Spill It: What Does Your Fantasy Coworking Space Look Like?

Since leaving YourTango, I’ve used the past two months to take a really close look at my career coaching business, trying to figure out what I want to focus on, which products and services I want to take off the table, which I want to add (if any), and where I want this whole career coaching thing to go.

The first sentence of the bio I wrote for the YEC site was telling: “Steph Auteri is the founder of Career Coaching for Word Nerds, a company created with an eye toward building a community of fellow word nerds and publishing professionals who can share stories, experiences, tips, and resources with their peers, and also connect with established experts within the industry.”

It made me realize that — as much as I enjoy one-on-one coaching — I’d really like to make my coaching biz a community.

And so, the germ of a (possibly ridiculous) dream was born: To one day open up a coworking space / cafe that also holds regular literary and networking events.

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Are Professional Organizations Worth the Cost?

With any luck, you'll start seeing this smiling mug all OVER the damn place.

A few weeks ago, I told all of you my big, fat master plan since deciding to drop permalancing from the mix. Part of that plan consisted of joining up with the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), thanks to some urging from Ryan Paugh (a fantastic community leader who, several years ago, brought me on board at Brazen Careerist).

Then, yesterday, this went up.

Behold, my very first time participating in a YEC post (well, that and 24 pretty fantastic tips for those who suck at networking). It was also my very first time on the aol jobs site and, for that, I have the YEC to thank.

Greater visibility was only one of the reasons I was excited about joining up with YEC. I’m also looking forward to connecting with the other entrepreneurs within the group. A cursory glance through the list of members shows that I’m in some damn fine company. (Um. I am intimidated by everyone else’s awesomeness.)

So what does this have to do with you?

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Wanted: A Writing Partner Who Can Kick My Writing Ass

Wanted: A writing partner who can kick my lazy, procrastinating writer’s ass. Must: Thrive on deadlines, and be willing to offer up honest and constructive criticism, while still being mindful of my multitudinous neuroses, my overwrought sensitivity, and my blind, codependent love affair with my own words. Should enjoy: Caffeine addiction, cats, serial commas, fuzzy pants, Slankets, and dance breaks. Must have a zero-tolerance policy for: Auto DMs, Foursquare, and checking one’s smartphone while in the company of others.

Interested? For the love of god, please e-mail me. Like, right now.

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I Married My Perfect Business Partner

Michael is attempting to seduce me by rubbing his nipple. Obviously, it's not working. God we're a couple of weirdos.

That sexy photo to the left is about seven years old, and represents the beginning stages of my relationship with my now-husband.

Back then, people said that we were perfect for each other. They said we balanced each other out… pushed each other’s boundaries… calmed each other’s crazy. (Side note: When Michael finally asked my parents for permission to propose, they asked him: “Are you sure!?” Yeah. Thanks a lot, Mom and Dad.)

Some things (like that E.T. T-shirt and Michael’s seduction tactics) never change. Because we’re still balancing each other out beautifully, and in more ways than before. Not only does Michael expertly handle my meltdowns, but he’s also an asset to my business.

You heard me right. Without Michael, Freelancedom wouldn’t look this pretty. And neither would my professional site. And, come to think of it, I probably would have never even attempted hosting my own e-course. (This is why you marry a front end web developer, people.)

Actually, without Michael’s support, I might still be working in book publishing.

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How To Avoid Social Media Fatigue in 5 Easy Steps

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Oh my god, you guys. The other week, I asked for suggestions on what I should include in my Job Hopping for Word Nerds e-book. Heather of CraftLit provided me with a goldmine of great suggestions, some of which I deemed outside the scope of my book. Still, I thought they would make for some great blog post fodder. So today, I decided to address this one:

How can I use social media without being swallowed by it?

So I opened up my Freelancedom dashboard, typed in the title of this post, aaand… then proceeded to spend the next four hours on Twitter.


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I Skipped SXSW. Am I An Idiot?

So apparently, just about everyone in my Twitter feed was at South by Southwest (SXSW) this past week, a conference (and seemingly non-stop party) that somehow brings together “music, independent films, and emerging technologies.” It’s that last that is of greatest interest to me and, as the web developers, bloggers, content producers, and new media entrepreneurs in my feed live-tweeted talks and workshops, party-hopped, and networked, I started to feel that I was totally missing out.

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6 Ways To Find Your Next Mentor

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Back in January, Betsy Lerner — brilliant author of The Forest for the Trees — wrote up a quick post in which she remembered two of her early mentors. And then, a week ago, Holly Hoffman brought up the topic again. All this mentor-talk got me thinking back on my own favorites, and how important they’ve been to my career success.

I myself have never had one single, larger-than-life figure playing the part of mentor (talk about pressure). Rather, I’ve approached mentorship in much the same way career expert Marci Alboher does: as an ever-shifting collection of people I surround myself with…people I feel I can learn from, no matter what stage they’re at in their career. I highly recommend this approach.

Why do you need a mentor? Because you shouldn’t be working in a vacuum, stumbling along your career path without outside inspiration or guidance. Why do you need multiple mentors? Because it’s silly to rely on a single person, when an entire community can provide much better support, and a greater diversity of insight and advice.

So where can you find this army of advisers?

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The Road To Freelance Success Is Paved with Good Karma

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Work has been pretty damn good lately (aside from the occasional seasonal slump). And — conceited as it may sound — I credit myself for a lot of that. After all, I’m the one who got me here. When I was unhappy at my 9-to-5, and daydreaming about freelancedom, I figured out the steps I’d need to take in order to make it work, and then took them. I self-educated myself with a shit-ton of how-to books. I took writing and pitching classes through MediaBistro and at the New School. I attended a ton of MediaBistro networking events, and formed a writing group. I secured a freelance gig before jumping ship and, during the transitional period, was working two jobs at once. And when I’d left my 9-to-5 behind, I took on another unpaid, post-college internship in order to gain more experience, contacts, and clips.

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Coworking: The Cure for What Ails Me?


I’ve been lonely lately.

I mean, freelancing has always been lonely. I sit in my condo, hunched over my keyboard, getting more and more used to not going out. I have full-on conversations with my three cats. I tweet, and retweet, and @reply, pretending that virtual conversations are just as good as actual human contact. I feel lonely.

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Frustratingly, Making Career Decisions Is Not All About What’s Best For You


Career dissatisfaction has been creating a lot of tension in my marriage lately. While my husband has been struggling to build a web business on top of his full-time job — leaving little opportunity for us to spend quality time together — my freelance work has languished, causing my hubby to feel even more pressure to earn. [Read more…]