Cristina Guglielmo-Maggetti and Gina Haresco - Two Amazing Bloggers, Marketing Mavens, and Magic Makers
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What is your side-Gig? What made you decide to do a side-Gig? How long have you been doing it?

A Dream Is A Wish Our Blog Makes, is a lifestyle blog about Experiencing the Magic of Disney in our Everyday Lives. We started this venture on March 2, 2018. We can be exact with the date because we had arranged to meet for coffee in order to get to know each other better after carpooling our boys to sports for the last several months.

We sat down and saw that we were each wearing Disneyland t-shirts that were collectibles from years back. A spark was ignited, and we immediately started talking about our love of Disney and all the positive ways it has brought magic into our daily lives. We realized we had a unique blend of experiences that were also complementary. At first, we joked that we should create a blog since the two of us were the go-to people for our family, friends, and acquaintances when planning a trip to the Disneyland Resort or wanting to bring Disney into their home. A couple of lattes later, we decided we should go for it.

On some scrap paper, we started to scribble out our business plan. Cristina had the inside Disney knowledge and connections from her Disney College program days and her thirteen-year career at the Disneyland Resort in management positions such as Hotels, Main Entrance, Guest Relations, Attractions, and Special Events. Gina had the Marketing, Branding, and Strategic Planning experience along with Graphic and Web Design background, which she worked for corporations, universities, non-profits, and small businesses- with a focus on helping women who were just getting started on a new career.

On July 17, 2019, the website was launched. It had taken us a year and four months to get it imagined, designed, and built. It was a long process, but we love what we have created.

What did you study in college? How did this inform your career path and/or your side-Gig?

Our backgrounds have given us the perfect combination of knowledge and skills needed for the venture we have created. Between the two of us, we are capable of producing every aspect that is required to make the kind of blog and brand we imagineered.

Cristina brings that special Disney magic with her. She earned her degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management and participated in both the Disney World and Disneyland College programs. She went on to have a thirteen year career at the Disneyland Resort, holding management positions in Hotels, Main Entrance, Guest Relations, Attractions, such as the opening manager of the Haunted Mansion Holiday and FastPass throughout the Resort, and Special Events, which include the movie premieres for Pirates of the Caribbean and Miley Cyrus’s 16th Birthday, to name a few. She also has social media production and design experience from managing Social Media for her family's winery.

Gina brings the vision, design, and strategic planning. She started her career in Cosmetology then went straight into the fashion industry working with designers, photographers, and beauty industry corporations creating and planning seasonal looks. Eventually, she went back to school for design, specializing in branding, graphic, and web design. She started her own consulting business as a Marketing and Branding Specialist, helping corporations, universities, non-profits, and small businesses achieve success by making their mark in their industry. She is also a writer for YA historical fiction and fantasy and now the blog.

What is the best part about doing a side-Gig?

The best part of our blog is being able to work together. We both feel very fortunate to be able to do this job with a person who is just as passionate and feels the same way about the magic of Disney as we do. It has been a joy for us to brainstorm as kindred spirits and know that together, we become even bigger dreamers. We also feel there is no reason to say no to any of our ideas.

Our philosophy is that we should try it first then learn from our attempts and successes. Our partnership has provided a positive and creative outlet, which has created an overall fantastic experience. We have only just started, but we both know we want the same things for our future. Having a partnership that offers that level of support has been lovely.

What was the hardest part about starting a side-Gig? How would you advise others to address this?

The hours of work it takes to get those fantastic ideas off the ground. There are never enough hours in the day, or in our case, at night. In the months leading up to our launch, we were texting way past midnight to get our launch list completed. We were often the last person we said goodnight to, and the first we would say good morning to. And surprisingly, we were able to do it with a smile, a good sense of humor, and that coffee that brought us together.

The best advice we can give is to research and organize as much as you can, then lay out a structured plan with deadlines. The deadlines are very important if you are serious about getting the dream to become a reality. We were able to stay on track by breaking up the entire project into sections, which makes the process as a whole less daunting. We then created lists within those sections and divided them up between us- whistling while we worked.

Many times, we ran into issues or a steep learning curve that threatened the schedule. That being said, we did not see that as a defeat but as a learning experience to get a real understanding of what it will take. We have found that kind of knowledge is key in creating a better product, gaining a work-life balance, and strategizing going forward. We have given ourselves the freedom to readjust and try again, which has allowed for all upcoming ‘next times’ to be more productive and on time.

How have you leveraged social media and the web to grow your side-Gig?

Our entire business is centered around the web and social media. It is the very medium in which we work. For us, the question of leveraging physical products, classes, and presence is the tricky part and one we hope to achieve one day for the business.

