21. Hustle: Negotiating Your Unique Career

Here’s the challenge. Imagine you want to change your career—radically. Perhaps you’re tired of what you’ve been doing. Maybe you’re excited about doing something very different. It could be both. But how do you leap into a new world where you have no experience and no connections? (Oh, and just to make it harder, whatever your gender, assume that you’re a woman trying to break into a male-dominated field.)

Our guest for this episode is Amy Chu, who took on that challenge and succeeded spectacularly. Amy is a graduate of Wellesley College, MIT, and the Harvard Business School. She had an impressive career in business, but in 2010 she made a bold move, jumping into the comics industry. She explains how she drew on lessons she learned about strategy in her prior life to build a network of collaborators and supporters. But she also recognized that dealing with creative people is very different from negotiating with number-crunchers.

Her big break came when she—a newcomer—was able to recruit Lara Hama (the creator of G.I. Joe) to illustrate a short story she had written. After that, the dominos tipped in her favor. Since then she has co-founded Alpha-Girl Comics, written for both Marvel and DC, and worked with Netflix and other outlets.

If you’re dreaming about making a big jump yourself (or if you’re just curious about how Amy nailed her landing), take a listen.