When I graduated from UCLA I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. All I knew was that I wanted to live in LA and do something fun. I also knew that my parents weren’t going to help me financially so the “something fun” I wanted to do better make me some money. LA isn’t exactly a cheap place to live.
So began the struggle of my early twenties. Doing odd jobs like working part time in a spa, teaching cardio kickboxing, being a Jack Daniels promo girl at various bars, working for a creepy doctor who wanted me to chaperone his multiple “girlfriends”.
The stories go on and on. I was surviving, but I wasn’t working towards a career. I had cash in my pocket, but as easily as it came; it went. One month I would be on top of the world, and the next I would be busting open my piggy bank for grocery money. I had no direction and I hated it.
Eventually I landed a job as a makeup artist, which I loved… for a while. It was still a struggle though. After a few years I felt like I was stuck in a career that I wasn’t excited about. Spending 18 hours a day on set with diva celebrities was no longer appealing to me. Once again I felt like I had no vision and was unhappy. I knew I needed to figure out what my next move would be. The what and how was yet to be determined.
One thing is for certain; you can’t chase your dreams until you have them clear in your mind. The more specific you are about what you want; the easier it will be to go after it.
I started dabbling in blogging. I wrote mostly about makeup and beauty related things and I loved it. I submitted articles for a variety of online publications and became hooked.
Connecting with like-minded people proved to be the creative outlet I had been longing for. After a couple months of blogging (and continuing to do makeup) I decided to launch my own blog and YouTube channel. I incorporated not only makeup and beauty, but also other things I loved like food, fitness and travel. I prayed for the day that I would have a recognizable brand, and the opportunity to work with a variety of talented people in similar industries. I had no idea what to expect, I had no clue as to the amount of work it would take, and I had no friends that were doing anything similar, no guidance whatsoever. But I loved it creating content. Slowly a new dream was forming; a dream that maybe one day I could turn this into a full time, profitable career.
After two years of complete dedication I can say that building and maintaining my brand has been the most difficult and rewarding experiences of my life thus far. There is no guidebook for how to turn your brand/blog/channel into a profitable business. Every ounce of success and every dollar I’ve earned has come from my vision and HUSTLING. It goes back to having a clear dream.
I want to leave you with a story about a major career milestone that occurred in March of 2013. I was asked to appear as a guest on a well-known talk show on YouTube that I had been following for months. I was going to be interviewed by one of the most successful YouTubers on the planet, and one that I was personally a huge fan of. I remember wanting to pinch myself the morning of as I was getting ready to be on the show. Everything about that day seemed surreal. Walking into the studio, meeting the host and having a killer time during the show. When we wrapped I thought to myself I wish I could come to this studio every week and do what she does – but in my own way. It was crystal clear in my mind.
Fast forward about a month later and I was telling one of my best friends that I wanted my own YouTube talk show when I got an email about an important phone call that that studio wanted to have with me. I suddenly had butterflies. Every time the studio had contacted me in the past, something wonderful came out of it. When the phone call took place I had three producers on a conference call asking me if I wanted to host a new talk show that they were re-launching. Was this really happening? I asked them several times if they were serious. I asked them if I would get paid. I asked them if we would film in the same studio. All the answers were YES of course.
Now I am happy to report that one of my job descriptions includes hosting a live weekly talk show that revolves around women and women’s issues. If it weren’t for all the hard work I had done up until that moment and my clear vision of what I wanted I guarantee none of this would have happened. I came to find out later that literally hundreds of “professional” hosts in Southern California had auditioned for this role – but I got it – without an audition. I got it because I was prepared, had spent two years building a credible online reputation and most importantly because I had a vision.
I truly believe there is plenty of room at the top. Everyone can make their dreams come true because everyone has a different dream and a different idea of success.
Today, as I write this I feel successful. I have everything I’ve ever wanted including my health, happiness, a fabulous husband, wonderful relationships and my dream job. Anything else that comes my way is icing on the cake! This is still only the beginning. I know the sky is the limit and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. Until then, I’m enjoying the journey!