I have always been a girl with a plan.
I lived life like a chess game, thinking through how my current move will ripple through three moves ahead:
- Getting good grades in high school would help me get into college
- Doing internships during college would help me land a job after graduation
- Taking a job at a small newspaper would give me the experience to move to a bigger paper
After getting my MBA and moving to New York, I purposely stopped looking forward. I had worked long and hard to get here and I wanted to savor the present.
Then last summer, I started to get restless. For me to work hard, I need to know what it’s leading to — it’s my life’s version of the return on investment. I began to pray for guidance and clarity around where I should be heading.
When you ask a question like that, be prepared to get an answer.
Mine came when I learned my full-time job would be eliminated.
That reminded me that I did have a plan. When I applied to business school, my intent was to work for three to five years at a corporate job for the real-life experience, then launch my own business. And this spring marks five years for me in NYC.
While I have been drawn to entrepreneurship, the uncertainty scared me. I crave security and stability, even though working as founding editor of a start-up business journal gave me a taste of the excitement of building something from scratch.
Recognizing this internal conflict, I built a plan with the best of both worlds. I call it entrepreneur light.
After learning I was to be laid off, I submitted a proposal to instead create a new part-time position with benefits. I demonstrated how I would generate enough new revenue to make the job pay for itself, and the bosses said yes.
That reassured the stability-craving part of me as the entrepreneur part rejoiced at the opportunity ahead.
I am focusing on marketing communications for farmers and farmers markets. It is an idea I have been researching and shaping for a year or more, inspired in part by Four-Hour Workweek’s approach to selling expertise and role models like WebbMedia and Ariel Publicity, two marketing consulting firms run by smart, enthusiastic entrepreneur women.
I will offer a guide to marketing communications with loads of farm-related examples, as well as a getting started package that creates all the necessary accounts like Facebook, Twitter and HootSuite. I am learning Blog Talk Radio so I can do audio lessons, making it easier for time-strapped, overwhelmed clients to get pointers on the go, and plan to supplement with printed resources.
So this is what was knocking around my head last month when I was writing posts like “Reflecting on forks in the road, on being conservative or taking a leap.” I am excited and terrified, and happy to have a plan for the future again.