In our first Exchange Podcast, Kendra Alcala graciously shared her personal experience of straddling that line between gainful employment and pursuing her passion on the side. Kendra has two things that maker her a perfect fit for The Exchange: she’s a lifelong learner with a passion for helping others.
2 min: I originally wanted to be a vet but settled on becoming a vet tech. If you want to pursue a career but the time and money it takes to get there just doesn’t make sense logistically, it’s okay to do something else.
8 min: “Try anything, try everything, you don’t have to like it the first time. You can try something else.” Following through is more important!
9 min: Failure is okay. If I failed in high school, I didn’t get in trouble. Students have a fear of failing and they can really suffer from anxiety or start acting out as a result of the pressure. High school is a good time to make safe mistakes before true adulthood.
10 min: Be willing to be okay with being not okay. Imposter syndrome is real. Let’s just agree everyone won’t like you.
17 min: Pandemic gets me thinking about this idea of my own business. What could I possibly say that people would be interested in? Just a white girl from middle America. Finally I just thought to myself, “I won’t know until I try. What’s the worst that could happen? I could fail. Okay! I would rather live with a failure than live with never doing it.”
18 min: I went part-time at my job so I could pursue this and that helps it be more enjoyable because there’s less pressure. I can try this for a year and be passionate about it and not force it into a situation where it’s what I do for a living. I’m currently helping in higher ed settings with team conflict, group dynamics, understanding leaders vs managers, emotional intelligence, positive communication.
19 min: One of my top Strengths is Learner. So I research a lot and sometimes that holds me back. The Learner inside me says research things first. What are the markets? Who are my competitors? One day a week I dedicate only to research and getting my business off the ground.
21 min: Networking has been essential in getting new business. I have friends in all 50 states now basically through working in university student affairs for 10 years. So just reaching out to them and telling them what I want to be known for. Referrals are built into my contract so if they like what I do they will share that with others. Let people know what you’re trying to do! I also used to hire people like me. I used to hate it when people would cold call me, but if a friend reached out to me and referred someone I would totally trust that.
24 min: “I need to find people I want to work with. It’s not just people who want to work with me.” Instead of putting a thousand calls out and asking people to hire you, I have the luxury of making sure I want them as a client. I politely can say no but I know someone who might work better.
Find Kendra on Instagram @leadthrough or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.