OFFICIAL BLOGHER '10 LIVEBLOG: Gen Y Passionistas: Making Your Passion “Work” For You

BlogHer Original Post

ROYO Gen Y Passionistas: Making Your Passion Work For You:
Jen Korducki (JK)
Jill Fleska (JF)
Who had a definite answer to what do you what to be when you grow up? Kindergarden, fifth grade? Who of those who raised their hand how many are currently working within that field?
How many of you currently hold a position within for a degree you went to college for?
How many have made a career out of their passion?

JF: As of 5 month ago, I quit job to start own business in a field I am passionate about. This panel is about finding your own passion and turning it into a career, tips and suggestions to get you started.

JF & JK both blog at and have enrolled themselves into the “grad school of life”

JF & JK: What stops you from pursuing passion?
- Money
- Life
- Lack of clarity
- Benefits
- Security

How can we find a solution to these problems?
First focus on what you love, identify what that entails. Next take it one step further and identify the problems standing in your way. And lastly, explore avenues and channels to solve the problem. There are resources out there to help you answer and overcome each and every reservation listed.

There is one member in the audience who is currently working the job she envisioned herself doing when she was 5. Currently in marketing at PepsiCo but has an engineering background. She quit working to get a grad degree related to her true passion and used her free time to blog and explore the field on the side.
Another audience member envisioned her dream job to be on Broadway. Pursued a degree related to theatre and dance but it didn’t work out. Ended up enrolling in a enrolled in career change workshop and is now a certified life coach or as she calls herself a “when I grow up coach”. She now helps creative people turn their dream career into reality and even identify what their dream career would be.

How do you balance a job you love while growing a blog you equally adore simultaneously?

JK: Find that happy medium.

Online Marketing: Finding people via social media gives you greater access to them than traditional methods of calling/phone calls. Via twitter you can find out if they are holding any evening, providing the opportunity to meet and connect with them and possibly set up an informational interview.

Twitter – allows you to connect with ANYONE! Major execs, politicians….allows you to say what you want and establishing a relationship with them via twitter.

Twitter accounts:
Jennkorducki (JK)
Chiassionistas (both)

Social media allows you to re-identify what you want to do. Gives you greater insight as to a culture of an organization!!!

Facebook: Evolved from a college only crowd to professional medium

Mentor: Most people are afraid to approach, but don’t be afraid to find them and ask!! Mentors are like sponges – mentors are passionate about what they do and full of great information that they want to share.
Social media allows you to traveling to different cities, meet different and connect with people via these channels who you never would have met.

1) Dollars and cents: It’s a great misconception that you need to have 4-5K in the bank before you can quit your job. Jess had $97 when she decided to quit her job.

Figure out, do you have a family to support? If so, how will you do it? JK & JF did not have families to support. But they made sure they had something to fall back on, such as waitressing from back in college. Figure out what your dollar and cents are and is there something that will tie you over? Once you have that backing it’s a lot easier to let go of your job and take the leap.

2) 3 Musketeers: bounce ideas off of 3 people who are important to you and you know will give you genuine feedback. People who will let you know if what you are saying is feasible. Also recognize you may not see immediate success, but if you believe in it so much so and don’t give up, you know it will be a success.

Audience Question: Did you have a business plan when you quit your jobs? A formal plan, investors, etc? Neither JF or JK had a formal plan, neither have any grad school experience or B-school experience for that matter. It’s imperative to set a timetable and stick to it. Grad a calendar, set an agenda to do your research and pick a day that you will quit your job. Establish benchmark goals leading up to the day you decide to leave your job.

Research different types of businesses and incorporation methods. When you own a business, you need to know the business and how it operates. Learn the basics of what makes a good company. YOU CANT BE EVERYTHING TO EVERYBODY.

Also, figure out your niche. Is your business strictly internet based: digitial marketing & content training?
Audience Question: Do you need a business partner?

Pros and cons. There are always risks involved.

JK- We realize how much we complement each other. Jill’s great at networking, orator, and we both have strengths, one’s outweighs the others and complements each other. Identify each of your strengths and let them dictate your roles.

Also, get a lawyer and do establish a partnership agreement. You may be best of friends but you never know what the future may hold.

Audience Comment: You do have the ability to create a business without having to quit your day job. It is possible to run an effective business while balancing it with your day job until you earn enough financial stability that its not a financial risk to quit your day job.

JF recommendation: BOOK THAT OUR CHANGED LIFE: Barbara Winter’s – Making a Living Without a Job. This book is a great resource to help answer those initial questions as well as an easy read stimulating read.
Comment from Audience Member: BRANDS: Working with brands, he can speak and attest to the fact that they are constantly looking for people who are passionate about new products within their industry. Look at engaging companies around you – don’t be afraid to reach out, phone call, email, letter. You are a resource to them and vice versa! User feedback is essential to companies and blogs are the new go to.

