Before I graduated in 2006 with a B.Comm, major in finance and a minor in marketing, I thought I knew exactly what my career path would look like. As it turned out, there’s more to life than an office on Bay Street and the allure of dollar bills.
For a number of years after graduating I had a great job working as an associate to institutional equity sales and traders, and had high aspirations, mostly driven by money. However, there was something missing: desire, drive, and overall interest in selling stocks.
It was after the birth of my first child I decided life was too short to be in a job where I couldn’t see myself for more than 5 years, let alone for the remainder of my working life. It was during my maternity leave I decided I would turn my hobby into my next career.
I wanted to change my life, change the life of others, and impart my healthy living wisdom to moms just like myself. Going through two pregnancies, I had a lot of questions around nutrition, how I could still be fit, and stay fit after baby. I identified a need I wanted to fill. I didn’t aspire to be a nutritionist and personal trainer to everyone; I wanted to be a trainer just for moms. So I created the FitTritious brand.
Through this new venture I created my dream job: I started personal training postpartum moms in our home gym, and created Strong Mom™ fitness classes where moms can bring their babies and get a good workout. My goal is to eventually write a book and be a leading expert in this field who moms trust and go to for knowledge. Today I wake up with passion and purpose knowing I’m making a difference in the lives of moms.
It wasn’t easy, taking a huge jump from receiving a biweekly paid-out salary to self-employment income. If you’re thinking of starting your own business or thinking of a career change and turning your passion into your full-time job, here are some tips:
- Don’t be afraid of the unknown. Life is too short to hate that job you do everyday. If you make a change now, you won’t be saying “what if” years down the road.
- Don’t quit your day job just yet. To make your future business credible, do you need more education? If so, start taking the necessary courses. Plot out a timeline and hold yourself accountable to it.
- Start saving now. New businesses usually have uncertain income, so make sure you plan for it. Save now to pay for startup costs or even things like childcare, the mortgage, groceries, etc.
- Self-promote. Tell people what you’re doing (maybe not your boss or workplace colleagues), but friends and family. Get the word out about your exciting business and what problem you are solving, and why the world needs you and your product or service.
Your career isn’t linear. Just because you studied one thing doesn’t mean you need to work in that industry for the rest of your life. If you cringe at the thought of working until retirement in the job or industry you are currently in, start plotting your exit strategy. It doesn’t mean you’ve wasted your time or money on your education. It just means you’ve grown and know where you belong. Life is short; make sure you enjoy the journey while closing in on your destination.
Denise Chiriboga (Business ’06) is known as The FitTritionist. She is a personal trainer and holistic nutritionist specializing in building strong moms in pregnancy and postpartum. She is also the creator of Strong Mom™ fitness. www.FitTritious.com