Baby Steps A’Plenty

If you’ve been following me on my various social media platforms over the past year, you’re aware that I’ve been slowly building my new business, Phoenix Moirai, as well as attempting to build my fan base, generating as much interest in my writing and other artistic projects as a possibly can. This means, I’ve been spending a lot of time (which more often than not has taken a small bite out of my time — and energy — needed to finish my next novel) in finding ways to network, getting my name out there and building a solid reputation that will bring in new business while keeping my current clients happy. I will admit, it’s been hard to keep the motivation levels high sometimes, especially when I lose a client (for one reason or another), when my efforts bear absolutely no fruit whatsoever, or I watch my bank account trickle away. There’s an occasional job here and a possible connection there that have so far been able to sustain me just enough, but none of them, no matter how appreciative I am for them or what might happen with them in the future, have yet to scream SUCCESS!

I realize that building a business is about building relationships and trust, and for someone like me who has a hard time networking and meeting new people, that can take a lot longer than others who may not find it as difficult. Being a part of the referral networking group, BNI, has helped me step out of my comfort zone quite a bit and I’ve learned that there are still some things that I can do better or do more of that will help me reach my goal, though it is hard to stay positive when things never seem to be going my way. But, it’s all part of the process; only the strongest will survive. And if the past few days have been any indication, things may be ready to turn themselves around.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Arizona as I do every year to watch my sister perform in her yearly dance performance of A Vampire Tale. At one point we started talking about some things and I said she needed to find me a job in Arizona (which I would have no problem moving to). Right away, she knew of a couple of people she could ask about that very possibility, one of which had recently left a position as a graphic designer and gave me the contact information. When I got back home, I emailed them my resume and a bit of information about me… and didn’t hear back. So, this past Monday, I email a follow-up and within an hour, I get a response asking if I could come in to chat in a couple of days. This surprised me a little, but I was game. If It meant scoring a good job, I had to pursue it.

That same day, I had a meeting scheduled with a new production company that set up shop in Murrieta earlier this year. They’re small, of course, but they’re right in my backyard and would give me the opportunity to make movies without having to travel to Los Angeles. I learned about them after visiting the Chamber of Commerce at the urging of someone I’d been getting to know, and immediately got in touch to find out if I could take a tour of their facility and sit down and chat. The head of the company and I talked for some two hours about what they do, a little about what I do and how I might be of value to them as part of their next production. Based on the conversation, they’re really excited to work with me (including the possibility of doing some poster and DVD artwork for their films). If all goes well, I will be speaking with them again in a few weeks about coming on board as part of the crew on their next movie, which they expect to start after the holidays.

This day started with my induction into a new BNI group. A few weeks ago, my old group, which was starting to show signs of dissolving (and nurturing cracks that had apparently been evident to the group’s director for a while), was disbanded after the majority of the group made it clear that they weren’t at all happy and wanted to move on. This gave me the chance to seek out a new group in the area to find a better fit, and one that I might find to be more lucrative and supportive (and in turn, one that I can be much more supportive of). On Tuesday, I officially became a part of that new group, one that is nearly double the size of my old group and still growing. I’m basically having to start over as far as building relationships is concerned, but the group is extremely enthusiastic (partially because they are a brand new group) and I’ve already completed a logo for one of the members of the group, so I’m excited to see what this group has to offer and how I may help them in growing all of our businesses together.

In the afternoon, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the young lady that has given me the rights to tell her life story. I finished all of my initial research and compiled all of my questions last week and was ready to flesh out her life in more detail. She’s a fantastic person and it was extremely interesting to learn more about who she is and what she experienced during and after her accident. Because she has some memory loss due to the accident, a lot of what she talked about comes from second hand sources (as in things others have told her or from what she’s read online and in newspapers), but that’s why I’m going to be looking to talk to various others who do have first hand accounts of the events that took place. We talked for two and half hours, and yet I’m still only about seventy percent done, so I’ll be finishing up the interview on Monday (after she gets out of school). I’ll also sit down with her father for four hours before that, and I’ll be reaching out to her mom and sister in the next few weeks before going to friends and doctors to get a better all-around picture.

Now I’m worried. Because of the possible prospects that have come up in the past two days, I’m not exactly sure if I want to move to Arizona, should the interview go well. Ditching what I’ve been trying to build for nine months to start fresh once again is scary to say the least. But you have to explore all of your options, as you never know where God wants you to be, so I head out at seven in the morning for the long, five hour trip out to Arizona to meet with the creative director of the company… a trip I didn’t really have to make had I simply asked to Skype the meeting — which I was almost ready to do, but ultimately decided against it because I wanted to meet him in person and get a chance to see the place I might be working at in the near future. You can get a whole different vibe about someone when you meet them in person as opposed to over the internet, especially when it comes to the environment and the atmosphere of the company itself, and whether or not it meets the vibe of your personality.

The first thing he asks me upon sitting down for the meeting is whether I’m looking for freelance work, which did two things: it made me feel as if the trip was a waste of time, but more importantly, it excited me, because now I would have the opportunity to work with them from home, allowing me to continue construction on my business and follow through on everything else that happened over the previous two days — completely negating the first emotion. We talked a bit about what I would be doing for them and what else I might be able to offer, and the more we talked, the more excited he got about bringing me on as a freelance designer. He even brought up the possibility of my grabbing a desk if I wanted. His eyes nearly bugged out of their sockets when I told him where I currently live. He couldn’t stop telling everyone about what I did; he thought I was crazy… and perhaps I am, but if I was looking to make a good first impression, that was it. “You’ve got the job,” he said.

He then took me for a quick tour of the building, showed me the printers and some of the projects they’ve done, introduced me to some of the crew I’d be working with and then gave me a W-9 form to fill out so I could get started. I thought about sticking around and staying the night at my sister’s, but the day was still early, so I decided to get the trip over with and drive back home that afternoon. As for Thursday, I took it easy for the most part, finishing up some things I needed to take care of, washed my car and wrote the first draft for chapter 3 of Write A Novel With Me.

Suffice it to say, I had an interesting week, the culmination of a lot of things that started happening “a few weeks ago.” Will any of it actually turn things around for me and my business? That’s still to be seen, but as they say, you have to learn to walk before you can run. The events of the last few days may be simple baby steps, but I have hope that they will grow and flourish into something much greater. The possibility of so much more on the horizon is enough to believe that I am on the right course, and as long as I continue to fight for my dreams and prove to myself that I am capable of making those dreams a reality, this next year should be eventful and exciting.

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