You see, I live in a small town of a population of around 10,000 people in the mountains of West Virginia. The jobs in advertising are few and far between and mostly consist of sales. However, I wasn’t into sales. I was into the creative side of advertising. But there were no jobs to be had in my small little part of the world.
So what did I do?
After graduating, I went straight to work. But not at an advertising firm as I had dreamed. I was working for a car rental company because it was good money for just getting out of school. That job, and the few following it, were completely unfulfilling. However, I had a family and home that I needed to contribute to financially. But there was something missing at each job that I took. I even worked in Advertising sales as an assistant and felt like a complete sell out.
So let’s fast forward to the last job that I took. It was essentially in sales and customer service. I was working in insurance. And I went to work day in and day out and hated life. And I complained all the time. My mindset stayed in a constant negative state. It was affecting every area of my life, both personal and professional. I needed more in my professional life to make me feel fulfilled. And I also needed to be able to be more present at home and in my daughter’s life. I was missing SO MUCH because of the situation I was in with the office I worked at.
So I had a friend who was a Virtual Assistant.
We’ll call her “J”. She was a Virtual Assistant and my sounding post for all of my complaining. And she worked hard to remind me that my thoughts had power and before anything could change I had to change my thoughts. So… I tried. And I failed miserably. The job I was in was a major block in my ability to shift those thoughts. She finally convinced me that my family and I deserved a better QUALITY of life.
“J” told me about her side gig as a Virtual Assistant and the type of things that she did. And she said, “Cassondra, you have a degree in advertising. You can totally do this.” So I thought about it and decided that I agreed with that statement.
Here I was with an idea and needed to develop a plan.
My plan was to put my business and services out there into the online space. Then I needed to grow that business to replace the income I was making at my current job. This would allow me to be home more, handle things at home, be with my daughter more, still be financially contributing to the household, and have a better quality of life. So I set off and started doing just that. And I did what I knew best, just ask my teachers from school. I started talking to people.
I learned quickly that if I was going to truly build this business that making connections was the MOST IMPORTANT thing I needed to do. But not just professional connections. I needed to make personal connections with people who needed the services that I offered. So I got into a few specific groups on Facebook that allowed me to meet people out of my small town.
And so it began. Through these connections on social media, I signed my first client. And then another, then another, and then another. I got up early, worked on my lunch, and worked in the evenings for these people. And I had officially done it and replaced my income. Within a month of starting my business, I was able to quit my job. And just in time for summer break!
But the work didn’t stop there.
As my business grew, I grew. I learned the EXACT things I wanted to offer to people. And I KNEW exactly what I wanted to do. I started saying “YES” to more work that required those skills. And I also continued to be present in some of these groups and networking with people. Because I wanted to network on a personal level. I learned about them, their families, their goals, etc. And when the time was right to hire someone for the services they needed, they reach out to me.
You see because the world we live in is so digitized, a personal connection between two people has become a rarity. And while I was using technology to communicate with these people, my conversations were not based around work or technology. It was simple things like, “How are you today?” or “How’s Suzie doing with school so far?”. You see I paid attention to the things going on in their life and truly did allow myself to care about these people.
Because of that, and my constant networking, over a year later my business not only exists, but it’s thriving.
I just had my BEST month to date in my business. People keep reaching out me to me to do work in their business. It continues to grow and I continue to grow as a person. I continue to grow as an entrepreneur. My husband always jokes and says that I have the personality to be an entrepreneur because I’ve never met a stranger. He may be onto something there.
But the fact of the matter is that if you really want something, you’ll do whatever it takes to achieve it. No amount of work will be too much. At one point between working my job and my side gig, I was working more than 12 hours a day. But in a short time, that paid off because I was working from home doing something I enjoyed that gave me FULFILLMENT!
When I went to school for advertising, I did so because I loved it.
Advertising, when done the right way, can truly be an art. I fell in love with it for a reason. But because of my geographical location I thought my degree was useless. I thought there was NO WAY I was going to get to do what I loved. But now, here I am, doing what I love. Like writing this blog for example.
Don’t let “where you live” tell you that you can’t do something you love. In today’s world, you can connect with someone across the world by clicking a button. Get out of the mindset of saying, “I can’t” and into the mindset of saying, “I WILL.”
I’m just a small town girl who decided to do something to change her life. A girl who decided she wanted more out of her professional and personal life. And because of that I not only have built and scaled my business to way more than I ever made working in insurance, but I have also created a better quality of life for me and my family. You can do the same! Make those connections. Build relationships with like minded people in the online space. They will come into play when you least expect it.