My father always told me I needed to “pay my dues” in life and I never truly understood what that meant and why I needed to. My life was planned: you go to school, you go to college, you graduate, and you get a good job.
I learned the hard way that life isn’t a step-by-step puzzle and the pieces will not fit perfectly or easily together. It doesn’t matter if you went to a prestigious school or come from a great family—no one is going to just hand me success. I have to earn it.
In 2008, I graduated from college and the recession hit and I had no career waiting for me. I was competing with people with master’s degrees and much more experience for entry-level positions. My mentor had even been laid off and couldn’t find a job; what hope did I have? I was able to get interviews but I was hit with the infamous statement, “You just don’t have enough experience.” Well, how was I supposed to get experience if I couldn’t get experience, sis!?
I was frustrated, extremely frustrated. I thought graduating from a prestigious university was going to ensure I got a job after college. I decided to apply for a part-time retail job to make some spending money to go out while I was living at my parents’ house. Here I was a college graduate working a $10/hour 15-20 hours a week retail job that I was overqualified for, but I knew to stand out I would do that job with the best of my abilities and determination.
In all honesty, adulthood really hit me harder than I expected. Looking back now, I can accept the fact that I was naïve about “real life.” My father often told me, “You have to work for what you want. No one owes you anything. You already have two strikes against you. You’re black and you’re a woman.”
And, that’s exactly what I did. Instead of complaining about no one giving me opportunities in a career field I wanted, I decided to create one—not only for myself, but for other women who needed it. My first business was created out of one of my biggest flaws, how I felt about my body. I decided to create a fitness brand that empowered women to love themselves from the inside out through fitness, and Curvy Cardio was born. I wanted to be an instructor that other women could relate to and feel encouraged by.
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Be about your business
My second business, the Morgan A. Owens brand, was created because I was tired of being the only “one” in corporate. I decided to bring resources, workshops, and information that oftentimes we don’t have access to or are deliberately left out of.
In just one year of launching the MAO Brand, I realized I had grossed three times as much as my corporate career. Three times. All because I decided to take my “no experience” and create my own.
How I was able to do it:
Do It With Purpose
Don’t confuse purpose with passion. Many of us lead with passion because we are ready for an end result such as a paycheck or an award. At the end of the day, purpose will prevail due to it being your calling. We wouldn’t endure the sacrifices, long nights, stress if we weren’t truly doing it for purpose. I’m not saying you can’t have passion about your purpose, but make sure purpose is your No. 1 focus.
Don’t Skip the Steps
Make a plan. Want to move up the corporate ladder? Map out a five-year plan on how you’re going to get to your desired position(s). Along the way, you may need to complete additional educational or professional development courses. Do them. You can’t jump from an assistant to the vice president overnight.
Do It Over Time
There is no such thing as an overnight success. Social media can be very misleading where people seem to pop out of nowhere with the perception that they are doing great things. Most certainly, they have been working hard at their career or business for a while, but their work is just now starting to “bloom” from the seeds they have planted. Stay consistent and you will see growth soon.
Do the Work
There isn’t much explanation needed for this one. You have to devote the time, sweat, and tears into making your goals realities. Seek out mentors that will help you stay accountable, steer you toward what you need to do, and give constructive criticism (and not just a pat on the back). Wake up, get dressed, and do the work, every day.
Morgan Angelique Owens is an entrepreneurial firebrand that has immersed herself in the art of helping women reach their highest levels of growth, profit, and success. A native of Cincinnati and a graduate of Miami University, she has masterfully integrated her savvy as an executive, entrepreneur, and motivation expert to inspire excellence in girl bosses all over the globe.