Being Violated by Professionals and the Birth of a Business

 Piercing the tyres

Two weeks ago, I was violated by a professional. Or maybe by a couple of professionals.

Sounds wrong, doesn’t it?

Upon returning to my car on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I opened the driver’s side door to see my dashboard’s innards falling out. I froze and stared at the empty space where my CD deck used to be, and then squeaked at Brent, who had just walked me to my car. As he came back to see what was wrong,* I looked at my backseat floor; my laptop bag was gone, too. The laptop bag that had my precious little MacBook Air (a.k.a. my Entire Life) in it.

Cue wide eyes, dropped jaw, heart in stomach.

Yeah, someone ripped out my car’s sound system and made off with my laptop.

So annoying.

My wise friend Doniree also had things stolen out of her car this summer. She tells an eloquent story—and her discussion about how violating it is to be robbed sums up my own sentiments.

My thoughts about having $3,000 worth of equipment stolen? Annoying. And inconvenient. But it could have been so much worse. The thieves were professionals. So that meant no broken windows. Barely any damage to the dash where they pried out my CD deck. They ripped (cut?) the wires cleanly; they gently unlatched my custom-built 12-inch subwoofer box in my trunk. No dents on my doors. Even my gorgeous eggplant-colored, 40s-style pumps were sitting on my seat, untouched. (They obviously didn’t have size 7- 1/2 feet nor a taste for 3-inch heels. Good.) Oh–perhaps most significant of all: the Caligater went untouched.

They did an awesome job, all told. They were obviously professionals.

Yep, I was violated by professionals.

Which brings me to…the birth of a business. Namely, my business.**

I wrote about quitting my job and reprioritizing my goals. When I quit my job, I had zero inkling that nearly one year later I’d be working for myself as a copywriter and content creator (hahahaha, I love calling myself a “content creator”).

But what does being violated by professionals have anything to do with fixin’ my bid’ness, you ask?

It forced me to ask for help.

Ick.

I don’t like/ develop hives when /get heebie-jeebies from/am not good at asking for help. But I do all of my work from a computer. And I’m fresh out of a computer. So, I began to reach out to my rather amazing network to let them know that I am eagerly taking on new clients and projects in order to save money for a new computer.

And the response from my network? WOAH. My friends, acquaintances and connections have gone above and beyond to help a sista out by referring new clients and contracting out projects here and there.

I have been floored. And humbled.

And because I am talking to new clients and working on new projects, I’m also solidifying the fact that I am, indeed, running my own business. Business write-offs, 25%+ self-employment taxes and scope creep, here. I. come.!

Having my laptop stolen forced me to ask for help. And in asking for help, I’m growing my business. And I think I’m growing a little bit, too. (OK, hopefully I’m growing a lottabit.) I sense that this recent adventure will push me forward. Wheeee!

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*and by “came back to see what was wrong” I actually mean Brent called the cops for me, checked my entire car, searched the surrounding area for the slim possibility my bag had been dumped somewhere, and generally prevented me from losing my marbles. Hero material!

**I’m still trying to figure out my ACTUAL business name. I think Erika’s suggestion is the chompiest: “Consult-a-Gater, LLC: Making Business Bite-Sized” ^_^

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Coda | I’m still looking to begin work on new projects. :)  I’d love your help. *nudgenudge winkwink*

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totally sweet image via Stefan on Flickr
  • This is so incredibly lame! My bike was stolen this summer too. It’s been the Summer of Stolen Things. I admire your positive outlook about the whole thing and are turning it into a blessing! Good things happen to beautiful caligaters.

    xo.

  • I hate thieves. My car was broken into 2x when I lived in Houston. Hope my pressie cheered you up a bit! (if you’ve even made it over to Cohere to get it yet)

  • Oh Clare-Bear, that just downright STINKS. Let’s say farewell to the Summer of Stolen Things and hello BABY to the Autumn of Acquired Things. Sound good?

    PS – I need to come visit you and lay my eyes on your loveliness.

  • Two times?! Yikes. Boo on them.