Many people start a side-Gig to reach financial freedom. Is doing a side-Gig profitable?: The blog is something we hope to gain financial freedom with, but we also know it takes time. Researching how others make a profit and how long it took to reach such success has given us a realistic timeframe to work with and strategize over. We have a clear understanding of the steps that need to happen before we can start becoming profitable. This October will mark us being up and running for three months.

Our social media followers are increasing steadily, we are gaining new email subscribers with every post, and we have been approved for ad and affiliate marketing programs within our first month to start earning. For us, we, of course, would like it to be faster, but our priorities are about quality, consistency, and long-lasting. We would rather be slow to grow if that means our venture will blossom into something strong, lasting, and truly magical.

How do you balance your side-Gig with your personal life (family, vacations, leisure-time, etc.)?

This has been the one component we have struggled with the most and are still learning how to balance. In fact, at the end of this month, we have our calendars marked for a discussion to see where we are and how our personal lives are doing while trying to make the goals we set for ourselves. Family is our top priority, and we agreed at the very beginning that it would not take a backseat to this venture.

Unfortunately, it has on several occasions. The way we have managed it so far is by taking turns with the workload. For us, this is not ideal, and we want both of us to have the same amount of time with family every month. We will say, a surprising and charming effect of this process has come about with our kids. They are now joining us when we are creating posts. They are all older and have very busy lives, so it has been great discovering a new way they want to spend time together.

Going forward, we will continue to work on achieving that balance, even if that means cutting back our number of posts, rearrange the type of posts based on the length of time it takes to produce, or divide tasks such as one writes and the other builds the page online. The most important thing, in the end, is our mutual agreement that the unbalance is not going to make us give up on this dream, and this dream is not going to make us disappear from our families. We are determined to strike that magical balance.

What is your goal in the next 5-10 years?

Our goals for the next 5-10 years is to be up and running and profitable. We would love to have a product line, classes, and be influencers for Disney on some level. We know it sounds simplistic, but this entire venture was started to create a job for ourselves that allowed flexibility around our families about something we love to experience with our families. If we can achieve that, then we can call it a success.

You can reach both Christina and Gina at:

via email: info@adreamisawishourblogmakes.com

Their amazing website: A Dream Is A Wish Our Blog Makes

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Colegas Group
Shereen Sabet - Academic, Entrepreneur and Public Speaker
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Today we are very happy to introduce Shereen Sabet, a successful academic, entrepreneur & business owner, and public speaker. She exemplifies everything we mean by the term Collegiate Gigster.

What is your side-Gig? What made you decide to do a side-Gig? How long have you been doing it?

It's hard to know now which is the side-Gig--my college teaching or my private business. I trained as a scientist, receiving my PhD in Immunology from UCLA. I fully expected to have a typical academic career--do a postdoc after graduate school, then become a tenure-track professor undertaking teaching and scientific research. However, that didn't happen.

During my second postdoc, I established my own brand of modest/full-coverage swimwear at the encouragement of a retired businessman. I have no formal training as a designer, in apparel manufacturing, or in business; but I was naive enough to take on this 'project', which quickly became a full-fledged business endeavor. I decided to establish Splashgear thirteen years ago--one of only four brands in the world at that time--because of my own personal needs and after recognizing that I was not alone.

I became an observant practicing Muslim woman, which meant that at some point I decided to voluntarily abide by the Islamic modest dress code, a requirement of both men and women of the faith. I was already a certified scuba diver and realized, after choosing to dress more modestly, that I now faced a conundrum: how could I practice scuba diving, or any other water recreation, while being fully covered?

I wondered how other modest-dressing Muslim women participated in water activities and discovered that that they didn't precisely because there were no modest swimwear options available for them. After contacting a couple of different mainstream swimwear companies and getting negative responses, I realized that I had to create a modest, Islamically-compliant swimwear line myself.

I had worked full-time as an assistant professor at a private college, but that very suddenly ended due to the political climate there. I am geographically restricted and was not able to secure a full-time, tenure-track position at the local universities in a very competitive market. So, instead, I fell back on teaching as a temp (which is less than part-time). At this point, I am not really sure which is the side-Gig: my company or my teaching.

What did you study in college? How did this inform your career path and/or your side-Gig?

I majored in Biological Sciences at UCI because I wanted to grow up and be a veterinarian. That changed after taking several biology courses. I became utterly fascinated by science and decided that I wanted to instead become a biologist. I went on to be a lab assistant in two UCI labs before entering a UCLA PhD program in the Microbiology & Immunology department.

After I received my PhD in immunology, I carried out postdoctoral research work in a marine virology lab at UCI (Dr. Sunny Jiang's lab) and then in a hypersaline microbial ecology lab at CSULB (Dr. Dillon's lab). It was in between my first and second postdocs that I began thinking about establishing my own brand of modest/full-coverage swimwear based on personal experiences, and it was during my second postdoc at CSULB that Splashgear was born.

