“The hardest part is letting go of your dreams.” Gerard Way, My Chemical Romance
That statement, sung by one of my favorite musicians, sums up what’s taken me the better of a year to come to terms with.
On Jan. 29, 2014, I, along with hundreds of co-workers from AOL-owned Patch.com joined a roughly two-minute-long conference call to hear that our positions had been “eliminated.” Even though the writing had been on the wall for months, I didn’t want to see that the job – really the life – that I had poured myself into for the last three plus years – disappear.
Although I felt like my world had collapsed under my feet, there was no time to sit and wallow in pity and self-doubt. Within a week I had started freelancing for a publication that deemed me a “veritable competitor” during my time with Patch.
A week after that, a community contact from one of the towns I covered at Patch asked for my help publicizing a nonprofit organization and stepping up its fundraising efforts. I had worked in public relations prior to Patch, so the work came naturally.
About the same time, a woman I knew through Patch had closed her public relations business and referred a handful of clients to me.
Seemingly overnight I morphed into a business owner. I went from working for an “upstart” company that I put on the map locally through grassroots marketing, networking and being everywhere – to having my own business to nurture, grow and build. It was both exhilarating and terrifying.
Unlike my time at Patch, I became the decider of my destiny. Fears of layoffs were no more. And the business I was building was my own, not something on loan from a multi-million dollar company.
Perhaps that is why my success the last year has been so meaningful, life-changing really. I found a passion that I thought died with my job loss.
I bring that passion to life with all of my clients and each and every one of the projects I have been entrusted to oversee. It has been the most rewarding experience of my professional life.
Yet, without the unforgettable experience of Patch, I would have never had the guts to forge ahead as an entrepreneur. I would not have had the opportunity to hone the invaluable skills – writing, interviewing, editing, photography, video – that my clients have come to appreciate.
Before fully realizing the dream I have for growing my business, I had to let go of the dream I had for Patch. It’s taken some time, more than I would have hoped, but I am right where I want to be.