I have lived a very diverse life. From a career in law enforcement, life as a designer, an actress and now a marketing professional, I can certainly say that I have had my fair amount of feeling less than qualified to do most of what I’ve set out to do, but I did it anyway. I guess I’ve somehow always had the feeling that outside of someone dying, what’s the worst that could happen to try?
My intention in high school was to become a writer. I used to spend hours reading and writing poetry; in fact, I wrote my first novel when I was 14. I’ve always had a love for words and languages. I distinctly remember my Dad telling me to go outside to play and get my nose out of books! I also loved homework and taking tests, yeah, I was that kinda dork. I have no idea at what point my focus shifted to criminal justice and wanting to become an attorney but somehow even that got derailed by my desire to join the FBI. After graduating college I joined the Army thinking that serving in the Military Police Corp would somehow help my chances of being recruited.
Fast forward a few years after doing my Army time, I found myself as a housewife with what seemed like way too much time on my hands, which I elected to fill with learning how to handcraft jewelry. I had no design skills whatsoever, I’ve never been one to draw or sketch anything and yet here I was making jewelry gifts for friends and family. Just one year later I was carting my wares to a boutique in south Florida and shortly after I started my jewelry business. I taught myself every aspect of how to run a small business; I was the designer, did all the marketing, built my first website, handled all sales and even studied photography so that I could take great jewelry photos. My small business did very well; I sold to several retail shops, online sites, boutiques, galleries and had a couple wholesale clients in Japan. At this point you’re wondering how on earth this could possibly segue to a career in marketing but keep your pants on, I’m getting to it.
I was not excluded from feeling the effects of the 2008 economic downturn and sure as [email protected]$% realized that I had to find a new source of income because jewelry sales were no longer so good. I was also shifting my focus to include more environmentally friendly components in my jewelry as well as incorporating more conscious choices in my overall lifestyle. I needed a way to align my new outlook with my business pursuits as well. I didn’t know what my next step would be but I did know that I couldn’t and wouldn’t stay complacent for long. I figured that until I found my next career or opportunity it couldn’t hurt to document what I was doing because maybe sharing my experience could help someone else and/or I could gain a sense of kinship with others traveling the same path.
A blog? What the heck is that? I didn’t completely understand “blogging” but it seemed like a good way to get my thoughts out there and to connect with others. I started with a blogger.com site, then a tumblr site, and a few other platforms until I found WordPress. By now I had taken what was my own personal journey and molded it into a community of like-minds, even giving it a name Modern Hippie Mag. With a little coaxing I got my then husband to start contributing content, he was a writer after all, along with a couple good friends; a local magazine editor/foodie and a holistic beauty expert. A recommendation from a friend led me to Chad, THE best graphic designer of all time and he offered to design our logo.
Before long I stumbled into the world of social media and “Holy eco-peeps Batman!”, I started getting content submissions from all over the world! Soon we had a slew of guest contributors and a core of contributing editors. The mag has been on hiatus for a little while but there are over 2500 articles, videos, product reviews and podcast interviews dedicated to promoting conscious living and environmental sustainability. With a little pride in my heart, I can honestly say that the mag and the community it garnered has been the best thing I have done to date.
Notice I said the mag produced videos; well inadvertently THAT is how I found my way to a career in marketing and multi-media production. We started by capturing video on a first generation iPhone and used free online video editing software, later engaging the help of a local videographer that we met while getting an impromptu interview with the Beach Boys! There’s a whole ‘nother article about the many synchronistic things that happened along that journey, but I digress.
Somehow our little videos caught the attention of a friend who was also a marketing professional and she asked if I would consider doing a video series for Selby Botanical Gardens and later a holiday promo series for Westfield Sarasota Square Mall. I learned that I loved being behind the camera just as much as I loved being an actress on camera. I had the support of several very talented videographers and they became my go-to guys for video and editing so that I could concentrate on script writing, producing and directing. The more work I did, the more confidence I gained to seek out bigger projects, even setting my sights on doing a short documentary for a charter school. This vignette is actually pretty good.
I am self taught in practically everything I have learned to date as a freelance writer, magazine editor, marketing professional, social media manager, producer and director. It is never my intention to try to be all things to all people in my business or personal pursuits but I am glad that I continually choose to push boundaries and try new things; I love the process and I genuinely appreciate learning and growing. I wholeheartedly believe that everything I have done to date has brought me to where I am now.
I didn’t even touch on the many setbacks and roadblocks that I have encountered along my way, that’s an entirely different story, but to tell you the truth, none of them make as much of an impression as all that I have accomplished. And even though I don’t relish living in my past, looking back helps me to see just how far I’ve come and I like the feeling I get when I do. This year I will celebrate my 43rd birthday and I can honestly say that I have never been as excited about my life as I am right now. Modern Hippie Mag is being reborn, I just launched my new media consulting website, JaszyMcAllister.com and I’m looking forward to sharing inspiring stories and marketing tidbits in my blog Jaszy Bits.
Do you feel like your life and career are at an impasse? Are there things you’ve been thinking about trying but don’t feel qualified to do? Whatever is it that you are contemplating, if you do it anyway, what’s the worst that could happen?
Jaszy beach photo courtesy ShaunGreenspan.com.
Jaszy McAllister is a freelance writer and media consultant. She offers assistance with creating brand identity, marketing, multi-media production, social media management, and web design. Additionally, Jaszy is an actress and avid Latin dancer. When not working, which is rare, she enjoys fresh sushi, good pizza, live music and sci-fi movies. Get social with her on facebook and twitter @MsJaszy.
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