My scientific background could not prepare me in the least to run a business; but my analytical and scientific skills did help me to design a very thoughtful swimwear line, the features of which have been appreciated by customers as they have shared their feedback with me. My scientific skill set is what helped me to technically design a swimsuit that is modest both in and out of the water and is safe.

I knew that I would need to test my line to ensure that claims made were true. One of the characteristics that sets Splashgear apart from other brands is that I tested each garment in a pool before it was put on the market and that the line has safety, performance, and convenience features built-in. I credit my scientific training for helping me produce a technically superior modest swimwear line.

What is the best part about doing a side-Gig?

The customers. I am always tickled pink every single time I meet a customer or talk to one on the phone who shares her positive Splashgear swimwear experiences with me. Oftentimes, the swimsuit has literally changed their life! The only reason that I struggled so much to establish and maintain this company--the only reason all of my hard work, tears, and sweat even happened--is because of the customers. They really need and want Splashgear swimwear and they are the only reason that this company, or side-Gig, even exists.

What was the hardest part about starting a side-Gig? How would you advise others to address this?
There were a lot of challenges for me when starting up Splashgear because I had absolutely no business or website development experience or knowledge. The very first and most basic challenge was a practical one and that was setting up a website. I had no programming skills at all and I knew nothing about building a website. I had to figure out the details of setting up and troubleshooting an e-commerce website using computer programming. Keep in mind that these were the days before such user-friendly interfaces like Wix, Volusion, and Shopify.

The other challenges were finding factories to manufacture the line. Having no formal training or knowledge about sewing garments, I learned 'on-the-job' basics from those in the industry including patternmakers, fabric suppliers, and sewing contractors. My classroom was literally the factory floor or a patternmaker's office. Some advice I would give to someone starting out on a side-Gig is to do thorough research and educate yourself on the field you want to side-Gig in. Take your time to prepare yourself to maximize your success, or at least your comfort. Seek out others who have expertise in the side-Gig you are interested in and learn from their successes and failures in order to avoid pitfalls, as much as possible.

How have you leveraged social media and the web to grow your side-Gig?

Not as much or as well as I should have been. In the beginning--way back in the earlier days of internet search and e-commerce--I saw how SEO (and more specifically, the Google search engine) was driving traffic to the Splashgear website; but then Google changed its algorithm over time and I wasn't able to keep up. I was working full-time, and keep in mind that modern social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, didn't even exist then.

Getting on board the social media wagon when it arrived was very challenging due to a) lack of time (did I mention I was working full-time as a college professor?) and b) a lack of understanding about how to effectively use these new social media tools. Now that I have a better understanding of how to use social media, I am viewing it in a different perspective and stressing out about it much less than I did before.

Now I am viewing social media really more as a hobby where I can finally get out and do photography like I had wanted to earlier in my life, and share information with others that is still relevant to the Splashgear mission; but it's not about a 'hard sell', instead it will be more about "hey, check this out, isn't it cool?!" So, I aim to have fun with social media for my business while focusing on SEO and other related functions to drive sales, including blog articles and e-newsletters.

In the end, though, business experts still recommend a monthly spending budget for online advertising. So, at the end of the day, it looks like we are back to where we began pre-social media, and that is paid advertising, which is still necessary even in the age of free social media.

Many people start a side-Gig to reach financial freedom. Is doing a side-Gig profitable?

Splashgear was indeed quite profitable in the beginning and I was pretty amazed at how much so with little effort; however, I did not go full-time with my side-Gig, so, it lost profitability. Profitability really depends on the type of side-Gig one is undertaking and requires very low overhead in order to be financially successful.

In the end, Splashgear really wasn't a side-Gig, or should never have been treated as such. It is a full-fledged business enterprise of its own and really deserved to be treated that way. So, one has to choose very carefully what side-Gig to do. Driving Uber or Lyft for a living is not a side-Gig. Manufacturing anything is not a side-Gig. By definition, a side-Gig is a job that supplements one's main income, but oftentimes, people begin a side-Gig hoping and thinking it will become the main source of income. If that is the case, then they really ought to give it the full attention that a revenue-generating project requires.

How do you balance your side-Gig with your personal life (family, vacations, leisure-time, etc.)?

It's not easy, but I will admit that life is definitely better when not working a full-time year-round job. On the one hand, Splashgear-related activities can occur on the weekends, which are typically reserved for family or leisure time. On the other hand, I don't answer to anyone else, so, I have more flexibility and less stress (or different stresses).

Furthermore, I have been planning new preps for college courses over the past 5 years, so, I have had to invest quite a bit of time with my teaching. I don't think I have found an actual balance, yet, between my side-Gig and my personal life. As they say, it's still a work in progress. *wink*

What is your goal in the next 5-10 years?

