Working to Live or Living to Work?

I’ve been quiet around here this year–seems that my writing days have been far and few these past couple of years. Inspiration strikes when it does, and sometimes it can be quite fickle.

We started our third year of Hashtagitude earlier this year, and so far it’s been a bit of an uphill climb for us: although the local economy may appear to be on the upward trend, it also seems like many business owners are buckling down on their budgets. My weekly schedule has become a lot more regular with going into the office almost daily and growing our team. I’m not working much on weekends anymore except for special occasions, so I’m not burning myself out as frequently.

We visited Twin Lakes and other mountain towns in Colorado over Memorial Day weekend.
Near Twin Lakes, Colorado.

Over the long Memorial Day Weekend, while enjoying the charm of Colorado mountain towns with Ryan, I began to ponder: are we all just working to enjoy our ‘time off’? Do any of us even enjoy what we do for work? I’m not saying I don’t enjoy what I do with my business: it’s definitely been more enjoyable and rewarding than my previous two businesses. Yet, I felt such a sense of relief when we went away that weekend to relax and explore other parts of Colorado–with little to no cell phone service. Once the feeling of returning to the office settled in on Monday evening, I became sad over the thought of going back to work.

I know, nobody is forcing me to work–it’s my choice to own and run Hashtagitude. I enjoy what I do–but I am also human and love my time off. Even for my friends and family who enjoy their line of work, I see how happy they are when they are able to take vacations, take some time off. We’re not meant to work 24/7, even with work that we love and enjoy.

I guess what I’ve found intriguing with this line of thought has been that, despite all that we may tell others (or read about in the news), even if we do love what we do for work, we all crave that time off to be able to fully appreciate our journeys in life.

Highlights of 2015, Part 2 of 4: Hashtagitude + Working With My Coach, Kelly Lynn Adams

For the month of December, I’ll be posting weekly about a couple highlights from this year; granted, these highlights may very well leave out what happens this month, but we shall see what happens! ;) Also, I couldn’t decide on only four highlights, so each post I will highlight two moments/topics from the year. Enjoy!


 

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It was a long time coming for me to finally launch Hashtagitude (formerly known as Hashtag Hustler): I had known for some time that I enjoyed the world of digital marketing, especially social media. However, in 2013, after I had shut down TAOpivot (my first business), I wasn’t quite ready to launch right away into another passion project. My baked goods business came into play more as an interim business as I mulled over my thoughts on being known as a social media professional.

My friends and colleagues were already touting me as THE person to go to for social media though, and at the end of 2014, I decided to finally go all in with my new business.

So far so good–despite the rebranding halfway through the year, business has been going strong! Not only have I been working with so many more clients (and making more money than in the previous two businesses), I’ve also been networking with other social media professionals, including meeting the hilarious and wise Jay Vigilione, who is my co-host on our awesome podcast, Spotlight: Social Marketing Gone Bad.

Tune into our podcast, "Spotlight: Social Marketing Gone Bad" every week.
Tune into our podcast, “Spotlight: Social Marketing Gone Bad” every week.

I am also indebted to my great business coach, Kelly Lynn Adams, who has helped me out SO much since the rebranding of Hashtagitude. I appreciate all of the guidance Kelly has provided, because I really needed direction from someone at the midpoint of 2015–and I knew I couldn’t do it with free self-help materials anymore.

My amazing business coach, Kelly Lynn Adams!
My amazing business coach, Kelly Lynn Adams!

Kelly Lynn Adams has made the second half of 2015 even more phenomenal than the first half–and the first half was already pretty amazing! I feel very confident that 2016 will bring a lot of stellar moments for Hashtagitude as we continue to grow, and–not to sound like a broken record–I am so thankful that I have had the chance to work with Kelly during these past several months.

 

Seasons of Change

Ever since I made the decision to invest in myself and Hashtagitude back in July, life has been one crazy journey. Thanks to wonderful people in my life, I have received a lot of clients through referrals/word-of-mouth. I am indeed grateful for wonderful people in my life, especially in this season of Thanksgiving.

