As a kid, I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. Well, other than wanting to be an Olympic gymnast or a professional sticker collector. Turns out, that doesn’t really count.
I think the freelance life ended up finding me because this was not always the plan…
When I started college, I wanted to do something involving medicine. The way the human body functions has always interested me so this seemed like a natural way to go. Then I took my first college-level chemistry class and that was the end of that idea. Nope, that’s not gonna work.
I then shifted over to the business school (at UW-Milwaukee) just because I thought that was a safe bet. Business degrees seemed like a general enough area of study. That would guarantee me a high paying job, right? I genuinely enjoyed business classes. I found them interesting and understood how certain concepts might apply to the real world. I decided to major in Marketing… and honestly, this was only because I knew HR, finance and accounting were not going to be a good fit—too many people and too many numbers.
Marketing it is! I figured maybe I’ll go into “sales” or “management”… all super vague concepts. I had no idea what any of these career tracks might be like.
It’s amazing that any young person would know what they wanted to go to school for and then how they would want to apply their studies in the workforce. Most people in college are 18-early 20’s. Who even knows who they are at that age? I had no idea—Zero.
The first semester of my senior year, I saw an ad up on the bulletin board in the business school for a series of available entrepreneur internships. OK, now this sounds cool! I submitted my application and ended up going on three interviews for different startups and businesses being run by local entrepreneurs.
Low and behold, I was selected for an internship with a metalforming company. I got to work directly with the CEO on sales support and marketing projects. I interned here for one year and then ended up getting a full-time position as a marketing coordinator after graduation. I felt lucky to get this job considering it was 2009 and the job market was, well, awful. This was my first taste of the corporate world. It was a good experience but I definitely struggled RIGHT AWAY with the idea of working in a cubicle from 8am-5pm every day for someone else’s dream.
During my time here, I got thrown into figuring out all about graphic design, email marketing, SEO, photography, videos, web design, public relations, tradeshow coordination, and the list continues. I had the chance to dip my toes into a ton of different marketing projects, which is where I discovered what I really enjoyed doing.
It was only a few months into this job when the dream of my freelance business was born. I taught myself basic graphic design, HTML, CSS and SEO skills and really LOVED it. I started to think “I could sell these services on my own!”
And that’s exactly what I did. Welcome to September of 2010 when I went and opened an LLC.
As the years went on, I continued to learn new skills, took on small projects with clients and grew a freelance portfolio. It just clicked that this is what I want to do. Game over. I poured all my energy into the idea of one day running my own gig. I had something big to work towards which is 100% what kept me going.
It ended up taking many years before I could freelance full-time, but it was a journey of growth and discovery. Once I knew what I wanted, it was all eyes on the prize.
How did you discover your career path? Comment below! =)
“It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” – Mae Jemison
Thanks for reading,