Well, what I would really like to do is teach college courses on a regular basis every Fall term and manage Splashgear the rest of the year. That would allow me to carry out both passions since I do enjoy teaching and sharing knowledge, helping to prepare the next generation of medical professionals and scientists through teaching; while at the same time serving women's full-coverage swimwear needs, which may be a relatively small niche, but it does exist and does need someone to provide a broader swimwear option than what is currently available on the market.

I would be thrilled if I could establish my dream lifestyle of teaching in the fall while running Splashgear in the spring and summer. My specific goal for Splashgear within the next 5-10 years is to have the swimwear line offered in sporting goods retail stores. Splashgear pioneered the modest swimwear category at the largest online retailer, swimoutlet.com, which has carried the line for the past twelve years; but I also envision the Splashgear swimwear line in sporting goods stores like REI, Dick's Sporting Goods, etc, as I think it is a very fitting product that aligns well with those stores.

For more information about Shereen Sabet and her company, see below:

Email:
shereen.sabet@splashgearusa.com

Website:
www.splashgearusa.com

Colegas Group
Edward Valenzuela - Videographer, Business-owner, Student
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Meet Edward Valenzuela, a very talented videographer who has been assisting us with our video production. We were very impressed with his insightful videography skills, but he also let us know that he runs a successful side business …and he’s a college student! This makes him a future collegiate gigster. We are very happy to feature him on our website and in our newsletter this month.

What is your side-Gig? What made you decide to do a side-Gig? How long have you been doing it?

My "side gig" is called the Last 1 Standing, where we offer a Hunger Games like experience combined with the greatest game of ultimate tag and flag football. What made me decide to to my start up company was because of my business partner. His name is Moses Cheverria, and he is one of the most ambitious persons I've met so far. He honestly makes the best of his life, and I follow the same model as he does. We plan to host our event at the Irvine Great Park on August 23rd, 2019.

What did you study in college? How did this inform your career path and/or your side-Gig?

I am currently a college student in my 3rd year at Santiago Canyon College, where I study filming, and hope to pursue Film Directing. Doing a start up company helps me grow as a person, and professionally it pushes me into a new category of skills that I have under my belt. I also do Videography work for Santiago Canyon College, and having those advertising skills helps me to promote my company.

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What is the best part about doing a side-Gig?

The best part about building your own start-up company is the fact that you have full control over how to run your company at first. With that, I have learned a whole variety of new skills that I never thought I would know such as computer coding, branding, wed design, etc.

What was the hardest part about starting a side-Gig? How would you advise others to address this?

The hardest part about my company is the advertising and making sure that people come to your events. Getting people to get out there when you're not a known company can become nerve-racking.

How have you leveraged social media and the web to grow your side-Gig?

With the advancement of technology and social media, I have come to realize that it truly helps a company advance and grow. I personally try to stay away from social media as much as possible, but for my company my ideals had to change quickly. Getting your company a social media page, benefits you in so many ways and it's just necessary to have one in today's world.

Many people start a side-Gig to reach financial freedom. Is doing a side-Gig profitable?

So far it seems to be profitable from my perspective and I have high hopes for the company. The more awareness I acquire and the more I work to make my company stronger, the more success I seem to have.

How do you balance your side-Gig with your personal life (family, vacations, leisure-time, etc.)?

Having a company to work on the side does intervene in your personal life. I'm currently only in the beginning stages, and I know that in the future I will take more time to spend with my family and have more personal time as well.

What is your goal in the next 5-10 years?

In the next 5 to 10 years I do hope to build on my start up company and make a comfortable income. I also hope to help my family, and hopefully make a difference for others in the world through positive messaging.

To contact Edward or connect with him online:

Email:
eddiecrow98@yahoo.com

Website:
last1standing.net

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Colegas Group2019
Evelyn Gutierrez - Elementary School Teacher & Tutor
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Meet EveLyn Gutierrez, elementary school teacher and tutor. At Colégas we are all about education and passing on knowledge to the next generation. Ms. Gutierrez brings her passion and enthusiasm for learning to her second grade classroom everyday and also to children’s homes through her tutoring business.

What kind of work do you do? Do you also have a side-Gig? If not, do you have any hobbies or other activities you wouldn’t mind developing into a paid Gig?

I'm a second grade educator at a private school, and I have been teaching students for the past 8 years. I have a business called Tutors on the Road, where I tutor at the student's house. Tutoring at the student’s home is more convenient for parents than tutoring off-site. I started tutoring kids in 2005 and I love helping and teaching children.

What did you study in college? What did you enjoy the most about your chosen course of study?

I studied education at Miami Dade College. I enjoyed gaining knowledge and learning strategies to help children in the future. In addition, I learned American Sign Language because I wanted to teach and help the deaf and hard of hearing community as well.

How does your education help you in the work that you do today?

