Have you ever seen Happy Feet? You know, the animated film about the tap dancing penguin that ventures out into the big world to stop humans from destroying his family’s food source? There’s a moment about halfway through the movie where Bumble, the main character, and his newly-found penguin friends reach the edge of a tall cliff overlooking thousands of elephant seals lounging on a snowy beach. The penguins have nowhere to go but forward, so despite their fears, they all jump.
Except for Ramon.
Ramon hesitates, watching his friends go over the edge without him.
I can do this. I can do this. I’ve got to trick myself.
*Ramon turns and points the opposite way.* Boy. Look at that!
What? Ah! *He responds to his own question, and blindly flings himself off the cliff.*
I am Ramon in this situation. I am a nervous, fluffy penguin pacing back and forth at the edge of the proverbial cliff, psyching myself up for the jump.
That cliff has shown up in my life many times:
- choosing a lunch table on my first day at a new school
- auditioning for the high school play
- flying across the world by myself
- starting my own business
- writing this blog post. (Seriously, I’ve been working up the courage to write this for weeks.)
Each time I step to the edge, I get a little scared and start mumbling, I can do this. I can do this.
Admittedly, no matter how scary it felt at the time, the jump has never been fatal.
Last year, I took the leap and launched my own business. I’d love to say that Intuitive Ink was born from pure entrepreneurial desire, but there was a touch of necessity in the mix, too. At the time, I was reeling from being laid-off for the first time ever, and just getting settled back into my hometown after leaving Boston, MA. I’d loved my time in the city; in five years there, I’d earned my MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, made a ton of friends, went on what seems like a million OK Cupid dates, and worked a couple of cool jobs in the tech & startup sectors, but I hadn’t quite found my happy place yet.
I was raised in rural northern Connecticut, which, if you never been there, is nothing like the Martha Stewart, Colonial Christmas Card, Gilmore Girls-esque place most people seem to envision. My old stomping grounds could easily be confused for Maine, Vermont, or parts of Kentucky. Cow and horse farms dot the landscape, tractors towing piles of dry broadleaf tobacco create traffic jams on back roads in the summer, kids skip school to sit in a tree stand on the first day of hunting season, and everything in town generally closes down by 8pm.
I never planned on coming back. At least, not like this.
Laid-off, unsure of where my career was headed, with the lease on my apartment about to expire, I packed up all my stuff and reluctantly moved home. I resigned to the idea that I would lay low in my hometown, get my ducks in a row, then start interviewing for jobs again.
Before I left the city, I’d picked up a couple remote freelance gigs managing social media, copy editing, and doing PR, but Connecticut wasn’t exactly overflowing with creative job opportunities the same way Boston was. Various well-meaning family members suggested I try working in aerospace, insurance, or pharmaceutical sales, which I promptly dismissed. Those industries might be booming here, but they’re not for me. Since graduation, while I was busy working in technology and nonprofit, most of my friends from grad school had taken teaching jobs at universities, or signed book deals. Shouldn’t I be doing that? Why don’t I feel more compelled to teach?
One chilly morning just before Christmas 2015, I snagged a table at the local coffee shop in the center of town, and set to work making a list of all the job skills I’d picked up over the last five or six years, just so I could see it all on paper. Here’s a few from that list.
- Email Marketing
- (A little graphic design)
- Event Planning
- (A little food photography)
I looked over the page and wondered how in the world I could cram all these into one job role. Would I need to sacrifice what I loved to do just to pay the bills? My stomach started to turn at the thought of beige cubicles, potentially catty coworkers, and long hours hustling for a company or product that I wasn’t really jazzed about.
Before I could get too dejected, I shifted my focus away from the things I resented about my previous jobs, and instead started jotting down the things that I loved and enjoyed--work-related and otherwise.
- Yoga & Meditation
- Research & Data
- Singing karaoke
- Creative Collaboration
- Working with other women with the similar values
I knew what I loved to do. I had a pretty good sense of what I was good at. And, in that moment, it became obvious that I couldn’t just sit on my hands and wait for an opportunity to show up.
I was determined to work with the tools I had and create MY OWN opportunity--one where I could devote my time and energy to working hard on something I was passionate about.
On the surface, Intuitive Ink is a company that provides creative marketing services to help small businesses spread the word about what they do. I can help you write and send awesome emails, navigate your business’ social media profiles, write the copy for your website, whip up Facebook ads, help you define your mission, and help you launch your first webinar. I can help you make sense of SEO and Google Analytics, and I can craft engaging blog posts and workbooks that will help you grow your email list.
Beneath the surface, Intuitive Ink is SO much more.
Intuitive Ink is all about embracing authenticity. It’s about caring for your business while simultaneously caring for yourself. It’s about respecting your own internal bullshit detector, and doing the same for your audience.
It’s about genuinely connecting with your tribe so you can better serve them, all while making money that feels honest. Intuitive Ink is all about following your gut, creating opportunities (instead of just finding them), engaging your passions, and finding that sweet spot where your personal life and your business can flourish at the same time without one smothering the other. Intuitive Ink is about owning your voice and your unique style so it flows seamlessly into and throughout your brand. It’s about being grounded and human, imperfect, flexible and open. It’s about bucking the stereotype, resisting sameness, and refusing the gimmick. It’s about trying new things and learning something new every day. Intuitive Ink is all about taking a holistic, centered approach to marketing, business, and life.
Your business is your baby, and your baby deserves the chance to grow.
When a client works with me, I don’t just schedule her emails, record videos, and tell her what to share on Instagram. You can’t afford to have a marketing consultant accept basic tasks, check them off the list, then mentally check out. Instead, we put our heads together to dive deep into the core of your business, establish a solid marketing foundation with high-quality materials and messaging, then learn and shift as we go, adjusting to your business’ audience and your own motivations as they ebb and flow.
Thinking you might be ready to take the leap?
Click here to check out my services and apply. Then we’ll pick a time to chat about you and your vision, and figure out if Intuitive Ink is a good fit to help your business blossom.
Need to psych yourself up a little first? Take your time. Come on over to Facebook and say hello, or leave a comment below.
Have you ever had a penguin dive moment? What has becoming a business owner taught you about yourself? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading!