Guest blog post by Molly Hamill, CMP, Manager, Exhibit Sales, IAAPA
Recently, I made the decision to leave a position I was very comfortable in and quite literally make a big move outside my comfort zone. In my previous position, I may have had “sales” in my title, but it wasn’t necessarily hard selling. It was more about making sure exhibitors were happy and wanting to come back to exhibit the next year. I was happy; I knew I could do it, but I wasn’t challenging myself. I was working on a large tradeshow that would sell out within minutes if we opened the application at the same time to everyone.
As an intern for an association in the industry, I knew this was the business for me. I told my husband that we’d always live in Northern Virginia because it’s home to most large associations and I wanted to work at one of them. The cost of living and traffic in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Maryland area were becoming too much. My husband and I were looking to move out of the area for about a year. When career searching, I wasn’t sure what I would be happy doing if it wasn’t an association. I heard that IAAPA was relocating to Orlando, Florida, and I jumped on it. Well, no I didn’t. I first texted my husband asking if Orlando would be an option for him, and he told me, “Why not?” I went through the process of applying, interviewing, and, eventually, becoming an exhibit sales manager with the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA).
In my role, I’m still fortunate to work and sell a show that continues to sell out, but it was a challenging change from what I was used to before. To completely sell out, I had to change my technic. I was making what you might call the “normal” sales follow-up calls, sending multiple emails to leads I received from trade shows I attended to get one more sale. This was something I wasn’t used to. Now, after a few months, we’re starting to settle down in Orlando, even though I’m not used to the heat and humidity in October. I miss seeing my friends back home, both industry and non-industry friends, but I’ll find some in Orlando soon enough, especially with the upcoming IAAPA Attractions Expo 2017! So, while I didn’t stay true to my word that we’d stay in Northern Virginia forever, this mblogove has been an adventure to further my career in the industry and continue doing what I love.
Moral of the story, don’t be afraid to take the leap! It’s OK to be uncomfortable; it’s OK to be nervous, you’ll have some hesitation leaving your comfort bubble but you don’t know how it’s going to work out until you jump in and say, “YES I CAN!”.
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