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Jared's story on... choosing meaning over materialism

“When I think of how I got to where I am now, I think a lot of the time with entrepreneurship, you try to solve some problems that are meaningful to you and lacking in your journey.  We all have a destiny and a calling, and it's about whether or not you have the courage to take the risks and make the sacrifices to pursue them”.  

While his friends had a clear idea of what they wanted to do with their lives professionally, Jared lacked this clarity. At that time there was no real guidance and support from experts that could have helped him in terms of what path to pursue as he transitioned from scholar to student/employee.  A life decision that comes down to knowing yourself, understanding the landscape and figuring out the different options that are available - a difficult, overwhelming and complex stage of life to be in.  Jared chose marketing not because he knew this was his destiny but because he simply wasn't sure what else to do.  This moment held the clue as to what WAS Jared’s underlying passion, but it took some time for this to come to light.  

Jared went on to truly excel as a digital marketer, and his career lit up from early days at a digital marketing agency, to a key role at a startup, and later when taking up prestigious roles at the likes of YouTube and Google across Africa and the Middle East.  As opportunity unfolded, Jared walked through those opening doors, not always knowing where it was going to take him.  As his success grew, so did his inner dissatisfaction.

“You couldn't get more cushy than a life at Google, regarded as the best company in the world to work for, with a great salary and unbelievable perks.  Materialistically I had everything but I couldn't have been more dissatisfied in life because I wasn't doing things that were meaningful to me”.  

Jared later discovered that psychology was something that truly fascinated him and whilst still at Google, he went on to explore this discipline that had captured his attention. With a very clear intention of finding his unique purpose in the world, he came to the understanding that his answer lay in: 1) doing something meaningful and impactful, 2) leveraging his experience and knowledge with regards to technology, and 3) following his passion for psychology.  Today Jared is the proud Founder of an end-to-end career pathing platform for K12 learners that guides individuals through online career guidance, assisting with subject and tertiary choice, critical skill development as well as access to relevant opportunities.  In the unravelling of time, Jared has found his clarity and he is on a meaningful mission to democratise high quality career services to help young people better navigate into the world of work and increase their chances of success.

From his personal experience, he believes the onset of the journey requires naivety and imagination, to have a vision of something that doesn't already necessarily exist and the belief that you can create it.  Over time, success lies less in the vision and more in the execution, developing processes that work and can scale. This is where built up exposure, experience and smarts begin to play a bigger role.  He believes that patience is everything because nothing happens overnight.  And while we wait, we are burdened with what he describes as the heavy weight Founders carry knowing that so much rides on decisions that are outside of our control. 

“Five years in and all I have had to endure to get to this point, my view on entrepreneurship as my default is to discourage people to follow this path.  And only if after trying to discourage them they still have the compulsion to pursue it after hearing all the negatives, then they are probably suited to it”.

Jared highlights that the Founder journey is not one for the faint hearted. He further cautions us around the ideal picture we paint in our minds of entrepreneurship.  He brings us back down to earth reminding us that while we are the masters of our own ship, this comes with a price too with all the risk, sacrifice and unknowns that are the realities we face as Founders.  

“Success is not about timing the market, it's about time IN the market.  You have to build resilience into your business and yourself, to buy as much time as possible, to give you the most probability of those serendipitous moments happening”.  

Jared explains that he always had an altruistic side to him, an underlying value and motivation to do work that he feels is meaningful and impactful to other people.  He never wanted to do something to just make money.  He describes himself as more of a Creative Entrepreneur where his motivation lies in the creative process within his role as Founder.  Very hands on, and close to his business, he is forever inspired whilst IN his work.  His secret is to take moments to step back and appreciate how he and his highly motivated team show such dedication to the mission they are on, realising that they have collectively impacted over 65,000 young people today that they have helped through their product. What's more powerful than that?!

“Solving niche challenges Founders face”.

Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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