Posts Tagged 'Entrepreneur'

Self-Help Yourself Right into Your Career

I’ve been reading self-help books. There. I said it.

And you know what? I love them. Granted, I’m only on my second, but these two have already made a positive change in my life.

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind and The Power of Intention deal a lot with discovering the personal and financial abundance available in your life. Here’s an excerpt I read in The Power of Intention the other day on how to make your intention your reality:

Initiate actions that support your feelings of abundance and success:

  • Act on those passionate emotions as if the abundance and success you seek is already here.
  • Speak to strangers with passion in your voice.
  • Answer the telephone in an inspired way.
  • Do a job interview from the place of confidence and joy.
  • Read the books that mysteriously show up
  • Pay close attention to conversations that seem to indicate you’re being called to something new.
Yesterday, I overheard the voice of woman I couldn’t see. I was almost immediately able to put some pieces together of her physical makeup. Her voice sounded heavy, muted, and tired. I pictured a young, disheveled woman with a look that says “You don’t need to like me, cuz I don’t really like myself either”. Not to pat myself on the back, but I was right. Point is, we give off what we carry on ourselves. We put out what we put in.
When we were in Key West this spring, I was talking to someone who told me of a person who showed up to a job interview and said, “You don’t have to hire me. I don’t really know if I want to work here anyway”. This is, of course, an extreme example of the point I’m making, but you can give off that attitude to an interviewer, or a client, or a prospective job, the same way without actually using the literal words.
If I wear a garbage bag on a date with you, you’ll have reason to believe that I’m not interested in you enough that I’d put any effort in looking nice. If I go to a school dance and sit in the corner, you’ll have reason to believe I don’t really want to dance with you. If I speak to you as if I’m afraid of my own voice, you probably will be too (or at least put to sleep by it). And if I walk around all day believing that I’m never going to succeed at my career goals, I probably won’t.
But if I “dress” for success, I just might get it.

How to Alienate Friends and Make People

When I first got pregnant, I realized I had no friends with babies.  Now that I have a baby, I sometimes feel like the only people I spend time with are other parents.  Some of these newer friends were inherited with my marriage to my hubby, who is one of the last of his friends to have kids, while others were hiding in the woodwork of my life until I got pregnant and began seeking them out (and was possibly sought out by them, as new parents, too!)

Most of my childless friends (a title that resembles an accusation, but is merely a matter of fact) have been wonderful about our new lifestyle with Baby.  They come to visit, they call to say hi, and they even still invite me places (though I don’t say yes as much as I used to).  But I would think that all new parents have those friends who mourn the loss of the friendship as it once was… and can’t accept the change.  There are those who are disappointed when you say you’re bringing Baby to the restaurant for dinner.  They don’t understand that (a) my baby is not a dog I can just leave at home, and (b) babysitters do not grow on trees, nor are they free.  Yes, my baby may freak out at the restaurant… yes, she may make a mess.  But for at least half the time, she will sit quietly eating her Cheerios, waiting for the next scrap of your dinner (yes, much like a dog).  The sad efficiency of the situation is that this lack of acceptance of your baby into the friendship quickly answers any questions you may have had as to the shelf life of this relationship.

Don’t get me wrong – bringing my baby to a restaurant is not my faaayvorite way to spend an evening.  Though I nurse in public, spend most of my time thinking about Monkey, and get angry when people don’t hold the door for me when I’m-pushing-a-stroller-for-heaven’s-sake-I’ve-got-a-baby-here!, I’m still fairly rational about the unappealing aspects to bringing Baby out on nicer social occasions.  So we stay in, and try to invite people over, instead of heading out for a night on the town with Baby.  (It’s hard to look nice going out anyway, when whatever necklaces or long earrings I put on will inevitably get yanked by the Monkey).

So we spend a lot of social time with our childful friends.  Food gets thrown, crying ensues, and most of the conversation revolves around neighborhoods with good schools or what little Bobby has been eating, now that he’s got four whole teeth.  It’s easy, it’s comfortable, and not a little bit messy.

But while I may say I have more in common with my childful friends, it’s my childless friends who are some of my oldest, closest, and dearest.

Okay, so here’s a slightly related anecdote: when I was unmarried, and some of my friends starting getting married, I noticed that they began hanging out almost exclusively with their married friends.  I thought, “What am I, a loaf of bread? Just cuz I don’t have a ring on my finger makes me less appealing to hang out with?”  I have a little more insight into their mentality now that I’m married too (the fact that there’s this need-to-have-date-nights-with-other-couples that you get infected with the day you say “I do”).  But I don’t want to be the mother whose childless friends say, “What am I, a loaf of bread?  Just cuz a baby didn’t inhabit my uterus makes me less appealing to hang out with?”

