When I was younger, wondering what I would do later in life, I was overwhelmed by the infinity of jobs out there. I thought I’d narrow down the choices if I focused on “jobs that help people”. That criteria failed me miserably when I realized that all jobs help people, in some form or another! Strangely though, it also removed a lot of pressure because if helping out was the important part for me, I really couldn’t go wrong with any job I finally picked.
Fast forward a few years, and I had the privilege of finding exactly what I was meant to do on this earth: programming. It had just the right mix of creativity, logic and renewal that I required to be happy and feel proud of myself. I even realized relatively early on in my career that I was meant to be a freelancer. And so, within a few years of joining the workforce, I was at home, working for myself, making applications. Life was great, albeit a tad lean in those early years, but my passion kept me going and soon, clients recognized this and were coming back and bringing their friends over.
But then, something surprising happened: I woke-up one summer, completely bummed out. I didn’t feel like working anymore. What I loved so much had suddenly stopped being as interesting. I had a feeling, deep down, that my love for programming wasn’t the problem. No, something else was wrong: I had become a grunt worker, pimping out my talent just to get a cheque in the mail. I was no longer creating, merely executing plans created by others, and most importantly, I did not have a feeling of being useful or helpful in any way.
After much soul-searching, and subsidizing a good chunk of the potato chips industry, I realized that over the years, I had forgotten a very important thing: to dream, have a vision, a master plan. I stumbled on this workshop on personal branding, by the most excellent Toni Van Eeden (RedBrickRooster.com) at my local HUB. The concept is simple: (now that my eyes have been opened) build your brand around who you are, what your values and aspirations are. It blew my mind. And it was the piece I was missing.
Instead of just saying yes to every offer that came my way, it became a process of curating my client list so there’s a better fit. If I am true to myself, if I build my brand and my business around who I am and not solely on what technical skills I have to offer, I no longer leave three quarters of myself at the door, every morning. Instead, I bring my whole self in to work, and it makes for a much, much more comfortable space. And as an added bonus, I start attracting like-minded clients. Gone are the days of attracting just about anyone that needs code done. Instead, I get to work with people who think like me, who appreciate who I am, are attracted to my personality as well as my technical offer. And that is a truly enriching experience – for both!
And so, this blog is about this new chapter in my life. It is about my journey migrating from grunt working for Malus (my previous company) to enlightened collaborator, or symbiont, with my clients through my new endeavor: nibnut. I hope you will follow me through this, and if only just one of you out there can be inspired by something I say or go through, that will be sweet icing on the cake!