Startup

Newest Intern Brings the Power of Words to Life

Newest Intern Brings the Power of Words to Life

 Hi everyone! I’m Rachel, the newest addition to The Niche Movement Team. I am a sophomore at the George Washington University studying Journalism and Mass Communication.

I Love My Job: Kim Gabuardi

I love my job_ Kim Meet Kim Gabuardi, founder of Not Just Danze Zumba studio in Toms River, NJ. Before starting her own business last May, Kim spent four years teaching Spanish to High School students in New Jersey. On July 29th, we had the opportunity to speak with her about the unique path she took to find her niche.

What Gave You the Inspiration to Start Your Own Business?

"I’ve really only been doing Zumba for two years and teaching for a year and a half. I was really lucky because I didn’t even have my license to teach, I was just taking classes and I fell in love with it. I also loved my instructor, who actually became a really great friend, and she decided she was going to sell her studio. She kind of nudged me and said, ‘Hey Kim, if you’re thinking about this, now’s the time. Go get licensed and maybe you’ll take over the studio!’ I thought ‘Oh, that’s so nice’ and ‘you’re crazy’ but that’s actually what ended up happening. It was great to have that little push from her."

How Was the Transition from High School Teacher to Running Your Own Business?

"It was amazing! Looking back, I didn’t think it would happen this quickly. I figured, maybe in five years, it was something I could accomplish. I never thought I could really do it in two. It was really exciting. First, the Zumba thing happened, which made me think, if I’m teaching three or four nights per week and then burning the candle on both ends, waking up to teach [high school]… I’m taking so much away from the kids and from anybody else who wanted to teach. I was never in love with teaching; I just did it as a fallback plan. I had lived in Costa Rica and when I came home, there was a teaching job available. I was like, ‘I’d be stupid to say no to a salary and benefits now’ and I just kind of got stuck. So, I said, ‘teaching is getting in the way of my fun life’. I just wanted to coach people on weight loss products, I want to be happy and I want to dance. That [realization] was what made my decision, so I cut out teaching because it was just not working for me. I thought, ‘I just can’t get passionate about this’. If I have to force myself to get up every morning and convince myself on the way to work, ‘Ok, this jobs isn’t so bad; I get home around 2:00 pm’, that’s not the way anybody should live. It was scary but I said ‘if I don’t do it now, when am I going to do it? Am I going to wait 10 years?’ Then, I’d feel like I would be really stuck."

How Did Your Friends and Family React to Your Change in Employment?

"I’ve had some interesting jobs, so people were like, ‘Oh, this is right up your alley!’ I did have a lot of support from everyone but it was a little tricky when I decided to leave my high school teaching job to take this on. That was where I met a little resistance from my family because my dad was a teacher, my mom always pushed it and my brother became a teacher… so it’s always been a pattern in my family."

What Else Do You Have Going On?

"I have a nutritional cleansing company, which I run from home and it’s actually my main source of income. It’s really big in the States now, so that’s really exciting. It’s wonderful because it goes hand-in-hand with Zumba. I feel as though it’s been a really good marriage between the two things and it’s something that I can offer my Zumba participants because most of them are coming because they want to loose weight or get in shape. It’s the perfect way to get your nutrition and your physical activity. It’s a shake-based product called Isagenix. I also work part-time as a Spanish interpreter. This is actually what I do have a master’s degree in. It’s funny because I never had a job offer before, but when I left my teaching job, I got three different companies calling me. I do it for several reasons; it gets me out of the house, it gives me a way to contribute back to the community and it keeps me mentally active."

What Direction You See Yourself Going In?

"Right now, it’s been awesome having the combination of everything because it never lets me get bored of one thing. In the same respect, I also struggle with ‘Ok, I’m doing all of these things, but am I doing any of them well enough?’ I’d have to say that I definitely see my nutritional cleansing business growing. With Zumba, I may get to the point, maybe a year or two, where I say I’m not going to be teaching anymore, but traveling and doing fundraising teaching."

What Advice Do You Have For Young Professionals?

"Don’t get stuck and don’t feel like you have to take the first thing that comes along. Do whatever speaks to you because it has to be something that you feel passionate enough about to wake yourself up in the morning and to go to work every day. Don’t get stuck in something just to pay your bills or just because your parents say you have to. Don’t ever stop dreaming; your dream when you were 7-years-old wasn’t to pay your bills. Don’t be afraid to dream and don’t get stuck. Follow your passion and don’t worry how it fits on a resume."

What Did You Want to Do/Be When You Were Little?

'When I was little, I used to dance all of the time. I used to dance for 13 years and I loved it but I gave it up to play sports in high school. I always say, that’s the only thing I regret in life. I wish I had kept doing it because I wanted to be a Knicks dancer, for the basketball team. That was always one of my dreams, as well as to dance in a rap video."

 

If you or someone you know is working at a job they love and would like to be featured on our blog, reach out to us at kevin@thenichemovement.com.

I Love My Job: Brandon McCollough

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IMG_7797 We are excited to introduce the I Love My Job campaign! Each month, we will feature a different professional who has found their niche. The Niche Movement's mission is to help young professionals discover what they're passionate about and to inspire them to find a career they love. 

