After a rescinded job offer, this millennial launched his own business

After months of frustrating dead ends in finding a job, Marquelle Turner-Gilchrist took matters into her own hands and became an accidental entrepreneur.

In the spring of 2022, the 35-year-old was looking for work as a luxury fashion strategist and had several promising interviews with a social commerce company. But a few days after receiving a job offer email in his inbox, he received a call from the CEO, who rescinded the job offer – explaining that the company was largely funded by crypto investors whose digital assets were losing value day by day.

“I’ve heard of canceled offers,” Turner-Gilchrist told CNBC Make It in June, noting that background checks or professional references sometimes don’t pass. “But that never happened to me [before].”

CNBC Make It caught up with Turner-Gilchrist about what he learned through a tough job search and unexpectedly becoming his own boss.

Beware of burnout

Going public with his canceled offer on social media led to an outpouring of encouragement and even a few job leads. Turner-Gilchrist hired someone to revamp her resume and LinkedIn page and set herself the goal of applying for 10 jobs a day. But after countless interviews and every recruiting mishap imaginable — recruiters ghosted him, prospects grew cold, went to the final stages only to be told the job he was interviewing for was deprioritized — nothing came of it. really materialized.

“I’ve never had an experience quite like this, so it’s been a year of taking on challenges and finding creative ways to maintain a positive spirit,” Turner-Gilchrist said.

After a grueling few months, Turner-Gilchrist decided not to apply for jobs anymore.

The break came just in time. In August, with a clearer head, he reconnected with an old friend who owns a public relations firm in Los Angeles. The friend had a fashion client who needed help with their marketing and strategy. Turner-Gilchrist had exactly the right experience they were looking for.

Embrace the unknown

It wasn’t the full-time job Turner-Gilchrist was looking for, but he thought, “Why not take this opportunity to continue generating income, keep my skills sharp, and try something new. ?”

He had never done consulting work before, but learned that 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 fully bet on himself and start his own consulting firm.

Effective September 1, Turner-Gilchrist launched Atelier Lenora, where it leverages its global experiences in luxury, lifestyle and fashion spaces to assist clients with merchandising and product strategy support, trend forecasting, creative direction and more.

Starting his own business was never part of his career vision board. “I never wanted to be an entrepreneur,” says Turner-Gilchrist. “There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty in entrepreneurship, but I’ve been through an uncertain phase of life the past few months.”

By building her own network of clients, Turner-Gilchrist has more control over her career than ever. “I always bet on other companies to determine the trajectory of my career,” he says. Now he has full control.

Think about what is really important to you

A year ago, Turner-Gilchrist said her idea of ​​luxury was very much tied to her work, such as designer sportswear and international travel. He’s cut those things out of his budget now that his consulting income is more on the move. But, as his own boss, Turner-Gilchrist says, “freedom is the new luxury.”

The luxury of choice and autonomy means being able to work a 4-day work week or take afternoon health and wellness breaks. It also means finding a way to support himself, whether he has a full-time job (which he’s totally open to, by the way) or not, and having the freedom to scale his business by taking on more clients. and hiring employees (a definite possibility).

“The true meaning of luxury is choice, freedom, time,” he says. “Last year, my definition of living a life of luxury was different than it is today. Now it’s having agency.”

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