|Another skill set I'm working on is taking more creative marketing photos.|
As a writer and editor, I’ve held many different jobs over the years. I tried to make a go of it freelancing after I became a mom, but there have been different times where I’ve accepted contract or part-time positions in the field to keep the cash flowing in. It’s never been dull and my imagination gets the best of me sometimes. For example, there was the year I swore I was living in my own version of The Devil Wears Prada, only in a small southern parenting magazine instead of a New York-city based fashion magazine. The funny thing is, when I took my most recent job, the aforementioned editor told the hiring manager they’d “be a fool not to hire me.” Sound familiar? I had a good laugh over that one.
I now work in marketing about 30 hours a week for a small, regional nonprofit community theatre company, and for the first few months, I’ve had a lot of anxiety over what some would call my dream job. I mean, where else could I find a job two miles from my home, two blocks from my kids’ school, and with hours that still allow me time to freelance and work on my fiction projects? Exactly. But I let the fact that my predecessor left the company in a blaze of glory (and still makes her presence known in some way, shape or form at least once a week) make me feel like I'm inadequate for the job.
Luckily I’ve been listening to some pretty motivational business/entrepreneur/author podcasts as of late that have helped me work through my work-induced anxiety. I’ve begun to realize that I need to focus on bringing my unique skill set to the position, and for the things I’m weak at (cold calling local businesses for ads and sponsorships), I need to buck up and figure out how to do better. There is nothing in my job that I can’t learn how to do—it’s just a matter of setting small manageable goals (like I wrote about in my last post) and working through them.
For example, we have a popular summer series coming up and what I’m good at is finding unique angles behind the shows to pitch to the local media, which will help with our branding and generate more ticket sales. I chatted with the director of the production Steel Magnolias to find out how she plans to stage the set. That’s when I learned that the actress who gets the part of Truvy will have to learn how to wash, set and style hair—for real. The set will also have to turn into a functional beauty shop, complete with working sinks. Now that’s an interesting story! For sponsorship/sales, I’m making a list of businesses who have never advertised with us and stopping by to introduce myself and drop off marketing material without being pushy. I’m also slowly attending more community networking events. Sometimes the first step is the hardest, but I know once I do it a few more times I’ll start to feel more comfortable.
I’ve started focusing more on how this job will be an asset to my current set of skills and an opportunity to build new ones. And, as you can imagine, working with directors, actors, dancers, singers, etc., gives me plenty of ideas for new material, including plays. Just saying.
I’d love to hear how your own experiences in the workplace or working in the industry have helped you become a better communicator!
Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who also works for a nonprofit theatre company. Learn more about her at FinishedPages.com.