When I started Organizing to Win two years ago, I didn’t have big dreams of being my own boss. I didn’t care about being a small business owner. There were no visions of entrepreneurship dancing in my head.
I was just frustrated. I had spent the previous year applying for jobs, interviewing, networking, writing resumes and cover letters. Nothing fit. Then, after one particularly weird (not bad, just weird) interview experience, it all clicked.
I left that interview thinking (1) I don’t want that job and (2) why am I killing myself to fit in places I don’t fit? I want to help bring people together to build power. Whether I do that as an employee of one organization or as a consultant to lots of organizations, doesn’t really matter.
The Business that Became Organizing to Win was Born.
Since then, I’ve had some amazing opportunities, like training a cadre of women political leaders in St. Louis, parent leaders in California and education justice organizers across the country. I was also fortunate to provide organizing and training strategy support to environmental justice organizers in Georgia, elect fun and inspiring candidates and help change the conversation about gun violence in our country.
I’ve discovered two main challenges in building this business. First, women are taught not to speak up about our accomplishments or skills. We’re not supposed to bring attention to what we do and we’re definitely not supposed to talk about ourselves. Apparently, I have internalized those rules really well.
These days, I completely break all those internalized rules to post to social media about my work, write about victories and display my expertise in blog posts and LinkedIn. (Not to mention here, in this newsletter!) 😨
(BTW, you can help with this challenge – follow me on social media with the buttons in the footer, and invite a friend to subscribe to this newsletter!)
Next, the last job I had at a for-profit enterprise was in 1991. Everything since then has been nonprofit organizations, unions and political campaigns.
Now, I have to be a salesperson, marketer and, most disconcerting of all, a capitalist. It’s an odd position for someone who fancies herself a union organizer* and anti-racist.
I’ve learned a lot, met some amazing people and I’m proud of the work I’ve done so far.
I look forward to what comes next. There are a few new projects waiting in the wings but I don’t want to jinx it by telling you before they’re ready!Thanks for your support. If we haven’t connected in a while, let’s chat! Use the contact form to get in touch.
*I can’t count how many discussions I had with union members about why asking co-workers to join the union or the political action fund wasn’t “selling” or “marketing.”