Profit From Your Passions: Getting Started In Freelancing

“Make your own schedule. Set your own pay rate. Work as often as you like, with total creative freedom available to you. Be in charge of your own success. These are some of the benefits made possible by doing freelance work.

What is freelancing, exactly? A freelancer is an individual who sells a skill or service for a contracted rate, rather than working for one employer on a regular basis.

Freelancing

Freelancing can offer you a lot of professional freedom, and generate desirable extra income. It is a great way to pursue your passions without needing to quit your day job. Some people are so successful at freelancing, they turn it into a full-time opportunity!”

Want to know 5 easy tips on how to get your freelancing career started? Read the rest of my column, over at Ms. Career Girl!

xoxo

Sarah

15 Life Lessons from a Customer Service Professional

Customer Service is what I do all day every day. I am a Customer Service Representative for a biotech company, work as a server at one the best steak houses in San Diego, and am a Game Day Representative for the San Diego Chargers.

I specialize in making people happy.

A lot of my days, I feel like this when dealing with a difficult customer…

minions

But I digress.

Conflict resolution is basically my thang, and I am good at it.

I started working in the restaurant industry all the way back in high school, and continued on while in college and after earning my degree. I have always had a restaurant gig as a side hustle, because it’s basically impossible to make as great of money for so few hours worked in any other capacity. I have been working in fine dining for the past three years, and I have much prefered it to any other restaurant atmosphere I have ever worked in. I started working for the Chargers two football seasons ago, and it really is as awesome and as exciting as it sounds. Sorry if I just made you jealous. My position at the biotech company is my full time deal, and my main focus.

Whew.

My experiences have outfitted me with numerous skills, stories, and lessons learned. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Admittedly, sometimes I get really tired of dealing with people. That’s the honest truth. The general public can be challenging and demanding!

I thought it would be entertaining to share with you, my dear readers, some of the situations I have encountered during my time as a Customer Service Professional (guru, if you like!), and the lessons I have taken away from it. I swear I’m not bitter.

15 Life Lessons Learned in Customer Service Land

  1. It IS my job to anticipate your needs.
  2. It is NOT my job to be your personal punching bag.
  3. In regard to the following questions: Is my steak cooked right? Are you sure? How do you know? YES, I AM ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY SURE, YES I KNOW, AND HERE IS WHY: It is my JOB to ensure that your steak has arrived to your table exactly as ordered, following a very specific and detailed process, about which I in no way have time or patience to explain to you without sounding like a complete smart ass and quite possibly losing my job. EAT IT AND BE HAPPY WITH ITS PERFECTION.
  4. Everyone wants to be a VIP (very important guest/person). But this is simply not possible. I am sorry. The good news is, the more money you spend, the closer you will get!
  5. Everyone wants everything for free. This is an absolute truth. This is where I feel it’s important to remind you that I am NOT a magician.
  6. I do not have the ability to give you free EVERYTHING. I can, however, hook you up with some very nice things if you get on my good side and/or play your cards right. I will do anything for a guest I like.
  7. Your opinion for the chef on how you can improve his recipe is not appreciated. No, I will not pass along the message.
  8. We do not spill on you or make mistakes because we want to make you mad, because we are being careless, or because we are secretly out to get you. I would rather spill anything on myself first rather than on you. This situation happened to me when a guest suddenly backed up into me while I was holding a tray of cocktails, and rather than letting it fall on her, I had two full glasses of champagne dump down my front instead. The champagne shower wasn’t as sexy as the rap videos make it out to be. If you were wondering, the guest did not notice this happened and I smelled like a booze hound for the rest of the evening.
  9. If you say you “know the owner”, you definitely don’t know the owner.
  10. Just because I am serving you food does not mean I am uneducated, unmotivated, and not pursuing my career.
  11. If you are cold calling a company, do not expect some smooth talking to get you straight through to the CEO. I see you coming a mile away and will not let this happen. Ever. Also, look up the CEO’s name if you are going to call. Otherwise, I am just embarrassed for you.
  12. It is my job to answer your questions patiently and kindly. It is NOT my job to put up with verbal abuse.
  13. If you lie and say that you are “returning” a phone call to a higher up, wasting both their AND my time when I then try to get in touch with them, it is the ultimate disrespect. There is a moral code to follow for sales calls, and lying isn’t part of it.
  14. Positive feedback and kindness from a customer really are pure gold. A few nice words can go a long way! Thank you to all of you who have ever asked about my day, or how I am doing.
  15. I really DO care about your problems, your happiness, and your satisfaction. These are my top priority, and that is why I do what I do. I genuinely want to help you.

