Huge thanks to the 230 of you who took the Life After College reader survey that I posted a few weeks ago - your kind words, encouragement and suggestions are helpful and motivating beyond words! Before I share the results, here's a short 2-minute thank you video, in which I also share a quote that recently rocked my world (at the 0:55 mark):
Overall, you are here for a mix of inspiration, relatedness, community, and practical tips. The areas that people are most focused on are motivation, career growth, taking risks, personal finance, personal development, time management and overall life happiness and fulfillment, which makes sense since that's what I write about!
The biggest takeaways for me are:
- I actually have a TON of content already created (a webinar on How to Rock Your Personal Finances, for example) -- now I need to figure out how to package it so it's easy for all of you to find. Nina Cross and I will be unveiling the new website in a few short weeks, and I'm going to use that as motivation to better organize everything! Each category will eventually have a "start here" map that walks people through getting that area of their life organized.
- My big, hairy scary project of the moment is my 8-week Make Sh*t Happen course, which is still in development. Your survey results helped me understand what kinds of ambitions you have, and how important it can be to have accountability, community and support when going after what you want in life. I originally planned on launching the course in July, but the perfectionist in my wants to make it as outstanding as possible, so it's still a work in progress. Click here to sign-up for updates in the meantime, and to be on the early notification list for when the course launches (the pilot class will be limited to 30 people).
Because I enjoy reading survey recaps on other people's blogs (I find the insight into other people's wants and needs fascinating), I've included more detailed results below. Feel free to skip the rest of this post if this doesn't interest you!
Take these with a grain of salt, since the respondents are not necessarily a representative sample. For example, my blog readers could be 68% female OR it could indicate that women are more likely to respond to a survey than men.
Again, not necessarily representative, but interesting nonetheless! I often hypothesized that I had a good number of non-recent grads, given that my content is not skewed toward the nuts and bolts stuff people are often looking for at 21-22.
Why do you read life after college?
- “Because I think what you have to share to SO authentic and real and vulnerable that my heart beats in my chest when I read about your journey and it lives out that piece about 'letting your light shine and unconsciously giving others permission to do the same!”
- “I read the email updates for inspiration. And consolation - because I am often hard on myself and it’s nice to have affirmation that I am doing a good job, that I have taken risks, and that I am pursuing my dreams. Reading the blog reminds me of all these things and encourages me to continue dreaming big.”
"SO real/authentic, humorous, but practical and very helpful."
Career Growth -- A large portion are interested in career changes, entrepreneurship and professional development in general:
- "It is inspiring, engaging, and challenges me to seek growth- personal & professional- - kind of like my own career coach/guiding light now that I'm graduated and don't have a career services department at my side."
Community/relatedness -- The recent grads out there are reading for a sense of community, and to know they're not alone (you're not!):
- “I read Life After College because it is such a huge relief to hear that, as a recent college graduate, I don't have to have it all figured out, that everyone has doubts, and that I can take big leaps even if they're risky. There are real tools here to help me improve my life, and because of a lack of pretension, I feel comfortable trusting those tools.”
What's the biggest pain / problem / challenge / struggle you're facing right now?
Job Satisfaction -- Many of you cited feeling professionally lost as a current challenge:
- “Finding my true passion and having the guts to go after it 100% - no fear, not allowing my self to worry about what others may think or say, and finding the energy to dedicate myself to it.”
- “Job satisfaction and work/life balance. I've hopped around jobs quite a bit, and still have not found that 100% satisfaction I'm looking for. Also, being a young professional, I'm really struggling to find the right balance for my personal life - I feel like I can never fit in all the exercising, healthy eating and cooking, socializing and other things I want to do in my non-working time.”
Personal Finance-- this is an area that people of all ages seem to struggle with (understandably so!):
- "Complete financial independence. I've got the stepping stones in place (job, savings plan that works, good credit, brokerage account, IRA, side hustle) but I somehow feel like I'm missing something so that I can move out of my house...quite possibly even to another city."
