A blogpost for the LION who wants to start his/her own business

“If I’m Shinin’ Everybody Gonna Shine!” – Lizzo

The truth is, I quit Google, TWICE.

It’s like they got a taste and thought… “I need more Sharon Park!” 

Yeah, right. I banged down that door to go back to Google!

But alas, I had to break up with them. 

 

I wanted to share these thoughts with my friends out there who might be doing a job that isn’t suited for them. Because dying on the vine is a terrible waste of talent. Let’s face it. Google outgrew me and I was stagnating. 

I’m not an operational type who works for scale and then wants to talk about it all day internally. I don’t want to build a brand inside my own company so I might get promoted one day. No, thank you. 

I’m SALES. I like relationships. I like being dynamic! I like putting puzzle pieces together. The money I received in a steady paycheck didn’t address the issue that I was still hungry. I wasn’t learning or growing or really doing very good work. I needed to be making a bigger impact. 

But I stayed because I loved my boss, his boss, my teammates and my many friends. I also stayed because I was scared.

Lesson 1: staying for the people is not the right choice. 

Lesson 2: the paycheck won’t ever help you live your best life.

Believe me, I wanted to stay at Google. But there was a rumbling inside of me growing louder: “Go!”

I must say, it was kind of like the call of the wild. 

When thinking of your next move, whether it’s in a big company, a start-up, or if you’re striking out on your own like the bold-ass lion you are, ask yourself this:

ARE YOU SHININ’?

In other words:

1) Are you doing what you love?

2) Are you utilizing your peak talents?

3) Are you making an impact on people’s lives?

If the answer is “Yes,” to all three questions then…

EVERYBODY GONNA SHINE!

(By the way, if you don’t know what I’m referencing, then please acquaint yourself with Lizzo immediately.)

What I mean to say is that you will feel empowered, challenged, tested and STRONG. You will be a positive force for people around you and when you’re in your groove, you will be the best version of yourself. When was the last time you felt like that? 

Today, 11 months into starting Sage Digital Marketing, I’m solving big marketing problems for my customers and I am being stretched. My clients need me to figure out how to grow their customer base and they are all in the position of “grow or die.” Not only that, but I am responsible for growing my own company, building my team, and generating enough cash flow going to cover payroll INCLUDING future employees.

And this would be a surprise to my 2017 self, but things are actually going well. Blame it on my juice. 

I admit that I was rusty when I got started and being rusty made me scared. Too many years in management and operations dulled my hustle. I wasn’t sure what my service offering was and where it fit in the marketplace. But now, those early jitters are somewhat faded and I’m clear on my value. I’m not just surviving. I’m THRIVING. And I’m not just talking about money, for once. (Reference: The Great Alana Karen, Director of Search Platforms at Google.)

As I began working in a vastly different environment (WFH rocks) I needed to dig deep and to find value in myself for my particular set of skills. “Self awareness is priorities 1, 2, and 3,” As Claire Hughes Johnson would say. 

Here’s what I re-discovered within myself: I know ads inside out. Period. I know how to grow a business through marketing investments and how to set up my customers for profitability. I am strategic and an extremely valuable partner to businesses. I value honesty with my clients. The kind of  honestly that is shot from the hip. Bold and plain. I love Business Development. I do! It’s hard, fun, and rewarding. 

But here’s another lesson: I couldn’t find my self esteem alone. I needed to surround myself with my friends of value: people who mirrored my values back to myself. Aristotle says there are three types of friends: Friends of Pleasure, Friends of Utility and Friends of Value. It’s that third type that is rare and powerful. Think: Gale and Oprah. They need each other. I’m fortunate enough to have a great roster of friends, family, and a rock-solid partner who cheered me along this year. THANK YOU!

Make a list of friends who show up for you. You feel energized every time you part ways. They are gold. 

Throughout the early months I spent long days and nights building, tearing down, and re-crafting many different pitch narratives. I have never worked so hard at a presentation in my life. I practiced with my family, friends, partner… really anyone who would listen to me pitch ads.  I had a lot of doubt. Is someone actually going to pay me to run their digital marketing? During this process I got back in touch with my sales voice. I’m a SHININ’ STAR of a SELLER because I don’t just “sell.” I build relationships, genuinely ask questions, and see if we have a fit. If not, no problem. Let’s stay friends. And like Jay-Z, “I’m on to the next one.”

Earlier this spring, I was completing one custom pitch every few days. Yesterday I delivered four pitches. Then I hopped on a plane from Vancouver to SFO, drove to a networking event in the city, and then drove two hours home to Santa Cruz. 

For a seller, that’s a lot! Gathering intel, prepping the materials, and honing my energy to pitch to four different CEOs can be exhausting. But last night, I felt ENERGIZED. What stronger signal could there be that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be? 

It took all 11 months of work to have a day like yesterday and I know Sage Digital Marketing is only starting to grow. So now, looking fear in the face, earning a much smaller paycheck, and driving over 20,000 miles for business development, you might ask me, “Is it worth it?”

Let me work it.  “Yes! Get out there!”

And now I gotta go. There isn’t a minute to waste. Time to SHINE.

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