Jacqueline Hughes is a former Bobcat that has gone out in the “real world” and succeeded. While attending Texas State her major was sociology.  She is currently  living in Austin Texas, working for Techstar. Techstar is a mentoring program working specifically with startup founders. A startup defined by Jacqueline is the process of starting a business from the ground up, trying to make the next big app or web service.  Craftlaunch is her startup that allows people to brand themselves through Etsy. Esty is a marketplace where people around the world buy and sell unique handmade trinkets.  Jacqueline actively works with Austin Startup week, which brings startups and their founders to Austin. The startup week is all about startup founders networking, bouncing ideas, and helping gain capital to fund their business. Dressed in modest clothes with long black hair and the only wild thing about her was a pierced nose. The startup world means quitting your day job to pursue your idea, but for Jacqueline it was a last resort because after graduating from Texas State finding a job was near impossible. Like many of her fellow graduates, they become creative to make a living.

When the job search was looking grim and the savings were dwindling, creative ways to make money started to look more promising. The aspect of working at Mcdonalds or another minimum wage jobs was out of the question.  Out of desperation,  Bridge was found. A startup with two employees and a lofty goal of connecting all your calendars into one augurated calendar.  The startup like many were aiming to solve a problem everyone had,  and having three calendars was never fun. While the idea was brilliant, it failed to catch on and finally the project was closed. Though the failure was devastating, it provided her with much needed knowledge and life experience. The failure showed how naive she was about life and starting a business. Failure is never good, but Jacqueline explains that failure will help “people see what they are doing wrong and learn more about themselves. Without failure people would never learn what to change.”

Young and energetic, all her time goes into work with the many businesses she owns. Between Craftlaunch, Austin  Startup Week, or Techstar there is no time to go out and be with friends. Work is never work though, the offices seemed to have a party atmosphere, with everyone talking. Not a stationary tiny cubicle in sight. There was a kitchen, game room, and an open area where we were sitting. Seats were always open to work with fellow friends, co-workers, and sometimes strangers. The mention of work made her face crack a smile, unlike others who would despise the mention of work.  Her calendars are always filled with colors indicating different events all day, every single day of the week. At TechStar she plans events, caters food, and manages events. Though she had no formal training at this, her major while at Texas State did prepare her for interacting with people.

Family plays a large role, including the support role while in college. They have also helped her get a loan to purchase her first startup, Crafluanch. At that time the startup had a handful of customers, and had no guarantee of success or failure. The company now, which is based off of Etsy, allows people to brand themselves on a private site. This gives them more customization and control over how they present themselves to potential buyers.  Without her families support, love, and understanding  she would not have made it this far.  Family always comes first in her life, no matter how busy she will find time for her mom or dad.

Jacqueline uses a lot of skills but communication skills are the most important in the work place . Being able to talk to people, communicate clearly and have people like you is extremely important. You need to be able to talk and network with people to grow yourself. Knowing people is the most important thing outside college, that is how you will get jobs or in her case find employees. No matter what job, even computer science you will have to talk to people, bounce ideas off others. There is always a human connection in a job.

When asking whether she would go back and change one thing in her life she said “No I would not change a thing.” I probed even more asking whether she would major in something different because the trouble finding a job after graduation. Her response was a simple, “no!” The choices made, even the ones of not getting involved while at Texas State lead her to her life now, have lead her to owning her own business. After two years, she choose to move away from San Marcos and towards Austin.  Her motivation was because of all the kids living there.  She settled in between Austin and San Marcos in a little city called Kyle, Texas.

If you want something you have to “Just Do It,” and Jacqueline lives by those words.   That kept her going through college and after when finding Waldo was easier than finding a job. That quote and slogan from Nike is the best way to live life, and everyone should live and operate on those words. Another lesson is to learn to say no, know your limits. She overpacked her schedules, and become burnt out very quickly after college. Always taking on more time, even free time turned into helping others or working.  “Everyone needs down time to recoup, re-energize, and have time to reflect on their decisions they’ve made.” And I could not agree with her more, because without some alone time where would our sanity go?

In a dark time during the 2010 recession came a story of a Texas State graduate thinking outside the box to find a means to put bread on the table. Never giving up even after failure, when most people would have given up and went to work at Mcdonalds. In the first place most  people would not have even thought to go and pursue kick starting a startup. Taking the risk, pursuing the dream of owning a small business is difficult and time consuming to say the least. Jacqueline is a success story from Texas State and I look up to her and hope one day someone will interview me for the same reason.

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Antony was born in Kerala, India, raised in Doha, Qatar. He works as a Systems/Network Manager.Antony’s interests don’t always seem to cross paths: football and technology. However, Antony is just as much a fan of Manchester United as he is of gizmos, maybe a bit more.
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