Moving into semi-entrepreneurship, following my life plan

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.

Now I am in aggressive business-building mode, making connections, establishing myself in the social media conversation, polishing my business plan.

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.

This is my website in progress, as proposed by my phenomenal designer Lauri Karisola.


Categories: career, lifestyle

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10 replies

  1. Thank you all so much!
    The last month or two have been a wild ride and the very best part has been the love and support I’ve felt from so many of you. You’ve reminded me over and over again that I’m not making this leap alone, and I’m grateful.

  2. Life on the “other” side is great. There’s something about charting your own course that is both terrifying and exhilarating. The great thing is, it’s your very own. I’ve enjoyed watching you grow since way back when, and I have all the faith in the world that you’ll achieve your goals and have a lot of fun along the way. All the best, Colleen!

  3. Excellent! Sending well wishes your way.

  4. I am so excited for what’s ahead! It’s smart to acknowledge the super scary parts — but to not let them keep you from anything. And, man, I just cannot get over how gorgeous that web site is!

  5. Enthusiam is 9/10 the battle in business, and you’ve got that in spades, Colleen…I know you will thrive in this exciting endeavor!

  6. Wow, I didn’t know all this was going on in your life. Hope it all works out! My older son also plans to be an entrepreneur and was inspired in part by the 4-Hour Workweek approach.

  7. It’s wonderful that you’re facing, head-on, the fact that there’s no such thing as security, and moving forward to build your own.

  8. Yayyyyy, you! How awesome! I love to see smart, creative people succeed at doing what they love, and I’m doubly glad to see YOU succeed.


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