4 Things I Learned After 4 Years of Self-Employment
Celebrating 4 years of being a full-time entreprenuer feels a little surreal, I still wake up and ask, “is this really my life?” A decade ago, being a full-time blogger was not a reliable option. The industry today is still being figured out, as far as guidelines goes. Plenty of brands are still skeptical about influencer marketing and no one can predict where it’ll be in the next 5-10 years.
My blog was launched January 2014 and about a year later, I took an unexpected turn and quit my full-time job as a menswear marketer for a clothing brand. You can read the full story here. Needless to say, it’s been a wild ride full of ups and downs, but at the end of the day, I have no regrets on the path I chosen. I’m 100% grateful for all of this, but I also still need to be realistic as this industry is still growing and in all honesty, all of this could be taken away in a blink of an eye.
We all saw how Instagram was down awhile ago and while my blog is pretty solid, still doesn’t mean that it can’t disappear someday. However, I’m not worried because I have 12+ years of corporate experience under my belt and I am currently working on something that is outside of all this, which I’ll announce next month.
When people tell me that they want to be an influencer, I always ask why. I do my best to really explain what goes on behind the scenes, as the fluff filled portrayal of how we live (told by the media) is never accurate. We do more than take photos and eat avocado toast, not every deal we get is huge in numbers and half the time, we don’t even get paid on time — or worse, paid at all. None of the people I know in this industry walk around with their noses up in the air, act or feel entitled, demand things at all. I also wouldn’t tolerate anyone of that capacity in my circle of friends anyways. Many of us have built long-term relationships garnered by respect and trust. We work our asses off, pour our heart into our work, allow ourselves to become vulnerable to hundreds of strangers, and we put ourselves out there to be freely ridiculed, criticized, and bullied. I mean, we’re human and we are more than a title.
While I’m celebrating 4 years of self employment, I’m also reminding myself that I’m in an industry that has an unknown future so I need to take advantage of the time I have now. Throughout the last few years, I’ve had great opportunities to travel, work with brands I’ve admired, create content and push my creative boundaries. However, the best part of these last few years are the new friendships and connections with people all around the world. Being able to give advice and tips to thousands of people, being able to help people I’m probably never going to meet yet actually talking to them about real life shit has been so rewarding. The conversations I’ve had so far have been completely priceless and I look forward to more.
Of course, the lessons I’ve learned while enjoying this entrepreneurial life have also been important. For anyone navigating life and unsure of what your path is, let me tell you that you should take full advantage of your curiosities. I did and it was risky, but if I did not quit unexpectedly 4 years ago, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Out of all the things I’ve learned, I believe these 4 things are worth sharing:
Never keep your eggs all in one basket. Diversify yourself, your streams of income, and explore all your options. You only have this one life so why not do everything you want?
You are not defined by or confined to a title. You are more than what you do for work, you are more than what you’re interested in.
You are human; you will burn out, get stressed out, etc. Set your boundaries, make them known, and always make sure to take care of yourself.
Invest in yourself. Keep learning, growing, and expand your knowledge. Don’t know how to do something, Google it, Youtube, ask friends. Do not just sit there and pretend like there are no resources out there for you to utilize.
Blogging is not an end goal (for me), it is a stepping stone and has allowed me to further explore and discover myself. I have a lot more to learn, a lot more shit to grow through, and a lot more to share, in hopes I can help you become a better version of yourself too.
Thank you for allowing me to do something I love. Thank you for riding along with me on this journey and I hope to give you much more as the years go on.
To 4 years and many more.