    And I haven’t been to Cohere yet….now I can’t wait to go in (later today, in fact!). You are SUCH a sweetie pie! :)

  • Liz

    Ugh, that IS so annoying I’m sorry Cali! :( Professional assholes is what those guys that stole your stuff are. Glad to know you’re being so positive. Its truly inspirational. <3

  • Ashalah

    I have missed the Caligater in my life! I love your attitude on this, how well you handled yourself and the situation. I don’t know if I would have done so well. Congratulations on flipping a bad situation into a great one, I know you will succeed in your new business :)

    Let’s have a coffee date or happy hour soon?

  • Did you know that Apple gives 5-percent off to small businesses? Just get your tax ID! Also:

    – That sucks! I’ve had my car broken into (read: left it unlocked)–nothing was stolen but the feeling of violation is exactly it.
    – Congratulations!
    – I now have eggplant pumps-envy.

  • Sarah Jane

    You are awesome, and your positive attitude in this situation is just further testament to why people are going to want to work with you. You rule.

  • Cali, so glad you still have your heels! Love Erika’s suggestion for your name, too.

  • Aw, thanks Miss Liz! I had been complaining about how slllowwww my MacBook Air was getting (overheating and barely able to run programs). The Apple deities must have heard my complaints…. :D LOL It’s a good reason to get a slick new computer. ;)

  • Ashley! I’ve missed you, too! Thanks for the super-kind words. I’m just glad they didn’t take the Caligater. ;-)

    Coffee or happy hour is loooong overdue.

  • I DIDN’T know that Apple offered that discount! That’s really helpful. I’m actually still a student, so I get a pretty sweet deal if I take advantage of that soon. :)

    Yes, the feeling of violation is super-ick. My laptop bag had my journal in it…so the journal being stolen is actually the most violating art of the entire experience! Ha – I hope they got a good kick out of it. ;)

  • Sarah Jane, YOU rule. <3

  • Lynn, you’re such a sweet pea for stopping by and commenting! Yes, I’m rather thrilled I still havve my heels. ;) And Erika’s suggestion is awesome…the logo possibilities are endless. :D

  • Doniree

    Amazing perspective, my dear! Congratulations (I guess? Right?) on taking this mishap and turning it into perhaps what will be your biggest success yet – go get the world, love!

  • Those last five words you wrote?

    Yeah. I love you.

    *straps on jetpack, filled with Doni’s Awesome Energy and Unending Inspiration Jet Fuel*

  • Hi Cali!

    First I have to say thanks for coming to my blog and commenting on the Gwen Bell piece. Next, I have to say that I LOVE this post and I love this blog. You area really talented writer and I can relate to how you take real life and turn it into business inspiration.

    That completely stinks about your laptop. If I lost or broke my macbook, I think my life would end as we know it. But I think it’s a real joy is that you have a bonafide business—complete with clients an everything! I know what it’s like to claim entrepreneurship in your head because it’s what you want and what you are actively working towards, but when you get your first paying client…it’s like whoa, I’m in business! So you go girl!

    • Courtney – You’re a doll. Thank you for stopping by — but more importantly, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

      You make SUCH a great point: it’s soooo easy to create a business in your head “Oh yeah, I’m TOTALLY rocking out this grand idea I have, look at me! Look at me!” which is NOT the same thing as actually working through the grand idea and making it happen.

      PS – Go get renter’s or homeowner’s insurance on your Macbook. Not kidding. It’s like $15 or $20/month and will cover if your laptop is stolen. (Yeah – this is the gospel I’m now preaching to EVERYone!)

  • Hi Cali –

    I’m so sorry to hear about your unfortunate break-in! I was burglarized twice while living in New York several years ago and it took forever to recover. I hope your business is going well – congratulations for making lemonade out of a stolen laptop. =)

    Hopefully our paths will cross soon!

    • Lindsay, I’m honored that you’ve taken the time + energy to read and comment here.

      So many of us have experienced being burglarized. It’s just…violating. So sorry to hear you’ve experienced it *twice.*

      Boy….this lemonade tastes like…Apple. ;)

  • PS. Thank God they didn’t take those shoes. They sound fantastic.

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