Where career indecisiveness can lead you
Some people can spend nearly a decade studying and switching degrees to still not find a fulfilling job. We’re at a time where over half of graduates are concerned about landing a career related job.
According to research by the Foundation for Young Australians, even when students do land their career job, most of these jobs will either disappear or be rerouted because of technology and the changing job landscape.
Entrepreneur Lisa Qi, was one of those students who just couldn’t decide on their career path.
“After seven years of study I had no idea what to do,” admits Lisa.
Throughout her studies at university Lisa grappled with her own indecisiveness. She chose to study commerce, because it was the standard. She then switched to psychology, persevered through a masters degree and landed a job in management consulting.
Like many entrepreneurs who start out working in the corporate world, there is always something missing. There are a number of different factors that can lead to that empty stomach feeling entrepreneurs have when they’re not pursuing their own dreams. These factors include, the lack of creativity and the lack of risk taking.
“Again, there was still something missing. I wanted to have something for myself and sometimes it felt like what I was doing lacked meaning and substance. That’s when I decided to pursue my own startup,” says Lisa.
“I was approaching 30 and I was like it’s now or never.”
While still working at her full-time corporate job, Lisa worked after hours on her new business venture: Share with Oscar. Her indecisiveness led her to work on her own idea and solve a problem that she was passionate about.
The idea for Share with Oscar had been stewing in Lisa’s mind for a long time. A few years back, Lisa was trying to find a parking spot a Bondi beach.
“I was literally driving around for over 40 minutes…driving up and down streets and trailing everyone to find a park near Bondi beach. I was so furious that I was ready to go home and the whole time I was thinking, ‘It’s not even worth it anymore,’” Lisa remembers.
“On a whim, I pulled up to a driveway, knocked on the door and asked [the resident] if I could park in his driveway for $20. He let me, and I thought it was fantastic.”
Surprised at how well her idea worked, Lisa began to tell all her friends to do the same if they couldn’t find a parking spot. Lisa admits this idea came to her even before the sharing economy market took off.
“This was before Airbnb and Uber were huge. It wasn’t until we heard about these sharing community businesses that we were like: ‘holy moly we can actually turn this into a business,’” recalls Lisa.
Last November, Share with Oscar was ready to pilot, and what better place to test than Bondi beach during summer? Lisa admits that it was easy to activate users at that time, but once summer died down, so did the demand.
Now, Share with Oscar is finding new markets to tap into by partnering with universities like UNSW, sports stadiums and food festivals like Burgerpalooza.
To date, Share with Oscar has had no marketing budget, and the startup has taken a bricks and mortar approach to its marketing strategy. In the beginning, Lisa and Louise would spend their entire weekend at Bondi handing out flyers to drivers and parking space owners.
“I don’t have a marketing background and I don’t know anything about the tools. There are so many tools and tactics out there that I could spend weeks researching and Googling, and still not know what’s best,” explains Lisa.
Because the Share with Oscar’s business model is based around user activation, the business needs to scale fast. To scale, Lisa acknowledges the team needs to ramp up their growth marketing efforts. In having no growth marketing skills, and not having the desire to go back to university, Lisa enrolled in the Academy Xi Growth Marketing course.
“Parking is not sexy, it’s not interesting and it’s not something anyone wants to read about. It’s very difficult to write engaging content for our customer demographic. It was interesting to learn about the different marketing techniques and what’s relevant for your business and what isn’t,” says Lisa.