10/12/2012 12:17 EDT | Updated 12/11/2012 05:12 EST

Reboot Yourself: Success is More Than Having a Business Card


Ah, the road to a slash career is a bumpy one. But, the hardest thing for me to deal with was the lack of a business card. That's right -- no embossed card to whip out and convey with pride to whomever I was talking with -- a little reminder that I belonged somewhere, I was someone, after all, I had a business card.

Sigh -- I had no card. And no big title. And, after 25 years, no logo, website, stationary, network, IT guy, EA, expense account, limo charge account, crowded schedule, flights to catch and people to see. Nothing. Nada.

So, how to start over? How to build something from scratch and fill the day? How to deal with my ego which was taking quite a beating during this phase of my start up -- that little voice in my head telling me I was crazy for trying start something from the ground up? By myself.

God, it's quiet at World Headquarters, and I am so the shoemaker's kid here. And so, not really knowing where to start, I just jumped. I jumped in the deep end. I started by creating a LinkedIn profile and by tapping into a trusted friend who helped me write the copy for it -- she clarified for me what I was good at and what I wasn't -- I got some confidence back.

I spent some serious time thinking about what I could offer the marketplace and what the marketplace would buy -- I bought countless coffees for my contacts working in the corporate world and asked them many questions about what was valuable for them and what kept them up at night.

I networked like a crazy woman -- not looking for work, but rather exploring what was new and current, in demand and trending up.

I reached out to former clients and let them know what I was up to -- again, I didn't ask for work, but rather asked them how they were doing. And, I asked for recommendations for my LinkedIn profile -- that took some doing -- I hate asking for any thing but the real surprise was just how many people fired back their thoughts on what it was like to work with me

And so it started to come together. I got really clear on what I could sell and what I couldn't. I got really clear on who the ideal client would be for me. And the phone started to ring. Slowly at first, and those early days were scary to say the least, but when you eat what you kill, it trains you to be persistent (in a nice way) organized and optimistic for the future.

Optimistic that all will be well and that you will land on your feet. Because as a very wise friend of mine tells me all the time: "The Universe will always send you what you need."

And I know that to be the truth.

p.s. -- I also got myself a snappy new business card!