I have news for everyone who warned me that writing this blog would render me unemployable: you’re wrong.
I’ll have you know that someone read this post – the one in which I showed up for work in a pair of sneakers at a show booth in Las Vegas – and thought, “Now here’s a viable candidate for my client’s media relations team. I must speak to her.”
The email came at a perfect time. I was heading off to lunch with some friends who never told me not to write the blog, but perhaps listed all the reasons why I shouldn’t. Now I had something good to tell them.
“Can you believe that?” I asked after I finished reading the message to them over a round of mimosas. “She found me through the blog!”
My friends weren’t as enthusiastic.
“Who is this woman again?” one asked. “And what’s the job exactly?”
“Oh, I have no idea,” I said in response to both questions. “But doesn’t it sound exciting?!”
They didn’t disagree outright, but their faces seem to say the same thing: Don’t quit your day job.
Luckily, I learned a long time ago not to let someone else’s lack of imagination put a damper on my ambitions.
Surely you’ve seen the email@example.com address and asked yourself, “What the hell is a mousesnap?” Well I’ll tell you. It was a side project I started in 2009 when I was trying to rent a bedroom in an apartment that just so happened to be infested with mice… very large “mice.”
Every time someone came to see the space, I moved the ugly little snap traps off the floor so as not to scare the tenants away. Then, one night, as I was resetting the traps I thought, “If these were prettier, I wouldn’t have to hide them.”
So I painted them pink and left them on the floor for all to see. When the next person came to the apartment, she got two steps into the kitchen and said, “I really like those mousetraps. Where did you get them?”
She didn’t end up taking the room, probably because the place was full of mice, but on her way out the door, she said, “You should really sell those mousetraps. I’d buy them.”
So I did. I opened a shop on Etsy and was passing the winter painting mini wooden canvases when, out of the blue, Examiner asked to do an article on the idea. And then Stylist did. And then Gizmodo. (The Gizmodo article is the only one that’s still live).
Fast forward a few months and my picture was on the back cover of Pest Control Technology, the leading trade publication for exterminators. (Try as I may, I can’t find my hard copy of the magazine, so just take my word for it that the text was accompanied by the photo in the print version).
From the get-go, most of my friends weren’t sold on Mousesnaps and the media success didn’t do much to win them over. Not even when the traps made a holiday gift round up on CNBC.com did they come around.
Of course, they were in good company. The CNBC piece included a reader poll that asked if the various holiday items they gathered were “stupid or cool?” Sixty-three percent of America gave Mousesnaps a firm “stupid,” though I was 100 percent OK with that. I just laughed. I laughed all the way to the bank.
But seriously, Mousesnaps taught me a good lesson: do what interests you, do it well, and the rest will follow. It’s possible to make something out of nothing. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise.
Same goes for the blog. I do it because I like doing it and that’s reason enough to keep it. But it’s also opened a few doors for me professionally, and, in time, I think it will turn into something bigger. If it doesn’t – that’s OK. Because I still like doing it.
Some people have suggested that I shouldn’t write my guest posts for Cision for free. I know their argument makes sense, but I’m glad I didn’t listen. Working for nothing is exactly what caught the attention of the mystery lady and eventually helped me land a new job – one that promises to be more exciting, creative and challenging.
And one that pays more too… not $10,000 more, specifically, but more. It’s an opportunity that never would have come my way had I not been busy doing what it is I like doing so much.
The only downside in my book? This woman got to me before the circus world had a chance to recruit me for a bespoke aerial act full of near falls and yelling. But I suppose I’m not doing that sideshow well enough to make it part of the main event just yet. But I will.
If you doubt me, you must have missed the line about how anything is possible. And I should know. I’m the lady who got hand-painted mousetraps on CNBC.