Trying to figure out what you want to do with your life can be difficult, particularly if you feel like you can’t find a job that’s the right fit for you. Most of us have some idea of what our dream job would be, but for others, no job exists yet that would allow them to do what they want to do with their lives—so they create a career for themselves instead! These five successful ladies created awesome jobs for themselves after they graduated from college, and their inspirational stories might just encourage you to do the same.
1. Vivian Nunez, Founder of Too Damn Young
When Vivian Nunez was 10 years old, her mother passed away. About a decade later, her grandmother passed away during her senior year of college. When her mother passed, Vivian was young enough to grieve without being expected to “bounce back.” However, when Vivian’s grandmother passed away, the 21-year-old was expected to make decisions and be strong almost immediately. It was after her grandmother’s death that Vivian came up with the idea for the website she founded, Too Damn Young. After she graduated from Baruch College in 2014, Vivian wanted to find a way to give others going through the grieving process a community to belong to, where they felt understood and could share their stories. “Too Damn Young at its best serves as a touchpoint for anyone who has lost someone they love,” Vivian says. “It walks you through how everyone grieves in their own way while approaching topics (like dating or friendships) in an honest way. It creates a space where you can openly discuss what it’s like to grieve without feeling like someone is imposing a timetable on you.”
2. Susan Gregg Koger, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of ModCloth
Susan Gregg Koger co-founded ModCloth in 2002, back before she had any experience in retail or any connections in the realm of fashion. She founded the company in college with her then boyfriend’s help (they’re married now!). The company started off as an online shop where she could sell the awesome vintage clothing that she found while thrifting. Since then, ModCloth has evolved into “one of the fastest-growing fashion and home ecommerce ventures to emerge in the past decade,” according to Mashable. The business that began in the basement of Susan’s college house at Carnegie Mellon now has more than 450 full-time employees, and she and her husband have been named among Forbes’ “30 Under 30”.
3. Elyssa Goodman, Founder of Miss Manhattan
When Elyssa Goodman graduated from Carnegie Mellon in 2010, she knew that she belonged in New York City. However, she got laid off from her “real job” about six months after she moved to Manhattan and knew she needed to figure out a way to earn an income. “I applied for countless jobs but nothing worked out,” she says. “I realized I needed to pay my rent, so I thought about what my skills were—writing, photography, social media—and became an independent contractor.” Elyssa founded Miss Manhattan, where she “blogs about her experiences in the 212 and beyond, learning not only about the city but about herself.” She is also the host and curator of the Miss Manhattan Non-Fiction Writing Series. Elyssa works as a freelance writer, photographer and social media consultant, and has been featured in publications like Glamour, Paper, Bust, The New Yorker, Time Out New York, and more. She works independently with a clientele including Marie Claire, New York Magazine, nerve.com, YourTango.com and many more. She manages and develops social media outlets in addition to writing and photographing, and she’s her own boss!
4. Colie Lumbreras, Founder of The Curse of Gluten & Soon-to-Be Owner of Callie’s Cupcakery
Two and a half years ago, University of Iowa graduate Colie Lumbreras was diagnosed with celiac disease. Colie, obsessed with baking but now limited to gluten-free and dairy-free recipes, founded The Curse of Gluten, a blog full of delicious and manageable gluten-free recipes as well as humorous accounts of Colie’s gluten-free lifestyle. A year later, Colie’s boyfriend suggested that the two of them open up their own cupcake shop. “He’s a business guy, and I’m in the social media/digital marketing field and love to bake,” Colie says. “Between the two of us, we figured we could start our own business. And what better than cupcakes!” The two of them found a cost-effective way to begin selling and spreading the word about their products: farmers markets. “I was looking for a new day job and I couldn’t quite find anything that I just loved,” Colie says. “I decided it’s time. It’s time to stop only testing recipes. It’s time to incorporate my business and find out how to start my shop.” Beginning in summer 2015, it will be official: Colie and her boyfriend will begin selling Callie’s Cupcakery cupcakes at farmers markets in Illinois! In a few years, they hope to buy a storefront.
5. Molly Ford, Founder of Smart, Pretty & Awkward
Molly Ford founded the website Smart, Pretty & Awkward after earning an undergraduate degree in finance and entrepreneurship at Northeastern University, and a master’s degree in international marketing at Boston University. The website has three main goals, as Molly explained them to Her Campus: “How to be smarter, how to be prettier and how to be (less) awkward.” The website has been featured on Forbes, InStyle UK and Redbook. Molly says the best part of her job is the Internet. “I think it’s so fascinating to have the connections and opportunities that come from the web, whether it’s connecting fans to brands they love or starting a blog,” she says. Molly loves her readers so much that she even hosted a five year anniversary party for Smart, Pretty & Awkward in December 2013 in New York City, where she got to meet tons of her dedicated readers.
Amelia Earhart said it best: “The woman who can create her own job is the woman who will win fame and fortune.” If you can’t seem to find a job that feels like the right fit for you, and if these women’s stories got your heart pounding with excitement, then creating your own career might be the best choice for you!