Podcast Episode 2: Living the Dream

The second episode of my podcast, Agents of Innovation, features two unique guests who are pursuing entrepreneurial efforts while living the dream.

Our first guest is Jean-Yves Aubone, a professional tennis player who is out playing on the ATP Tour, mostly on the Challengers and Futures levels. He’s ranked around 461 in the world and has had a recent career high of 459. Later this year, he’ll be representing the United States in the Pan American Games in Toronto.

Jean-Yves Aubone pursuing his dream among the world's top tennis talent.

Jean-Yves Aubone pursuing his dream among the world’s top tennis talent.

The other guest is musician Amy Gerhartz. She is an eclectic singer/song writer who blends rock, pop, folk, blues, and country and has an amazing storytelling ability through her songs. I guess we could also say she recently reached a “career high” after embarking on a “Tour of 10,000” over the past year – an effort to find 10,000 new fans through a mix of live performances at venues and house shows along with new followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

In this episode of the podcast, both talk about the highs and lows of being on the road, the challenges of making ends meet, but doing something that fulfills them. Jean-Yves had finished an amazing tennis career at Florida State University in 2010. After being voted ACC Player of the Year in 2009, playing in the U.S. Open qualifying in 2008, and considered one of the best tennis players in the history of the Seminole tennis program, he hung up the rackets after graduation in 2010 and pursued a career in financial management at Avant Financial Group in Tallahassee, Florida and later at Morgan Stanley in Miami. But the itch to do what he was most passionate about – playing tennis – didn’t leave him. After about two years away from playing competitive tennis, he realized that “money can’t buy happiness” and he wanted to get back out there to pursue his dream to see just how far he really could go on the tennis court.

Amy Gerhartz played 67 lives performances in 2014 and won nearly 10,000 new fans.

Amy Gerhartz played 67 lives performances in 2014 and won nearly 10,000 new fans.

Both of the guests on today’s program have a few things in common: both are graduates of Florida State University in Tallahassee; both currently live in Atlanta, Georgia (when they’re not out on tour); however, neither are from Atlanta originally – JY was born and raised in Miami and Amy was a military brat who has lived all over the country (and even in Germany). Both of our guests are highly talented individuals – talents that were perhaps inspired by other family members. JY’s father was also a professional tennis player and multiple members of Amy’s family played music – however she is the first to take it on as a full-time career. Both of these two took unconventional paths to get where they are today.  And yet both seem pretty satisfied in taking it day by day.

However, when you’re living the dream, there are costs to consider. Recently, JY wrote a blog post called “The Costs of Living the Dream,” which breaks down his income and expenses from the past two years – and he demonstrates that someone making minimum wage in the United States makes more money than a professional tennis player like him. “It’s not easy,” said Aubone. “The way I’ve tried to look at it is whenever you start a business you’re going to be losing money for the first three years. And if your business is good enough and you’re able to be successful by the fourth, fifth year, that’s when you start to make money back…. I hope this business investment I’ve put into myself will start to pay off soon.”

One perk (and challenge) of this career: traveling the world.

One perk (and challenge) of this career: traveling the world.

“But look, I didn’t take this pathway in my life for the money,” said Aubone. “I found out firsthand that money can’t buy happiness and fortunately it’s been holding true. Even when I look at my bank account, I still love what I’m doing.”

Both of these two guests seem to be, as Amy said, “open to whatever the future brings,” as they pursue a life and a career that most could only dream of. Many of us would love to have our hobby be our job. These two are finding a way to make it possible.

As Amy sings in her song, “Welcome Sign” (the one we play at the end of this episode on the podcast), “I don’t have much to leave behind me. Just a little faith that the Holy Ghost will guide me.” Pursuing your dream requires some kind of faith for sure and after listening to these two, I hope they keep the faith alive.

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