I’m Chad Gravallese, creator of ArrowLight. I’m a freelance filmmaker, video strategy consultant, career coach for the self-employed, professional development trainer, speaker, writer, communication architect, Father, Husband and the list goes on...and on. I have many "titles" because my career is totally customized based on my passions. You don't have to follow a traditional career path where you search common job titles and take a quiz to find your destined fit, while your real passion becomes a weekend hobby. In today's gig economy, you can make money doing anything. You can package your talents into a completely customized career that brings you joy and fills the needs of individuals or businesses.
What’s my story?
We're always in the middle of our story but here's a recap of what brought me to where I am today. I grew up with a passion for the movies. I was the kid who always carried around a video camera and I roped my friends and family into countless films. When I grew up, I finally graduated from silly kids spy movies to more serious stories that start conversations about the human experience. I love how effectively story can teach and inspire people. Many films have inspired me and so I now use video as one of my primary teaching methods.
After college I worked as a freelance video producer for online education businesses. I helped connect influencers, speakers and teachers to their audience with a camera. I was a videographer and editor who became a video marketer who became a video strategy consultant. As I was helping great teachers spread their message through video, I couldn't help but discover the desire I had to teach others. So I started my own online education company, ArrowLight. Now my career is a wonderful combination of video producing and consulting for online businesses while teaching other freelancers how to find success and stability.
Hold on...is your story really that simple? Did everything just fall into place that perfectly? Ha. No!
I've always wanted to be self-employed. My parents divorcing when I was 13 probably had something to do with my motivation to be on my own, to become self-reliant, to have more control over my career, which is why freelancing was always an attractive option. But after college, I didn't have the courage to attempt freelancing. I was married 2 years prior and right after I graduated we got pregnant. Things got real and I needed to find a job fast so I could support my new family. So I accepted a full-time salary job for one company as a videographer and editor. I'll be honest with you, at first I really enjoyed the benefits of a corporate job, the consistent income, the paid vacations. But underneath all the "glamour" I still felt uneasy about it.
5 months into that job, the company I worked for had to make a big downsize and I lost my job. All of my job security was gone in an instant. And to make matters worse, I was 3 months away from my son being born. I started thinking, maybe it's less risky if I diversify my employment and so the thought of freelancing resurfaced. I then decided to start my own videography business.
For the next 9 months I struggled. I really struggled. My lack of connection with people is what really held me back. I was always shy growing up and my avoidance of people really delayed my career success. I also didn't have a clue how to prioritize the most important elements of turning a creative hobby into a freelance business. I didn't have the right mindset or skillset to make it work. I sank into massive debt, had wildly inconsistent income, and suffered with anxiety. The few clients I did find didn't value my work or my time. I was too desperate to say "no" to anyone willing to give me work. It was miserable.
So, I gave up on freelancing and went back to a salary job. A year into that, I realized that freelancing was the only way I could be fully happy in my career. I had consistent income again but still felt insecure. So, after much debate, I quit my job and attempted freelancing a second time. This time though, I made a list of all my weaknesses that contributed to failure the first time and consolidated them into 6 key areas that I needed to improve; my vision for where I was heading, my awareness of where I was at, my internal communication with myself, my external communication with other people, my time management, and my money and sales skills.
I then found mentors, read books, attended workshops, and listened to podcasts on all 6 of those areas until I had mastered those skills enough to start finding success. Within 3 months of restarting my freelance career, I was earning enough income to support my family, that was stable and predictable, while also having work-life balance, control over my time and very low stress.
My lack of connection to myself and others and my lack of skills in those 6 key areas is what caused my initial failure. Those 6 foundations with "connection" at the core of it is now the ground that ArrowLight has been built on.
I’m still an introvert…and I’m an extrovert. In my world there is no such thing as introverts and extroverts, there are just people who either value connection and seek it authentically, or force it or avoid it. But we all have unique styles in how we connect. I’m not the loudest person at the party and never will be, but I now love and seek human connection.
Now I want to help freelancers who are struggling like I did, find their voice in their career. Finding your voice isn’t about overcoming shyness (even though part of that was true for me). It’s about finding your place, your positioning, and feeling confident in where you’re at and where you’re heading. All the people I’m connecting with along my journey are co-creators in my business and career. I'm grateful for them and they all get credit.
You’re in the middle of your story too. I want to hear about it. I want to have a conversation with you, so we can help each other find our place in this world.