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Sacramento, Share Your Stories with Me!

Sacramento, Share Your Stories with Me!

I'm excited to officially announce that I'm working with Comstock's magazine here in Sacramento on a monthly web series about those who have gone through major career shifts to get to where they are today. 

For example, the first installment was a story about a couple who worked their corporate jobs while opening (and now running) a new brewery

What constitutes a major career shift?

Well, it's simple. Let's say you went to culinary school only to end up working as a professional photographer. I'd like to hear your story. Perhaps you were a touring musician for 15 years and now help people with financial planning. I'd definitely like to talk with you. Maybe you left your job as a teacher to open a coffee shop. Please—by all means—email me.

Now, I know many of you reading this are not in the greater Sacramento region, but we live in such a small world. If you know anyone who lives in Sacramento (or the nine surrounding counties) and might be a good fit, send them my way!

I can't promise that everyone who emails me will be featured, but the only way for me to hear about interesting stories like the examples above is for people to share them with me.

Here's how to send me your story:

  • Send an email to jennifer@jenniferesnyder.com with the subject line: Career Shift.
  • Tell me your name and your current title and/or business name
  • Give me some quick specifics about your story: What was your major career shift? How did it happen? What caused you to make the change? 

That's it! Then, I'll respond and let you know if the story might be a good fit for the column. Sound good? Excellent. 

I can't wait to hear from you!


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Why I Still Freelance

Why I Still Freelance // creatingyourownpath.com

When I announced that I'd be taking on a part time, remote position with Winning Edits a two weeks ago, I was bracing myself for the feelings of anxiety and dread that I've often associated with being an employee. I'm not sure why, but for the longest time I've thought that going back to a job would mean that I was no longer an independent creative. I was afraid that it would feel like a step back to a time when I was creatively unfulfilled and had reached my limit of office politics.

Yet, here we are a week into this new way of working and I haven't felt any of those things — not even once. Sure, there will be a learning curve and I'm easing my way back into a team dynamic, but that's a good thing. Additionally, I think the supportive comments, emails and conversations that followed my announcement affirmed what my logical side had been telling me all along: it's not the having of the job that's an issue, it's the type of job and all that comes with it that hadn't felt right until now.

You see, the conditions of my new job are fairly ideal. I get to work from wherever I am in the world, I get to collaborate using technology that didn't even exist the last time I had an employer, the job is part time and I still get to pursue other work. In fact, pursuing other work is seen as a positive thing as long as there's no conflict of interest. I think that's a big part of why I'm feeling so good about the decision to sign on with an employer again. 

I'm a curious person, by nature. I love to ask people questions. I may be an introvert who shies away from asking a question in the heat of a discussion, but rest assured, I'm likely ruminating on something you said. I'm the girl who emails you follow up questions because I just can't help myself.

When I told people outside of my podcast/web/blog/entrepreneurship world about the job, many wondered why on Earth I wouldn't simply sign on full time and scrap my freelance work and passion projects altogether. After being slightly horrified at the thought of giving up the things I've grown to love, I'd respond with something like, "but then I'd only get to ask a specific type of person a specific set of questions." 

That just wouldn't do.

I can't imagine giving up (or cutting back on) my podcast. There are far too many amazing creatives out there who haven't told me (or you) their stories yet. I can't fathom passing up the opportunity to dive in to interesting regional business stories (like the Comstock's magazine article pictured above—go snag the July issue if you're in the Sacramento area!). I would also never want to give up on pitching stories to the publications of my dreams.

Thinking through all of this, of course, makes me curious about you. Is there something that you simply can't imagine giving up—even if it makes you zero dollars? Heck, especially if it makes you zero dollars?

Let's talk about it in the comment section below, but first I want to offer my two cents: 

If you're curious, keep at it. If you want to try something new just to see if it works, try it. If you want to say yes to something that sounds crazy, but just might be awesome — I say go for it. 

We're all coming at this whole career thing with varied perspectives and backgrounds, but there's no harm in trying. How else are we supposed to find what lights us up?

So, tell me: what lights you up, my friends?


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The State of the Website // 2016

The State of the Website // 2016

Ah, yes. I realize it may seem a bit late in the year to discuss the state of this space as, generally, the state of fill-in-the-blank is a January tradition.

Yet, I felt the need to hold off. I had thoughts brewing and plans percolating and all the fill-in-the-blanks were simply up in the air. Basically, my brain had too many tabs open and looked a whole lot like that photo up there (which, by the way, is from Sacramento's Art Hotel. If you live in the Sacramento area, you should absolutely check it out before it closes on February 13!).

Over the last several days, however, I've watched clarity present itself. As I write this post, I still have pitches and applications that have yet to garner a response, the health of family members who've been facing health challenges still feels somewhat in flux and I currently don't have a concrete date for... well... anything. 

That said, I have clarity when it comes to the big picture and still wanted to come to you all—you lovely readers who keep this space interesting and relevant—with a general idea of what you can expect on the site in the coming months.

Mainly, my goal is to continue using everything I create (this site, included) as a vehicle for connection. If there's anything I learned from sitting down in the homes, studios and office spaces of dozens of creative entrepreneurs last year it's that connecting people with stories, concepts, inspiration and opportunities is what makes this whole thing worthwhile.

I can't tell you how many times I've been tagged in Instagram photos or comments by a listener who just discovered a new favorite artist, maker, designer, etc. via the Creating Your Own Path podcast. That matters to me.

I love sharing opportunities for education and growth—in both life and business—with those who want to learn and move their dreams forward. That matters to me. 