Sweet note from colleagues at ImageThink, SXSW friends. Gratitude is contagious!
Sweet note from colleagues at ImageThink, SXSW friends. Gratitude is contagious!

But with the abundance of appreciation and gratitude also comes the time to make decisions on what I can realistically commit to with my time: how many clients can I realistically handle without burning myself out/doing a poor job with all the work?

I have had to step down from a few extracurricular commitments in the past couple of months, and will be stepping down from several more before the end of the year as I find that my work hasn’t been up to my own standards. It’s tough to close certain chapters in life, but I must do this in order to open up more energy for other endeavors.

Last week I spoke with a colleague from a former commitment of mine and she had told me that it was very respectable for me to step down from my volunteering position when I did: “Most people are scared to walk away from commitments, but then they end up overcommitting themselves. It’s better to step away before things become overwhelming and you find yourself doing a subpar job on everything.”

Her words have resonated with me these past few days, which has prompted me to re-evaluate my current commitments and make some tough decisions.

Let’s see how things go after this week.

 

#SXSW, #FOMO, & Money

Hanging out in Austin last March before SXSW.
Hanging out in Austin last March before SXSW.

I have been feeling a lot of #FOMO (fear of missing out) lately: earlier this week was the LAUNCH Festival, which I had attended two years ago. I followed along on the hashtag though, and felt excited learning about all the new apps and businesses launching in San Francisco.

I was originally planning on going to SXSW Interactive this year, but backed out a couple of months ago due to finances. Since late January, Ryan and I have been attending Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University to get our finances in order. Like most Americans, I am not the best with handling my own money but am improving upon that situation now by being in FPU and thinking really hard about what kind of travel to do this year.

During my 20s, I threw my money around and, although my debt is not as much as some may have, I still know that I have not been very responsible with my money, especially in the past couple of years. Thankfully, my work and income situation has improved a lot in the past couple years, but still, there is the debt; at the start of 2015, I declared to myself that I needed to get my finances in order since I am now 30 years old and need to be more responsible so I may be a good example for my future children.

So, no Southby at all this year: no Austin or Las Vegas. It’s been tough for me to tell my fellow conference friends but they have all respected my decision because of my reasoning. Of course, that still does not stop me from feeling like I’m missing out.

I feel more peace of mind though when I remind myself that this will all be worth it in the end: when I travel to these conferences again, I will be paying for all the extra costs with money that I DO have, not credit cards. I will be debt-free.

Life’s Many Paths

One thing's for sure: the sun rises every day.
One thing’s for sure: the sun rises every day.

Well, I took the GMAT yesterday for the fourth time, and again, my score was less than stellar. I find that the more I study, the lower my score becomes. Granted, my first three attempts were 4-5 years ago, but still–you’d think that with all the time I put in this past month for studying that I would eke out better this time around. No, not so!

I cried after I left the testing center, feeling angry and lost: is this going to stand in my way forever? Am I even meant to go back and complete my MBA degree? What am I to do? I have been staying quiet on social media and talking with friends and family about my emotions. Do I take the GMAT again or should I think hard on what to do next if not graduate business school?

I feel like God has been trying to tell me something with each unsuccessful attempt at the GMAT: I mean, what AM I on this Earth for? What is my purpose in life, especially since I am a survivor of a near-fatal car accident? After that accident, I thought the reason I survived was to go on and get my degree after all; but since 2012, I am not so sure of that trajectory anymore.

Since it’s been less than 24 hours since the end of my test, I don’t have the answer to my questions above just yet. Been taking things easy and chatting with friends about what to do next; asking myself, well, WHY do I want that MBA degree so badly? Do I want it for the right reasons? What am I searching for with this quest? Is it what I really should be focusing on?

Well, let time unwind the story from this point forward; for the time being, I will continue to do my freelance work and also focus on writing my ninth novel for NaNoWriMo. That sounds like the best plan in the meantime.