When I graduated from college and was considering a "career" all I knew was that I wanted to do something that I was passionate about. I was introduced to entrepreneurial thinking at an early age when my parents left everything they had in their home country of Belarus, and started over as immigrants in the United States.
As I watched them I learned something that has served me for the rest of my life: you can do anything if you're willing to work hard and seize any opportunity that helps you along the way.
Until recently, careers have followed a pretty linear path. You get a job, work your nine to five minimum (if you’re lucky) go from promotion to promotion and retire as soon as you possibly can. You might be unhappy, but afraid to make a change because you’ve been taught to fear the possibility of failure. As you get older and more set in your ways, you become more convinced that you're stuck. You accept that you "can't".
So how do you make the leap and start doing something that makes you happy? You have to change your mindset, and the rest will follow. You have to think like a kid. You have to be creative, and free yourself from the social norms that tell you that failure is always a bad thing. You have to believe that you can do anything as long as you’re willing to give it your all. Like I said before, if you have worked hard, you'll be ready to take advantage of any opportunity, no matter how big or how small. You still might fail, but every kid failed the first time he or she tried to walk, or talk. They kept trying until they could run and talk at the same time.
Luckily, it’s getting a little easier to change careers no matter how old you are, or where you are in your career. In today's increasingly connected world, the tools you need to prepare for your journey are much more accessible. Indiegogo campaigners, for example, are doing it all the time. People of all ages venture outside of their "careers" to pursue their passions. What usually starts as a side-hustle often becomes a full-time job. We started Indiegogo for that reason exactly; we wanted help people make their dreams a reality, regardless of their age, the size of their bank account, their gender, or their race.
Julie and Scott Brusaw were able to leave their lifelong professions to create Solar Roadways, which are tempered glass solar panels that can withstand the weight of a car. Scott is a veteran Marine Corps Ammunition Technician with an M.S. in Electrical Engineering, and Julie is a psychologist who kept up her counselling practice until she had to devote her full time to Solar Roadways.
Jon Sumroy was working for Johnson & Johnson when he read that 50 per cent of children don’t use car seats when they carpool. He created a foldable car seat called Mifold to make sure that no parent has to worry about their children's safety when they carpool to school. Thanks to Sumroy, parents can keep their kids safe in any car, anywhere.
Julie, Scott, and John are just a few of the many people that took a huge leap of faith and decided to make their dreams a reality. They knew that there was no guarantee they would succeed, so they armed themselves with bravery, and didn't quit their day jobs. Despite setbacks, they never gave up. When we co-founded Indiegogo we got really familiar with the word "no". We were rejected 93 times by VCs when we tried to get funding. The last eight years have been full of ups and downs, but the impact we're making has kept us stay excited and ready for every new challenge. It's taught me how important it is to like your job, and you should like yours too. You’re spending at least 40 hours a week working, so you might as well do whatever you can to enjoy it. It will make you happier and healthier, it’ll make your family happier, and it will make you great at what you do.