A year ago, I closed a chapter in my career and made the transition from a part-time to a full-time business owner. What many people didn’t know was that I was three months pregnant at the time I decided to download the resignation letter waiting for me in my Google drive.
It was a surprise to my manager, colleagues, and maybe even myself—once I made it official.
But I did it.
It was now or never, and as I was preparing to step into a new role as somebody’s mom (WOW!), I knew that I was moving at an unsustainable pace. So, I was ready to make THE decision (because nothing says making a leap like leaving a “good job” when your life is going to change forever…yup).
Here’s the thing: This path chose me way before I had a due date or a quit date.
I had been laying the foundation for years—seven to be exact.
In my 15 years working in Corporate America, I’ve done some amazing things like being a part of major systems projects, staying in 5-star hotels, and working with people all over the world—from Italy to Asia.
But along with the career-defining moments was the other side, like crying in the bathroom in my coworker/friend’s arms because I hated my job. Or sacrificing my health being underpaid and overworked. Or being paid well and overworked.
There was ALWAYS something that kept me unfulfilled.
So, I started to lay the foundation to make a change.
In 2011, I launched my business on the side writing resumes because I became good at it. (Let’s just say I updated my own frequently as I navigated new roles.)
Through my own experiences climbing up the career ladder, I realized the key to growth was being able to confidently communicate my strengths and what made me different from others with similar skills.
The more I refined my message, the more roles I landed. I’d do my research and learn about the problems a company was looking to solve. Then I’d align my skills with the things they cared about (anything unrelated didn’t come up).
I made it about why they needed me—instead of the other way around.
This knowledge inspired me to evolve beyond writing resumes and expand my business to include LinkedIn profiles, copywriting projects, and corporate leadership workshops and presentations.
Because at the end of the day it’s not just about “what you do”; it’s about how well you can communicate your message—whatever it may be.
This is where LinkedIn came into play.
Throughout my career, I’ve used it to share my experiences and provide tips to help professionals. The more I shared and engaged with my network, the more I connected with people who either became clients or colleagues turned genuine friends.
LinkedIn quickly became important because it was often my first “introduction” to people. I wanted to make sure my presence was consistent with how I wanted to be seen—people were going to “look me up” anyway, so why not make the best impression?
I started highlighting my skills more strategically and made sure I was adding value to my network—by showing them how they could reach their own goals. People started to associate my name with my expertise.
Without even realizing it, I was building my personal brand.
This insight was like finding out that the key to a good baked macaroni and cheese is using different types of cheese—game changer.
When I did all these things in the beginning, I didn’t say, “I want to build my brand, so that I can quit my job and become a business owner in seven years.”
But in retrospect, that’s exactly what I was doing. I was building my brand—and the truth is that if I ignored it, none of my experiences today would be possible.
The more I understood the value of my reputation—which is really what branding is—the more I realized it was like a credit card. A credit card represents an established and accepted value that can be exchanged for the goods and services you desire.
Your personal brand is “credit.” And with good credit, you’re able to successfully pursue the opportunities you desire.
The stronger your credit is, the more you can accomplish.
To say that you’re building your brand can sometimes feel like an empty, almost superficial, statement. But when you connect what your brand can do for you and the people you care about, it becomes full.
Full of opportunities, hope, and all the things that you can bring into fruition because you laid the foundation for it to be possible.
As a result of this foundation, you build a brand. And with your brand, you turn the intangible into something real as hell—whether it’s starting a new business, growing an existing business, getting promoted, changing careers, or following a path that you thought only existed in your dreams.
There’s power in knowing that you’re small steps away from your next BIG. So, what are you laying the foundation for?
Latest posts by Marietta Gentles Crawford (see all)
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