As a professional teacher, education and strategies have helped me grow as an educator. The knowledge of how to teach a student and take into consideration their emotional, cognitive, and physical changes are important to me. I want to be a role model for my students and help them be successful in the future.

Would you also consider returning to school to learn something new? If so, what would that be?

I want to go back to school to learn about speech therapy because my goal is to become a speech therapist. As a child, I struggled in reading and speaking to others because of my speech impairment and I would like to give hope to other students that have this same issue.

What resources could a site like Colégas provide that would help you achieve your goals?

The resources that Colégas can provide for me is to help me become a successful educator and make my education dreams come true. Colégas will guide me to the right direction in becoming the best professional individual that I can be in life. I believe that you can reach any goal, when you put your mind to it.

Do you have any advice or professional strategies you could share with our readers?

The best advice that I can provide professional people is never to give up on their dreams. Successful individuals are the people that strive to become the best in what he or she is passionate about in life. Being a teacher is not a job, it's a reward that becomes your ever-lasting treasure.

To learn more about Evelyn Gutierrez:

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Colegas Group2019
LaQuisha Beckum - Edupreneur & Author
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Meet LaQuisha Beckum - Educator, Entrepreneur (or as she prefers, Edupreneur) and Author. LaQuisha and Marie crossed paths on Linked In and have been supporting each other in their entrepreneurial goals by sharing resources and insights.

What kind of work do you do? Do you also have a side-Gig? If not, do you have any hobbies or other activities you wouldn’t mind developing into a paid Gig?

I work as an adjunct at a local community college, and I have been doing this work for over 12 years. Being an adjunct opened my eyes to the amount of gray that comes along with working in higher education. It's been difficult working within the gray areas, so I decided to create something of my own. I co-founded a non-profit (Generation Reformation) to serve the community in which I grew up, to provide an after school program to local kids that focuses on increasing literacy, and we also hold holiday giveaways in the community as well. More recently, I created an online school, A World of Tomorrow, that's centered on cultural competency, inclusion, equity, and engagement. Although I'm largely promoting to teachers, everyone should attend the online course. It's designed to be a 4-week course where we can create community, and learn from one another. In five steps, course takers who are truly looking for self-transformation, will learn a lot about themselves, and learn to recognize that others have similar patterns of thought, interactions, and behaviors.

I set out to work as a researcher. I enjoy technical writing, because it's clear and straight to the point. I'm a contributing author for a social psychology textbook, "Real-world Occurrences in Social Psychology". So, I never thought I would be a creative writer, but in the last 4 months I have self-published two books on Amazon through kindle direct publishing (KDP). The first book is a short anthology of dreams I've had over the years, and my interpretation of what they meant and what was happening in my life. It's a coffee table book, but very much written as a reflective process. I also provide tips for the reader if they'd like to give interpreting a try. The second book is a children's book I wrote in 2007. I always wanted to self-publish, but it wasn't as easy back then as it is now. It's about a little girl whose difference are very apparent to her peers, and so she has to figure out how she's going to cope with being different. It's also loosely based off some of the difficulties my daughter was having in second grade, because she was different. I am having a lot fun creating works of art, and plan to publish 1-2 more books by the end of the year.

Hobbies...I enjoy making tutus! It's more of a hobby than something I make money from, although we do have a facebook page (@2tubydesign) in case anyone would like a tutu. They're made to order, by hand, so it's the client's one of a kind tutu.

What did you study in college? What did you enjoy the most about your chosen course of study?

I studied psychology and sociology as an undergrad, after changing my major 5 times. I went on to study experimental psychology in grad school, then went on to a post master's program for a specialization in education (Ed.S.). Unlike other degrees, I find psychology and education (because I instruct in higher ed) to be direct in that I can use information from both fields of study in the classroom and outside the classroom. As an undergrad, I was raising my first son, so developmental psychology was extremely helpful as a young mother. I also appreciate that I have a broad range of choices having a background in psychology. I could've gone into marketing, business (I/O psychology), counseling, research (which I did coming out of college), etc.

How does your education help you in the work that you do today?

Today in the creation of an online business, my education has taught me the importance of professional development, student-centered approaches to classroom learning, and the necessity of life-long growth. I've learned a lot about teaching and learning, but I also think the education I received through working at the college level has been monumental. I was allowed to (often called on to) collaborate with other faculty and staff, create programs and see them come to fruition, take on leadership roles outside of the classroom with students, faculty and staff, and so many other rich experiences. These have all provided me the know-how to create programs for a non-profit I co-founded. Not only do I want to help educators with professional development, but helping the youth increase their literacy is monumental to the work I am doing.

When it comes to being an author, I think learning how to write concise and clear during my time as a student has helped me tremendously. Although the writing required of writing research-based articles is vastly different than the creative writing process, knowing I could write made it easy for me to switch hats to write more creatively.

