Here at TNM, we have a large community of people who are inspired by our words, tips, and real world advice. Last month we featured three of our contributing editors who help us generate content. This month we are featuring some members of our greater community who are equally as inspiring through the Tell Us Your Story: Young Professional Series here on our blog. These people have found their Niche, and want to share their story with you.
Our first feature is Brandi Bernoskie who grew from a freelance coder to a small business owner, and has many passions all aimed toward making the world a better place.
Brandi Bernoskie is a young professional and business owner who always seeks to make the world a better place. In high school, Brandi had two main passions: theater and physics, so she applied to colleges for both. She started as a double major in physics and theater, then later switched to a major in theater with a minor in physics and mathematics. After 9/11, Brandi shifted from acting and thought she wanted to pursue a more meaningful career path. She found herself at Rutgers University where she took classes and worked, still unsure of what she wanted to do. After lots of soul searching, Brandi realized that she had a unique skill for philosophy. This was a subject she loved because it could be related back to every single one of her interests. After graduating with a triple major in Philosophy, Religion, and Physics as well as another mathematics minor, Brandi moved to San Diego to do PhD work, but after two years realized that becoming a professor was not the right track for her. She moved back to the east coast, got a new job, and began to live a steady life once again.
Throughout her education and different jobs, Brandi was a blogger on the side. She ran a lifestyle blog and a food blog, and eventually got so into her blogging sites that she began to teach herself how to code. Her friends loved the work she was doing on her own sites, so one after another they began to ask her to do various coding work for them, resulting in an additional steady income, so Brandi decided to go freelance as a coder. There were three reasons Brandi knew this would be the right move for her:
1.Brandi was not happy spending 8 am to 5 pm in her cubicle day in, and day out.
2.Brandi was making enough money from the part time coding alone to pay the bills and support her lifestyle.
3.Nobody was relying on Brandi for support, so she knew the worst that could happen was that she move back in with her parents for a few months while looking for another job.
Freelance and Beyond
One thing that set Brandi apart from other freelance coders is that she, thanks to theater, is extremely personable and warm, and it is apparent that she not only cares, but can relate to almost anyone. She was able to build relationships, help others build new connections, and create a community around her freelance work. It wasn't all pretty from the start though, the first few months were slow, and one month Brandi didn't make enough money to cover rent. But, at the end of the first year, she had made $50,000. Overall, Brandi was much happier because she got to sit in cafes, parks, or her own living room and absolutely loved the lifestyle freelancing enabled her to live. The next year, Brandi made $164,000. Shortly after that, she hired full-time employees and without knowing it, shifted from a freelancer to a business owner. In a matter of a few years, Brandi went from a freelancer just trying to pay rent, to the owner of a successful business that helps clients with technology, strategy, and resource utilization.
She loves helping people and providing them with the platform they need to share their messages and gifts with the world. Her new podcast, “The Next Leaders”, focuses on what it means to make a difference and be a leader in your own life. Another project of hers, “Archers Curve”, encourages women and girls in the DC area to get involved in archery and take advantage of the empowerment, community, and mental stability archery provides. With so many passions and interests, Brandi is constantly busy. She both values and thrives upon the balancing act that is her day to day life, and works to bring everything she commits her time and effort to back to one common goal: making the world a better place.
Perspective on Job Satisfaction
On a scale of 1-10, 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, Brandi’s current job happiness comes in at a high 9 or 9.5. Nothing that “the reason its not a 10 is that a 10 feels like saying my business is done. But I know there is so much more potential for growth.” The danger of running your own business, as Brandi quickly figured out, is that you are giving up the option of taking a vacation. That being said, Brandi is almost as happy as can be in her career. “Since technology has blurred the lines between work and pleasure, people don't want to confine their happiness and fulfillment to their personal life anymore. The possibility that career can contribute to, rather than detract from happiness is new and remarkable to people.” According to Brandi, everyone deserves to love all aspects of their life, and feel like they are leaving their personal brand on the world. If the possibility of attaining job satisfaction involves taking a large personal risk like it did for Brandi, it is important to remember that leaning into fear and taking risks creates growth and ultimately stronger character. If you’re willing to do what it takes, go for it, and don’t look back.
1. Take time to reflect. “Weekly reflection is huge for me. It really keeps me grounded,” said Brandi, when I asked her just how she remains sane while working to maintain balance in her life. She starts each Sunday by reflecting on series of questions including “What did I accomplish this week?”, “What do I have coming up in my personal life?”, “What are my three biggest priorities for the upcoming week?”.
2. Trust your journey. Whatever you are doing matters. Even when it doesn't make sense, whatever you are doing builds a collection of skills that are irreplaceable. Each job, activity, or passion builds this unique collection and enables you to do incredible things.
3. Lean into fear. Take time to work out the logic of your plan, and if that leads to the ultimate decision that some risk is right for you. Think about your best and worst case scenarios, know that you will land somewhere in between, and just jump. Overcoming fear builds skills, character, and ultimate growth.
Do you have a job you love at a cool company or advice you'd love to share with college students and young professionals? Fill out this form on our website just like Brandi did, and you could be featured on our blog or social media!