Gefilte Fish Out of Water

Heating Up
March 13, 2010, 10:01 pm
Filed under: Work | Tags: , , ,

Really just a quick note to say that my consulting business is progressing very nicely.  I am very busy, and enjoying my work very much.  I’m trying new things and seeing good results with them, and I’m gaining new clients, too.

I’m not going to talk about specific clients on here anymore, because I don’t think it’s smart.  They may not appreciate it; why risk it?  Also, it’s just not necessary to be that specific for this blog to work.

Since I last posted, I:

  • Created an online press room for a client and widely-yet-targeted distributed a press release for them
  • Started following-up on the press release and already generated some coverage for them (much more to come)
  • Started a Facebook fan page for my 3rd client
  • Designed and launched a Facebook gifting application (!!!) for a client that’s already been used 400 times !!!
  • Had a job interview for a 4th client and am working on my first power-point presentation for them on spec.

I’ve been working very, very hard – but it’s been very, very fun! 


Independence Day
February 20, 2010, 5:16 pm
Filed under: Work | Tags: , ,

Great news, Peeps.

Last week, I wrote about some fast changes that were  happening in my life.  Mainly around my career.  Well, last Sunday I met with my social media client, and we agreed to double my hours (up to 30/week now) and I would being implementing a PR campaign for them, while continuing my social media strategy and implementation duties.

What was especially great about this is that I got to contact my boss at my full-time nonprofit consulting gig and tell him I was scaling back my hours with him.  We spoke again later the same day, and he asked me if my plans included scaling back even further en route to departing the organization. I told him Yes.

There’s major history there that’s still embargoed for the time being, but do you think I liked it when he remarked that my departure would be “catastrophic” for the organization?  [answer: hellz yeah]

I’m also going to be moving in the middle of May, because there are several problems with this apartment.  Again, it’s not stuff I explore too deeply on G-Fish, but there is a connection b/t my employer and my apartment, too.  So, when I was recounting all these developments to my friend Juni, she said, So it sounds like the middle of May won’t be just Israel’s Independence Day, but yours as well!

Oh, and Juni’s becoming my client, also.  June is beyond remarkable.  She was appointed 2008’s Person of The Year by the Mayor of Tel Aviv (the real one, not some Foursquare shiz).  She runs an organization called Because We Care, which is all about educating Israelis to be accountable for taking care of our land and our society.  One of its most successful programs is called “Saki-Kaki,” which posts little doggy bags around Israel’s parks and streets and encourages people to curb their dogs.

I’m going to be doing a social media campaign for Saki-Kaki, and I’m so excited about it.  It’ll be great to work for a friend as dear as she, and I’m also glad to pick up another nonprofit client with a great mission.

I told you last week how I think I may be picking up a lot more work in May, when my other friend’s company relaunches with a much bigger social media component.  It’s a bit of a risk to tell my main client now that I’ll be leaving in May, b/c I don’t know for sure this work will be there.  It is a risk, but one I am willing to take.

Real quick, b/c I’m getting a little rambly at this point.  A shout-out to my Higher Power, who I feel (once again) did for me what I could not do for myself.  You see, I was always content to be the # 2 person, the wingman.

The real work – there was no question I could get that done, and do a great job on it.  If the boss was on vacation or unavailable, I could even step in and hold down the fort and make big decisions on the spot when called for.  But bringing in the new business?…paying rent for office space?…hanging my name on the shingle outside?  Not for me!  I’m a number two man, and I was cool with that.  Not everyone’s cut out to be the boss.  I didn’t want to work for myself, I needed a boss.

That was then.  As Yoda Jeremy pointed out a few weeks ago, I already contacted an accountant, filed for official freelancer status in Israel, got my own clients, etc.  And now with this PR campaign for my new client, I’m being given major latitude to run the program how I see fit.  It will succeed or fail 100% on my own efforts.  I’m not the number two man at all.  You see –

Fast Changes
February 13, 2010, 9:42 am
Filed under: Feelings, Friends, Work | Tags: , ,

Remember when things were ‘bubbling under?’  Well, once I started doing my two jobs, things got a little unmanageable at first.  I would kinda sleep too late to get all my social media client work done in the mornings and find time to work on my memoir and look for new work.  I’d get one or two errands done and maybe some powerwalking, but then it was time to take Petey to the dog park, and before I knew it, it was time to start my 2nd job, which I would do until 9pm.

