One day, at the end of one of my social media workshops, one of the attendees told me “I want my business to thrive so I can have pink hair, too.”
I was hired to do a private workshop (I’ve been having them for 4 years), and was chosen after a Google search revealed a Consultant with pink hair. “When I’m not at work, I like to put pink chalk in my hair,” is what I was told. Right on!
Wow. I’ve colored my hair since 1987. This past year, I went from a dark red, to fire engine red, to pink. I didn’t know how it would look, and I didn’t care. I’d try it, and if it didn’t look good, I’d color over it.
That is how life is supposed to be: You DO something new. You don’t “try to do,” you “do.” If it doesn’t work out or looks like shit, so what? At least you did it. You got out of your comfort zone!
My friend Jamie is my biggest cheerleader when it comes to my social media skills, and she told me to tell my story. Here goes:
About 4.5 years ago, I began the process to donate my kidney. (Go back to the beginning of 2011 in this blog to read more on that.) In the process, I was fired from my job. I had been very open about my decision to donate, gave them every appointment detail, and educated them on the process. I lost my job 2 weeks before saving a life. Within days, though, I was offered a job as a Social Media Manager for a family who owned a few businesses. We’d been following each other, and they liked what they saw in my skills.
I held that job for a year, but the company lost a big government contract and had to lay off about 50% of their employees. My boss said to me “You really should go into your business for yourself doing this.” At the time, I had been doing social media for myself for many years, because I started doing comedy and radio in 2003. I built a really awesome following by using social media to promote my shows.
Go into business for myself? What??? Seemed like something to just dream about, not implement! 41 years old, single, and all of a sudden, no job. Again. So, I talked to my friends and posted it everywhere that afternoon. I had 2 clients the next day.
I got my clients because of the relationships I have built over the years on social media. I got my clients by showing my constant learning and passion for social media. Never, ever, did I say “HIRE ME BECAUSE I AM THE BEST!” Nobody wants to be sold to. Nobody needs to hear you talk about yourself constantly.
It’s been over three years now, and it hasn’t been easy. In 2013, I was also making a documentary. I made $17K that year. It was tough, and I had to get some help from my parents, but I made it through. My income increased in 2014, but still not enough to take a vacation. I haven’t had one in 14 years, and my goal is to take one this year.
2015 has been really, really good to me. I’ve gotten into a niche industry that I love (more to come on that!). I’ve made really great connections. I’m on 18 months of monthly workshops for NetworkingPhoenix. I’ve changed my title to Consultant, and I’m doing more hourly consultations than I ever had before. I’ve spoken at Phoenix Start-up week, gotten back into doing the social media for Ignite Phoenix, and am on the verge of hiring an employee.
All of this…with pink hair. Because you know what? If you are awesome at what you do, the real people don’t care what color your hair is. Tattoos don’t bother them. If they do, I don’t want to work with them. I think my style shows I’m not afraid to take risks, and my creativity shines.
But, for me, it’s a sign of independence. Of giving The Man the middle finger. And, of showing that what’s inside your head could very well be reflected by what’s on top of it. It’s also a way for me to inspire other women to go out on their own.
My friend Dale and I were talking a couple years ago about working for myself. I said “I don’t make a lot of money, and it’s tough to make ends meet, but I work my own hours, in my pajamas.”
He responded with “That makes you the richest person here.”
It really does.
My clients don’t want what everyone else has. They want to stand out. Like me. Don’t be afraid of who you are. When your personality and passion shine, it will all find you.