dream of any freelancer) is unrealistic and a little loco.
Today, though, I took a step- I chose a new word. Though I do run a freelance writing, public speaking and program planning business- I find it easier to look at my work through a word I have always loved…PROJECTS.
Remember projects? I used to love them! Creating the sand castle with your older sister at the beach, writing a play for your friends to perform (I am a tad obsessed with the opening scene of Atonement where Briony develops a play for her cousins- that was me!), creating a blog, presenting a powerpoint on Benjamin Franklin…SEE? Projects. Nice, fun projects.
What I love about projects is that they touch my multipassionate soul! They allow me to create without pressure, they allow me to dig deep into a subject without having to dedicate all of my time to it. They allow me to feel…free!
(And, yes it’s true-I would rather be able to have a conversation in every language then be fluent in one or two)
I’m an avid generalist when it comes to my work. I don’t want to be bogged down by creating projects that have “marketing power” or “branding potential”, or other fancy words.
I want to create and finish projects with a full heart, and an engaged mind! I want to connect with my creativity, and honor it…because I have a feeling my Muse would turn her nose up at the idea of “money motivated hustling.”
Of course, this doesn’t mean I don’t want to make money! This summer, I hope to figure out a way to combine passionate, spirit-filled creativity with business savvy! I will, also, redefine what it means to work for myself so that I approach each moment of creation with gratefulness and excitement (instead of loathing at having to close my book).
What do you think of the project based life?
5: The Info Interview, or the Importance of Representation
I just had my fourth and a half informational interview (I consider the half interview to be the one that randomly happened with a super passionate higher education fundraiser during a car ride back from a luncheon).
Since the beginning of the year, I have promised myself to have as many informational interviews concerning my field or related fields as possible. With that goal in mind, I always have a list of freelancers that I am interested in contacting at the ready. I make sure to start with people that I have a connection with and who are in the area since I prefer to meet in person, but I have cold pitched freelancers and met many people that I have no connection to at all, diversifying my network. When I was recently in Sweden, I got together with an award winning travel photographer, and learned a lot!
If you know me well, then you know that I’m a social justice nut and I consistently push for equal opportunity. One of the most important things to me about doing the informational interview is reaffirming my dreams through seeking out representation. Though being a trailblazer is important, not everyone likes to be the first (insert color, race, gender or religion here) to do something. I think representation shows beginners what is possible.
Diversity is important for this very reason.
Often when you look up freelance writing websites and freelance writing people, the people you find are very male and very white. Since I am neither of those things, I make an active effort to create my own representation. I network frequently with black female freelancers, and not just ones who write on social justice.
It is also important for me as a freelancer to set up informational interviews because there is so much negativity in the world when it comes to entrepreneurship. When I mentioned the idea of being the internofme to my career center at school, the counselor recommended that I get a traditional internship that could actually give me some connections.
To meet different professionals once a week who are doing exactly what I want to do (and often surpassing what I thought was possible), I am reminded how important it is to work hard, persist and ignore the naysayers. I am glad that I get to join the rankings of amazing freelancers I have met to create great work, and hopefully one day become a representation for someone else.