Last you heard, I quit my job of 4 years to pursue something new and exciting. It’s been almost 3 months since I started my new job and I have been wanting to write an update ever since, but just haven’t gotten around to doing so.
I gave up my position in sales, to pursue a role at a new digital marketing company that specializes in transportation and logistics, throughout the US. I juggle between doing content creation, website audits, SEO and ghost writing for industry-based magazines. Had you asked me what I pictured myself to be doing just 6 months ago, “writing about trucks” probably wouldn’t have been my first guess! But I am so happy to have thrown caution to the wind to pursue something fresh that ignites my passion for content.
You may already know this, but I never had the opportunity to study at a tertiary level, which is something that has always weighed heavy on me especially in the last week, when a lot of my classmates who I matriculated with, graduated from university. It blows my mind that people who I attended school with, are now qualified commercial pilots, pharmacists, teachers, and so much more. And here I am, still struggling to define my job title.
I mean, I even struggle to write the bio of my Twitter account, how can I be expected to fill in a LinkedIn profile too?
Here’s the thing though, I am grateful for not having the funds to have studied straight out of matric and I probably would have regretted my choice to become a teacher. Being a freelancer has taught me to take advantage of every opportunity, to hustle hard, remain humble and to chase dreams even when they don’t seem attainable. I needed this time to discover things that I hadn’t yet been exposed to and now that I have learnt a little something about failing, self-discovery and hard work, I realize where my passion lies.
For the last 3 years, I have written my blog as a hobby but in the last year, I took it more seriously by rebranding, putting together marketing campaigns, approaching brands and even started earning money from it. But most surprisingly, the skills that I learnt from managing my blog has lead me to my new job.
You see, a blog is a lot more than well-structured words and pretty pictures, it’s about building relationships, burning the midnight oil, working as your own PR, social media manager, content creator, photographer, researcher, web developer, digital marketer, personal assistant, self-motivator and much, much more. When I first started blogging, no one really took me seriously and I was too ignorant to realize that there were people already doing it, full-time. I had nobody to hold my hand and show me how to become a blogger – what to do with a press release, how to build a professional relationship, or where to begin with SEO. What you see today, is hours and hours of me googling stuff I didn’t know I needed to know and thus, I discovered my passion for digital marketing.
Getting my job wasn’t easy either. I had actually applied months before, for a different position and was declined because the job was based in America and nobody could imagine me fulfilling the role remotely, from my home in South Africa. But that didn’t stop me – I mean, I was heartbroken at first, and then I sort of figured that I’d just show them that I really wanted the job.
So, after a few failed attempts, I managed to get a job offer, gave up the job I had come to know better than the back of my hand, and trusted that I was going to pursue a new direction with just my passion for the industry, Google, and blog experience to rely on.
To begin with, I spent many nights panicking that one day, I would just wake up and not have any more words to write about trucks. I mean, I write about beauty and parenting – where was I going to find the words to write about trucks!? I have limited knowledge on the logistics industry, yet the company I work for specializes in just that! I was sure that by the end of the month, my boss would discover that I was useless and I’d be “let go” at 5,5 months pregnant.
But that wasn’t an option. I have a family who I insist on providing for, and no matter what – I was going to make this work. So, there were many panic attacks, way too many Google searches and lots of playing James Blunt at full volume, to calm my inner doubts. But I am finally at a place where I realize I am right where I should be.
It’s a little bit funny – in my cover letter for my job application, I referenced Steve Job’s 2005 commencement speech where he talks about connecting the dots, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” This is one of the most profound quotes that I came across in matric, and it continues to sum up my life. There are many times that I think to myself, what am I actually doing and how is this going to amount to anything?
My blog had always been one of those things – it sucks up a large part of my time, and when I have no time, it sucks up any chance of me getting a good night’s rest. There have been many times where I have looked at others, who seem to have it so much easier, who fake their way into the industry or just seem to know the right people – comparison is the thief of joy. I have often gone to bed long after my family, crawled in between my sleeping son and husband and wondered if I am missing too many moments while hiding behind my screen. I have failed, messed up my opportunity of working with certain brands, sold myself short and maybe even undervalued myself at times. It was all part of the ride – it still is. I will continue to be imperfect in this space, learning as I grow, doubting myself more often than believing that I can, but somehow the dots will connect, and I will land up right where I should be.