Just a few years ago, Jordan Boyd was in a state of sure uncertainty. With a new school year approaching, he found himself being pulled in several different directions – Should I return to college? Find a job? Take a gap year?
Like most people, Jordan wanted to succeed. He wanted to make his parents and friends proud. He wanted to make an impact, but he just wasn't sure the best way to achieve his goals. A natural born risk taker, Jordan opted for the untraditional route. He started as a true hackademic – teaching himself a few of the skills he knew he would need to make it in today's competitive job market. Tired of learning on his own, he decided to participate in UnCollege Gap Year later that same here.
Fast forward a few years and Jordan is no longer in a state of uncertainty. In fact, he's fully employed, confident, and proud to say he has a lot of real world experience that has changed him both on a personal and as a professional level.
We sat down with Jordan for a little question and answer to find out a bit more about his journey post UnCollege.
UnCollege: Can you give us a little background on what you do now professionally?
Jordan: I am currently the Marketing Director for a number of business owners in Calgary, Canada. I create social media advertising strategies, build websites, write blog posts, film and edit short commercials, design Adword campaigns, create analytic reports and determine strategic opportunities.
And how did you get to where you are? Were there steppingstones or jobs that linked together to launch into your current spot?
Absolutely. Out of high school I was offered two opportunities; to play basketball for the University of Calgary and to be a resident DJ at two night clubs in Vancouver. I chose the latter despite what many people encouraged me to do. This led me into meeting two producers who owned an independent record label in Vancouver. I convinced them to let me intern for them and manage the social media profiles of their artists in 2009. That’s when I first started to see the true potential of social media and marketing in general. In 2013, Dale helped me to get an incredible internship at Hootsuite and that is ultimately what led me to where I am today. Hootsuite gave me the clout to get positions at marketing agencies and I have continued to progress from intern, to social media manager at one agency, to marketing manager at the next and now marketing director working one on one with business owners and having complete creative freedom.
This job is a culmination of years of hard work. How did you know this was what you wanted to pursue?
It was something that I really had a knack for. I could generate big results on a very limited budget and in the marketing game that is huge. My natural ability to create unique ideas and tell stories is what really highlighted for me that marketing was a strong option for making a great income.
Was choosing an alternative path like taking a gap year a difficult choice?
Yes. There’s no doubt that when I told people I was attending a program called UnCollege, they thought I was crazy. But for me, taking big risks has always payed off more than playing it safe.
Are there skills you learned at UnCollege that you apply directly to your business?
Yes. Networking is something that I use every day and that I would have never truly grasped without UnCollege. Also just putting myself out there and knowing what I’m truly good at.
What was your learning style during the program and how has it influenced you since?
I only learn through failure and experience. Reading has helped me understand concepts but experience is what differentiates me from others my age. Getting internships and working within different marketing businesses has influenced who I am today the most.
Would you have considered yourself an entrepreneur before UnCollege? Or a confident one like you are now?
Yes. I have always been entrepreneurial. UnCollege helped me to understand how to be an entrepreneur, in the sense that you have to be making money first, before you can grow your money through startups and your own business ideas.
What advice do you have for the people who are in a similar spot that you were in just a few years ago?
Find something you’re passionate about, take a unique angle on your passion that others see as being valuable or exciting, think about where you want to be someday and then strategize a general idea of how you’re going to get there. It obviously won’t flow exactly how you want it to but I’m living proof that you can achieve big things if you can find the right opportunities.
Is there anything else you would like to add that might help students or parents who are considering a gap year, or about the UnCollege program in particular?
When I arrived at UnCollege, I had no job. I was an intern, likely in the same boat as every other kid in College who was searching for what they might become. The program helped me to look hard at what I’m good at, define my goals, create a plan of how to achieve them, and then unknowingly taught me critical skills to be where I am today that I would not have ever learned at any school. Many of my friends with a degree have the most futile entry level jobs, it’s almost sad to me knowing that they payed so much money, and for what? I didn’t pay a penny and I have my dream job, making an income that rivals people many years my elder. UnCollege is more than just a program...it’s a lot about the people that help you get there. It's about the team, it;s about Dale. Without Dale, his network and his commitment to seeing me achieve what I wanted, I’m not sure where I would be. Maybe I would have a bachelor's degree, working at a restaurant, with crushing amounts of debt and little hope..I’m just grateful that’s not the case.
Where can we find out more about your work?