Your future is what you make it

6605690813_be917c03f4 Your future is what you make itStop whining! The attitude of defeat echoes around the globe these days. Yes, I know there are challenges and the economic climate is scary. But with every challenge comes opportunity.

Here’s what I know. Your future is what you make it!

My own challenges:

  1. I left all stability in December 2009 to go solo in the career industry as a professional resume writer and career marketing strategist. This wasn’t a new industry for me. I had been in the industry for more than 25 years at that point. But I had been dropping the contracts with non-profits and small businesses until on December 12  2009, I gave notice to Wausau Whitewater that I was resigning. In retrospect, the timing couldn’t have been worse. Though I was working long hours (read 40+ per week) for WW and $1000 monthly contract was tiny, it was enough to pay the mortgage and several other bills. The economy had tanked and is easily labeled the worst in 80 years.
  2. Since this was a new beginning, I had several investments into the business and our home office that rocketed our debt to new heights. Bad financial planning, I know.
  3. The first month in March 2010 without a contract, my total monthly gross income was $743. Talk about scary. It was and I didn’t handle it well.
  4. Many people think that the career industry benefits from a bad economy. But it doesn’t. Most of us write for as many or more employed people than we do unemployed. In a good economy, people are more likely to seeing professional career marketing services as an investment to reach their goals. In a bad economy, those who have jobs often think twice about changing and those who are unemployed often fail to understand how having an expert in their corner can shorten the time they are unemployed. All of this made my career change a huge challenge.

But here is what happened.

The Results:

  1. I wisely realized what many job seekers and small business people miss. It is so much smarter to have an expert in your corner than trying to go it alone. I sought counsel from accountants, business professionals, and invested in a marketing expert to help me learn how to build my business correctly. Just by listening to the right expert, I started to gain ground quickly.
  2. I adjusted my financial plan. I implemented a strategic debt pay down plan and stuck to it. Any investments into the business or our family has to come from savings, not credit cards. Key to this plan is having a base emergency fund of $1000 and building it back up if it is used for an unexpected expense like the $840 car repair in July. In my case, I am also building in cash flow savings because I know I will have good months and bad months.
  3. 2010 made up for the loss of the contract and matched the income of 2009. In 2011, by marketing strategically, continuing to stay visible using content marketing (hint, that’s this blog), and attracting clients who understand the value of investment, I finished the year 38.9% above 2010. Again, this was in the worst economic climate in 80 years.
  4. I expanded my market place. I remember telling a Junior Achievement 8th grade class in 2000 that I planned to launch my business globally. At that point, I didn’t even have a current website. But in 2010 and 2011, I have worked with client in Greece, Saudi Arabian, the UK, and Canada in addition to clients throughout the United States. Again, strategic use of content marketing and social media has opened the door to new markets.

I share all of this with you because I hear people talking dismal all the time. I am not a spring chicken and unlike others, I never hide my age. At 55, I have had the most wonderful two years of my life. Life is not over. People who face job change at any age tend to panic. Most of them though have some sort of a safety net. The last time I was eligible for unemployment was in 1988. I started this new venture in 2010 with little savings.

Your future is what you make it! Just because you have done things the same way or worked in the same job for the past 20 years doesn’t mean you can’t change. The tools are here. More tools than ever before in history. You can work with people around the world every day if you want to.

The future is what you make it! Get out there and make yours!

7 Comments

  1. Melissa Cooley on December 31, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    This is a great post, Julie!

    It reminds me of another friend of mine who started a photography business in 2008 and is now shooting destination weddings. Before embarking on her business, she had no formal background or training, but some opportunities presented themselves and she seized them. As she grew in her skill, she gained even more recognition and it all blossomed from there.

    The future is what you make it! I’ve no doubts that 2012 will be spectacular for you 🙂



    • Julie Walraven on December 31, 2011 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks Melissa and I wish you the very best in 2012. Your content marketing continues to resonate with many of us in career industry and I know it is valuable information that job seekers will benefit from by following you! Happy New Year!



  2. Tim Tyrell-Smith on January 2, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Julie – This is a great message for 2012. Love it! All the best to you as your business continues to grow!



    • Julie Walraven on January 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm

      Thanks, Tim. As you know, many job seekers struggle with the idea that life is over when the job or career they knew ends. And if they are older, it can be frightening. But I find that there are wonderful new challenges on the horizon. It takes work, but it is very possible. Your own new career is a shining example!



  3. Zinedine on January 6, 2012 at 6:08 am

    Most importantly people need to understand that if they dont want or need to achieve something (i mean their mindset)- it wont happen!

    Am wonder why we dont teach our kids such things in school. Proper business mindset is everything today.

    So what you got a paper ? You did great in school and you expect that someone will give you a job right ? No.

    Am just trying to go to the origin of feelings mentioned by you. What is the starter ?

    I believe that the period when education ends and working life starts – that gotta be the most shocking moment for many people.

    I think that we should simply teach how to live.

    Even in limited form.



    • Julie Walraven on January 6, 2012 at 6:36 am

      Great thoughts, Zinedine and I think much the same. We really don’t equip our children for life at all. I think parents trust that the school will cover things and leave too much in the schools hands. Basic things like money management often get ignored by both parents and schools. Thanks for stopping by.



  4. Annette Golphin on January 25, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Very well said. We are the one who runs our future everything that happens in our life is according to our choice. The future is what I make it and definitely only me can make it! This serves as my food for thought this day and I learn a lot. Thanks for this article a very impressive one.