In November of last year I left my job. For lack of a better term I had hit a wall. I’ve had a rough couple of years personally and professionally it started to take it’s toll. I was having a difficult time with coworkers who were manipulative, controlling and outright bullies. So I decided for my sanity it was best for me to leave, to do what I didn’t really know. I’d been in a corporate environment pretty steady since graduating college and a lot has changed. Social media wasn’t around when I entered the workforce and now networking is pretty much all done online.
After a week or so I started looking for a new job, scrolling through job sites and applying for jobs. I was getting some calls and a few interviews and nothing seemed to be happening. A recruiter called me and was excited with my experience and loyalty to my previous employer. Loyalty really, apparently it’s a trait most people lack today she said on average people stay about eight months to a year and then move on. She was on the phone looking at my LinkedIn profile and said “Oh here’s a problem”, “What was it I asked?” She responded “238 connections”. I didn’t understand, she said “to be more effective you should be around 500 connections. Potential employers want to see that your active and know a lot of people.” But, those are real people on there, real people I know, I’ve met and I’ve worked with, I’m not even sure I know 500 people (I’m a bit of an introvert). It felt like lying to myself and potential employers to have people I don’t actually know on my professional profile. The conversation just kind of drifted from there and she said she would follow up, but never did. I have a hard time believing that’s a thing. A few more interviews and I felt like maybe I wasn’t a good fit for a corporate job anymore.
A while later I had stopped by to see a friend at work, we talked for a bit about life and about my situation. She suggested by the end of it that I should go into business for myself. Now first and foremost I’ve always been a graphic designer, but wasn’t sure thats what I wanted for myself anymore. I love design in all it’s aspects but, I’m not fond of client’s, well problematic client’s. Specifically the I have no budget, I’m doing you a favour by giving you work and my son has a computer and could do what you do client. I didn’t think I could subject myself to that, but what else was I going to do. A few years ago my wife had bought me an old letterpress printing press and I slowly started to acquire types sets and image printing blocks for it. When she passed away I started using it a lot to fill my time. I had printed so much stuff with it (mainly greeting cards and gift tags) eventually that I started selling it at craft fairs. So, I decided that was what I was going to do. To avoid problem clients I would become the client, I would design for myself and create my own brand. Seemed simple enough…It’s not.
Starting your own company is a lot of work, actually a ton of work. Sixteen hour days and a pot of coffee, no sleep but, I don’t think I’d go back. Now, one of the reason’s I enrolled in this course was finding out the importance that social media plays in starting a new business. I thought to myself well I have Facebook and Instagram that’s all I need. Initially my theory was “If you build it, they will come!” Just like the movie Field of Dreams…not the case. I was posting but, getting very little traction or attention. My next stop was to the bookstore where I picked up a large oversized magazine Social Media Made Simple, it peaked my interest. I went through page by page and learned all about the different networks and how to use them. It had a huge impact on how I run my companies social media, it also created a lot more work. In turn though it has brought in a lot more work as well and has also led me to take this course.
I realize that I am only a few months into my new adventure but, social media is also there with me. I’ve learned the importance of consistency and timed posts when using social media for your business.
In addition to just having Facebook and Instagram for my business, we’re now on Vero, Tumblr, Pinterest Shapr, Alignable and of course LinkedIn (440 real people now). If your not on Shapr and Alignable I really suggest you check them out, I’ve grown my professional network substantially by using them.
Have you started or thought about starting your own company? What social media do you plan on using to promote yourself?