why I’m not a “student”, & mindset shifts for the creative entrepreneur

I’m veering a bit off course with this blog post because I’ve been dying to write about college, education, work ethic, and the age old question of “what’s my calling?”, since seeing posts about the education system from ladies I admire and adore, Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential, and Christina Rice, of Addicted to Lovely.

I’ll link their blog posts later don’t worry, because you must read. For now stick with me as I share my story and my thoughts on higher education since removed from the university setting.

So, did you go to college?

If yes, Did you bust your ass for four years juggling classes, roommate dynamics, and a side gig to make enough money to hit the bar on Friday night? All while knowing the looming debt that would greet you along with a shiny diploma? Hmm…

Maybe you were fortunate enough to not have debt, in which case HOLLA! But wait, it’s still insanely competitive out there in the work world, and not having a monthly loan payment doesn’t mean you’re on easy street. At all. So this post won’t be about loans (a WHOLE other discussion) so much as about “making it”, the work that goes into that, and balancing happiness and passion in the process. 

If you’re in college currently, here’s my next question…

Are you dead set on what you want to do? Are you dreaming of becoming a doctor, lawyer, teacher, nurse, or similar?? Awesome, you have a plan that requires a degree, stay in school!

Brings me to my third question. If you’re not on the clear path to career, are you feeling totally unsure, extremely pressured to figure it out ASAP, and uninspired by the classes you drag yourself to each morning? It doesn’t make you a loser to answer these with a resounding, YES.

Been there. I’ve been in my college apartment, two months from graduation, panicking. If you’re feeling this way, let’s access your options and remember…

 You have to do what is best for you.

The ONLY degree I wish I had over what I graduated with, is a marketing degree. Or graphic design, or creative writing… something that contributes to my goals today. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize this until after I was released out into the “real world” and discovered then what I wanted to do. I know I’m not alone. Personally, I don’t believe that the college setting of dorms and dining halls (and hot dudes and parties) is really conducive to finding your true calling…feel me?

But if you’re a new grad with a degree that isn’t resonating with you, I’m here to tell you that you’re not totally fucked. Yup, you’re not stuck. But it requires some mindset shifts, a ton of work, and a belief that you CAN (and will) get where you want to be. 

mindset shifts for creative entrepreneurs

Here’s the dilemma I faced particularly in my last two years of college…

When I would think about my future, I knew only one thing. I wanted to be my own boss. I have always been fascinated with small business. I remember BEGGING my uncle to let me work in his bakery growing up. I’d pull up a milk crate just to reach the register and was handing customers their two dollars change for their morning bagel at the age of… I’m not kidding, like 7.

I wanted to be in the action.

I wanted to be in a work environment. I thought it was really fun and much more exciting to be DOING something rather than sitting there forced to listen about other people doing, the doing

School’s just never been my thing. In college, I used to have long winded conversations about my career with my parents (and friends) who didn’t quite get where I was going with my sociology degree (and honestly I didn’t either) and the whole time I’d reply with a frustrated “I don’t know, I don’t know, I just want my own business someday.” Oh, casual.

I would express to them that I longed to have the freedom to do what I liked to do, everyday. Period. I’d explain that I didn’t care if it brought a ton of money, although enough for green juice would suffice, and that I really wanted to combine a bunch of different areas that interested me for one complete career.

They said “Well yeah, don’t we all, but it’s not that easy.”

Looking back I think I went through the motions of college always knowing I’d make something happen, after. I was already in too deep, committed to my path to a Bachelors and thought I’d get to the dreams soon or later.

That my friends, was the mistake I kick myself for. The waiting to make a move. More on that soon.

Do you have a ton of interests??

Safe to assume I’m the only one who loves a lot of different activities, enjoys learning about a variety of topics and can’t pick ONE passion.

mindset shifts for creative entrepreneurs

 

 

I love marketing and branding. I love being creative. Clearly I love health, wellness, mindful living, and REALLY love healthy food. I wanted to help others, write, and incorporate things that looked … kinda pretty. Who doesn’t like when things are visually appealing?! I also enjoyed event planning (ironic if you know what I’m working on right now). I wanted to weave all of these things into the one life. That’s A LOT to combine.

What I wish I had done instead of trying to “adult” in college…

I’m just gonna say this…

I wish I started a blog before spending four years at school. There, I said it!

Sure, my 18-year-old self would have probably lacked the discipline required to blog and I would have made a lot of mistakes but shit, I’d be in a much different place today.

