A Personal Take on Career Growth & Change
Life-changing turning points sometimes come in the blink of an eye, or more often, they can take a decade or more to bring to fruition. As a standing member of the Late Bloomers Club, my turning points fall squarely into the later category. I got married and bought my first house at the age of 46. Four years later, I became the proud owner of my first new car. You get the picture.
In 2009, I had an enlightening conversation with an estate attorney, but at the time I didn't realize how pivotal it would be for my career. He asked me what I did for a living and what I enjoy doing. Sadly, for many of us, that is not necessarily the same thing.
I replied that I was a writer and research editor in magazine publishing, but what I really like to do is help people to express the essentials, and reach their greatest potential through the written word. I achieved this by polishing and editing college essays, resumes, websites, and other types of content as a volunteer for friends and family. The writing brought out the best in me, by combining my innate skills and talents with giving back, passing along knowledge, and helping others fulfill their dreams. Not surprisingly, it was the kind of joy that I rarely experienced in my day job.
After I answered the attorney's question, he thought for a moment and said: "You should do this for a living--there is a great need out there for someone like you, and an unending supply of students, job seekers, and professionals who will hire you." I was shocked. He went on to explain that it was easy to put together a website, market said company on social media, and bang, a business would be born. Not so fast, fella, I thought to myself.
Four years went by. I was waylaid by long hours at work, commuting three hours a day, caregiving for various family members, general malaise, and exhaustion. All familiar complaints to someone in middle age, stuck on the thought wheel that repeats "I can't leave my job because I have to pay the mortgage."
One night I couldn't sleep. The attorney's advice came back to me virtually flashing over my head. My eyes popped open, and I said to myself, I HAVE to start this business. Immediately, I tried to push away the idea as ridiculous. What did I know about entrepreneurship? I have two art degrees for heaven's sake. I kept burrowing deeper into denial, but I couldn't ignore the part of me that was excited and thrilled about a new venture, not to mention a better quality of life for me and my husband.
Thus began the three-year gestation of Your Best Edit LLC, of which yours truly is the proud founder and director. And why am I relating this personal tale on my business blog? Because after taking dozens of seminars, reading numerous business books and blogs, years of meetings with a marvelous SCORE mentor at the Small Business Administration, working with a designer to create my website and brochure, and many (expensive and time-consuming) challenges with legal paperwork and trademark filings, I felt that the emotional part of my journey was just as important to impart as the practical.
All the cliches about starting your own business are true: It will change you for the better, it's the hardest work you've ever done and the most rewarding, you will learn more about your strengths than you ever have before, and, like Winston Churchill, you never, never, never give up.
And some other perks come with the job: If you make a success of things, you will never again have to attend another corporate meeting or performance review, you get to decide which clients to work with and when your deadlines are, you can work in your pajamas, do yoga in your office, and take a nap in the middle of the day, and best of all, no one can fire you, lay you off, or take your business away.
Owning your own business is worth every hour of lost sleep, pushing through your fears and anxiety, and ascending that steep learning curve. I love interacting with my clients and sending them on their way a little better off than they were before. If you have a dream, or even a glimmer of a dream, nurture it and see where it leads. I wish you success at whatever point you're at on your professional journey. And if you need any professional writing and editing help, I'm available.
Your Best Edit offers students superior professional coaching and editing for college admissions essays, personalized resumes and social media profiles for job seekers, and business content for professionals, creatives, and entrepreneurs.