I've been away for too long. I know that. The last post published on this blog more than a year ago. That's like forever in internet terms. And while the reasons for this were valid, I still feel somewhat guilty and would like to explain myself.
I’ve started blogging several years ago as a pastime. At that time, I was working as a marketing and business development manager at a small startup and wasn’t quite happy with what I was doing. Being one of the first employees in a startup is fun yet frustrating- you take on huge risks, the rewards (if there ever will be any) are small compared to the founder, and, what I’ve found harder than most is that if you are not part of the organic founding team (usually comprised of 2-3 people) you are cut off the decision making process. The founders are, for all intents and purposes, sole rulers of their small kingdom.
For me that was very difficult and disappointing. I shifted to startups from large companies just because I wanted more independence and more involvement. What I’ve found that I’ve just switched between a large to a small wooden box. From that frustration, and the will do something that I could own, I started blogging. Initially on LinkedIn and after some time, feeling comfortable enough- on this blog. After blogging for a while I felt confident that I could actually perform this consistently, and to a high standard. I then thought- why not make this my job? So I talked to some people I’ve known who had marketing needs but didn’t have anyone “in-house” to cater for them- maintaining a blog, social media presence, creating presentations and documentation. I signed some clients and then notified my employee I was leaving. As relations with the company’s management were not on the good side (seeing we were both frustrated) they were happy see me go. So I started consulting a growing number of companies, mostly small startups, and was quite good at it. With some clients I’ve developed tighter relations and they asked me to work there as part-time CMO (2 days a week), which provided me with steady income. I limited this type of engagement to one at a time (it’s hard enough to manage the entire marketing operation of one company, doing it for 2 would be too stressful), and performed a myriad of side projects on the side. This mixture was fun and engaging, but also quite difficult to manage (having multiple deadlines, dealing with clients in different countries) and very tiring. For times, it felt like I’ve traded having one boss for having half a dozen. Money wad good, but the hours were long, and any slack I’ve created throughout the day I had to pick up late at night- working until 2 am was the usual.
Then, about a year ago, a company I’ve been working with asked me to join the team full time. At first, I hesitated, but I slowly warmed up to the idea of having a steady income, not having to keep a funnel full of potential projects, not having to deal with multiple clients. In addition, I was promised a meaningful position and freedom- I was to create the brand, maintain it and serve as brand ambassador. That may not sound like a lot, but after delivering countless pieces of content- some of which published at the most prestigious publications under someone else’s name (usually, the CEO of the startup I was working for), I felt like I needed some recognition. So after much back and forth we finally concluded and I joined the company full-time as VP Marketing. It was fun at first, but after some time the crack began to show. After freelancing for 2 years (and having a freelance mentality for many years prior to that), I was suddenly asked to maintain office hours, hour and progress reports, attend company and management meetings. I was expected to be “one of the gang”- eat together, go for drinks after work, engage in watercooler small talk. I really liked most of the employees there, but could never bring myself to actually engage with them- I was it as a place of work, and as my work was mainly with people outside the organization (Media, analysts, potential clients, freelances I’ve contracted) – I really felt no need to do the extra mile and befriend people. I slowly drifted away, and after working there for 10 months we decided to part ways. We are still on good terms and I wish the company and the founders the best of luck and great success.
So now I’m back in the freelancing game. I didn’t plan it (just as I didn’t plan to be an employee), but I sense that this who year might have been what I’ve needed to focus myself and my goals going forward. I realize I’m not very good at being a full-time employee (unless I’m one of the founding team) and that going to work for another company (and I’ve had some offers) would most certainly have similar results.
I have made a great effort to maintain relationship with potential clients throughout this period, so I’m not worried about getting work again.
What I haven’t done is to maintain this blog, and for that I’m truly sorry. No matter how much I write for others, and even for my “company self” (and we’ve had great success in doing so- with over pieces I’ve written published on mainstream media in just over 6 months), it’s not the same as writing privately. So I promise to myself to keep writing here and publish original, personal content. I might even take it to the next level someday and write my own book- but this would be the topic of another blog post.
Thank you for reading this far, I hope you come back in the future. I promise this won’t be the last piece you will find here.