Loaf of bread

So here’s the deal – you forgive me for smelling like vomit and carrying around a 19lb crying ball of goofy smiles, and I’ll forgive you for getting a full 8 hrs of sleep and wearing whatever jewelry you want.

Starting over… in the 30-Somethings

Key West… here we are.

We returned to the US on the 5th, to be greeted by the humid Miami air.  Deplaning, while carrying 5 pieces of carry-on luggage, only to go find your 5 pieces of checked luggage, all while in a very different time zone, and carrying a 19lb(?) baby, can wear on one’s serenity.  But we succeeded, found ourselves a rental car, and drove to Palm City to stay with the friends we would be shooting weddings with a few days later in Key West.

After a great two week trip of work, family, and traveling around England, Wales, and Scotland, I was sad to leave, though I know hubby was ready for the next chapter of our journey.  If I had two lifetimes to live, I’d live my other one in England.  But we make choices, follow priorities, and have responsibilities that don’t always allow us to do things just as we want.  For example, if we moved to England, our Monkey would see her grandparents even less than she already does.  So we have chosen to make family priority over geography (hell, we already live in California, while my parents live in NYC, so we’ve clearly already pushed our parents past priority #1).

My father is from England, and my sister and I have dual-citizenship.  Though we were born and raised in the US, we have always felt like England was our second home.  When our grandmother passed in ’96, it wasn’t just her that we lost, but a connection to our second homeland that could only be slightly retrieved by making more trips across the pond than usual, and working to strengthen our bond with the more distant relatives.  Needless to say, this last trip over there was a great example of that.  Monkey got to meet her 97yr old great, great aunt, three of her cousins, and visit her great grandmother and great grandfather’s graves.  We have such a small extended family that I’m putting in the extra, extra effort to give her a true relationship with her England family.


Monkey wants to be a photographer too!


Shooting the Parkinson’s conference in Glasgow for our video production company, Little Feet Productions, is going to be a good addition to our portfolio, as was shooting an Indian wedding yesterday for N Johnston Photography, our other company.  Sometimes it hits me how sudden this new entrepreneurialship of ours is.  It was only last year that I was teaching 8th grade, while hubby was a freelance video editor for reality TV.  Now we are saddled with beautiful baby, and two companies that we started, and run, and are now traveling across the hemispheres for.  I don’t get up at the alarm clock anymore and sit through 40-min of traffic out of the Valley and into Santa Monica.  Monkey is my alarm clock, and I go to work on my computer to log content for the conference video I produced that hubby shot, or I try to find us new clients.  Hubby goes to his computer and edits wedding photos, or wedding videos, or promotional videos, or whatever it was he most recently shot.

And then comes the ego.  Starting a new career in your thirties is humbling at the least.  Having your talents outweigh your lack of experience is the hope, while stumbling and having to ask “stupid” questions is sometimes the reality.  Explaining to your friends of ten years that you’re flying to another country to engage in a career that they kind-of-remember-you-mentioning-once-before is odd-feeling.  Working a job at an international conference that is a notch above the comfort zone of your abilities is intimidating at best.

So you do better than your best, and you smile confidently to hide the fear.  You jump into it headfirst because you know you’re good enough, because you know your family needs it, and because (unless you believe in that kind of stuff) you only have this life to live, and you make choices, follow priorities, and have responsibilities that sometimes make you have to start over in your 30-somethings.


And a videographer...


Get Outta My Dreams, and Into the Black

My husband comes to me on an almost daily basis with a new THING he’d like to purchase.  Sometimes it’s something worthwhile for one of our two businesses, and sometimes it’s more like skydiving or fixing the dent-that-only-he-can-see in the side of our X-Terra.  And almost every time he comes to me with one of these, I respond: “As soon as we’re more comfortably able to pay our bills, we’ll do it.”  In other words, when we’re “in the black.”

Get Outta My Dreams, and Into My Car

I know that term was not invented to refer to a couple of thirty-something parents with two at-home businesses who want to be able to pay their bills and buy skydiving (and oooh, I’d love some new clothes and a music class for the little Monkey), but I think the term applies perfectly for us.  Right now, we are waiting on our next big paycheck for the gig we’re shooting in Scotland in a couple of weeks.  When we receive this hefty check, however, we must apply pretty much all of it to our month’s bills and the airline tickets we bought to fly to London.

When do we know we’re in the black?  Is it when we’re able to go out to dinner, even just once a month?  Or when we don’t have to count the number of days left in the month, in fear of mortgage, etc, being due on the 1st?  I’ve gotten very used to living paycheck-to-paycheck in the ten years I’ve lived in LA.  Every time I’ve succumbed to The Man and gotten myself a “real” job, I’ve had no financial insecurity – but every time I’ve gone after my dreams, I’ve had to sacrifice the ability to get take-out Chinese (without being afraid to order the egg rolls, as that’s an additional six bucks.)

