Carla is very creative! And always very stylish. Her makeup is impeccable. You won’t even notice she is wearing any. Her clothes match in color and purpose. She is one of those women who can put up a fancy outfit, look hot and make it seem effortless. And this also holds for her sports gear because she works out every day. This is her job and her lifestyle.
Carla is a tour manager for a Miami startup focusing on women’s fitness. But she does more than that. She also develops the strategy for managing their brand. The company is small, the roles are hard to define, everything is hectic and fast-paced, there is loads of space for creativity, but one also needs the confidence to own and implement ideas. How do you find this opportunity if you are not the entrepreneur that set up the company?
Not everyone is fit for such a job (pun intended). Carla previously worked in an office. She decided to look for a more fulfilling career. She wanted to use the skills and degrees she has to the maximum extent. She quit her job and was unemployed for one and a half years, not an unusual situation considering the current economic state. But this is how she reached her potential.
Carla was always into fitness and went to many fitness classes. She really loved the philosophy behind one of the classes she attended. They had a motivational session, talked about food, healthy lifestyle, loving your body, but aiming for your best shape. She could easily identify with this. And she already had a bunch of ideas for how the company could grow. Like most of us probably, she assumed they have it all under control, plenty of people back in Miami, why would they need Carla and her ideas?
But she summoned the courage and finally asked if the Miami-based company needed an ambassador in New York. There was nothing to lose, she was already doing plenty fitness activities and had a healthy lifestyle, so she volunteered to help with their next tour in NYC. Ended up carrying hundreds of pounds of weights back and forth, enlisting her husband’s help, and riding on the floor of the van.
Little by little she took on more responsibility and even flew to Miami on her own money to participate in the team meetings. She was hired to become the tour manager. She now works from her home in NYC, sets a schedule to align with the working hours in Miami, and flies to Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and other exotic places in the US over the weekends while touring.
She was doing well on the tour management and logistics, so she took on more work around tracking the inventory, analyzing trends, improving customer experience, boosting social media presence; all of which lead to more sales for the startup.
The company has been around for just over a year, says Carla, and things change every day. You have to always think on your feet, be prepared and adaptable to the situation. Sometimes I have to be determined in making decisions and also ask the team to do the same. If you can’t handle such pressure, then working in a startup may not be your career of choice. It is also a gamble. The startup can fail and you have to be prepared for it.
But there are positives. You learn a lot. You are not constrained by a defined role and can take up any part of the business, if you are confident and can make the case for your ideas of course. That’s the other thing. I have many ideas and I wish I could have spoken up sooner.
Her advice, definitely go to school. But always read on your own about all the options that are out there, all the jobs and opportunities you might like. I had fabulous grades, degrees left and right, but it took me at least 3 years to realize how important networking is. Meeting people is something that can help dramatically.