Case study

Director of an online art gallery — Jaanika Okk

Jaanika's passion, two Masters degrees and proactive approach to research all factor in to the success of her online art gallery

How did you get your job?

I set up my own company, Okk Arts Ltd. and manage an online art gallery, Okk Arts, where I showcase mine and many other artists' work.

What are your main work activities?

On average, the working day is about 12 hours long. Each day includes marketing activities, accounting and prospecting (either cold calls, networking events or e-mailing). The company has two sets of clients - artists and interior designers, and all daily activities evolve one way or another around those. Either we're finding new artists, holding consultation calls, uploading their images to the website or promoting. In the case of interior designers, we're either calling them directly, working with referral partners or writing proposals.

What do you enjoy about your job?

The beauty of setting up your own company is that you can do what you love, and I love every bit of my work.

What are the challenges?

Time management tends to be a challenging aspect. The nature of running a small company is that a lot of activities are done by very few people, which requires constant multitasking by everyone.

How relevant are your degrees to your job?

Both my degrees (fine arts and project management) have a direct connection to my business. I wouldn't be able to set up and run my company without the knowledge I have gained. That said, I have to constantly keep myself updated and educated with current art trends as well as business management. From a practical point of view, my degrees gave me advantage on a professional level.

How has your role developed, and what are your career ambitions?

My role has developed from freelancing to actually running a limited company. In the future, I see my company becoming self-sustainable, so I'm able to step back and let the company run itself. I see a lot of potential in the company, its development and potential to go international.

Any tips for choosing a Masters?

I've completed two Masters degrees, and my top tip would be to do a lot of research. I would also suggest having a bit of a break between completing your BA and starting an MA - do some travelling and broaden your horizons.

What's your advice for someone looking to get into this job?

  • Be clear on what you want. Your outlook can be just 'I need some money', which is fine, but with this outlook you shouldn't expect to find meaningful content. If your outlook is 'I want something which is interesting and challenging' then, although narrowing your options, you'll have a better chance of finding a job you enjoy. If you want to establish your own company, first and foremost, you need to establish what it is that you want. If you don't have a goal in mind, if you don't have your 'why' answered, then you'll collapse on the first obstacle.
  • Do your research and be curious and proactive. Once you know what you want, then next step is research - how to get there. All the necessary tools are currently at your disposal (the internet, libraries, tutors, peers, family and so on) Don't be afraid to ask.
  • Work hard. Finally, once you know what you want and how to get there, it's all down to the actual work, and it isn't easy. If you're a hard worker, you'll more receive opportunities. Nothing just happens, you need to make it happen.

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