Not So Secret 9-5 With Calli Zarpas: Advice for the Budding Entrepreneur


Hi everyone!! I'm not sure how many of you have noticed, but Not So Secret has been on hiatus for 2 months! There I was posting every single week or every other week for 5 months and then radio silence. So what gives?


Well since January of 2019, I'd been working for a small biotech company doing research, writing copy for the website/marketing emails, doing a little bit of accounting, and proofreading grants and contracts. I loved my bosses and the work wasn't bad, but I realized I didn't want to be building my resume towards something in technology or science. I'd rather be doing something health/beauty-, fashion-, or travel-related so this past January I went on Upwork and started looking for quick one-off jobs so I could build up my resume in another direction before applying for jobs.


Somehow I ended up landing an ongoing position as a social media manager for a yoga studio where I would be doing things like creating captions for Instagram and curating articles for Facebook. It was way more up my alley so I took almost half the pay I was getting with the biotech company (hopefully it was the right choice lol) and started writing about Ayurveda and meditation instead of ePROs and bioinformatics.


Little did I know that soon after another job would come my way and from a Facebook post from a girl that was in my sorority in college. It said "My friend is looking for people who can write authoritatively about another language (preferably Spanish, French, Italian, or German)." Even though I hadn't spoken to this girl in years I was always up for a new job opportunity so I sent her a message, but she never responded and I completely forgot about it until she messaged me back a month later (and one week after I'd gotten the social media manager job) because she'd accidentally missed the message.


Before I knew it I was talking to her friend and the creative director at the company she worked at (which turned out to be Rosetta Stone) and I was suddenly a paid blogger and graphic designer.


So how did I, a language and literature major, whose only professional work experience was babysitting, waitressing, assistant teaching, and a little bit of freelance work, get a job as social media manager, blogger, and graphic designer besides some luck? First, remember that everybody had their first job at some point which means everybody has to start with no real experience. The trick is magically turning those empty spaces on your resume that scream "I've been a nanny for three consecutive summers" into "please hire me."


So here is my advice on how to do that:


1. Try to find a job that relate to your passions


Think about what you do in your spare time, or the headlines you click on when you're scrolling through the internet, or the people you admire, or the restaurants you love going to, or your favorite drink. You're probably an expert in something and you don't even know it. I was more marketable as a social media manager for a yoga studio since I've done yoga for years than a social media manager for a wedding photographer. So when you're searching for jobs try looking for keywords that relate to what you like. Don't underestimate what you're an expert in because you'll be surprised with how much you know about a subject just because you love it!


2. Work because you want to not because you have to


A big part of why I got either of these jobs is because I had content already created that I could send to my now bosses before my interview. When I first started my blog or drawing on my photos on Instagram it's because it's what I wanted and want to do. I want a job where I can work from home and have time to travel and be creative whether that be writing or designing. So I did everything I wanted (except get paid) and while my blog still doesn't pay the bills it helped me get experience for something I did. So start a blog, or a new Instagram, or a website, or a Facebook page, and start meeting people with similar goals and creating experiences to fill the gaps on your resume.


3. Talk, talk, talk


Reach out to people you haven't in a while who work a job you might want to (just be polite about it!), ask for informational interviews, or ask to shadow someone with your dream job. If I've learned anything about my interviews (or from just rambling on about myself for 1000 words) it's that people love to talk about themselves. So find someone that you want to hear talk (it could even be on a podcast or youtube or Instagram stories) and let them talk your ear off. I binged Raw Milk by Beth Kirby, a podcast for creative entrepreneurs and I learned so much.


4. Do it Today


If you're serious about being a freelancer or entrepreneur do it today! No "I'll start Monday or I'll start next month." You're allowed to start something new at 3pm on a Thursday afternoon. So do it. This is my biggest problem. For me the more time I have the more time I have to procrastinate (even though you'd think it'd be the opposite) and the only trick is to do it now before you push it off. It's like taking a shower. You know you like showers and you know how good you'll feel afterwards, but you still don't want to go do it in the moment. But, as soon as you get in you don't want to get out. So just go, and turn on the water, and some good dancing music, and get to it.


***


P.S. Between writing for Rosetta Stone (I'll start sharing those articles with you guys) and trying to write a travel blog in a time with no travel, I've been struggling to write for Not So Secret. I don't want to completely ignore this blog because it has brought me nothing but good, but for now I'm going to focus mostly on content creation/graphic design because it's something I want to get better at. I'm hoping I can do more interviews/get more personal to fill the empty space on the blog side, but we'll see! (Maybe next time I'll tell you guys about when my boyfriend and I almost broke up a month ago because of our language barrier.)


P.P.S. If you're looking for a little positivity as life slows down in this crazy time check out our new Instagram series #todayimgratefulfor where we share content inspired by the things we're grateful for. Sending you all love!!




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