How I Got Started as a Content & Communications Consultant
It has taken me awhile to embrace the idea of openly sharing my story. Not because I’m a private person (I am), but because it’s pretty real, and in some ways, maybe even raw to some of you reading it. I finally realized that’s exactly why I should share it.
For me, consulting, or even contract work in general wasn’t on the radar. I had a good full-time job, but at that time in my life, it was only dividing my mind from what I thought I really should be doing. See, I had just found myself alone and on my own with my infant son. And, while I knew I needed the full-time job, it was agonizing to drop my young son off to be cared for by someone else for the greater part of the day. Honestly, the only way I could get through it to complete my work was to push it out of my mind entirely.
The older my son got, the more it pained me that I couldn’t be with him. I took small comfort in the idea that I was “providing” for him. If I couldn’t be with him, I was going to ensure he had the best private education a single mother could afford for his primary years.
A friend of mine found me stewing and weeping over this and asked what it was I really wanted. I spilled out thoughts that, to me, at that time, were absolute craziness. There was that ever-present longing to just be able to raise my own son, AND be able to afford to provide for us.
My wise friend encouraged me to write down, in goals form, what it would take for this to happen. I protested, thinking (and fully believing) that would be a complete waste of time, since I hadn’t figured out how to accomplish it to that point anyway.
Obligingly, I added my “pie-in-the-sky” dreams to an Excel spreadsheet: work from home, earn a double-parent income, be debt free… My friend knew more about this goal-setting thing than I did and insisted I only need define steps to achieve them. Again, to me, seemingly impossible. Mostly because I didn’t have the first idea how to achieve any of them.
This next part is important because it pertains to a couple key ingredients to success—outside perspective, and encouragement. My friend spent time with me, discussing my strengths as relates to my wants, and also encouraged me to try some things I hadn’t previously considered, and probably never would have on my own. Why wouldn’t I have tried these paths on my own? Probably for a variety of reasons, including not knowing what was possible, but also not believing those possibilities were for me. I talk a lot about this in the free guide, Show Up for Yourself.
After translating my core strengths into job roles, we researched the keywords needed to get the attention of hiring managers for those role types. I had a lot of experience in my core strengths, but I had never laid it all out in that way, claiming the value of my skills. Then, I did something unheard of: I applied for a senior-level contract role, using all my primary strengths, with a major corporation…and I got hired!
This was the beginning of what became known to me as “contract work”. I still went into the office most of the time, but through a flexible work environment, I was able to work from home once a week, and most importantly, see more of my son. Funny how an openness to the possible can put you on the track to your dreams (otherwise known as goals.)
Does this kind of mentorship sound like something that’s absent in your own life? That’s why I started offering career coaching as a service. You can’t underestimate the power of outside influence, perspective and encouragement, and to be solely for the purposes of helping you achieve your goals? What I’ve come to understand personally is that there can be no downside to it.
The path to our dreams is a journey, but one that’s difficult to realize if we never believe it’s possible. Read part 2 to see how this story unfolds into me becoming a consultant.