Is the traditional career path not your cup of tea? Trust us, you’re definitely not the only one. Check out what Annique shared with us about creating her own (unconventional) career.
“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.”
– Jim Rohn
The above sentence represents one of the most driving philosophies of my life.
Confession: I’ve had the desire to be my own (and possibly someone else’s) boss for as long as I can remember.
Always with me, too, has been my mother’s age-old counsel,
“Don’t work for money. Make money work for you.”
For the past few years, I’ve been trying to figure out how to shape my passions into a career that will make my money work for me. I can positively say that throughout the past year, I have successfully set up my first substantial business, together with an amazing friend and partner.
Interests and Passions – All Over the Place
Right now, I run my day. It may be a hustle, but it’s my hustle and I run it. I’m self-employed and working in a very delicious cocktail of industries, all of which cater to my many passions and interests.
My main occupation is being the co-owner and instructor of the sexy Pole House Studio that my partner and I set up in Salvador. Back at UCT, studying Film & Media, I sure as hell didn’t think I’d own a pole dance studio one day. Yup, it’s a real business, check it out for yourself.
Alongside the studio (which takes up about 90% of my headspace), I’m a freelance English teacher and writer. At this point, you might be thinking,
“Well, this sounds a little all-over-the-place.”
I’m, indeed, all over the place. It’s how I keep myself stimulated and energised. I need the variety, otherwise, even the coolest job becomes a drag. While this kind of career path comes with a whole lot of uncertainty, regarding the future, it’s one that fulfils me. By focusing on my main business, while still freelancing with other things, I get to live out my passions for creativity, physical activity, teaching, language and writing.
So, what does it mean to Build your own Career Path?
Good question! It’s important to know the essential ingredients for baking a successful and richly sweet career. Looking at my journey with the pole studio, I’d say those ingredients are:
1. A generous cup of talent
2. An equally generous cup of passion and hustle
3. A dash of being in right-place-at-the-right-time
4. A tablespoon of cash to invest
5. A pinch of “what the hell am I doing?”
6. Moulding that mix with help from the right partner, mentors and contacts
7. Plenty of sprikles of patience to see things take shape
8. Presenting the finished product with some serious self-confidence
That’s probably the jist of it. In terms of what constitutes the baking soda of my career, I’d say it’s been the incredible communication with my partner, and sticking to our personal and business values.
What if your Career Diverges Greatly from your Studies?
Just the other day, I was commenting on how funny it is that I own a pole dance studio when I studied film & media for 4 years. Pretty far off, I’d say.
You see, that’s life for you. If you’re on the right path, you’ll see that at the end of the day. It’s all a simple game of dominos. I may not be working in the film industry, nor be a full-time journalist, but I sure as heck use plenty of what my studies (go BA degrees!) and all my previous jobs have taught me.
If you’re worried that you’ve invested a lot of money and time in a degree you may not use in the future… I totally get that. But regardless of what you decide to do, you’ll use the knowledge you gained from your studies, even if it’s not in the way you thought. Rather diverge a little from what you studied than end up going into a career you don’t enjoy.
What if it’s Unconventional?
So what if it’s unconventional? In fact, if your dream is to be an entrepreneur, or be fully self-employed, you better have something unconventional to offer the world, or else, it’s going to be a long road ahead for you.
The entrepreneur that makes it out there is the one that isn’t afraid to be slightly different, a little pro-active and daring. Elvis didn’t woo the world with stiff hips. Find what your spice is, and add it to whatever it is you want to do.
Having said that, there’s nothing wrong with traditional career paths. We need those careers as much as we need the unconventional ones. At the end of the day, it’s knowing which direction is the right one for YOU.
You Never Know
I’m only at the beginning of my career. Owning my own little business has been one of the most exciting chapters in both my personal and professional life. I’m a creative; I’m all over the place, and for now, this is where I need to be.
Perhaps one day, I’ll opt for something less hustle-ry and more traditional – and if you’re someone who’s currently on a traditional path, you may find that some unconventional twists await you.
You never know what opportunities are sailing your way. The important bit is to choose whether or not to jump aboard when they dock.
Guys, please remember the importance of job shadowing and interning. Yup, that shizz is important and could save you time. Check out the industry you’re headed to, because this may be exactly what you need to see if the reality is what you want to base your future career on. Remember it’s never too late to create your own path and rock it 😉