It doesn't make any sense, but my BA in French Lit has everything to do with my becoming a yarn-making, crafty-biz-focused marketing teacher and writer. But, how?

my college campus

As I mentioned back in my first series about quitting my job (written nearly 3 years ago!), it goes back even further – I was a crafty kid, with an eye of doing something with those crafts. I sold friendship bracelets at church camp (and got caught, and got in trouble).

Nearly everyone I knew worked for themselves. My grandpa had a roofing business and my grams was the company accountant. My dad worked for himself as a contractor. My step-grandma built and ran a successful property management firm in southern California.

When I quizzed them (and anyone else who did something without a boss), everyone claimed that it was simple. You just start. And don't stop.  They learned a skill, and then instead of trying to find a boss to pay them to do it, they found clients + customers.

But I grew up smart and college-focused. I never considered learning a “trade” and starting my own business. I loved reading. I loved college. I wanted to hang out on campus with a big library and other smart people for the rest of my life. So, I know! I'll be a professor.

And I loved French. I loved the complex system of a language. I loved that it had a kind of logic, while being beautiful. I loved that there was a right and wrong way. Even better, my college's French program was heavily literature-focused. We read a French novel a week, I wrote 20 page research papers about the French Impressionist movement reflected in poetry and music.  It was Tara-heaven.

Those four years devoted to studying what I loved taught me I could devote myself to what I loved.

It's easy to say “Do what you love!” and “Follow your bliss!”
But it's another thing entirely to actually do it. For most people, it's completely out of their range of experiences. If you've spent the first half of your life doing what you're supposed to do, it's not easy to just snap out of it, it's not easy to try something crazy.

After studying French and surviving four years of everyone asking, “But what are you going to do with a French degree?” I was prepared. I was already weird.
I had already done my own thing. Although I didn't really think about when I was starting my business or quitting my job, that French degree had made me comfortable with risk, with being bold about the things I love.

And that's all it takes, one small bold step, one tiny proof that you can do it, that you can bring at least a little of what you love into your everyday…

and you start building your business, you begin to trust yourself and your passions.

What experience (no matter how tiny) prepared you to do more of what you love? What choice did you make that gave you the confidence to start your business?


PS. Why didn't I go on with my goal to be a French professor, go to grad school, etc? I student-taught one French class my senior year…and puked every day before the class. My nerves just couldn't take standing in front of a classroom of people.  I decided to take a year off…and in that year I found my first business-runnin' job – more on that in the next post.

4 Comments on The making of an entrepreneur – studying French

  1. pearhug studio
    April 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm (12 years ago)

    This whole post is just amazing! I’m at this crossroads right now. I even started a blog to capture my thought processes as I plan out this passion. Thanks for your article! 

  2. Kim Werker
    September 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm (12 years ago)

    I love your story so very much. (And I studied linguistics – have we ever talked about this? Granted, though I loved studying it, I still had no idea what I wanted to do after I graduated. 🙂