Would you also consider returning to school to learn something new? If so, what would that be?

Well, it's not necessarily new, but I'd like to major in chemistry. I was a chem major before changing to psychology, and I find it fascinating! As a psychologist with a background in chemistry, it's fun discussing how chemicals can effect our brain and behavior. I don't get the chance to go in-depth, but it's always a fun time for me and students. Outside of the fact that I like chemistry, I suppose I'm looking to validate myself. I felt overwhelmed when I was younger and in this major. It wasn't the major that overwhelmed me, but life. Having to work full-time, take care of a child's needs full-time, I didn't know how to balance the amount of work I needed to put in to the major while handling life. I feel I'm more equipped with time, and the means to make this happen today.

What resources could a site like Colégas provide that would help you achieve your goals?

I'd like to learn how to better gain traction among the educational-sphere. I have ideas, and I use facebook, linkedin, and twitter to reach people, but perhaps going to the local school districts or the principals of different schools? I just need some help getting others to know and trust me as a new business owner.

Do you have any advice or professional strategies you could share with our readers?

Creating a business, having ideas that you want to share with others, and becoming comfortable being the face of a brand is hard work. It's certainly worth it, however, to do the work you love to do. Don't ever worry about it being too late, because it's never truly is. It just matters that it's something that's on your heart that you feel you can provide to others, especially if it's something you wished you would've had early in your career. Make it happen!

To learn more about LaQuisha Beckum:

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Colegas Group2019
Dr. Nona Djavid - Founder of SoulScale, Author and Women's Rights Advocate
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Meet Dr. Nona Djavid, a successful entrepreneur who founded her own practice, SoulScale, that also manages to do quite a bit of good in the world. Not only is she an inspiration to so many people, but she also exemplifies the Collegiate Gigster.

What kind of work do you do? Do you also have a side-Gig? If not, do you have any hobbies or other activities you wouldn’t mind developing into a paid Gig?

I am the founder of SoulScale - a weight loss company with a purpose. We help people lose 2-5 lbs each week with our physician monitored program. We also donate $1 for every pound lost on our program to an orphanage to help kids. in 2018 alone, we donated over $4000 to orphanages around the world.

I am also a mother, an author, and an advocate for women's rights. I am passionate about natural birth when possible and love speaking on informed consent around birth.

What did you study in college? What did you enjoy the most about your chosen course of study?

I studied Molecular & Cellular Biology with an emphasis in Neurology at UC Berkeley with a minor in Philosophy. I have my doctorate of chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic College. I loved learning healthier alternatives to western medicine and am forever grateful to be able to have it in my back pocket for family, friends, and or anyone I can help.

How does your education help you in the work that you do today?

I had a private chiropractic practice for over a decade that focused on prenatal and pediatric care. This was instrumental in the foundation and passion I have for natural birth process and advocating for it. As a part of my chiropractic education, I have an immense passion and knowledge in nutrition and weight loss with has helped in creating my weight loss company- SoulScale.

Would you also consider returning to school to learn something new? If so, what would that be?

I have always said, I would continue to go to school if I could get paid for it! I love learning about philosophy, the human body, and/or anything related to health.

What resources could a site like Colégas provide that would help you achieve your goals?

Speaking engagements around birth and informed consent.

Do you have any advice or professional strategies you could share with our readers?

Not so much advice, but perhaps a quote I live by: "I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink into a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply all my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will train my potential until it cries out for mercy" - Og Mandino

To learn more about Dr. Nona Djavid and her practice, you can follow her on facebook.

Colegas Group2019
Silvia Ivelisse Perez - Succesful Life & Leadership Coach
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We are very pleased to introduce you to Silvia Ivelisse Perez, Life & Leadership coach, speaker, writer, producer, director, and actress based in Miami, Florida. With so many accomplishments, she is definitely a Collegiate Gigster.

What kind of work do you do? Do you also have a side-Gig? If not, do you have any hobbies or other activities you wouldn’t mind developing into a paid Gig?

I am Professional Life and Leadership Coach, member of the International Coach Federation. I am also a motivational speaker, creative writer, producer/director and actress with more than 10 years of experience in the film industry.

What did you study in college? What did you enjoy the most about your chosen course of study?

I studied business administration in college, however I made a career change, obtaining a certification from the University of Miami to follow my passion for empowering others as a certified life and leadership coach.

What I enjoy most about my course of study, is all the new learning I have acquire about the human behavior, emotional intelligence and effective way to promote forward movement in many key areas of life.

How does your education help you in the work that you do today?

The Professional Coach Certification Program has equipped me with the tools and knowledge I need to succeed as a Professional Coach. It has given me the correct strategies to help my clients address specific personal projects, achieve business successes, and general conditions and transitions in their personal life, relationships or profession by examining what is going on right now, discovering what their obstacles or challenges might be, and choosing a course of action to make.

