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Roman Pikalenko 🇺🇦🦩

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My friends are telling me to leap. I’m terrified. I’m 20 years old. I’m in my 4th year of university living in Northern Finland. I’m about to graduate and working as a waiter on the side (where I write my thesis). And then…the COVID pandemic hits. The whole restaurant staff gets laid off. “I’m supposed to graduate in 2 months. What am I gonna do?!”, I scream to myself. The uncertainty is crippling. My degree is in International Business. Does that mean I’ll work as an international businessman?” Grandma would approve. But I’d still be redundant and broke. I’m not in a place yet where I want a job I love. I just want a job with financial security. My mom wants me to work at a factory, just to find any job to make ends meet. Instead, I sit down and Google “Top 10 most in-demand skills”. I see marketing. As I’m scrambling to figure out how to learn marketing as a skill, I come across something odd. A course bundle. The description says: Each course bought separately → it’d cost $1,077. They were selling it with a 97% discount for $33. WOW "Take my money!" For the next 2 years, I apply what I learn. I take all kinds of unpaid or poorly paid gigs. Slowly, I claw my way out of the hole. Then, I land a ‘proper’ job. But only 18 months later, I don't enjoy the work anymore. Thankfully, I had been building my personal brand on LinkedIn. → I help fundraise through a workshop → I coach 9 people on personal branding → Even start doing 1:1 consultations One day, I hear one of my friends helped a few of my peers quit their jobs and start their own businesses. She’s a perfect person to talk to. We get on the call. I tell her about my uncertainty. We make a plan. She gives me a deadline — 3 weeks — to make up my mind. Doubtful, I tell a few friends about my idea. Everyone says I can do it. I still have a hard time believing it. But 2 weeks in, I'm convinced. 2 months later, I hand in my resignation. Then I meet my current client. I’m not sure if it’s gonna work because her industry is so different. But I feel confident, she trusts my work, and she is really easy to work with. Shortly after, she closes a huge deal from her content. That's the moment when I really feel like “This is fu**ing working.” That’s when I fell in love with writing. I’ve always doubted myself. But I’m also grateful for those around me who never lost faith in me. And today I write on behalf of some of the coolest people out there. By bringing their voice to life I’ve also amplified mine.

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