I wish I had started when I first got the urge to, in 2013 when I was 21. I even paid for a full year of web hosting and just deserted the project all together. I had a name, (RIP Confetti and Kate) and even drafted my first post. Clearly, there was some calling to do this…

The blogging world is SATURATED with talent today, and to have started earlier would have given me, I believe a leg up.

Then again, my niche was different at the time. I planned on starting a blog about the humor of intern life in the world of event planning, as I was working for a wedding planner in Scottsdale and it was quite the experience. I wanted to tie that experience into celebrating the small things to pull happiness and mental health in and give it more personality and depth.

Now, hindsight is 20/20 of course, and in an ideal world I would have gone to classes regarding marketing and computers, started learning about photography WAY earlier, and most importantly stepped foot in a kitchen sooner.

For any of you reading this who knew me in college, you’re probably laughing. You know I didn’t work that hard, didn’t go to class much (large lectures at a HUGE university make this easy) and although I loved being in Arizona, I wasn’t loving college.

I can say with confidence that I’ve worked harder in the past year and a half on this blog/my recent projects with GOOD, than I’ve ever worked in many years of traditional schooling. Wow, crazy and slightly embarrassing to admit, but it’s the truth.

Wanna know what will make you “study” something?

The passion to make that “something” happen. You think learning about accounting for your blog, registering a business, and learning some basic programming things when you’ve NEVER seen code before, are fun? More like intimidating and tedious. How about answering big questions like “Who is my audience” & “What is my voice?”or the always fun, “Is this brand willing to sponsor me, an authentic on brand, fit?” It’s work, it requires thought, it takes energy and it’s all on you. And it’s not just bloggers who face these thoughts and pressures, it’s anyone who wants to market themselves as a creative entrepreneur.

But as I continue to evolve and learn all about what it takes, I continue to LOVE it. Like obsess over it. I don’t need days off from it. It’s truly my favorite thing to do. Which brings me to….

The weird shit you’ll do for the thing you truly WANT.

So often I hear “OMG, I wish I had done (Insert totally attainable goal through hard work.)”

Ok, Why didn’t you???

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-11-39-08-pm

Here’s how it went for me. I learned very quickly that you will do weird stuff to get where you want to be.

Like, I’ve spent hours and hours trouble shooting things with my blog when I first started. It was boring, tedious, and frustrating, but I could sit my butt down and read articles, browse forums, and figure it out when it come to Kalein it. This was a discipline I lacked when studying for an exam in college.

When I started my blog I had a full time job at an advertising agency, and it was purely a hobby.

I was going through a lot at the time, and needed to reevaluate. I thought about applying to more full time positions, but felt overall discouraged. I wasn’t happy where I was, and I didn’t feel confident I’d feel happier in another similar job. I went to college, did the internship thing, got offered a position, and I still wasn’t feelin’ it?? Wasn’t that what college was for???

I noticed when I was working on my blog, and taking pictures of my food (as silly as I looked in my apartment with white poster boards and off limit “props” for photos), I felt happy. I was having fun, meeting people through the process and expressing myself creatively.

step back to step forward. 

I decided to take a job as a nanny. Um, huge step back from having a salaried job and a degree. Here’s what I have to say about that decision….

I don’t regret taking a job watching kids at. all. It allowed me to have the mental capacity to CONSTANTLY be working on my brand. When the child naps, when emptying the dishwasher, or driving to soccer practice you can do a LOT of thinking, plotting, drafting, etc. You also don’t waste all of your creative energies and efforts on a project with a deadline to your manager or supervisor.

mindset of creative entrepreneur

If you’re a young entrepreneur, blogger, or creative that needs some extra cash as you get going…No shame in that! Um, that’s very normal. Consider working at a job that brings in some dough, but doesn’t rob you of your talent and energy. Yes, a job. Not another career, you’re building your career. This way when you sit down to work on your project after hours of hustlin’, your best work is still available.

Not to sound cheesy but, utilize your talent on YOUR dream. Don’t waste it on someone else’s.

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-11-43-40-pmFast forward a few months, I was feeling better about myself, and my brand. I had worked with a couple brands, wrote for some publications, and got in my groove. Started “Kalein it”. Ok, sorry had to.

Then I thought, maybe I can start planning to make a move. A big move, and make this my full time life.

And so I did. I plotted, dreamt and day dreamed and confided in my closest friends, boyfriend, and mom. They thought it was cool, that is would be possible, just didn’t know when.

Fast-forward another month or two and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then, I realized I needed a little start-up capital. You know, moola.

