I always wanted to be an actor. From the time I saw my first musical at the local middle school to the time I graduated college with my degree in drama, the thrill of performance was one I wanted to make a mainstay in my life.
But a career in professional theater was far more than performance. It was spending hours, often entire days, in long lines waiting to be seen for auditions. It was living with the constant anxiety of the job search, even while on a job. It was negotiating personal priorities and financial stability for the opportunity to continue “living the dream”.
It was a lifestyle in which I struggled to find sustainable joy, paired with a passion I didn’t want to give up.
While navigating through those early career realities, I began blogging, in the hopes that a public account of my impossibly audacious dreams might find grounding in a more sustainable day-to-day reality. More specifically, I focused on the financials, turning to money as a tangible tool to master some control over a life that had started to feel entirely out of my own hands.
And it worked. Even while running from auditions to babysitting gigs, I started to gain a sense of empowerment by taking responsibility for my finances and reclaiming ownership of my story.
I found that my passion for performance didn’t have to be limited to a stage and script. I could enjoy that same thrill of storytelling on my blog, where I’d found an eager audience of like-minded millennials, struggling to assert their independence in a difficult economic climate, without sacrificing their respective passionate pursuits. I had stopped waiting for directors and producers to hand me the opportunity to reach an audience, and started building my own.
Four years later, my reality is greater than anything I’d ever imagined. It turns out my impossibly audacious dreams weren’t nearly big enough. Even my star-struck middle school self, falling in love with musical theater for the very first time, could not have begun to grasp the immense joy I’d find channeling my passion for performance into entrepreneurship. Not choosing one over the other, but rather, creating my own opportunities to do both on my own terms.
Entrepreneurship empowered me to stop following my passion and create the opportunity for my passion to follow me.
Earlier this month, it was to Egypt, where I spent ten days performing and sightseeing. Last month, it was to California, where I spoke to various business leaders about growing their reach in the millennial market. And in January, it was on national television, where I debated the leading financial stressors for young people with one of Fox Business’ leading anchors. Next month, who knows? But I’m excited!
And I’m even more excited to be coming to Jacksonville this June to partake in the Teenpreneur conference! I find that too often, especially as teens, we’re asked what we want to be when we grow up, but it’s such a limiting question.
Let’s not force ourselves to choose what we want to be, but instead, use entrepreneurship as a tool to become all that we can be – whether it’s an actor, author, entrepreneur, finance expert hybrid, or something else entirely.
I look forward to seeing you there!
Dedicated to helping young adults achieve financial greatness, Stefanie has been nicknamed the Mindy Kaling of personal finance by The Greenwich Time. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Yahoo!Finance, The Dr. Oz Show, Fox News and ABC World News. She also works with universities, leading financial institutions and Fortune 500 companies, sharing her fresh and timely advice with their audiences.