Turning Passion into Profit
I’d worked about 25 years in the advertising industry (which is about the equivalent of 50 in dog years). The industry had stopped being fun for some time at that point. But I had a really good job. I was good at what I did. I made good money. And it was what I knew how to do. Nevertheless, I spent hours thinking, dreaming about what else there might be. Where I could enjoy what I did. Because truth be told, I only cared so much about whether my clients made more money or sold more products (even though I did all I could to make them successful).
I’d been an athlete all my life and I loved sports. I played competitive tennis for my college team. I played recreational softball for my company team. When I was 30, I hit my first golf ball. And I was hooked. One of my top clients was an avid golfer, so I took every opportunity I could to entertain him on the golf course. I signed up for every corporate golf event I could find. And when I’d arrive, this befuddling thing kept happening again and again. I was always one of the only women to participate. In an event with 120 players there were never more than a half dozen women. And I couldn’t understand why. Golf gave me a way to build relationships with clients that was much stronger than I could otherwise attain from going out for drinks or dinner. It connected me with the senior most people at my company and others in a way I couldn’t otherwise connect— a great opportunity for networking. It got me a (paid) day out of the office in a beautiful setting doing something I loved. So where were all the other women? Why weren’t they taking advantage of this terrific business (and career) building opportunity? One day, at around the 25-year mark and with golf as my passion, I reserved a url: Golfingwomen. I had no idea what I’d do with it, but something told me to pursue it. Soon after with a partner we started a company to help women learn to play golf and use golf for business success. We worked with leading corporations, women’s groups and prestigious business schools, holding one day events that introduced women to golf—and gave them the tools to get in the game. My partner left her corporate career and became a golf instructor. I did the marketing for the company, and we added golf schools and golf trips (Ireland, Scotland) to the mix. We had clients, unlike most of the ones I had in advertising who appreciated everything we did for them and actually said thanks. I smiled every day we had an event or saw a woman get the bug—and run with it. It was such a better way to live and work. But before you run out and start a sewing business, know this. It is still work. And you work even harder at your own business. We wound up playing much less golf than we had before starting the business—an unexpected and unappreciated outcome. And hard as it is you need to have and be prepared to spend your own money to support the business. As for the remuneration—well it wasn’t like my corporate salary. But it sure made getting up in the morning better and I didn’t get that feeling of dread on Sunday night before the work week. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Golfingwomen is now www.leslieandrewsgolf.com
Over her 25+ year career, Adrienne Wax has held C-Suite positions at some of the world’s largest advertising agencies. She is a LEANING OUT Strategic Partner and Principal of Leslie Andrews Golf www.leslieandrewsgolf.com.