November 30, 2023 at 8:06 am #2183
What excites me… is that I’m literally making a career out of being different.
Something that, for Y-E-A-R-S, brought me so much fucking shame.
That is poetic AF.
As the ‘blackishly-rainbowed sheep of the family’ (stolen from Vanessa, hey, girl, heeeeey) being ‘different’ has been a source of contention my entire life.
I felt like an alien living in my home… and it only got worse the older I got and the more free-thinking I became.
Then, I ventured out into the world and met a whole bunch more assholes in Corporate America who reinforced all the ‘wrongness’ I was plagued with. 🙄
I believed all this shit these people were telling me… because they were all saying a lot of the same things.
I never realized they could ALL be wrong.
THAT’S what kept me in the grips of self-hate for long.
I just didn’t think it was possible that they could ALL be wrong… and I (lonely little me) could be right.
Then I hit rock bottom in 2021 (which we’ve talked about) and I decided everyone was wrong.
I literally went on internet lockdown.
I didn’t want to hear anyone’s voice except for my own.
I unsubscribed from just about every list I was on (I stayed on 3 because they inspired me).
I went ‘DM + PM ONLY’ across social media (minus the FB Support Lounge).
I stopped consuming just about all content. No blogs. No podcasts. No Videos (other than cute animals + entertaining shit). No courses. No coaching. No social media (outside of my group).
I wanted to hear myself think. ONLY myself.
I started questioning everything. In the same was I’m asking you to question yourself for this theme party.
The questioning started out rocky.
I was CRUSHED (like end-of-the-world sadness, I thought my business was over) when I realized I didn’t understand or see the point of at least 75% of the way branding was being taught… or sold.
Then (with the help of my therapist) I was reminded that it is possible for them to ALL be wrong.
We’re being taught how to SOLOpreneur by agencies who assume we want what they have… of course they’re wrong.
That one small (seemingly insignificant) FACT set in motion a creative reckoning that I’m still riding even today.
I just don’t have any hesitation about barreling down what’s ‘already out there’ and innovating a new way anymore. I’m properly convinced (to the marrow in my bones) that my fellow solos would be fucking lost without me.
I’ve been able to figure out what NO ONE ELSE has figured out for companies of ONE.
That’s what I anchor to.
That’s what I believe.
I needed a new way. My kindreds need a new way.
The new way isn’t something I’ve had to conjure up. I’ve just had to start with a clean slate and figure out how I would do it.
‘I’ being someone who doesn’t have a single fuck for being a big, bad agency.
Someone who is in this for family, fun, and making a real fucking difference.
Someone who won’t work more than 32 hours a week.
Someone who doesn’t have the time to spend on stupid shit that doesn’t directly help me improve my life.
Someone who looks at the gurus out there and can’t relate at all.
Someone like US.
It was the ‘US’ (the whole ‘other people need what my differences have gifted me with’) truth that helped me not only understand my differences but create an offer that capitalizes on all my differences.
When I think about all the people out there who are LIKE ME (misfits who have chosen this SOLO life for a very personal reason) it makes me want to step into all the differences that make it so easy for me to break this branding stuff down in a way that makes all the difference for you.
It makes me want to innovate a new way.
It makes me want to be different.
It makes me want to share my off-the-wall methods.
For me, I didn’t really have to find my differences, I really just had to embrace them.
How about YOU?
What excites you the most about how differently you do things than everyone else? And how did you figure that out?
November 30, 2023 at 3:36 pm #2192
I am dyslexic. In high school, I was told to lower my expectations for college and informed that I would never be able to become an attorney (a dream I had starting in middle school).
Apparently my diagnosis outweighed my grades.
(I’ve always been a good student, but a painfully slow reader.)
I raised a big middle finger to all of that, went to college, graduated early, finished law school, passed the bar exam, and practiced at a firm in Boston.
Until I realized that I fucking hated being an attorney!