Then, I’d bang out the client social media work, scram to the gym for the last hour before it closed, unwind w/ the web and maybe an episode of glee, and get to bed too late (2am) to get up early enough to prevent the cycle from continuing the next day.

I’m happy to report, after a few weeks of having both jobs, equilibrium did present itself, and I settled into a groove.  I was able to get the client social media work done in the a.m., which ended my work day about 90 minutes earlier.  Still had difficulty finding time to accomplish everything else I wanted to in the morning, but – progress, not perfection.

Anyway, then – in a flash! – the fast changes were upon me.  Late Thursday night, I was putzing around online, getting ready to go out to BEEF, when I saw some news from a client’s competitor come up in my Facebook news feed.  They were thanking a New York Times writer for mentioning them in his new blog post.  WTF?  I clicked the link and saw the coverage.  Crap, this wasn’t good.

That’s when I sprang into action.  I:

  1. emailed the client’s three owners (only one of whom I have direct contact w/, but the other two’s addresses I’ve seen in emails I was copied on)
  2. gave them the link and asked them if they’d seen this yet
  3. reminded them I have a professional background in PR
  4. stated that the competitor clearly got into this blog post b/c they have a PR program
  5. initiated a swift and brilliant crisis-management plan, where I ghost-wrote a comment and had someone else post it, getting my client’s name into the first comment below the article, only sentences away from our competitor’s coverage, and virtually making us part of the article, too, now  (the next day, another commenter referenced us, so I had my client wrote an official response; now, we’re practically the dominant theme in the comments in a way that is not overkill

Wow, the rush was exhilarating!  After thanking my HP, I remembered to ask Him to help me let go of those feelings, too – b/c if I fed them too long, they could become disruptive and harmful to me.

Anyway, the client responded that same night with an offer for me to begin doing PR for them, too.  (We have a meeting tomorrow to talk about this.)  Now, I’m sure this is what I was after – otherwise, why would the first thing I have done been to remind them of my PR background and drive home the fact that our competitor’s success came b/c they had PR and we didn’t?

But, waitaminute – did I actually want to get back into PR?  Despite being a very talented PR professional, I feel that my career in New York sort of ran its course, b/c I was unwilling to do what was necessary to break myself through to the next level where I ran my own company (or ascended to VP level at a bigger firm).  And I’ve been so excited about being led down this new path into social media consulting.  Would a return to PR be a step backwards for me?

I’m glad for my instincts.  My actions that night were very smart.  My friend Felicia helped me see my go-to thinking (that a return to PR would be a step backwards) as unnecessary and untrue.  She pointed out that:

  1. It could provide a comfortable place to do what I know best, and buy me the time to study up and become better at social media strategy, until I have the knowledge to match the social media implementation I am already doing
  2. This would be In-House PR, which I’d never done before.  Unlike at a firm, where having different clients meant the media you had to target was vast and diverse, here my media universe would be much more niche….almost a way to take my existing PR skill set and go 2.0 with it, to push myself to that level I was uninterested in achieving back in New  York

Felicia helped me realize that this moment I was at didn’t have to be bad or scary just because it was heralding the unknown.  If I just rubbed my eyes, I could see all the hope that was present.  Thx, F !!

Later that day I spoke w/ my friend Debra, another social media professional.  She was very supportive of my taking the PR meeting with my client, and stressed the value of keeping one’s professional skills flexible and always growing.  Thx, Deb!

After that, I had a super (and super-long!) call w/ my dear, longtime friend (and former supervisor) Meggles.  She revealed her own plans to reinvent her PR/marketing company with a much stronger social media component and asked me if I’d want to do social media implementation for her clients.  Meg and I have worked together before, and I can’t say enough good things about how she inspires and brings out the best in me.  Meg, you really are such a kind cheerleader, I feel quite a bit of love for you.  Besides our practical discussion, we also went off on social media’s explosion in general, and it produced an extraordinarily stimulating discussion.

Later that day, I spoke with my friend and former boss Pat.  A kind and talented PR genius, Pat helped me crystallize the ideas I want to present to my client tomorrow.  Thanks, Pat!

