When I was little, I loved to tell stories. It didn’t matter what the stories were about - dinosaurs, She-Ra, magic, witches, fairies - I just knew I loved to write. As I grew up the world of pretend started to disappear, I wrote about the things I saw around me. I wrote about my family and about moving from Boston to Cleveland with my mom. I wrote about how much I missed my dad, but also how much fun I was having spending time with my grandparents.
I got older. I wrote down everything I could. Fairy tales turned into entries about my fears of high school and leaving for college. Magical lands were replaced by reality of a post-9/11 world. Writing was always my way to process the things I saw happening around me and my way to communicate when I couldn’t easily speak the words.
After school, no one was hiring for English majors and I didn’t want to be a teacher. My start in marketing wasn’t romantic; it was out of necessity. My very first marketing job was at a business incubator in an office space above a deli in University Heights, Ohio. As marketing coordinator at an entry level salary of $27,000, I wrote emails and cold-called businesses day in and day out. Until one day, I discovered a website called Twitter and started a brand account. I started sending out tweets - challenging myself to write smart messages under 160 characters. I was hooked.
Then the Recession happened. I was laid off from my marketing job. My lights and my heat were turned off in the dead of winter. For food, I would walk down to the local Jimmy John’s, buy a sandwich and split it with Lucky, my black lab, as we huddled under a comforter. I continued to tweet from my personal account and I started a blog. When I couldn’t afford my internet bill, I went to the library to keep learning about this new thing called social media marketing. I learned about website analytics and how I could bring traffic to my blog. It wasn’t long after that both Lucky and I found ourselves living in my car and on couches.
With a gift from my grandmother and a place to land at my aunt’s ranch, Lucky and I made the 1100 mile journey from Cleveland to Dallas. Within three months, I was working at a marketing agency called Splash Media.
The dots started to connect. I could write blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts, marketing plans, and more - as much as I could ever want to write! Everything I taught myself about search engine optimization and website analytics on those cold nights without heat, I was finally using. I was also learning about creating marketing strategies and building reports. It was there in the hot Texas summer that also met my best friends and my husband.
After 11 months, I decided to take another leap and start my own business.
Owning a business was the hardest thing I ever did. It was also one of the best things I ever did. When I started out, it was just me and a $300 used computer. Back then, I told the stories of small businesses through blog posts and social media.
As 2930 Creative grew, we started using other ways to help brands tell their stories. I learned video production, graphic design, and light front end design. When our clients wanted SEO or PPC, I learned how to do it. We grew from just me to three in under a year. Then to five. Then three more. Three of our employees worked remote in other states and our developer worked in India. $500 social media retainers became 6-figure advertising campaigns.
2930 Creative was my whole life. There was no time for anything else. Eventually something had to give. I stepped away from the business in early 2017, and my husband and I made the heartbreaking decision to shutter it soon after. For both of us, it was time to figure out who we were without it.
For him, that meant bringing stories to life through podcasting. For me that meant finding where I fit on an internal marketing team.
I am where I am today because I fought to get here. I know what I know because I learned it the hard way.
Today, I am back to writing a brand’s story from the beginning. I finally have a work-life balance that I have not had in a long time. I bake, I travel, I paint, and I make. I come home and spend time with my husband.
And most importantly, I write again.
PS: Lucky is still alive and doing great.