Young professionals today are constantly searching for the ideal work/life balance that also creates a positive impact on the communities around them. Some would say that might be a bit too much to ask out of a professional career, and may cause you to ask: Do opportunities really exist that can give you the freedom of movement, passion and purpose you seek in your professional endeavors?
While the task might seem daunting, if you think outside the box a little, creating a job that fulfills your passions is completely possible, and even not that far out of reach.
From Wheels to Financial Independence and Accessible Education
One fantastic way young entrepreneurs are changing the office space is by making it completely mobile – specifically by retrofitting unused school buses. Not only is it a great way to satisfy your travel bug by constantly changing scenery, but it’s also a sustainable way to repurpose and reuse vehicles that have been left to the wayside.
The following two examples take creative approaches to financial management and independence and making education accessible to everyone.
The Finance Bar
Founded by financial planner Marsha Barnes in 2014, the idea for her mobile Finance Bar was inspired by her want and need to share her expertise with everyone. The renovated school bus that now serves as her office space gives small-business owners and individuals the opportunity to access quality financial-planning services without jumping through the hoops of corporate America.
What It Does
Barnes offers a number of services to her clients that can range from college students to small business owners with the objective of teaching money management, building a budget, saving and investment. These services are offered through seminars and group workshops that you can register for directly on the site, as well as become a member for email newsletters and information on smart financial planning.
How It’s Done
While Barnes may not fall into the millennial category, her endeavor is certainly accessible to aspiring social entrepreneurs who want to create services that give back to the community. She found her school bus on Craigslist for $3,500 and about $35,000 for renovations, giving her the necessary improvements and modifications to turn the old bus into a finance teaching machine.
If you’re a bit worried about finding that kind of money to invest a similar project, consider other types of financing – such as crowdfunding – to get others involved and get your dream up off the ground and running. Barnes still says there is some time before she’ll deem it a complete financial success, but from the perspective of fulfilling her passion for teaching and helping others, she feels like she’s well on her way.
“My parents were both laid off within six months of each other back in 2005, but they didn’t panic,” she says. “They had savings. My mother was always shopping off clearance racks, very frugal. I wanted others to have that same confidence they had when that happened to them.”
The Classroom on Wheels
Put together by two transportation department employees, Javier Correa-Vega and Denise McCoy, this retrofitted school bus in North Carolina aims to engage parents more in the education of their children.
What It Does
Operating at Phil-Hill Middle School and Konnoak Elementary, the mobile classroom was designed to help bring the same education to all residents of Forsyth County, a county that is ranked second to last in the nation in helping children rise out of poverty. Helping change that cycle is creating more opportunities for parents to be involved in the education of their children. With the mobility roles being reversed, moms and dads don’t have to have access to a vehicle or take time away from work to be a part of their child’s educational journey.
How It’s Done
The project was financed through grants from Lowe’s Home Improvement and the Winston-Salem Credit Union. The bus was purchased from the school’s very own fleet of buses and then retrofitted with Wi-Fi, tables, computers etc. – basically giving it the same services and setup as a normal classroom.
Through a community-wide effort, this project has given students a better chance to succeed and build an educational career that will give them greater opportunity in the future.
As millennials seeking to make the world a better place through entrepreneurship, the opportunities are out there and possible to achieve. All it takes is a little creativity, some passion for what you do, a rallying cry for community support and engagement – and maybe even a bus.