I’m not sure where to begin. The beginning is so far back that it would take months for me to explain how all this got started.
My mother has been an entrepreneur all my life. My grandfather has his own construction business all my life. Maybe seeing my mother having the freedom to take off and to go where and when she pleased always tempted me. I suppose I didn’t think I had what it took to really be an entrepreneur. I must have thought I was too weak or small or something. Perhaps going through every rough and tumble experience in my life has lead me here. I’m not weak or small or something… I’m strong and smart and funny and full of imaginative ideas.
My uncle brought up twitter way before I was ready, but he got me interested. I have the facebook account and enjoyed all the meeting of old pals again and figuring out how it worked. In the beginning it was an obsession. I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next or who i’d meet or run into next online. I’ve always been a social butterfly. I love people. Every service industry job I have ever had; has fit, in someway it was limiting because of who the boss was usually, but I have a great ability with people. I like watching people, learning from people, hearing new ideas, being creative, and having all around fun. I think I can read people just about as well as I can read a book. I have a sense from my mother of how to read a situation and then react accordingly. I trained as an actress in college so I can perform in front of others if I take myself back to those lessons in my head.
You are thinking at this point maybe this girl really just wants to toot her own horn. Maybe that is part of it, but really I’m telling you a story of a girl who’s confidence and growth is due partly because of social media and learning how to want to dream big, and to think outside the box and realize there are so many ways to make money that you don’t have to sit in an office in a job that pays you good money that you hate! It’s scary stepping off the 9-5 train! It’s frightening to think in “this economy” that you would risk giving up a salary to go commission. But I did it, and although there are times I miss my cushy income and benefits, THERE IS NO PRICE TO FREEDOM as my mother told me early on. I read some quote the other day about how creatives flourish in freedom. This has come to life in me before my very own eyes.
So why now do I think I can do it? Because I am. I work with my mother as an interior design protege’ that is French for assistant! LOL I have been with her this time around for almost a year. I left the law office last June. I lost a nice salary and benefits. I gained~FREEDOM. Let me explain this to you. I don’t know if you have ever been a round peg in a square hole or whatever the saying is. But I was a fish out of water. Creative people die in offices. Or at least I was dying! Everything creative in me was dead. I hated everything about my day, except break when I could talk to my friends, and even then you had to be careful that what you said would get back to so and so or whoever didn’t need to know your business. And it wasn’t the work, the work was mindless and easy. I could sue over 100 people in a day pressing the same buttons over and over again. I was getting good, making my own little place in hell and suddenly it all blew up. I took one extra day of vacation after 3 years of being there and bam my short stay in the law office was over!
It just so happens that at that time my mother’s business was changing and moving up and she needed help. This was the first time I worked with my mother that we worked out a job description for me from the beginning. She had a plan and I was ready to learn the trade from the one of the best in the industry. It really is a nice fit, interior design, I have always been around it and learned so many things growing up that I didn’t even realize was design. Plus as my mother has told me I can read the client, you can’t teach someone that. You can’t tell a girl out of school in interior design how to do that. There is no class, it’s called life experience and seeing your mother practice it your entire life. What I mean by reading a person is hearing what a person doesn’t say out loud. Really knowing what they want even if they say the opposite. Can you do that? You probably could with some practice. Reading people is fun but also dangerous too if you are off. So it’s a nice fit and I enjoy being creative and having the freedom now to be home with my son in the afternoons.
At some point through working with my mom and Kathleen, and having my brother go out of town I became the marketing side kick. The one in the family who began getting asked to do this or change this print media or post card for my dad’s construction business and my mom’s interior design business. Twitter became an idea to start promoting Nichebydesign and ChalmersConstr. My uncle encouraged me to dive in and learn as I go. Uncle Jimmy(@Jimmy_C) has been a mentor for me through twitter. There have been many kind folks on twitter who have helped me learn my way around and what this # means or that symbol does this and etiquette. Twitter has made all sorts of doors open up for me. My dad started his own account for twitter and his business but just hasn’t had the time to get into it. He runs the business. My mother is resistant to social media. She doesn’t like to be forced to check her email every day either. They are of that generation, and to me if they aren’t ready, then that opens up another opportunity for me to have my own niche. I am of the generation who likes social media and access to information right away. I like my email on my phone and Facebook and twitter. I can handle juggling all of those things and fit it into my daily life. And now I realize I can make money by doing the things I already enjoy. I started tweeting for @sponstweets and am making $1 a tweet. I hope as my influence and following grows that they will pay me more. I have been tweeting for Nichebydesign as a part of my job. Kathleen came up with the Benjamin Moore color of the day idea and we have grown a following becuase of that and because I use my personal twitter acocunt to also promote Niche.
I can’t go much further without saying that a huge amount of inspiration has come from watching and becoming friends with Jason Saddler of @iwearyourshirt. My uncle told me to check him out. I remember watching my first live video of him on my phone and thinking are you serious, he gets paid to do this?!?!?! WHAT! His idea was simple, he said I’m not going to pay to wear your logo any more folks, I’m going to get paid to wear peoples logos’ on t-shirts. He and Evan have sold out almost all of 2010. They have yearly sponsor of Lucky Brand jeans and so they only wear Lucky Brand jeans this year. Guess how much you can pay Jason to wear your shirt for the day and tweet about it, make a live video and one for youtube? over $400 a day! He has sold all but 27 days this year last I checked. He says’ he owes all his success to social media. Jason is the guy who inspired me to try to host a social media event of my own. My event is in Roswell GA, May 25th, 2010. My idea and goal is to get local small businesses on the social media train to strengthen the community and show those resistant to social media the benefits of it and all the fun you can have with it. I wanted Jason to come and speak, to tell his story and let others in our community be inspired like I have been. This event isn’t the right one for Jason, so we hope by the next one we can get him to come. We have a fabulous panel of guest. I got to meet a fabulous lady, Jennifer Kardian (@jenkardian) in PR in Roswell that I would’ve never met if it weren’t for twitter, and with her help we are going to have a successful and exciting luncheon. For more information on this event please check out this site (if you are reading this before the date): http://smlroswelltweeteat.eventbrite.com/
I’m getting to my point now. I know it took a while… But all this is to say that my very first real client who is going to pay me to handle his social media is my dad. WOW you say big deal. Well yes it is! You see if he will pay me others will. If we get a plan and make this thing work for him, others will want my help. This summer I could have clients to tweet for and still be home with my son and not have to pay for child care all summer long. I have also been asked to help an attorney in Roswell who wants to run for judge. Through advice from my friends on twitter and learning from people like Jen Kardian (@jenkardian); Leslie Carothers (@tkpleslie) ; Shameeka Ayers (@brokesocialite) and Harden Furnitures social media person; Ross Stoltz (@rvstoltz) I know I won’t try and pretend to be these tweeps. My plan is to tweet for them, to be an ad for them without trying to act like I’m them. From these experiences I hope to begin my own business of tweeting for hire. I don’t even have a name for it yet, but just the idea excites me and to see a dream become reality is more fun than I have had in a while.
So please share with me your ideas and thoughts on this subject! Have any of you had fears or frustrations? My next post will be about the process of event planning. Everything I learned to do and not to do! Look forward to reading your comments! Thanks