Sunday, June 13, 2010

Taking Business Ownership

By Patty Jane Maher,

(Writer's Note: This story is part of my series Poor Journalist Gets To Business. Visit!/pages/Poor-Journalist-Gets-To-Business/364775722055?ref=mffor for the index and to be a Facebook Fan of this series. I'm documenting my career transition from journalist to saleswoman and my goal to earn $57 K in Michigan in 2010 during the recession.)

I’m not just learning to sell stuff. I’m learning how to own a business.
That means I’ve no time for monkey shines.

Blogging has been an interesting part of my career transition from newspaper journalist to saleswoman/small-business owner. For one thing, I do much of my best thinking when I’m writing. So it’s a way of organizing my life, of setting goals.

The downside of blogging is that it has pitfalls. It’s quite a bit like junior-high school when it comes to social etiquette (that is if you happened to go to a junior high school with a ton of really mean and loud kids who liked to use foul language and get in food fights).

There were some things I liked about blogging the Poor Journalist Gets To Business series on the Open Salon. For one thing, I liked the attention of occasionally being picked by the editors. Everyone likes recognition – especially in junior high. Feeling like a teacher’s favorite or an editor’s favorite can ease the pain of you feel when you’re a bit of a misfit. And isn’t everybody a bit of a misfit in junior high? For another thing most of the commentary is quite thoughtful. Probably only about five or ten percent of it is mean spirited. But the culture is worlds away from the culture of the daily newspaper. Light years away, really.

In the end, it was too time consuming to keep blogging at Open Salon with all the dust ups and social expectations. That’s why I’ve retreated here to the Google blog neighborhood where the commentary is quite sparse. Comments are welcome, of course. But hardly anybody does that here. And there’s no social expectation about commenting. Or if there is, nobody has clued me in to it yet.

Time organization and keeping on task and schedule will be my theme in the week ahead. Also, I am investing in a $300-$400 laptop computer to enable me to do my business more efficiently. I have been sharing a computer with another agent and I find it is just too time consuming to pass it back and forth. The computer has our company software on it and belongs to our district sales manager. It was generous of her to let us use it but it is time for me to get my own laptop so that I can have better control over my time and business. In addition to spending money on the computer, I will have to spend $500 on software.

Where did the poor journalist come up with the cash for these business investments, you ask? Dear old dad! Thank you, Dad! Happy Father’s Day! Honestly, I don’t know where I would be without my eighty-year-old dad. He has been incredibly supportive of me in this venture I began in February. He has given me $3,000 so far. It’s a loan and I intend to pay him back. But the fact is, he isn’t holding his breath about it. And he isn’t a rich man. He’s a generous man. God bless him.
Seriously, I’d never be able to do this without my dad.

I think I’m going to make it. I think I’m going to beat poverty and nail this career transition. I think one year from now my life is going to be much different than it is today. There’s a bunch of hard work ahead, no doubt. But thanks to my supportive family (sisters have given gas cards and stuck $50 bills in my purse when I visit. My brother paid for me to take the course and exam for the Michigan Insurance License) I believe I will make it.

When I think about the support I do have, I feel blessed. And I wonder how anybody could make it through such a major career transition without the support of a family. Honestly, I think most would not make it. I don’t think I could. Without my family, I’d probably have given up a month ago and taken a job at a coffee shop.


  1. Keep up the good word, PJ. You are going to get there.

  2. Yay! An OS peep has commented. xoxox! Happy day... I see more of you are here. That tickles my heart.

    Thank you Lunatic for dropping by!

  3. You ARE going to make it. As always, it's great to read about your writing ups and downs.

  4. I'm glad you have family support. That's good tangible proof that none of us is every really alone.

  5. Dear Caroline Hagood and Geezer-Chick: Thank you so much for the thoughtful comments and for "following" this blog. Happy to see you in Googleland.