I have been out of work. I have been networking and applying and battling depression throughout a pandemic. But I have also maintained this blog and a podcast and kept up to date with digital marketing trends.
And yet, commonly, people I respect ask me “what of this have you done for money?” I’m sick of the sentiment. If a runner runs a few laps on their own because they got to practice early, most coaches will count that. If a musician practices on their own time to get better that’s experience that is important to the craft. There are many other examples of this. I choose to write and create text content and record and create audio content, and learned all the processes therein, becoming better at editing and storytelling in multiple forms — why does this experience not count on a professional basis?
Part of it, I feel, is a cursory interest or lack of time on the part of those downplaying the things I do. They don’t take the time to look at my site, THIS SITE, and see that while the theme may be fun, I take the writing seriously. They don’t take the time to listen to my podcast and listen to how much effort I put into making it sound as professional as possible.
And more to the point, they don’t ask how I do it all and how it could be applicable, often beneficial, to their or any other business. I do have a project or two I’ve been paid for that I can point to, but I got that work because of this blog and because of my podcast. If I can get project work because of those things I just do for fun, why can’t I get a career that way? I would like to be a career professional again because I’ve had a glimpse at the gig economy and at this time, I don’t think it’s for me as a permanent solution. But for now, I continue to want to work in a field I consider fun.
And that’s the other misconception. Fun doesn’t mean unprofessional! It is my blog, so I can do some fun things and take chances. It is my podcast so I can do some fun things and take some chances. That’s redundant for a reason! The best professional position I was ever in, was a position where I was allowed to do some fun things and take chances! We did some amazing things.
The problem comes down to a few things. The people I am networking with are generally boomers and not elder millennials who might have a better understanding of a passion project that you work on with a professionalism that would be rivaled only by that of a traditional career path.
I’ve never been the greatest salesperson of myself. But I am much better at selling the things I have done. Ask me what I can do for you and I’ll talk for a few minutes. Ask me about this blog or my podcast and you’ll need to clear some calendar space. But I don’t get there, and I’m not, as of now, forward enough to answer the unasked question.
It’s also professional courtesy to ask. Some people I’ve networked with don’t have time to review my blog and podcast. I can tell they’re doing me a favor, or they believe they are. But they aren’t.
That’s why I’m so frustrated. If I have the skills and talents to do digital marketing for me, why can’t I do it for you?