Creating a Life You Want to Live
“My journey has not been linear, but I’ve learned everyone has their own timeline,” Julie Geer says.
Fortune cookies and hearts reveal their truths by being cracked open. So did Julie Geer, 27, owner and operator of Assist by Julie, an a la carte event consulting company that is allowing Julie to finally reach her potential and fulfill her passion.
Assist by Julie was birthed by its owner experiencing a series of cracks that changed the course of her life. Her journey began when she decided to take the bold leap and leave her close-knit New York family to study in the wild midwestern land of Indiana. “I needed to get out of my bubble,” Julie says. “My parents wanted me to stay close, but we compromised because we all knew I would be right back in New York as soon as my four years were over.”
Julie was excited about the prospects of a different environment, but instead, was greeted with a hefty dose of culture shock. Still, Julie completed her hospitality course work and was eager to graduate and return home. But like our best laid plans, sometimes they just don’t pan out. During her senior year she fell in love with a boy from Kentucky that would soon become her husband. Both of them ended up in Chicago, with Julie in a management position in a large retail chain. Next, Julie found a new job in a large hotel chain, where she managed events and marketing. She loved it, and life seemed to be opening up … until the hotel chain was sold and her position was eliminated. This experience led to another position in hospitality that proved itself to be toxic.
In order to reboot and reinvent herself, Julie decided to join Americorps. She worked one year in an elementary school on the west side of Chicago and fell in love. But then she and her new husband relocated to Louisville, where he was to run his family’s business. Julie didn’t see Louisville as being part of her journey, but she was down three jobs and wanted to give back and feel good about herself again. So, she applied to Spalding University’s MAT program and pursued a career in special education.
“I wanted a career where I could go home every day and feel proud of myself,” Julie says. But soon, feelings of disappointment set in again. Julie found herself lonely in the profession, feeling like a cultural outsider and isolated.
Last March, COVID-19 hit and Julie found herself with the unique opportunity to rebrand herself yet again. “I had so much time at home I started filling the void. I would teach online during the day and then stay up until 3am creating my business plan for Assist by Julie. Quarantine gave me the time and reflection needed to do the inner-work of finding my ‘thing.’”
When Julie married the previous year, she had realized a niche market in the industry. During the pandemic, couples were still marrying and spending money on event planning, businesses were not. While filling her void through business planning, Julie realized a void within the industry: Full-time wedding planners were exorbitantly expensive, and the alternative, day-of planners, didn’t provide enough services. Julie’s business offers a hybrid of these two models for couples that want a little DIY in their planning but need consultation and assistance for certain services like venue booking, catering, design, etc. Julie soon found herself able to work remotely with clients in Louisville, Lexington, and New York.
Julie’s price-point matches the budget of those in Kentucky while her urban and modern New York style draws her customers away from the customary southern, farmhouse styles represented here. All of her wrong-turns — moving to the foreign midwest, suffering through unfulfilling jobs, and teaching — ended up inspiring her business and ultimate contentment. Her series of disappointments gave her the courage to make the life she wanted to live.
“My journey has not been linear, but I’ve learned everyone has their own timeline,” Julie says. She has learned to stop comparing herself to others, to stay true to herself, and to allow herself some grace when life cracks her open.
MENTAL HEALTH CHECK
• “Right before I go to bed, I look over my work schedule for the following day and fill in any gaps of time to create more structure. I fill in the gaps with activities that feel rejuvenating to me such as morning coffee runs, workouts, neighborhood walks, and personal phone calls.”
• “I’ve been going to therapy most of my life. I wish therapy was encouraged and accepted by more people as it should be viewed as a sign of strength rather than weakness. I’m so grateful for therapy as it’s helped me reflect and navigate both difficult and not so difficult times.”