Atlanta, GA., September 3rd, 2019 / Giselle Ave. Media — It’s been a little over two years since I landed my dream job. I’d always had an image of the type of work I’d like to pursue in my career, but I had no idea that one day, I’d finally find and do the work I love. I’m writing this blog post a year after my dream job ended. My dream job turned into a nightmare just months after I’d reach the peak of the project. I read once that life’s greatest dreams can turn into nightmares overnight, and frankly… I now understand exactly what this means. My story of perseverance is the perfect example of how life is filled with ups and downs and there’s no one pathway to success.
During this 3 part series, I will be sharing my personal story of how my side hustle helped me land my dream job. I want to simply encourage you to keep creating, whether you’re getting paid for it or not, because the money will come when the time is right and your dreams CAN be realized.
Part 1: So… what’s your dream job?
I’ve always loved to talk. If you ask my oldest sister, she’d tell you I talked way too much! When I was 12, I was the class president and my dream job then was to be the first black woman president of the United States of America. I even came dressed as that on career day in 5th grade! I found joy in leading the student body with my bold ideas and innovative approach to problem-solving. I was an active member in the community and I was on both the dance and cheerleading teams up until high school. In fact, I delivered the morning announcements in middle school and high school. I was even a member of the drama club, and dabbled into theatre quite frequently throughout college. You see, I’d always enjoyed creating content, sharing stories, and expressing myself — I just didn’t know you could make a living doing so full-time. My days in student government led me to believe that working in government would be a good fit for me, but life would soon teach me otherwise. I’ll never forget that one time, when I won a contest in 4th grade and my art work was featured on a billboard for the local arts festival, Panoply. Later on, I won a essay contest and our senior prom was “pimped out” by the local radio station.
Now that I think about it, I was always somewhere between Mrs. Obama and Beyonce. I was always fascinated by art, media, and literature, so I decided to study Communication & Information Sciences in college. This decision was made completely against my Nigerian dad’s recommendation to “study computer science.” I also took a few courses in public policy, just to see whether or not I wanted to later on attend law school.
When I graduated from The University of Alabama in 2010, I hit the ground running applying for various roles in Marketing, Communication, and Public Relations. I suffered from post-grad depression, and actually working in my field seemed impossible. But, I kept on applying for roles and thinking up a master plan for my career. I’d finally gotten a job back home at Verizon Wireless at the call center. I talked on the phone all day, but this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I said I wanted to study “communication.” I’m grateful for my first job out of college because it gave me time to sit at work all day, and write down every detail of my life plans for the next few years. It was during this time that I had a clear vision of my ideal dream job: I want to start my own minority-owned PR firm and I want to work in public relations for the United States of America.
Often called a “blonde industry” the face of careers in public relations looked nothing like me. They did, however, look and act exactly like Samantha’s character on Sex and the City. Was I tricked by the images I saw on Sex and the City into thinking I could actually start my own PR firm… as a black woman from Alabama?
Nevertheless, I didn’t let that stop me. It was then that I started freelancing and “side hustling” as an online public relations specialist. I was still living in my hometown, but I started executing my game plan to enroll in graduate school and relocate to a metro city within 1 year. Fast forward to August 2011 and the mission was accomplished. I relocated to Atlanta, GA and started graduate school at Kennesaw State University, earning my Master of Public Administration.
I’d always had a full-time career tracked job — you know, to pay bills and such. This is my Mrs. Obama energy. I’d gotten a “good government job,” when I was 22, as a Graduate Student intern in the federal government. While most of my peers were impressed by my then job title, I wasn’t fulfilled. My time working in the federal government was filled with doubt and curiosity about what other types of occupations existed within the government. Is this the “good job” everyone was so eager to get? There has to be more to this story. So, I stayed put until God reveled what was next.
My ultimate goal was to build my own brand to the point where I’d be able to work for myself full-time as a creative entrepreneur. This is when I started my path as a certified side-hustler, and Giselle Ave. was born in summer 2012.
The Story of Giselle Avenue
When I first started Giselle Ave., I took on clients in health & wellness, beauty, and entertainment. I took the Marta train daily and worked my 9p-5p (more like 7a-3p) took graduate classes from 5p-7p and worked as a freelance publicist in between time and well into the late night hours. I was so determined to live my dream as a successful entrepreneur.
People always ask me how I came up with the name Giselle Avenue. Well, my first brand name was Giselle PR, but I knew that I didn’t want to limit myself to public relations. It was actually in 2009 during my senior year in college when I realized the industry was about to drastically change, for the better. My digital media professor was teaching us how to create a “blog post,” and we learned what a “tweet” was. Mind you, this was in 2009, and the idea of blogging for a living, or building a solid “brand,” wasn’t even considered. The idea of working for an agency was still the most practical way to start a career in public relations, but I knew I wanted to work for myself. I wanted to also create a space where people could find their voice, and be heard. I decided to start blogging in 2012 and came up with the name “Giselle Avenue” to embody and entire brand. I call it Giselle Ave. for short, but this is where anyone can come to learn more about what’s trending now, while receiving a first-hand perspective on the tales of a Southern Belle, living in the city. Giselle Ave. evolved from a lifestyle blog into a brand that offered various traditional public relations services, while creating original content on various lifestyle, music, and cultural topics.
Giselle Ave. is where I feed my Beyonce energy by fully operating in my purpose. I love expressing myself without boundaries. I love the lights, cameras, and action. I love walking red carpets with clients and handling press for extravagant events. I love blogging about exclusive events I attend around the city.
Giselle Ave. is where I feel MOST alive.
I think it’s important for us to find and do the work that we love, even if we’re creating it ourselves. My career has taught me that the job market is filled with ups and downs, so it’s necessary to create something that can never be taken away from you.
Coming later this month…
Part 2: My Side Hustle Was The Career in Communication I’d Always Dreamed Of