Would you also consider returning to school to learn something new? If so, what would that be?

Even though my time is limited due to my commitment to keeping a healthy work/life balance, I am looking into going back to school to obtain my emotional intelligence certification in mid 2019.

What resources could a site like Colégas provide that would help you achieve your goals?

My main goal in life at this moment is to use my years of experience, my life experience and my coaching certification to help clients from all walks of life be all that they can be through the power of coaching. I believe the Colégas can be a bridge to do just that!

Do you have any advice or professional strategies you could share with our readers?

To be successful in any area, especially in business you’ll need to constantly focus on self-improvement. Awaken your love of learning strength; take every opportunity you have to learn from those who have reached the life goals you are aiming for, and invest time in acquiring the knowledge that you make you stand out from the rest. Develop an effective marketing strategy to carve out your own niche in a competitive marketplace. To do so, you'll need to determine what makes your business different from the rest of the competition and make your “wow factor” the focus of your marketing efforts.

For more information about Silvia Ivelisse Perez, her life coaching, and her many other projects, here is her contact info:

Silvia Ivelisse Perez
info@silcoach.com
www.SilCoach.com

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Colegas Group2018
Cristina Garcia-Versteegh - Multilingual Education Advocate and Director of LangoKids Irvine Language Academy
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We are very pleased to introduce fellow Collegiate Gigster Cristina Garcia-Versteegh, owner and director of LangoKids Irvine Language Academy. She is a strong proponent of teaching children more than one language, believes in continuing one's education throughout life, and is also an amazing positive influence for children and Gigsters everywhere. We could not be more pleased to share her story.

What kind of work do you do? Do you also have a side-Gig? If not, do you have any hobbies or other activities you wouldn’t mind developing into a paid Gig?

I own and direct a language school in Irvine, CA. We specialize in teaching Spanish and French through the Immersion approach. We teach kids ages 2 to 10 years old and we offer from the most basic to the most advanced level of fluency in Spanish and French. Our classes are highly dynamic and non-traditional. My side hobby is to read literary works, and also to write Emergent Reader books and picture books for kids. These books are educational and highly cultural. I intend to one day create an interactive platform for people to download the material, and for me to go around places (schools, libraries, educational organizations) giving conferences about Spanish language and the cultural things embedded in the books, and reading the books and teaching how to read in Spanish in a fun and easy way.

What did you study in college? What did you enjoy the most about your chosen course of study?

I completed most of my education in Colombia. In College I studied Modern Languages Teaching (Spanish, French and English). I enjoyed learning the languages more in depth, all the required reading, and doing my internships. I knew from that point that I was shaped and called to be a teacher. As I worked as an English professor at a university, I pursued another degree called a Specialization in Bilingual Education. Then, I was introduced to the concept of teaching languages through play for kids and adults. I created and applied different games with a linguistic focus and they were well received and I could see great results. Lastly, I wanted to pursue some degree that fed my intellect and my passion for World Literature. I was awarded a scholarship to earn a Master of Arts in English and World Literature in PA, USA. I just loved to have the tools I needed to dive deeper into literary works. I was able to study, compare and analyze authors and works that were close to my heritage under a different, more specialized lens and learn more about myself and where I came from.

How does your education help you in the work that you do today?

Immensely. All I do now revolves around all my studies in second language acquisition and language learning. The concepts I apply now and teach my teachers and clients I learned back then through classes, research, and readings. I also had amazing professors that taught me the power of being a good influence for my students. Of course, I had bad professors but from that I also learned to never settle for less when I can give my all in a class and in the development of curriculum and material for my classes.

Would you also consider returning to school to learn something new? If so, what would that be?

I am interested in pursuing a PhD program in Educational Neuroscience or a Ed.D program in the near future.

What resources could a site like Colégas provide that would help you achieve your goals?


The Colegas group is lead by Marie who has vast knowledge of education, schools, grants, and more. I know I can reach out to her when I look for a guide, and she can connect me with schools and other gigsters in the field. I see this platform as a great way to network with people in different professions and expertise. We can work together with the Colegas group to link people with schools and for the ones that come out of out school to have a space to share their experiences and work and have a place to start spreading their knowledge.

Do you have any advice or professional strategies you could share with our readers?

Readiness an timing are important. I consider that right now being a business owner, educator, and mom of young kids is my main focus so my educational goals are on standby and that's OK. I don't regret it or dwell on it, I just wait patiently as I am not ready to jump on the roller coaster of a rigorous study and put it all in jeopardy. It's prudent to do things when the right time present itself.

To learn more about Cristina Garcia-Versteegh and her language school, please visit their website: LangoKids Irvine Language Academy.

