On Friday May 10, 2013 I left the offices of SAG-AFTRA with all my stuff on a server cart. I worked all weekend building out the website I had been planning since I took my first freelance gig the previous December, and on Monday, May 13, I launched the new marinaforhire.com. (Which was redesigned just three months later.)
Since that day, I have worked harder than at any other point in my life, and most of the time it has felt better than I ever thought working could feel. I've applied every skill, both personal and professional, that I ever learned, and I've been given an education that no curriculum could have supplied. Because of this business, I know what integrity feels like, what dedication looks like, and what really matters to me.
Because I am a freelancer, I got to fulfill a dream and move to Portland, which is where I am writing this from today. I've also taken control of my health in a way that I hadn't previously thought possible. I was constantly sick: spending vacation days in bed exhausted with sinus infections and general respiratory distress. Now I get daily exercise, a diet of farm-fresh whole foods, and I've only had four days of sickness in the last two years, despite a seven-day-a-week, ten-hour-a-day work schedule!
Now that I've reached the ripe old age of two, seven day weeks are a little over-kill for me, so starting April 1 I dropped that down by a day. I've been working Tuesday through Sunday, except during short, time-sensitive campaigns, and it's actually increased my productivity quite a lot.
I don't want to say that I was a different person two years ago. If anything I'm even more myself than I have ever been, but who I am at this moment is wildly different from who I was. When I was young there was a very clear relationship between work and life: Work was life. Then my ego got involved, and it became something else that made me intensely unhappy.
When you own your own business you can't be an egomaniac or you will crush every dream you ever had. Getting humble about why I do the work I do brought me back to my purpose and breathed new life into my core principals as a person. Which then became my core principals as a businessperson.
More than ever, I can say that I believe in the concepts I laid out in my Manifesto way back in August 2013.
1. People are good.
Everyone has an inherent need for community.
If you reach out with an honest hand, there will always be someone who reaches back to grasp it.
Over and over I experience this in the work that I do, in the way that I live, and in the community that I build. Not everything I tried to do had a positive outcome for me, but everything had a positive impact on the way I do business. When something went wrong, it was usually due to a lack of trust in my own core principals. When things went right, it usually happened because I was honest about myself and confident in my community.
If you are reading this, you have been a crucial element. Even if you've never heard of me and you only just clicked on this, you are the community I'm talking about. You are the building block at the core of this entire concept. Thank you for turning on the computer, for clicking this link, and for participating; however that looks for you.
Every day I wake up in a brand new world, every day is an opportunity to do something amazing. It can be difficult to walk to the beat of your own drum, and that can be discouraging, but as someone who has done that to the best of my ability for two years running, there's no other way to live. There just isn't.