My Journey from Nine to Freelance
In high school, people asked me what I wanted to do after I graduated. For a while, I drifted between being a computer technician (yes, really) to a writer (which I am!) and, ultimately, a CEO.
People would say, “what do you want to do after school?”
“Be a CEO,” I’d respond.
I’d shrug. “I don’t know — I just want to be the boss.”
It was from this moment on that I realized I wanted to be an entrepreneur. (I also wanted to be a novelist, but something’s got to pay the bills. I just picked a risky and adventurous way to do so.)
I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. My dad has owned his own business, All Points Marketing, for as long as I can remember. My mom and step dad opened their business doing metal artwork, Heavens Gate Metal Works, a few years ago and are growing quickly. My little sister even started her own business, Dear Baby Kay, a year ago after she had her first daughter.
My turn was sure to come eventually. I always felt it inside me — this pull to create something for myself and make it grow. I just had no idea what I wanted to do. So…that was a problem.
While I was finishing up my last couple of quarters of college at the Art Institute of Phoenix, I started working for my dad’s company as a marketing intern. I traveled to England after graduation and worked for one of our clients working on their marketing strategy to expand their reach in America.
Once I came back, I was promoted to E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Manager and continued working for my dad’s company for a while, developing their inbound marketing strategy and managing e-commerce accounts.
I worked for my dad’s company for a couple of years. After a while, however, I decided I needed something new and got a job as Marketing Coordinator at a local real estate investment firm. Two weeks in, I knew it wasn’t the right place for me.
I was learning a completely new industry — one whose morals and ethics don’t necessarily align with my own — and dealing with a work environment that was less than supportive. At first, I thought it was just because it was a new job and a new atmosphere, so I decided to wait it out.
I worked as hard as I could to make the most of my experience, but it never got better. Most of my ideas were ignored and inappropriate comments were not uncommon — especially among the female employees.
Nothing I did was right, even when I increased their lead generation while decreasing cost-per-lead (one of their biggest goals). Overall, the experience was less than amazing.
Not wanting to give up, I gave myself six months before I could start looking for a new job.
In January of 2018, I started my job search. I scrolled through pages and pages of marketing jobs on LinkedIn, went to 1–2 networking events per week, and did everything I could to get out. But it wasn’t going anywhere.
Finally, after four or five months of this, I got interviews. I found amazing opportunities which were very close to what I was looking for.
While I was job searching, something kept telling me: this isn’t the right choice. I should just start my business, instead.
There were a couple of times I almost jumped. I built out my services and pricing, updated my website and LinkedIn, and started getting the word out. But I was scared as hell, so I kept job searching.
One day, I hit rock bottom. I felt like an imposter, a fraud, a failure. I couldn’t get a job, I couldn’t start my business, and I couldn’t get out of this increasingly toxic work environment I was spending most of my life in.
I felt completely and utterly trapped.
I remember driving through the Aurora tunnel in Seattle — stuck in traffic on my way to meeting up with someone — and having this feeling of being in limbo. I knew what I wanted but I didn’t know how to make it happen.
I didn’t want another job. I wanted to work for myself. I wanted to be my own boss.
That night, after a great discussion with another badass female entrepreneur, I made my decision: September 1st. No matter what happens, that’s the day I’ll be free. It’s four months away — plenty of time to do what I need to do and hustle like hell to make shit happen.
The next day, I got four calls for job interviews and four calls from potential clients.
One after another, everything I was doing over the past couple months caught up with me. Shit was happening. It was real. Suddenly I found myself so overloaded and overwhelmed I didn’t know what to do.
And yet, I did. I made the decision to launch my business full time, and that’s what I’m going to do.
A few weeks after making that decision, I had my last straw at work. After admitting a mistake I’d made and explaining the plan I had to make sure it never happened again, I was pulled into shreds. That was it.
At the same time, I had enough clients to make the move and take the leap. It was now or never. So, I walked in a week later, and gave my one month notice.
As soon as I did, a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I could breathe again. I knew immediately I made the right choice.
Today is my last day at the day job. Coincidentally, it’s also the day I accidentally locked myself out of my work email. Oops.
Tomorrow, I start the next chapter of my life. I’m scared as hell. But something inside of me keeps telling me it’s going to be okay — because this is exactly what I’m meant to be doing right now.
Who’s This Chick?
I’m a Seattle-based content marketer and writer who loves exploring the topics of storytelling and community building. I help brands tell their stories and write some of my own. Outside of that, I’m an anxious introverted millennial looking to find my place in the world. :)
I was recently interviewed by Getting Work to Work where I discussed all things storytelling, the challenges with content marketing, and how I started a creative community here in Seattle. Check it out!
Learn more about me and see some of my work here: ashhmarketing.com
Find me on Twitter: @ashhmarketing