When my husband comes to me with the desire to purchase something our company needs, I say okay and we throw it on the new 0% APR credit card.  You need to spend money to make money, right?  Our bills, however, will be paid for right before their due date.  This is, of course, not the most fun way to live.

The flip side… we spend every day doing work we enjoy, and most importantly, we do it all with our Monkey playing on the floor right beside us.

Turning Over a New Leaf

Today, I’m letting everything go.  That is to say, for the first two hours of the day I’ll do a great job of letting things roll off my back, and then I’ll forget about my mission until next Tuesday.

I went to the gym today – a key factor in building a business (or at least that’s my theory for today).  It’s the first time back there since the baby was born, and it felt great (awful) and revived me (thought I was having pulmonary spasms) and got me ready for my day (and a shower).  The endorphins said, “Hey, get your now-fabulously-toned-ass on that business-like couch, and get to work on those companies!  You’ll be a millionaire by Christmas!”  Okay, so free high.  But I’m starting anew today, and a big part of that is going to the gym.

My non-profound reason for this new rule is that if you just wake up, make coffee, and sit in front of the computer in your jammies until lunch, you’re far more likely to get down on yourself, and your company.  Since I decided to work from home, I told myself that I had to treat this job like any other: get up, get dressed, go to work, and when it’s quitting time, it’s quitting time.  So I try to stay on a schedule.  (Note: this schedule is frequently interrupted by fallen baby, wet laundry to be put in dryer, lunch that needs making – and eating, break to watch a couple of episodes of Sex and the City – don’t knock it, Candace Bushnell inspires me, and some sort of opening-mail or emptying-the-dishwasher type of work).

I don’t know how it’s happened, but so far (since I quit my teaching job in mid-June) we’ve been able to continue paying our bills.  When I quit, I did it with both of us knowing full well that we were not making enough money with our businesses to support our $4K a month lifestyle.  But we had me quit anyway.  And we just held our breaths as we jumped.  We haven’t made $4K a month since mid-June, so I’m not really sure how it’s worked out… but it has.

So today I’m gonna ride that optimism; that feeling of “we will be taken care of” and “everything will work out”.  I’m gonna ride it all the way to my lunch break… and maybe I’ll remember it again before next Tuesday.

All Give, No Get

Sitting in front of the computer all day, searching for ways to promote your business, only to find that spammers and wannabe-professionals-still-in-their-junior-year-of-college-looking-to-summer-intern-at-your-seemingly-successful company are the only ones knocking on your door, can be somewhat disheartening.

When starting your own business (and I mean s-t-a-r-t-i-n-g your own business from s-c-r-a-t-c-h) you find yourself spending a great deal of time working, and no reward to show for it.  It’s simple when you have a regular job (working for someone other than yourself): if you work at the Slurpee shop, you show up at a given time, sell Slurpees for the given amount of hours, and then a week, or two, later you get a check for the given amount of money.  Simple.  But when you’re starting your own business, you work (and work) with no guarantee that you’ll ever see a dime.

My husband and I recently started two companies of our own: a video production company, which focused mainly on producing promotional videos for clients and/or editing reels and commercials for individuals and small businesses, and a photography company, which focuses mainly on weddings and sometimes pregnancy photos and other personal projects for clients.  While my husband does most of the shooting and editing, etc, I do the business.  I spend most of the day sitting on the couch with my MacBook Pro on a lap desk on my (well) lap.  I look for ways to get our business’ names out there, while spending as little money as possible (oh yeah, we’re tapped out since I quit my job teaching 8th grade to take care of our new baby and run our companies).  Since we don’t have money to spend, I dig for the free ways to get ourselves noticed – but they’re slim.  And after a number of weeks on this couch, not one of the few jobs we’ve gotten recently have had anything to do with my work.  But feeling sorry for oneself does not a successful business make (for some reason I think Brad Pitt didn’t walk into his Thelma and Louise audition thinking, “I’m an ugly loser and I’ll never make a career for myself.”

So I keep on giving (and I’ll give more tomorrow) in the hopes that someone will call, or email, or send a pigeon, saying “Hey, I saw that ad, or that Facebook post, or that Tweet that the most-fantastic-business-woman-ever-to-start-her-own-company” sent out, and I’d loooove to give you money to work on my project.”

Eh, maybe tomorrow.

You gotta spend money to make money… you gotta lift some weights to get some muscle… you gotta kiss a few frogs.  You gotta give (and give) if you ever want to get (unless we’re talking about the Lottery, but I’m not gonna hold my breath on that one).

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