(Sometimes doing something to spite others doesn’t quite work out how we want it to!)
I spent some time as a consultant and then worked in the nonprofit sector and for marketing and advertising agencies. None of it was the right fit, but it was “good enough.”
It was while I was working for a nonprofit organization that I met my first editor. She taught me everything I know about being a freelance writer, from pitching to writing articles for publication to making sure you get paid for your work. She also got me my first editing job.
I loved it.
But it wasn’t a *real* job, right? It was just a thing I did on the side.
Fast forward to January 2020. I quit my advertising job right before the world shut down. (I hated that job.) I planned to start a content marketing business. I was working with a business coach and groaned about how much I hated marketing.
Um. Yeah. That’s a problem.
He asked me to tell him about a project I enjoyed working on, and I told him about my work as a freelance writer and editor and a client I had the last time I tried this whole self-employed thing who ended up writing for a trade journal and how much I loved working with him and helping him choose the right publication, figure out what to write about, how to write and structure the article, how to pitch the publication and build a relationship with his editor, and how to use the article to help him get meetings with the people he wanted to get meetings with.
My coach looked at me and said, “Okay. So why don’t you do that?”
I had no idea what he was talking about.
Finally, light dawned on marble head and I realized that many folks don’t know how to start writing for business magazines, trade journals, or association publications. There’s this big shroud of mystery around it, and very little advice for business owners who want to write to connect with an established audience. I spoke to a few editor friends and a bunch of consulting colleagues.
Yep. This could be a thing.
So, what excites me? Spending my time with brilliant people who know a whole lot about a field I know very little about. Watching brilliant people develop their writing voice as they fall in love with writing. Allowing people to go deep with their insights so they can be of service and not simply “drive profitable consumer action,” as the folks at the Content Marketing Institute would say. Reading. Learning. Writing. Teaching. Celebrating others when they get published, and letting them know that the hoards of humans will not actually knock down your door just because you got a piece in some fancy-ass publication. Showing them how they can use the article in that fancy-ass publication to build their authority and reputation and credibility. Building my alumn community so they write and edit an article every single month (because as much as I love learning, the doing is what actually gets results).
That’s the shit that excites me.
- This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Erica Holthausen.
November 30, 2023 at 4:16 pm #2197
Loved reading your post, Erica! As someone who has struggled with the challenges you describe your clients face, I can totally imagine how liberating and empowering your work with them would feel!!
November 30, 2023 at 4:38 pm #2199
I just saw your post from yesterday! It took me AGES to call myself a writer! Even when I was paid for my writing, I still couldn’t call myself a writer. It felt like a super-secret club and I didn’t know how to become a member.
I think perhaps there is a club, but it’s not a secret club. We’re just not very organized. We’re one of those leaderless clubs with no real membership list. But when we meet one of our own, we embrace them. (And I am embracing you right now!)
That’s how you get into the club.
December 1, 2023 at 12:50 pm #2235
LOL. Thanks for sharing how hard it was for you to call yourself a writer – boy, do I know exactly what you mean!
I appreciate your encouragement. Thank you.
Writers write. I will keep that in mind 🙂
November 30, 2023 at 4:38 pm #2200
I was an introverted, average-at-school, dark skinned, serious teenager in a family and society that valued extraversion, good grades, fair skin, and entertainment (often at the expense of other people.)
I was often implicitly and explicitly criticized/made fun of for not being smart/pretty or funny enough and for living in my own world.
What I most longed for was to be loved, accepted and appreciated for the qualities that set me apart and made me who I was: trustworthiness, wisdom, being observant and reflective.
I graduated high school convinced that I was average, at best, at most things.
Soon after high school, in a different environment, a teacher called me “impressive.”
That shook my world.
And what happened after that changed the course of my life.
I went on to score the highest grades in my class and was offered a job to teach there.
I couldn’t help but wonder: had I really been average? Or had I just believed I was?