Audience Member Comment -Fitness blogger, who tried to keep her blog separate from work. In 2008 she lost her job and realized via interacting on Twitter and Facebook that people are watching you. Brands are watching you. If you’re doing what you love – someone will find you inevitably. Keep asking for help. There are so many great women who want to help!

JK: Surround yourself with people you love, it’s important to keep you focused and driven

JF – I have a Sunday night post titled “TGIM” Thank God It’s Monday. Got the idea from a college professor who was truly passionate about teaching and woke up feeling so blessed each Monday morning excited to teach. JF thought I want that feeling, to wake up on Monday excited to do my job - enjoy 7 days of my week.

JF & JK: Ask people what is their best advice. What is the worst that can happen? They say no and most of the time they won’t say no.

If you have a job and you want to stay in it --- OWN IT! Create a role for yourself within that position, which amplifies your passions. It doesn’t have to be business related. You may be a cook, bring in food weekly. This creates a company culture, creating a role for yourself that people are talking about, things they normally wouldn’t do. It defines yourself in new ways and in ways you would never have thought of….

Audience Question: Did you make any mistakes that you can talk about?
JF – Learning to trust my gut. We are scarcely optimistic people therefore we didn’t trust our gut. Trust it, it always has the best answer.
JK – learn how to say no. Just because its an opportunity doesn’t mean you have to say yes. Great things will come up but don’t feel obligated to embrace each opportunity. You have the power to choose.
JF – insurance – COBRA. Wish I had it when I quit. Listen to your HR person when you leave and take advantage of COBRA. --- great resource for obtaining all different types of insurance.
Audience Comment: When you partner with someone else and you already have an established brand, watch out for owning your brand. Someone may try to take ownership. Reach documents very carefully! READ EVERYTHING YOU ARE GOING TO SIGN WITH A FINE TOOTH COMB.

Own your domain (your

When do you go about making the decision to turn your blogging into a career look for a lawyer. Ask around your community, small businesses, etc. on who they have worked with and why they continue to work with them. There are also resources on Twitter, Facebook which may lead to an in person meeting. is another great resource for people looking for ways to protect themselves.

Financially- talk to an accountant. Decide if you want an inc vs. LLC. There are taxes involved and other complex matters which are intricate. Learning which avenue and route you want to go down and protect yourself.

Audience Comment: Start with small business council. They offer free initial consultations and paperwork. There are people and organizations out there who offer services for female entrepreneurs.
Audience Comments: Revisit your business plan to stay focused. Sometimes you can make $ early on but it may involve giving up something you may really care about…evaluate - do you really want to give up that focus.

Audience Comments: – great resource to finding attorneys. They offer reviewing 3 legal documents each month. Don’t charge for calls. Audit protection.

JF: We went to a lot of small businesses and asked who do you use and trust as well as why?
Audience Question: What do you do when you have too many interests? I quit my job 2 months ago and cater, design jewelry, freelance graphic designer, blog etc. and of which I love. How do you combine all your creative outlets?

JF- 2 things: a) You cannot be everything to everyone..especially when there’s money involved. 2) Trying to bring things together, think about what brings you energy. What task, once completed, leaves you feeling energized – focus on those.

JK - Figure out if you can balance it all. I cant do everything 100% when I take on a lot of different projects. So figure or draft a schedule on when you focus on certain projects during certain months. There may be an off season for some of your hobbies and may be full season for others.
Book Suggestion: Renaissance Soul – book for people who have too many passions to pick just one. With blogging and the internet you can find ways to channel all these passions. This book helps you figure out how you work best and what will work best for you.

Audience Comment: If you have too many passions figure out what makes you unique. Each of your passions are an asset to you and make you that much more marketable.

Audience Question: Works for a non-profit in the music industry and has a blog which talks about inappropriate things, and it’s making money but not enough to support her lifestyle. The blog got her removed from a youth organization, she enjoyed participating in and doesn’t want it to precipitate to losing a job she loves. She doesn’t believe the blog and her job can co-exists. How do you make it work or is it possible for them to coexist?

Audience Comment: Internet has allowed us to become more open. We need to figure out what’s right about our life. Keep a personal filter. Identify the lines and make sure you’re not overpassing boundaries that can affect you in ways you wouldn’t want them to.

Audience Comment: Anonymous blogging. Allows you to find your voice. Figure out who you are...start a new blog anonymously. This allows you to helps identify filters without risk.

Audience Question: I never saw myself as an entrepreneurial person, how do you show people you’re a real business…coming from a professional place?

JF- 1) blog is separate from our entity 2) put yourself out there…even if it’s a freelance gig, a free thing you offer…it gets your word out there….

JK- talk about what you do with confidence. Have a 30 second pitch established and believe in yourself.
Have the skills you’re stating on your site and make sure they are your opinions.

JF: As Gen Y’ers we are known for thinking and wanting it all and not very patient! You should have it all and right now! You are worth it.

JK- You never know where you’ll be a year from now. A year ago today, I was working the BlogHer events, speaking for a brand as an employee and a year later I am on a panel!