What’s New with Ray?
One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. – André Gide
As the title suggests, this post is about me.
I’ve met so many new online friends lately that I thought I’d share some of my personal life so that you will know more about the Ray behind NewRayCom.
First, a little background…
I left my last “salaried” job a couple of years ago. Approximately a year before that, I started down the rabbit hole of social media and found myself making my way through the Labyrinth of platforms, tools, apps, statistics, and jargon.
The new “older-preneur”.
While I was going through my LinkedIn groups today, I noticed that there were a lot of posts from older people who after years of working “for the man”, decided to go out on their own.
Since the crash of 2008, the number of older people starting businesses has skyrocketed. According to The Kaufmann Foundation, the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity is among people aged 55 to 64, accounting for 23% of all new enterprises.
Challenging economic realities and job cuts might be the catalyst, but for many – like me – the reason for starting over is to take advantage of what might be the last chance to do so.
I decided that I would do something that I hadn’t done since my early twenties; follow my passion. At that time, it was Musical Theatre. Now it’s Social Business.
Given my interest in communications and my experience as a Business Manager, I thought by taking a few business classes, building a network and doing some marketing, I’d be set to hang a shingle on my blog and companies would come begging for my advice. That wasn’t so much a belief than a day dream.
Managing others and managing yourself is quite different.
Apart from the brain reconstruction necessary for being self employed, my other concern was that I didn’t represent the usual demographic of the Social Media Consultant.
I needn’t have worried. My age has surprised some, but in a good way.
When I’ve done presentations to students and business people, I was told that my age and business experience added a level of gravitas to “social media” – a level of “professionalism”.
I’m so glad I didn’t go for the Grecian Formula.
What I’ve learned over the last couple of years:
- I’m a strategist,not a tactician. I’d rather tell you why to use social media than tell you how.
- I love writing and talking about Social Business to whomever is within eye or earshot.
- I suck at selling myself. I’m very uncomfortable with marketing myself as an “expert”.
How is NewRay doing?
I recently changed my focus from being a Social Media Consultant to being a Social Business Strategist. I want to take some of the attention away from the media and place it more on the social.
I’m working towards finding more speaking engagements and seeking contracts with companies that know they need social media but don’t know how to be social.
We all know that building a business is hard work. But what surprised me is my daily battle with the Lizard.
I’m very much like our Bearded Collie, Ruby. We both run to the kitchen for our cookie at the end of our walk.
Routine is not in an entrepreneur’s vocabulary.
So, along with starting a new business, I’m creating a new Ray.
I figured if I acted like an entrepreneur, I’d be one. And you know what? It kind of works.
I’m living much more out of my comfort zone.
I push myself to do things that I would normally avoid, like attending business networking events.
I commit to two blog posts per week even when the Lizard tell me that no one gives a crap about what I have to say.
Although I have never considered giving up, there are days when my morale is stuck to the bottom of my shoes.
Luckily, I have a great network of online and offline friends who support and inspire me.
I’ve often heard the expression “Fake it until you make it”. Visualize your goal.
At some point you’ve got to stop seeing it and start being it. Rehearsals have to come to an end and the curtain has to go up.
I love working for myself. I don’t love working by myself.
I’m thankful that I have this blog. I love the feedback and engagement I get on Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. But I miss the face to face time with colleagues. I miss the hallway huddles, the serendipitous spark of brilliant ideas.
My passion for Social Business is fueled by my belief that companies will benefit by opening themselves up to better communication and collaboration among all of its stakeholders – internal and external.
I still want to work for myself, but also would like to work with others.
One of my strengths as a business manager was my ability to lead and work in collaboration with people who brought their own specialties to the table.
I’m looking forward to doing the same now with other consultants, agencies and companies who are specialists in their domains and are looking to enrich their business with a specialist in mine – Social Business.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this.
Who wants to play with Ray?
About Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz is a Social Media Strategist with management roots in restaurant, hotel and performing arts. A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus. His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social". Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.