Career Advice: Taking on Business Ownership
Jasmine Coicou | May 26, 2020
There I was, in college, denied from nursing school twice. It was a crappy Christmas gift, although a blessing in disguise, because nursing is just not for me. I thought, “What exactly am I supposed to be doing?!”
I had just a few more days to decide before classes started for Spring semester 2009. I had recently seen my sister, an Occupational Therapist. I had gone to see what she did as an OT while she was a traveling therapist and thought, “OT is still in the healthcare field, so why not try that?”
I set up a meeting with the advisor for the Masters of Occupational Therapy program and asked her if I really had a chance of applying and being admitted after I finished my Bachelor’s degree.
She looked at me and said yes… and that was that! Two years later I graduated from Florida A & M University with my Bachelor’s in Health Science and I was about to start graduate school in the fall to become an Occupational Therapist!
I thought that I would be a clinician until I had a head full of grey hair, but my journey wouldn’t be that predictable. I had a wonderful professor named Dr. Maria Hinds, PHD, MSOT, and she always encouraged us to think outside of the box in terms of our careers. I look back on her wise words, and I’m quite thankful for them.
I’ve always been someone to be a bit of a free spirit and not really afraid of change. So after a few years of practicing Pediatric Occupational Therapy, I became a little bored. I was over the politics and billing policies, and I decided that I wanted to be an entrepreneur.
Choosing entrepreneurship felt easy.
For me, it was simple.
(1) I like to be my own boss.
(2) I liked the idea of uncapped income to be able to help others and create something that my children could carry out if they’d like to.
(3) I wanted to really push myself to be able to help people in a new and fresh way! I knew that I had a lot of gifts that I was sitting on and they needed to be put to use.
So in 2016, after my beautiful daughter turned one, I began my journey as an entrepreneur with direct sales. I continued with that for three years. Two years in, I was able to quit my job in healthcare and lead my team full time before beginning my own brand, Covered.
A year after committing to direct sales full time, I stepped away to start Covered. I was very comfortable financially; I was making double in sales what I was making as an OT. I had branded myself to be a part of that company, so people were used to seeing me market it. It became a part of who I was and presented myself to be. Was I really prepared to start over? I had to face my truth: my season there was over, and there was a huge calling on my life that needed to be fulfilled.
Transition is hard.
Transitioning consisted of some difficult times. I had to wrestle with the fact that my finances would be deeply impacted. But I’m so glad I was obedient to what I was called to do because I’m much more peaceful, not nearly as busy, and my family hasn’t gone without. I’ve been able to create a community and a brand centered on a product that people LOVE and NEED and it feels really good that it’s mine! I did my research to know how much things would be, I made sacrifices, I prayed a lot, I asked for help and I allowed others to help… and it all worked out.
I also had to face the fact that not everyone would be in agreement with my choice. I know, I know, empowered women shouldn’t be focused on pleasing others. For many of us pleasing others is a reality and a concern; it’s something that I’m constantly working on. I knew what I needed to do, and I knew the instructions and vision that I was given. It was up to me to listen, to be brave and release the idea that I needed others to agree. I knew that I was going to create a product and community that was needed and that it would work out fine. I felt empowered by my God-given purpose, and that was all that mattered!
“What if it works or what if it fails?”
Fear of failure is another biggie that stops a lot of people from business ownership. In my eyes, there really is no such thing as failure. There are only lessons. When things don’t work out, dust yourself off, revisit your goals, and get back up. I had to do the work, do the research, find the need and the solution, and trust my process. Many times we get nothing done because we are too busy trying to figure out the future. Just putting my feet to the ground, one step at a time, was the game changer. At each moment and season in preparing my business, the next step was always revealed in due time.
What is your calling?
It’s been 6 months since launching the Covered Community and the Covered Planner. This week we released the Covered Planner II, and I am in awe of how everything has worked out. My faith is important to me and I knew that professional fulfillment would happen if I aligned my personal and professional values.
I designed Covered as a brand that provides resources to those who want to center themselves in Christ, trusting that He will cover their day and every part of their life. The Covered Planner includes monthly, weekly, and daily planning, daily reflection pages with scripture writing, gratitude, and prayer, there’s a spot for sermon notes for church, a cleaning schedule and meal planning template that are both dry erase, habit tracking, monthly reflection, priority setting, and so much more! Many people desire organization solutions, and many in my community want to align the organization of their day with a deeper spiritual connection. I discovered a way to serve my community and serve my calling as an entrepreneur by providing a product that is easy to follow with various solutions in one place.
Whatever your personal or professional values are, if you align them you’ll experience the same deep satisfaction in the process of bringing your product to market that I did.
When you are brainstorming on your idea or brand, think about what problem you want to solve and consider a few questions.
- Is there a true need?
- Who is your audience?
- How will you access that audience and provide them your product or service?
Then move on from there! Stay true to your calling, your gifts, and your truth and great things will happen. So go and be great! Go and do the hard and scary stuff! You got this!
Jasmine Coicou, MS OTR/L
IG: @ jasminecoicou @thecoveredlife
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Jasmine is an occupational therapist, coach, and CEO of Covered. She is married to David, and mother to Avery and Ella. A successful marketing leader, Jasmine was diagnosed with antenatal depression (depression while pregnant) and recognized the need to better balance her personal and professional goals. She accepted the calling of ministry and began her own business. She is an advocate for therapy, following your gifts and being obedient to God’s assignments, no matter what it may look like to others.