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Have you worked in customer service or the restaurant industry and have any stories you would like to share? I would love to hear them!

xoxo

Sarah

The Career Girl’s Survival Guide

This week, I hit the six month mark at my new job. Which also happens to be my first career job. Which also happens to be the first time I have ever worked an 8 to 5 schedule for longer than a summer break.

These past six months have been a whirlwind, and I’m astonished at how quickly they flew by. It seems like just yesterday I was preparing to take the big plunge. The week leading up to my start date was filled with excitement and I was absolutely, completely, terrified.

Then after what seemed like forever, it was upon me: the beginning of this new and very important chapter in my story. The mornings were rough. Really rough. The days were long. The adjustment from running around a restaurant six days a week to sitting in front of a computer all day was by no means painless. I was hurled out of my comfort zone and into the new world of office life.

I struggled. I work among some brilliant minds with intimidating business sense and creative vision. I was overwhelmed. I didn’t know if I fit in. And, I cried. A lot. Mostly at home or on the train ride to home, but a few times I hid in the bathroom at work. Not my proudest moments, but they were authentic and necessary. I had no idea what I was doing and I wasn’t sure I was ever going to get it.

But, slowly, I started to. I became more comfortable. The days got a little easier as I settled into my role, and I started to become more sure of myself. Around month three, waking up in the morning became just a little less miserable- I’m still not a morning person, and I don’t think I ever will be. Around month four I felt less like a baby giraffe walking for the first time and more like a duck swimming above water. By month five I felt I was finally starting to show my worth.

Now here we are, six months down and an unknown path before me. The only thing I know for sure is that whatever I’m doing, and however I’m feeling, it’s exactly where I am supposed to be. Here is a list of six essentials that have kept me afloat during the process of settling in and finding my place. I hope that in some way they can help you as much as they have helped me. Enjoy!

1. Coffee. Self explanatory and so so necessary. I’m partial to vanilla lattes, but any form of caffeine makes me a nicer person in the mornings.

2. The Word Yes. Say yes. Don’t complain. You’re not too busy, you’re not too inexperienced, and you’re not too anything except willing and able. No task is too big or too small for you when you are just starting out, or even when you have years of experience. Repeat after me: Yes, I am happy to help with that. Yes, I would love to learn more. Yes, yes, yes. 

3. A Motivational Mug. Since you must have a mug at your desk to hold all the caffeine that keeps you going, you might as well make it motivational- reminding you to Get. Shit. Done.

4. A Confidant. When things get rough and you need advice, or you just want to tell someone you love about your day, you need a confidant. This is a source of solid advice- someone who you trust, admire, and who you can bring anything to. I am one lucky girl because I have a whole team of confidants, a veritable posse. And you know who the champion of the the team is? My mother. You are probably familiar with that saying that it takes a village to raise a child…well it has taken a posse to help me persevere. Go team, go.

5. Appropriate Work Attire. When I first got hired, I had grandiose dreams of wearing pencil skirts and kitten heels every day. Reality check: everyone at my office wears jeans (mostly), including the CEO, and company-wide the dress attire is always casual. And who am I kidding? I hate heels! Currently, my favorite go-to is a pair of Banana Republic black ankle pants, a flowy, feminine blouse and cute flats. No skirts, no heels, no fuss.  Sleep is more important than looking all done up anyway.

6. Something to Aspire To. Every  successful career girl has to have goals, both long and short term. I read recently that finding a mentor can be incredibly beneficial to your professional development, and I agree wholeheartedly. #GIRLBOSS, Daring Greatly, You are a Badass, and Lean In are wonderful books that have given me lots of motivation and insight. Read them and be awesome too.

Work hard. Find your path. And dream big, ladies. 🙂

xoxo

Sarah

*Top photo via Etsy. You can purchase the mug here