The Accidental Businesswoman: Sharing Lessons Learned from Self-Employment

This Conservation Communications blog has, until now, concentrated on the conservation side of the equation. Today, I’m going to address the communication side—marketing to be specific. 


In fact, today will you please be my marketing guinea pig?


I never had any ambitions to go into business for myself, and yet I’ve had a conservation communications business for almost 10 years now. That’s why I call myself an “accidental businesswoman.” It’s been an amazing journey, and I’ve busted my butt, working weekends and late hours many a week.


I’ve also loved every minute of it! (okay, almost every minute!)


This explains one of the reasons I decided to write a book about my experience in business. I sincerely think if I can successfully run my own business, a lot of others probably can too. In fact, I think that finding your passion and turning it into a business is probably one of the best ways for anyone to achieve their full potential as an individual in this world.


One of the things I enjoy most about having my own business is the opportunity—the necessity!—to learn: new developments in conservation, new skills, new internet-based tools. Online communications seems to move at the speed of sound, and it’s getting faster. 


As I began paying attention to forces making it easier for people to go independent, I also discovered and dove into a few mega-trends affecting work:


  • the decline of corporate jobs in America
  • the rise of artificial intelligence
  • the growing number of sharing platforms and the “sharing economy”


I also found out that I’m in good company in my thinking about the value of self-employment. Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of microcredit and social entrepreneurship, says in his book A World of Three Zeroes, that as fundamentally creative and problem-solving humans, “We are not job seekers, we are job creators.”


Here comes the guinea pig part


Aanother reason I decided to write a book is that self-publishing also means self-marketing. My learning in that arena has increased exponentially since I began thinking about writing a book.


My book, Career Reinvented, is now complete and available on Amazon. Now here is my latest marketing trick. You’ve all seen this tactic, I’m certain, but it is something that appears to be absent from the bag of tricks employed by most conservation nonprofits. 


I’m giving away the stories behind the book as a means of "building my list." Called How They Did It: Ten Wild Rides with Successful Solopreneurs and Small Business Owners, these are the hero's journeys of the generous folks who provided much of the advice that is key to my book's self-employment recommendations.


The stories illustrate individuals at different points along the career spectrum, such as . . . 


  • Dan is an engineer, who after getting laid off in his late 50s began a handyman business that is now booming. 
  • Ivan is a young cinematographer who immigrated to the U.S. from Brazil, and was, by default, self-employed from the moment he graduated from college, but has managed to work with the likes of Anthony Hopkins. 
  • Jose and Melanie are a couple in their 40s who, after losing their jobs, were running 5 microbusinesses until they hit upon their own eureka formula: a sport fishing business on a Pacific Island off the coast of Baja, California.


I was uniformly inspired by the people I interviewed for my book.

SIGN UP NOW to get the book "How They Did It," and I’ll let you know when my next book is on the way! 


And thanks for being my guinea pig!