Colegas Group2018
Albert Koetsier - Engineer, Photographer, Artist, Entrepreneur, and Lecturer
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Meet Albert Koetsier, a fellow Advisory board member of our company, and also a highly successful engineer, photographer, artist,  entrepreneur, and now also a lecturer at UC Riverside and several other local campuses. Albert is best known for his X-Rayography artwork, which is now sold world-wide - he is the third highest listed artist on Art.com.

What kind of work do you do? Do you also have a side-Gig? If not, do you have any hobbies or other activities you wouldn’t mind developing into a paid Gig?

I am a retired engineer who started a new career after retirement as an artist, this was somewhat of a success, but I am retired from the art world now as well. I now teach emeritus classes at UC Riverside, Santiago College, and California State University San Marcos. This is a passion for me, I really enjoy teaching.

What did you study in college? What did you enjoy the most about your chosen course of study?

I studied Electronic Engineering. What I enjoyed most about it was a better understanding of Physics and the physical world around us. I was also a lifelong student of the Arts, particularly music as well as two-dimensional and three-dimensional art. It matched my interest in photography, which is a life-long passion of mine as well. All these things taught me to look, learn, analyze and appreciate the physical universe.

How does your education help you in the work that you do today?

My study at the technical university helps me explain "Ohms Law" to my grand kids (just kidding - it's a running joke in my family). Even while I was working as an engineer, my lifelong interest in art helped me better appreciate and understand the world around me. Engineering is a very practical field, but it also has philosophical applications - just ask any engineer and they will tell you a similar story.

Would you also consider returning to school to learn something new? If so, what would that be?

Yes, absolutely. I would study the psychology of art, if there is such a field, and I also would study quantum physics. You would be surprised, but these fields are not that different on a certain level. It would be fascinating to study these two fields together.

What resources could a site like Colégas provide that would help you achieve your goals?

I don't know yet. I love to teach, so public speaking would be a natural extension of that for me. I suppose everything I've done since I first retired from engineering has been a Gig of sorts. Isn't being an entrepreneur a lot like being a Gigster?

I also appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts here. One thing that Colégas seems to be doing is giving people a chance not just to empower themselves, but also to share their own experiences in life and in work. This is a very important task, so please keep doing this in whatever way you can.

Do you have any advice or professional strategies you could share with our readers?

Discover what your best qualities are and work to develop these. This will bring you more happiness in all that you do.

To learn more about Albert Koetsier, you can visit his art website at BeyondLight.com.

 

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Colegas Group2018
Arnie Bernstein - Writer, Editor, Teacher, & Public Speaker
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Meet Arnie Bernstein, an accomplished writer, editor, teacher, and public speaker. He shares with us valuable tips and strategies about the writing process. This is useful not just for writers, but also for anyone who needs to put ideas in writing for a larger audience, from leaders to bloggers to teachers, these are important skills to develop.

What kind of work do you do? Do you also have a side-gig? If not, do you have any hobbies or other activities you wouldn’t mind developing into a paid gig?

I'm a freelance writer, internationally published nonfiction author with major presses in the United States and Poland, college writing teacher, and writing coach. A jack-of-all-scribbling trades.

What did you study in college? What did you enjoy the most about your chosen course of study?

MA in Creative Writing at Columbia College - Chicago
BA in Film Studies at Southern Illinois University - Carbondale

As far as the film studies, opening up my mind to exploring different ways of seeing the world. Creative writing: using my skills to expand on the exploration. I think I've done okay on both ends.

How does your education help you in the work that you do today?

As a writer, the skills I learned in the Columbia College Fiction Writing program are invaluable. The creative process emphasized getting the words on the page, letting go of inhibitions, creating that unholy mess of a first draft that pays no attention to annoying things like spelling, grammar, and the rules of gravity. Once the draft is done, diving into it and cutting words, sentences, paragraphs, pages, and more and then going back to writing. Writing is hard work. But the basics of storytelling, be it a novel, biography, or inter-office memo are all the same: using prose to grab a reader's attention and pay attention to what's on the page.

I use these skills in my teaching as well. Student writers often feel constrained by the formulas they were taught in high school. My job is to break that mold so the natural voice will emerge on the page. When students have the confidence to express thoughts in their unique voices, the skills which will translate to other classes and into a career path.

Would you also consider returning to school to learn something new? If so, what would that be?

I'd get a PhD in history, the most fascinating thing there is to study.

What resources could a site like Colégas provide that would help you achieve your goals?

Job links and networking connections.

Do you have any advice or professional strategies you could share with our readers?

Good writing is rewriting.

The first thing that goes on the page is your name. Make sure your work lives up to the standards of what your good name means to the world. Networking is your friend. Don't be shy about it either.

To learn more about Arnie Bernstein, you can visit his website here.

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Colegas Group2018