Hi, my name is Deb and this is my story about how my career has evolved over the years. I have lived in Michigan my whole life. I am fortunate enough to have a great family: a wonderful husband of 29 years, one adult son, two adult step-daughters, three grandchildren and a dog named Trooper. We live in a city that has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, so it hasn’t always been easy to earn a living.
I started my original career in the banking industry way back in the late 70’s. I worked for a large bank where I started out in the Mortgage department. It was a great department to work in back then - we were like one big family and had a lot of fun. I didn’t really take my career too seriously - it was just a job that paid the bills. I was young, and didn’t think too much about the future. If I did give it any thought, I just figured that I would work at the bank my whole life and everything would just work out fine! Well, I did end up staying there for 18 years which sometimes seemed like a lifetime. I got married during that time and we had our son. My husband also started working for the same bank shortly after we met. We were both able to keep our jobs during the recession of the early 80’s so we thought we had it made!
During my years at the bank, it became more and more “corporate” and a less friendly place to work. I began to feel some discontent and dreamed of working “someplace else.” But I was of the mind set that I was very lucky to have a job - and actually believed that there was not much else available to me. I guess I felt that way because so many people were unemployed, and I thought I had job security.
I finally got brave in the mid 90’s and applied for another job, which I ended up getting. I had just turned 40 and decided it was either time to make a change, or end up staying right where I was at forever. My “big step” was to go to work for another bank (but a smaller one) in the same city, with the same job title! It was actually very difficult to leave all the people that I had become friends with over the years. Not to mention the fact that my husband still worked there also. But I enjoyed my new job since it was at a much smaller community bank, and I had the chance to become involved in more aspects of lending.
After working at my new job for about a year, I got really brave and broke away from banking completely by going into sales. What an experience that was! This was my first attempt to work for myself and not have to answer to a boss. I started out in insurance and tried out a few different companies to try and find a good fit. It seemed like none of them ever did what they promised, either with leads or with training. I was determined to have a non-traditional job where I could set my own hours. So I kept trying by working several different sales jobs, but without much success. I tried selling life insurance, legal plans, Avon, and even those ads you see on grocery carts. My husband was very supportive during this time, although I didn’t see how he could be! I really admire anyone who has made a success of themselves in sales! I know from experience how difficult it can be. It takes a special kind of motivation and determination. I wanted the freedom, but failed to realize that I needed to have a concrete plan and to commit to a set schedule.
I kept at this for two years until giving up and taking another traditional job at (you guessed it!) another bank, in their Mortgage department. But it was exactly what I needed at the time. I had structure again and a steady paycheck. I was working in a small department with great people who became my friends. I knew that some day I would be ready once again to try another stab at self-employment.
But I still longed for financial freedom so I started researching every business opportunity I could find. I sent away for dozens of “work at home” schemes which all ended up being scams. I tried selling diet and health products which cost me a lot of money, and no sales. I got sucked into a MLM company that was hot at the time in our area. I didn’t really lose anything though, and gained a learning experience. I still believe that some legitimate multi-level marketing companies do exist and money can be made. But with the one I was involved in, only the people at the top got rich. What lessons did I learn from all this that I can pass on to you? Never send away for any program that charges you a fee. Throw away all junk mail that comes to you promising that you can make thousands of dollars per month with very little work. There is no such thing as getting rich quick! When you see anything that resembles a get rich quick scheme - run the other way! They simply do not exist, and the sooner you realize it the better off you will be.
I eventually left my banking job to work for a mortgage broker. I had experience as a mortgage processor, and working for a broker provided a way to earn bonuses. So I had some of the flexibility I was looking for in regards to income - I wasn’t bound to a set salary and could earn extra based on my efforts. It still didn’t provide the financial freedom I was looking for, but it was a start.
But then the “mortgage and banking crisis” hit the country and I was suddenly out of work. The field I had the most experience in was no longer available - no one was hiring! I was able to collect unemployment, but I knew that it was now or never to finally break away from traditional employment! No more excuses - it was imperative that I find my own career and stop relying on other companies to provide me with a job. My husband was still working but we still needed my income to survive, even though we live well within our means. I have actually been unemployed three times in recent years, thanks to the current economic conditions. I have worked for a few months in between these layoffs, but nothing that would be considered job security. I even tried selling life insurance again, hoping things would be better this time.
The first time I was “downsized”, “let go” or fired - whatever you want to call it - I was devastated! This had never happened to me. I had always worked and felt like the bottom had dropped out of my life. My son was serving in the Army in the Iraq war at the time, and losing my job just added to the stress that was already there. But I learned a few coping skills and was able to survive losing my job. I did a lot of soul searching and kept asking myself what was the lesson learned from this? What could I have done differently and how could I have handled it better? I have worked very hard to let go of the past and not hold grudges. One thing that helped me was to focus on my son and planning his homecoming party. I took advantage of the extra time on my hands and enjoyed being able to communicate with him more through instant messaging since I was home during the day. I guess I found a way to think about other things than constantly rehashing my job loss. Once he came home safely, then I began an earnest job search and eventually found employment again. I am now on a temporary layoff from that job and unsure about my future with that company.
So this brings me to the present day and my current ventures! Thankfully, working from home is so much more common and acceptable then it was back when I first tried it out in the mid 90’s. And there are a lot more legitimate opportunities - both online and offline. I worked a little at freelancing by submitting writing samples to some of the freelance companies. There is a lot of competition for good writers and I do not have a degree, so I didn’t have as much luck as I would like to. I haven’t given up though and still intend to pursue freelancing. I then started an online t-shirt and gift store through cafepress.com. It has been a lot of fun and pretty easy to do. I enjoy being creative and coming up with different ideas for designs. I have never been artistic so I either use my own photographs or pay for graphics that someone else designed. I then put my own captions on the items to make them original. I have some designs that are text only. This is still in the beginning stages, but it serves as one of my multiple income streams. Click on this link if you would like to see
By far the best opportunity that I have been involved with to date is this website! I thoroughly enjoy writing, and hopefully I am helping others by telling my story. And I still have much more to write in the upcoming weeks and months since it is an ongoing process. Once I am happy with the progress, I intend to start another website with some type of travel theme. I love to travel, and hope to be able to incorporate that passion into another informative site. I have created this website through Site Build It, or SBI and this is the only way I would recommend starting a website. They walk you through every step to insure your success. You can read about this company in a thorough discussion on a separate page devoted entirely to SBI. For now, just realize that even an information only website like this one can someday produce an income for you. If you have no idea what that means, then read about
and everything will start to make sense. After reading about SBI you may have a lot of questions - See this section to get your
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I am looking forward to trying out many ventures in the future! I firmly believe that having multiple income streams is a necessity in this day and age. I hope that sharing my story will have some positive impact on my readers - either by inspiring them to act or helping them to learn from my past mistakes!
The most important thing I have learned? Never give up! Keep following your dreams wherever they may take you. There will most likely be some detours along the way but it is possible to get to where you want to be if you are determined to get there. And be sure to enjoy the journey!
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