Meet Brandon McCollough, founder and CEO of Generation Next in Washington, DC. Brandon, a New Jersey native, left his position at the National Society of Black Engineers in October, 2014 to launch his own company. Last month we had the opportunity to sit down with Brandon and pick his brain about his change in career and how he found his niche. 

Why Did You Become an Entrepreneur?

"I actually was just thinking about this a few weeks ago, so it’s funny you ask. Throughout my life, I’ve always had the ambition to do something on my own. It wasn’t necessarily that I wanted to become an entrepreneur; I just wanted to start my own thing. I was a little bit of a tech geek when I was younger. When I was in middle school, I remember a friend and I decided that we wanted to build our own video game. We drew out all of the characters and started to learn what it meant to build a video game. That’s what kind of drew me into the tech space. Then in college, when my friends and I would have events, I would be in charge of the operational aspect, bringing people together and building things out. Professionally, though, everything I’ve done has been in the space of community development. The job that I left was at the Society of Black Engineers and I kind of see my work here as a continuation of that. They were both community oriented in terms of creating a pipeline for talent and helping people find their passions."

What is Generation Next?

“We are a social enterprise that helps young Millennials in the DC area connect to job opportunities, advance their careers or launch their own businesses. That’s what we’re into, trying to help people find out what they’re great at and what they love. I would say our real birthday was last year in November. That is when I started doing this 9 to 5. Before that, we started with just a few folks who like to connect people and have events in their spare time. Now we are in the position to have two people full time and we’re looking to add some more team members."

Who is Your Demographic?

"Definitely Millennials, that’s our sweet spot, that’s the age range we’re targeting. We help folks that have two years of experience onto five to seven years of experience, so about 20-years old to 35-years-old is our sweet spot. They’re a whole range of folks in terms of backgrounds and industries. You know, we get a lot of people in DC from the Federal background that either want to transition into the private sector jobs or folks in the tech space. That’s kind of our niche within our niche because DC is a growing hub for technology."

What Has Been Your Biggest Success?

"Yeah, I’d have to say the Millennial Job Summit. It was our first big Generation Next Sponsored event. We were able to connect about 400 registrants to startups, businesses and Millennials who are looking for a job. We also had an entrepreneurial panel to give registrants information about starting their own thing. We got a lot of good feedback. Even though it was on a smaller scale, the registrants were able to make a lot of good connections whether it was finding co-founders for their own organizations or taking on new employees. It was great to play a role in the economic development of young folks, that’s what we’re all about, that’s the space where we’re trying to make a big impact."

What Advice Do You Have For Young Professionals?

"I like that this generation has come to embrace mistakes and failures and can learn from them. You can’t have people who are scared to try something different or try something new because that’s when the best things are created. Have the tenacity to put your ideas out there. Especially for the DC area, there are so many resources and Meetups or groups, you should always try to meet new people and make new connections. It’s really important in a “Who You Know” kind of city like DC. Don’t be afraid to go outside of your own expertise. I didn’t study computer software when I was in school, but I go to hack nights and code for progress events where they teach you how to create your own website from scratch. There are folks in there who’ve never written a line of code in their life, but they’re building websites better than people I know who when to college for it. Do something outside of the box because you might find something that you’re good at that you would’ve never known. Definitely get out there and meet new folks. Every week I try to set up coffee or lunch with three people that I’ve met. A lot of times you’ll go out to an event in DC and have this whole collection of cards but most people don’t follow up after that. If you don’t tap into that, what’s the purpose? By following up, you build a good personal brand and as long as you’re selling something dope, something that people understand, they’ll be your brand ambassadors."

What Are Your Favorite Places in DC?

"Aw man, well I’m a foodie so… I like a lot of places. I like the whole 14th street district because they have everything in there you could want within walking distance. There’s this place on 14th and T street called Tico that I really like and my favorite bar is down there too; it’s called Pearl Dive Oyster Palace. My favorite restaurant is Fogo de Chao which is a Brazilian steak house. They bring by every cut from filet mignon to sirloin and they just keep chopping, it’s awesome."

 

If you or someone you know is working at a job they love and would like to be featured on our blog, reach out to us at kevin@thenichemovement.com.

Episode 6 - Up's & Down's of Entrepreneurship - Part 1

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In this episode, I get real. This may be the most transparent set of episodes I will share in the beginning of this podcast series. Through the launch of my new book, I had a lot of stress, a lot of win's and a lot on my plate. I knew I needed some clarity and to re-focus before I hit a wall so I set up a call with my good friend and life coach, Stacy Campesi. Entrepreneurship is trying to learn not to get to high and not to low and that's exactly what Stacy helps me with. This is part 1 but tune into the next 2 episodes to see how Stacy helps me get clarity and reduces my stress all under an hour.

Contact Kevin: @koco83 kevin@thenichemovement.com

Contact Stacy: @stacycampesi stacy@slccoaching.net

Ask your questions: @nichemovement

Episodes every Tuesday (and sometimes Thursday).

Coming to iTunes & Sticher soon.