So – I must remember to keep focused on taking the next, right action, and constantly turning it over to my HP – but in such a short order, from my likely-to-expand hours with my existing client, to the new work I hope to get from Meg, I can see the light where I’m ready to decrease my hours working for my full-time nonprofit client and maybe even close that chapter definitively.

This is an incredibly exciting prospect for me, and I’m just so grateful to be visualizing that idea – albeit with the proper balance.

I’m so grateful to God and everyone I mentioned in this post.  I can some it up in this Tweet/Facebook status update from yesterday:  Huge bath of love from the universe right now – from peeps recent and all the way back. My history pushing me forward. Love.

“But dude, you’re already doing it!”
January 16, 2010, 11:44 am
Filed under: Friends, Struggles | Tags: , ,

While me & Jeremy were waiting our turn at the Misrad HaRishuey for Step 4 of getting our Israeli driver’s licenses, we had some time to shoot the shit.  J talked about his dog care business and exploring plans to become a wedding photographer.  I talked about how I recently got a second job as a social media consultant and it’s looking good with another new client to land a similar project.

I was giving props to J for having successfully created and run his own business in Toronto and having established a business here, too, and already be looking into creating another one.  I believe in The Secret, and so I didn’t wanna say Wow, Jeremy – I could never do what you did and create my own business, because by saying that I would be creating a reality for myself where I could, in fact, never do that.  But I did explain how while I really enjoy being a #2 guy with a firm and handling much of the important stuff, I really, really prefer having a boss and not being the “one in charge”/having the final say/dealing with the infrastructure & tax & accounting stuff, etc.

Jeremy’s listening, and then he goes, But you already are starting your own business, Scott.  You’re a full-time communications consultant for your nonprofit client, you landed your own second client (first one as a Social Media Consultant), and are in the process of landing a third. By George, he’s right!  I AM doing all that, including creating all the invoices and hiring my own accountant to handle taxes, expenses and shiz.  Without even realizing, I have been starting my own Social Media Consultancy.  Wow, fancy that.

I’ll tell ya, though, this period is feeling a little rough.  Because I do want to grow this Consultancy, I don’t want to turn down any new business that comes my way.  But so far, the new clients do not provide enough income for me to support myself, so I don’t want to let go of my full-time gig with the nonprofit.  So, right now, I’m working 49 hours/week, and if I get the third client that could soon jump to 64 hours/week.

Yikes, is right.  Plus, doing the stuff on the side, ’cause you never know if that’s going to take off.  Plus, going to the gym, AA, trying to go out sometimes in hopes of meeting someone, returning calls and maintaining my friendships here in Israel, cobbling time together to Skype family and friends back in America, returning Facebook emails, and I really want to pick back up the project of writing my memoir about how I made Aliyah so fast after visiting Israel only one time.  I have connections to three literary agents back in New York willing to take a look at any manuscript I deliver, which is something most people do not have.  I believe in my writing, and this will be successful….if I just find the time to do it.  I already have 45 pages of a first draft in the can.

This is a period of adjustment for me.  The additional jobs are new, and I will get better at managing my time.  Right now, I am stuck in a bit of a cycle, whereby I don’t get up until 10:00 a.m., so I wind up doing errands for a few hours in the morning, instead of writing my Tweets and Facebook fan page updates for my client.  They don’t get posted until the end of the day (to sync up with the North American west coast business day), but I am trying to get them written each morning, so all I have to do later on is post them.

Noon or 1pm is Petey’s and my time together in the dog park.  I sit and read TIME magazine, or help my friend Oren cheat on crossword puzzles.  Pete tires himself out wrestling with other dogs and running around.   Then, he’s all crashed out back in the apartment, when I start work from home for the nonprofit from 2-9pm.  Then, because I haven’t written the other clients Tweets/FB updates yet, I do that from 9-10:30pm, then force myself out the door and to the gym for a workout every other day before closing time at midnight.  Then, of course, I can’t come home and crash right away; I need some time to decompress.  I usually do this via Facebook, Tweetdeck, Mashable and PerezHilton.  Soon, I’m gonna have to start watching American Idol and Lost, too.

Anyway, this started out as just a short post about how Jeremy helped me see a great accomplishment of mine – that I’m already doing something I thought I could never do.  But I guess I also needed to make a plea for sympathy get all that out, about how really busy I am right now.