After months of frustrating dead ends looking for a job, Marquel Turner Gilchrist takes matters into his own hands and becomes an accidental entrepreneur.
In the spring of 2022, the 35-year-old was looking for work as a luxury fashion strategist and had a number of promising interviews with a social trading company. But a few days after he received a job offer email in his inbox, he got a call from the CEO, who He canceled the job offer — explaining that the company was largely funded by cryptocurrency investors whose digital assets were funded loss of value per day.
“I’ve heard about shows getting cancelled,” Turner Gilchrist told CNBC Make It in June, noting that background checks or professional references sometimes don’t work. “But that never happened to me [before]. “
CNBC Make It caught up with Turner-Gilchrist about what he learned through a difficult job search and unexpectedly became his boss.
Beware of job search burnout
The announcement of his canceled show on social media resulted in an outpouring of cheerleading and even a few job opportunities. Turner-Gilchrist hired someone to revamp his resume and LinkedIn page and set a goal of applying to 10 jobs a day. But after countless interviews and every recruiting mishap imaginable—recruiters cheating on him, getting cold feet, getting to the final stages only to be told the position he was interviewing for wasn’t prioritized—nothing quite materialized.
“I’d never had an experience like this before, so it was a year of taking on challenges and finding creative ways to keep the positive spirit going,” says Turner Gilchrist.
After a stressful few months, Turner Gilchrist decided to completely stop applying for jobs.
The break came at the right time. In August, more clearly, he reconnected with an old friend who owned a PR firm in Los Angeles. A friend had a fashion client who needed some help with marketing and strategy. Turner-Gilchrist had exactly the right experience they were looking for.
Embrace the uncommon
This wasn’t the full-time job Turner Gilchrist was looking for, but he thought to himself: “Why don’t you take this opportunity to continue making an income, keep my skills up, and try something new?”
He had never done consulting work before, but knew he really enjoyed it, especially the aspect of being his own boss and being in control of his time. The one-month contract was enough to give him the confidence to bet entirely on himself and launch his own consulting firm.
As of September 1, Turner-Gilchrist has been fired Atelier LenoraLeveraging global expertise in luxury, lifestyle and fashion to help clients with merchandising, product strategy support, trend forecasting, creative direction and more.
Launching his own board company was never in his professional vision. “I never wanted to be an entrepreneur,” says Turner Gilchrist. “There is a lot of fear and uncertainty in entrepreneurship, but I have been in a precarious phase of life for the past few months.”
By building his own network of clients, Turner-Gilchrist has more control over his career than ever before. “I always bet on other companies to determine my career path,” he says. Now, he is in complete control.
Think about what is really important to you
A year ago, Turner Gilchrist said his idea of luxury was largely related to his line of work, such as sporting designer items and taking international trips. He’s cut these things out of his budget now that his consulting income is in a state of flux. But, as his boss, Turner Gilchrist, says, “Freedom is the new luxury.”
The luxury of choice and independence means being able to work 4 days a week, or take health and wellness breaks during the afternoons. It also means finding a way to support himself whether or not he has a full-time day job (which is quite open btw) and has the freedom to expand his business by accepting more clients and hiring employees (a definite possibility).
“The true meaning of luxury is choice, freedom and time,” he says. “Last year, my definition of living the luxury life was different than it is today. Now I have an agency.”