My dad, god bless him, said he would entertain the idea but I needed to sell him on it. Now, I’m not talking a TON of money, just a bit for my cooking class and to make some changes to my site, get my business name registered, the basics. The plant based cooking class I’m now enrolled in felt like an investment for my future and a way to gain credibility in the food space. You know, the credibility and knowledge COLLEGE is meant to provide, too.

We set a date to have a meeting. Yes, my own father called a business meeting for us and I had a week to prep for it.

All week I outlined, wrote, edited, re-wrote, and organized a business plan of no joke ten pages. I know business plans can be far longer than a mere 10 pages, but for a girl who’s never written one, let alone sat in a business class, and was presenting it in her father’s living room? I thought that was legit…

In the document I phased out the plan. Broke it up into 6 months, a year, 3 years, and so on, to show him the trajectory of my plan and explained the end goal of each short term and long term task. He took notes, I swear to god, and at the end applauded my organization. He then agreed to my ask. I did it!

Why did he (modestly!) invest in me and my dream? Because I took it so, so, seriously. Not only did I show up with the confidence I could get it done, I presented  a detailed plan of attack, armed with a solid proposal and a LOT of evidence that a blog can in fact become a profitable brand and business. I also remember thinking to myself as I typed away on the plan “Wow, I never took a ten page college paper this seriously.” HA.

I’m not a student, I just hustle a lot…

mindset of creative entrepreneur

Today I realize the reason a business plan which outlined the upcoming years of my life was easier than a college paper is because I’m not a student by nature. I’m a hustla’. I like to work on the things that bring me joy, in this case, my brand. I’ve been working since I was 14, well 8 if you count my Uncle’s bakery, and shout out to the ice cream shop where I first earned a paycheck. As well as the many, many random jobs since.

Huge thank you to the event planning internship in college. It actually helped tremendously because I saw how managing a website, brand, and small business worked on top of all the hands on experience at the events. And thanks to the many restaurant jobs that allowed me to be around food because I’ve always been obsessed with it. Oh, and thanks for not only the paychecks but the reality checks, too.

Want to know something funny?

In that 10 page document I wrote that I wanted to…

eventually have an online membership site that offered recipes and support to women”.

I’m NOT shitting you, I wrote that. Um, The GOOD Society came to me out of a conversation over coffee with my friend, Jess a couple months later.

good

Now, I didn’t write “start a wellness festival in Philly” verbatim, but I knew eventually I wanted to work on an event because I love the energy of them, the creativity and branding behind them, and the fact that they connect like-minded people.

Now, on April 22nd I’m c0-hosting The GOOD Festival, which will hopefully grow and grow in the years to come.

That’s manifesting, at its finest people.

Here are the things I want YOU to remember (and act on).

College may not be for you. College may totally be for you. I know in my heart it wasn’t for me, but feel grateful everyday for my degree, nonetheless. I experienced a hell of a lot of personal growth during those 4 years and wouldn’t trade them. 

But here’s my advice for anyone who wants to take their creative project, be it blog, photography, web design, music, or art to the next level. I suggest thinking about it differently, challenge yourself to get on a schedule with it, and do some things you’ve never done.

I’m going to END this extremely lengthy post with these closing points, and I hope you mull them over as you are navigating college or post grad life…

If you treat your hobby like a hobby, it will remain a hobby.

Speaking of hobbies and hard work.. if you’re not willing to pull late nights working on it, write 10 page documents about it, or commit to a schedule with it- might not be meant to be your career. Just sayin’

If you commit some time to your passion project, every. single. day, it can become something more. You must feed it.

If you don’t ask- it won’t happen.

I believe strongly in this one. ASK. What’s the worst?? Seriously. It can land your writing or work in front of people who are influential- the kind of people you want to associate your work with. these asks can lead to opportunities that provide you a platform and get you seen.

If you treat your passion like a business, it can become a business.

If you need to work for extra cash while you hustle, consider doing so in a position that doesn’t utilize all your talent, therefore saving some for yourself.

Success won’t fall into your lap (obviously! Come on, what a “millenial” belief), but I know if you do these things, it’s instantly more probable.

Call it hustle, call it luck, call it the universe, call it WHATEVER.

Just do yourself the favor, believe it, and do it.


Thanks for reading along and PLEASE share thoughts in comments below. I’m so curious how you feel about your college experience, and what you believe YOUR true calling is!


Read Lauryn’s (and her fiancé Micheal’s) thoughts on college here.

To read about Christina’s resentment for the education system head here. Both were awesome reads.

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