I have a deep need to share stories outside of this platform in an effort to connect even more people to the incredible adventures to be had in this world. That matters to me.

So, here's what you'll be seeing more of in 2016: 

THE CYOP PODCAST:
Yes, it will return for a third season and as soon as I have a date set, I'll let you know! I plan to continue interviewing those working in creative fields on a weekly basis with episodes going live on Thursdays, but I'm adding a new sponsored "Tuesday Tips + Tricks" series to the mix that I think you guys will enjoy. Be sure to subscribe to both the show and my email newsletter to get the latest updates on all things CYOP. Hint: I'll likely be dropping a "State of the Podcast" episode and a "State of the Newsletter" entry very soon!

LIFE'S ADVENTURES:
I'd like to continue sharing our adventures near and far. In my mind, adventure can be as simple as checking out a new art gallery opening or as grand as an around-the-world vacation.

It's always been important to me to play—to explore work so vastly different than my own that I have to pause and reflect, to stand in the middle of a quiet forest and simply look up and to move my body in an effort to maintain my ability to create. Expect to read more about adventure and play this year.

WHAT I'M WORKING ON:
Last year, the podcast took over—no doubt about it. I put a lot of things on hold to travel and talk with amazing people and I don't regret it one bit. However, I missed working with some of my favorite editors and teams to create work for other publications and platforms.

I'll likely get back to sharing many of the pieces I write elsewhere in this space as well. I'm a huge proponent of collaboration and I'd love to be able to introduce you all to even more inspiring, fun work taking place out there in the world. 

THOUGHTS ON BUSINESS:
Please note: I didn't label this category "business advice." As someone who interviews people who, more often than not, work for themselves, I find that many people expect me to have dreams of being a business coach.

Truthfully, I have no desire to become a business coach. Will I offer up opportunities to share what I know (like courses and one-one-one consultations)? Absolutely. I think it would be silly not to help others with the specific areas in which I'm knowledgable. However, there are people who are far more qualified that offer business coaching services. I hope to connect you with them this year as well. 

I'm also someone who is fascinated by cool business ideas, trends in various industries and great resources from all categories. You'll likely hear more about all of these things in the context of my experiences, but I hope to use this space as more of a journal than a content farm full of listicles geared toward running your business.

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Sound good? I sure hope so, but I'm always open to feedback.

Though I created a fairly comprehensive FAQ section last year, I know some things could be expanded upon. If you'd like me to chat about a specific topic or concept, feel free to shout it out in the comment section below. Thanks for sticking with me all these years, my friends!


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Remember that Book I'm Writing? An Update...

The thing about writing is that you're rarely in control. Yes, you can outline and research and edit, but at some point the story is going to be what the story needs to be.

When I sat down to map out my first full-length book (tentatively) titled, Yes, You Should Try That late last year, I definitely had an idea of what it might become. Yet, as I drafted certain stories I knew needed to be in the book, I watched as my ideas of what the book might become began to change.

That's story for you, I suppose.

So, I've stopped writing so much and started listening more. There's still more research to be done and I feel the need to let the story end up where it's meant to end up. Furthermore, there have also been very similar books proposed and written that have (and will) relay some of the messages I had hoped to share in the original version of my book. It happens, right? I simply want to make sure the story I'm writing adds to the conversation, rather than covering ground that's already been so artfully covered.

So there you have it: an update. Here's to moving forward—no matter where the story takes you, my friends.


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Featured: The Going and the Staying

As some of you may know, 2011 was a rough year. In early 2012, I started writing a very short essay titled, "The Going and the Staying." It came together quickly and I've been pitching it around ever since. Thankfully it landed in Under the Gum Tree, a publication dedicated to sharing true stories without shame.

While I haven't shared many personal essays in this space in the past, I thought it was about time I start. Here's an excerpt from that piece:


"The Going and the Staying" -- Jennifer E. Snyder for  Under the Gum Tree

The “zzzzzip” as I open the door to the camping tent is one of few audible sounds that morning. Stepping through the entry, I turn and look over my shoulder as my husband rustles himself from sleep. 

It’s my twenty-ninth birthday. 

Birds sing as the sun rises and we prepare our pre-hike coffee and tea. I am fairly certain we’re the only souls yet awake.

My mind wanders to a place disconnected from the dusty gravel underfoot and lands on the days leading up to this trip. Just over a month prior, I had been helping my family care for one of the most opinionated, cheeky and wise women I will ever know.

I could still see my Nana lying in the room she had once shared with my Papa. Frail, uncertain and so incredibly tired. She was dying.

In an instant I snap back to the present. I feel the earth beneath my feet and the crisp autumn air on my skin. “Shake it off,” I think to myself.

I smile up at my husband, not because he’s spreading peanut butter on our lunchtime sandwiches in a particularly delightful way, but because I cannot shake it off. 

Again I drift, remembering how Nana’s eyes lit up when I announced our upcoming trip to Yosemite. 

Throughout my impressionable teenage and young adult years, Nana’s pat response to the news of travel was always, “Go. Go now. Don’t wait.” Though she could hardly speak the day I tearfully hovered over her bed and told her about the trip, she had looked at me with wide, bright eyes, grasped my hand and mouthed the words, “Good . . . good.” The edges of her mouth turned slightly upward as she patted my hand, settled back onto the bed and closed her eyes.

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As I mentioned, the excerpt above is from a short nonfiction essay recently published in the latest issue of Under the Gum Tree. To read the full essay and all of the beautifully told true stories in the magazine, please find digital and print copies here.


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