Whether it’s going back to school to complete her Bachelor’s degree and working full-time, or growing her social following so she could monetize her Instagram account, Drisana Wallace is a pro at seeing a need and creating a solution.
Her commitment to hard work and learning new things has given her the ability to pivot when needed and keep her career and personal life moving forward. After being wrongfully terminated for reporting discrimination in the workplace, Drisana is leaning on the social community and personal brand she built on Instagram in order to keep moving forward and continue job searching through a pandemic.
Mastering the side hustle
When Drisana’s daughter was a baby, she found herself as a new mom without a village. Working moms know the value of a village. Can we get an “Oh yeah!” from the moms in the back?
She began connecting with other moms through Facebook to set up playdates. Through this, Drisana experienced firsthand the power of social media to create connections and provide support. A few years later, at her sister’s suggestion, she launched her Instagram account Modern Cali Mom.
“I knew my goal was to grow my community of mothers and share my experiences as a new mom. I wanted to connect with those new moms who didn’t have their village, so that they didn’t have to walk this journey alone.”- Drisana Wallace, Founder, Modern Cali Mom
Modern Cali Mom remained a steady (and monetized) side hustle as Drisana continued to simultaneously build her career in the commercial insurance industry. With a passion for serving her clients and finding solutions, she advanced to the role of Account Executive for a large national broker.
Then, the pandemic hit.
Juggling work-life integration
Like many working moms, Drisana was now facing juggling all these passions and desires along with the full-time demands of being a stay-at-home-mom.
“I want to meet professional goals. I want to help my clients. I want to make a difference. I want to work for a company where I can apply my skills and experience to help them become successful,” she shares.
“My mentality is, if you can’t find a job, create one.”
Finding full-time work in insurance again was Drisana’s main focus, but she wasn’t finding a lot of opportunities within her current industry. Taking a step back, she considered all she had done to build her personal brand through Modern Cali Mom: photography, article writing, social planning.
Mentally, she relabeled herself as a “digital content creator” and the doors started opening. She updated her LinkedIn profile with these additional skills (even the ones she wasn’t super confident in, she was committed to learning more about them!).
By adjusting her search parameters to focus more on her skills and less on her job title, she began to see new opportunities in other industries. She also began searching for part-time and contract-based positions, and began considering applying for roles where she may not meet 100% of the qualifications.
“Why, you may ask? I am determined to learn new things. I’m open to growing. I’ve been honest to those employers and tell them that even though I might not know how to do a certain thing, I will learn how to do it because that is how determined I am to get the job done and committed I am to my career.”
Making a pivot
Thanks to broadening her search parameters and adding the skills she learned through building an Instagram community to her resume, Drisana landed an opportunity creating content for zulily, an e-commerce site with daily deals on brands for moms, babies, men and kids, through The Mom Project. The part-time, contract remote role helped expand her portfolio as a Digital Content Creator while she also took on additional freelance writing gigs.
While full-time work is still her ultimate goal, this role allows her to continue building her skills and resume while providing for her family.
Drisana’s ability to adapt and take a fresh look at her own qualifications helped her find a job in this pandemic market. By opening up her search to identify new opportunities, she connected with her current contract role and continues to manage her side hustle, Modern Cali Mom, to help other moms feel connected during the pandemic.
Kristin Bustamante is a senior marketing executive, brand storyteller and content creator with a serious love for side hustles and the ultimate punny headline.
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