My last name isn’t uncommon. King. It sounds noble and good but it isn’t a title only a name. Luckily someone else shares that same name and happened to connect with me on LinkedIn solely for that similarity. There are stranger reasons to network but I’m open for new connections so I accepted.
Tonight I toured the facility where my new connection is lead instructor. Why is this significant? Mostly because I could use the extra income of a part time job. It doesn’t hurt to feel wanted so that was a plus too. Actually connecting to one of the people that I’ve met online made me a bit nervous but hey, I’m a people person. There were plenty of reasons to do some good old fashioned networking but nothing beats running after the heels of a good opportunity. That is why I went.
I wasn’t offered a sweet job on the spot. There was no outlandish recruiting scenario. At the end of the tour it was simply that. A tour.
However. However! It lifted a great weight off of me to know that there are options. I didn’t feel so trapped. There may have even been some hope in my voice when I called home from the parking lot. It was a good visit and I’m glad I went even though there’s no Cinderella storybook ending. I actually connected with a connection and there could be a greater outcome in time with some follow up. Anything is possible and I am able to work toward a different outcome if I choose to set that goal.
For the rest of the night and maybe even longer I get to contemplate what my goals are and if they align with what I really want when an opportunity presents itself. Jobs are hard to find, good jobs are quite rare, and career changes with positive results haven’t existed in my life before. It’s a lot to consider.
Since launching an IndieGoGo Campaign for Strum It Forward social media has been a regular stop during the down times in my day. Time spent logged into Facebook watching Grumpy Cat wish everyone were dead is only slightly more entertaining than watching my Twitter feed populate itself with bits of other peoples conversations but both of them seem to hold more meaningful content than Instagram’s stream of pictures. Having covered the big 3 of social media and including Google+ in at times was the plan to get maximum exposure. I was ready to hit my friends, family, and followers with this wonderful idea of mine like a one-two punch and watch it catch fire as I poured my passion into the project. Not exactly.
One aspect of social media that I seem to forget is that it isn’t a two way street. On Twitter I follow several hundred people, less than 140 follow me. Roughly one third of the people I follow will ever see anything I post unless they are tagged in a Tweet. Facebook is a little different but one post among the billions that are posted everyday is easily missed. Maximum exposure requires impeccable timing or constant posting and setting up a non-profit doesn’t allot time for either when your building the foundation alone.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I won’t hit the goal of the initial fundraiser. I would need to generate $100 per day to do that and it’s not feasible to expect it after two weeks of post after post after post not getting a large response. It seems that I need to build a larger social presence in order to host a successful social media campaign.
For the better part of two weeks the push to get through actually starting a non-profit has been carrying me late into the night. As a sole proprietor what is it that sets that bar for reaching that goal. Have you actually started a project when it’s legal, the forms are filed and you start working toward the stated mission? Could you have already started by making strides in promoting your venture or does that matter if the details aren’t in place?
Finding balance is key in many aspects of life and business but splitting up time between aspects of a project is a project in and of itself. Wading through the 1023 form, constantly referring back to the instructions, amending bylaws and creating a budget are very important. Even a packet submitted offers you a pending moniker. It is possible to build a name for your non-profit, raise some capital, and start making a difference without lifting a finger toward the formality of it but many opportunities are out of reach without an EIN, a registered company name, and permission to fund raise.
The biggest challenge is not throwing money at these problems. Setting a goal to stay out of debt while starting up is near laughable but it is possible with a solid network of friends, family, and hundreds of loose connections that may get behind your advertised cause. Those connections can’t be curated by completing a Schedule H, they have to be engaged on a near daily basis to keep your specific project from simply scrolling down their social media streams. Setting aside time to branch out, connect, be accessible, and actively promote is just as important as researching what your specific state laws cover so you won’t have to add everything to the company bylaws.
Recently I haven’t scheduled enough time to promote and relied far too heavily on social media. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I did place unrealistic expectations on the reach of my few friends, followers, and circles. To date social media has resulted in roughly 1 contribution per 100 views for a grand total of 1 contribution. All other donations have come from me actively promoting and reaching out to friends directly. Clearly I haven’t spent enough time branching out, being accessible and connecting with the community. Live and learn, make mistakes and then make corrections. It’s all in the name of spreading the seeds but you can’t forget to save some time for doing the deeds.