That experience sparked a deep fascination with the human mind, leading me to study psychology and build a career helping people question what they think they know about who they are.
A lot more has happened since then.
But my ongoing fascination with how our self-perception changes our reality has remained constant.
The thing that excites me the most is to keep working on expanding my own understanding of who I am and what I am capable of, and helping others do the same through writing, teaching, and coaching.
And to do this on my terms, which often involves ignoring anything that doesn’t resonate with me – even if “everybody else is doing it.”
November 30, 2023 at 4:50 pm #2201
I love this, Yashi. It’s so clear and honest and real and heartfelt and full of hard-won wisdom. Writing, teaching, and coaching is a beautiful combination. And filtering *everything* through your own inner-wisdom filter (and taking time now and again to de-gunk that filter) is so powerful.
November 30, 2023 at 9:38 pm #2221
Wow. I absolutely looooooove getting to read your stories!
Yashi, the shit you must have went through is heinous!! Isn’t incredible how ONE PERSON change our entire sense of self?? That’s who I want to be to other people.
I feel like you crawled into my brain and explained exactly what geeks me out!!! We do such similar work. If I could buy you a drink and geek out with you at happy hour I would in a heart beat. 🥰🥂
December 1, 2023 at 12:48 pm #2234
That’s exactly it, Dre. Just like that teacher did for me, what’s deeply honoring about this work is to have the opportunity to be that ONE PERSON who helps someone see themselves in an entirely new light with new possibilities and potential.
I’ve followed your work for almost 7 years now and I’ve always loved your unique take on things. In a world full of advice that never resonated with me, yours has been a breath of fresh air. Thank you. And yes, you’re exactly the kind of person I would love to geek out with about all of this if we had an opportunity!
December 5, 2023 at 2:03 am #2256
Awwwww, I’m sending you the biggest hug on the internet, sweetie!!! The world needs more badasses like us to be THAT person. I’m over here cheering you on so hard!! 🥳🥂
November 30, 2023 at 9:33 pm #2218
That shit sounds sooooo exciting!! More SOLOpreneurs need to know about you!
And thanks for sharing more of your story. How the fuck educators are allowed to say the things they do to kids is beyond me.
P.S. Don’t you hate when you do something to rebel but you end up hating it? I painted my room black when I was a teenager. Mom said I would hate it. So OF COURSE I did it the next day. Holy shit… I immediately hated it!!!
November 30, 2023 at 9:40 pm #2222
I sure do! (Especially since I’ll be paying off my law school loans until I’m 60!) Younger me bit her nose off to spite her face A LOT. These days, I’m much more likely to flip ’em the bird!
November 30, 2023 at 9:43 pm #2224
I hear ya!!! I went to art school. 🙄 Worst choice EVER. I wish it was the only one, but…
November 30, 2023 at 10:37 pm #2229Suzanne WynnParticipant
I love that someone convinced you “they” *could* be wrong. I royally pissed off a GM and a GSM when I was told them their numbers game really pissed me off. That I was already doing a FT job for them (morning radio) with sales added on. They showed me this graph of my year which I was fairly pleased with. I had ups and downs but overall, I was in the same range. Apparently in sales that’s not good. That was the year I found out about my own health issues, the year I found out my husband was an alcoholic and the year I lost my dad. AND that those PTO days I had that they were so proud to offer me was ten. Ten total days. Whether I used them on a trip to Italy or chose to sit by dad’s side, while he was in a coma, for 4 excruciating days knowing the only thing worse than losing him would be him “surviving” this. Yep, they didn’t care one bit. Fuck that, too.
I’ve made “freebie” appointments, knowing there was a sales pitch coming and willing, to an extent to buy in. It was gonna be that final piece that pushed me into business. Three times the same woman stood me up. We’d make an appt. She wouldn’t show. Never said another word. THREE TIMES!
I’ve had too many people talk in circles around me. I’d ask a specific question and get all kinds of info but none of it answered my GD question!