- “Paying off student loans! But I think Ive got a good handle on it. Your blog post about a day in the life of your paycheck, combined with the budgets are sexy blog and my own knowledge, I've got a good system down, just wish I made a lot more so I could pay it off quicker.”
Entrepreneurial Advice -- I'm still a newbie, but I'll do my best!
- “Same as you. Needing the motivation and confidence in myself to walk away from a six figure desk job as a commercial banker to go solopreneur!"
- “Right now I am jumping into a new career path as Life Coach and eventually launching my own business. I am so excited and engaged in this process, but there is a constant feeling of having way too much on my plate and not knowing where I should be focusing my energy. I thought I would LOVE transitioning from my full time job in an office to working out of a coffee shop, but I am not feeling that "warm loving" feeling.”
Overall happiness -- Other themes that came up were life balance, health (getting back on the wagon), coaching advice, and general fulfillment:
- “The balancing act that comes with post-college life -- how to juggle work, my personal health/fitness, my long-time boyfriend, my dog, and still maintain some semblance of a social life with my friends. Also identifying what I want to do for the rest of my life!"
- “Managing my full time job and trying to pursue my passion on the side.”
- "Time Management - in terms of setting priorities and time accordingly. For example I have a blog, a marketing role on a conference, a full time job and a screen writing big dream. Where does my own blog fit into this journey? You did a great job moulding yours to support your goal."
Dating -- Ay caramba! Not sure how I can help on this one, but have a fun super-secret related project that I've been working on... :)
- “Meeting great people to date. I cycle between wanting to settle down with someone really sweet and who will support/be there for me - and wanting to be flexible to hook up with any pretty girl that crosses my path. Not that I've had much luck with either!”
- “Falling in love isn't always convenient to the lifestyle we have previously chosen. Girl likes boy. Boy likes girl. They live on separate continents.”
Personal Development -- becoming the best version of yourself:
- “Gutting everything about my lifestyle (type of work, income streams, personal circles, food/exercise, habits, etc.) to completely reinvent myself.”
- “I struggle with self-doubt and low feelings about self-worth as I try to figure out my next steps into the "real world." I lack solid ground and am in major "transition mode." “
- "Trying to figure out what I want to do as I don't want to pursue graduate schooling in what I majored in at college. Also, I have a hard time not wanting to just try to emmulate everyone else instead of being the best version of myself."
How do you think I could serve you best, for your particular needs?
Entrepreneurial Advice / My own career transition:
- “Posts about working for yourself would be helpful. Anything that has advice for people who are choosing alternative routes or guest posts from people who have successfully done it. I like reading stories about people who do their own thing, because it gives me hope that I can too.”
- “I'm excited about your decision to leave Google and take on new opportunities! Maybe this will push me to make scary decisions, too. I'd love to hear more about the challenges you face as you move, work for yourself, etc.”
More on Personal Finance:
- "I would like to see more about budgeting though. I'm terrible with money. I'd really like to hear some of your tips for budgeting to start your own business."
- "I would love it if you talked about getting out of debt, specifically student loans. I have zero credit card debt, I have a car, I'm living with my parents, and after a year of searching I got my dream job. Student loans seem to be the largest issue looming both for myself and my friends, no matter what college or school they attended. There are obviously exceptions but I would love and in-depth tackling of this issue."
- “Sharing a variety of experiences -- yours and those of others -- while also asking good questions.”
- “Writing articles about how shy people can gain confidence”
- “How can I manage the side-hustles with my day job, while being true to both? I am juggling so much that it's grossly inefficient, and not a pleasant experience. Or you could find a way for me to pay off my debt, but that's a more complicated matter :)”
Thank you AGAIN for the incredibly helpful guidance -- I feel like I've just won the blogger lottery!
Want to chime in? I'm going to leave the survey open so people can continue to share their thoughts.
Now I'm off to work -- gotta start delivering on as much as I can above!