They wouldn’t meet me where I was – already on step 8. But they’d damn sure sell me their BETTER way to start over.
I imagine finding my people like those good days on the playground when your girl had your back. Before boys and competition messed us up. I want us all to win. I was drunk girls in the bar bathroom. Complete strangers supporting each other and sharing lipstick. (Although, for real I hate lipstick lol but I think you get me)
It would feel so damn good to know I’m NOT a weirdo. I’m not the only one. Corporate men are dicks. Corporate cares only about the bottom line no matter what they SAY. And THAT is the bottom line.
And lastly to share, I hate I missed the meeting between those same two GMs and a coworker who led me to my pissed off point. She legit told them that a PIMP paid better than they did. She was out there, working the streets for them and gave her, under the best of circumstances, 20%. I didn’t get to be there but I did get to help her work through the initial plan. We both left sales together the end of that year and remain friends. We left the company within 6 months of each other.
December 5, 2023 at 1:56 am #2253
Wellll, it wasn’t really someone… it was my trusty therapist but she was VERY convincing! 🤣
I couldn’t agree more… corporate is so stacked against us broads it’s a fucking joke. I la la looove when people try and say ‘it’s not like that anymore’….riiiight!
November 30, 2023 at 10:45 pm #2230Suzanne WynnParticipant
Oh! And what excites me is meeting those girls that are sisters from another mister. Heart sister. The ones you meet in whatever setting and just click. I’ve met them all over. I’ve met them in grocery stores. I love making them smile. I love saying “fuck” for the girl ringing up my groceries because I know she can’t. Making someone’s day makes me happy. Mrs. Fucking Rogers over here. 🤣😂
December 5, 2023 at 1:58 am #2254
YESSSS!!! I live for that shit too and I’ve had it happen all over too… including the always good for bonding women’s bathroom.
I love that we’re stepping into the deviant ways we make someone’s day happier because our shade of humor is soooo needed! 🥳
December 1, 2023 at 12:41 am #2232Megan MatthewsParticipant
“What excites me… is that I’m literally making a career out of being different.”
This. OMG THIS. ALL THE THIS.
I’ve been fifty shades of “different” all my life. Born with a medical condition that could *technically* kill me except it was “under control” (except the rare times it wasn’t, and then off to the ER we go) – so I was told it didn’t count as a disability. Neurodivergent in a time before even the *concept* for that word existed. And “gifted and talented”. From the time I started school I got the narrative that I Must Not Stand Out In Any way Ever Ever Ever (except academics, which I was good at), because standing out draws attention, and *any* attention would get a giant-ass target drawn on my back. So I learned to make myself as small and invisible as humanly possible as much of the time as possible, because they can’t pick on you if they never see you.
Long story short, I ended up with that target on my back anyway, mostly because I am absolute shit at even trying to lie, and I couldn’t (still can’t) high-mask to save my own life or anybody else’s.
<<<SKIP a lot of years of living with C-PTSD I didn’t know I had, most of it from “lifelong medical trauma” and LOTS of school bullying>>>
Flash WAY forward. Here’s me, in the counseling private practice I’ve been dreaming of since, I shit you not, age sixteen. Standing in service to (to date) thirty neurodivergent and/or LGBTQ+ humans who’ve mostly wanted more than anything else to feel seen, heard, understood, and *not so fucking alone.* And you know how I give them that? By being able to say, with all my heart and all my truth from a place of utter authenticity, “I get that. I really *get* that. Because I’m one too.”
*Damn* I love my work.
- This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by Megan Matthews.
December 5, 2023 at 2:01 am #2255
THIS!!! Yes, it’s been such a long journey to get where you are today. But YOU DID IT!! Even with all of this BS happening to you. All of these asshole. All of this constant misunstanding. Not being seen…or heard… or validated. And YOU did it, lady!!!
And there’s so much more to come.
I’m standing on my kitchen table giving you THE biggest standing ovation. 👏👏👏
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