I’ve been mad chillin’ since the start of 2019 and that’s partially because Q1 is always super slow for me, as brands are analyzing their holiday campaigns (from last year) and preparing their budget for this year. Typically, I would be freaking out around this time, as I was never prepared for the lack of campaigns between January to March. Fortunately, after 3 years of full-time blogging, I finally learned how to embrace this break.
While my savings account has been dipped into and almost depleted at this point, my mental health, on the other hand, has been at an all time high. I honestly couldn’t be more grateful and appreciative of this hiatus, as it’s given me the time to truly indulge in being present. However, I have to be fully transparent and remind you that I have earned this point of my life —where I can enjoy my life as I please and not work as hard because I busted my ass off for the last 15+ years. What you’re witnessing now is me reaping all the benefits of my hustle since I was 16 years old.
Yes, at 16 years old, my dad would drive me from Long Beach to Costa Mesa on the weekends to Mitsuwa supermarket. I would sit in front of the market for 8-10 hours per day and sell roasted chestnuts. I was paid under the table every weekend and at $10/hr, it wasn’t too shabby. I think that’s when I realized that I rather make money on the weekends versus spend money at the mall with my friends. Unfortunately, not all my friends understood my mindset and that’s when I started losing friends. Good times.
My path to where I am today was never linear; I had no idea what I wanted to do and I dipped in and out of industries left and right, trying to figure myself out. My road was filled with potholes, dead ends, twist and turns. I stalled, I broke down, I required a lot of maintenance and even today, I still have times where I need to pull over and readjust myself — but guess what? That’s OK. We’re human, so we’re meant to explore especially in our 20’s and even in our 30’s, it’s OK to change lanes. You should never stay in a place that feels forced and makes you unhappy. There’s no limit to how many times you can restart.
I’ve never fully shared my story of my journey because I didn’t think it was interesting enough, and it sure as hell isn’t a rags to riches piece. Hell, I’m still broke here and there. However, I think it is important to remind you guys that it is OK to be indecisive, to not know what you want, to not be where you thought you would at a certain age.
I’ve said it numerous of times on my Instagram, but there are no deadlines in life. And for those smart asses out there, yes there’s technically an expiration date of when we’re all supposed to go, but in regards to having to be married by 30 or having kids by 35 — fuck that.
So here’s my journey, here’s my reminder to you that you are your own person so don’t live up to anyone’s expectations except your own. If you’re lost right now, that’s fine. Take your time to explore and find out who you are, what you like and most importantly, what you don’t like. It’s OK.
2006: Graduated from Lakewood High School; got kicked out of the Merit Scholars program a month before graduation due to a low GPA and a disagreement between the staff and I over an opinion piece I wrote for the school paper (that I refused to retract upon request).
Sold roasted chestnuts on the weekends before getting hired as an office assistant from May to Nov 2006.
Was also a club promoter (SpotsPRO, you know!) and was out 3 times a week from 10PM to 2AM, but my curfew was 8PM so I ended up getting kicked out of my parent’s home — attempted to live with a (then) best friend and got into a huge fight. Landed myself into an apartment from a Craigslist ad for a month before living with my ex-boyfriend’s mother in Cerritos for a year.
Attended CSULB from 2006-2013; didn’t get a full college experience as all I literally did was go to class and then work before or after.
Changed my major 6 times —psychology, accounting, journalism, oceanography, marketing, American studies (which is what I graduated with); also took a lot of night classes so I can work full-time which prevented me from graduating within 4 years.
Worked as an admin assistant at an electronics wholesale company in Torrance from Nov 2006 to Jan 2009.
Quit on false pretenses, thought I had another job lined up but that fell through which led me to unemployment for a month. Moved into an apartment in Belmont Shores with some friends, interviewed 3 times a week for 2 weeks and got a job in Irvine as a data entry processor.
Moved again to east side of Long Beach for 6 months with some friends of friends, before moving into a house with my friend and her husband in Cerritos.
In Dec 2010, I quit my job in Irvine, a month before we were about to get laid off. Obtained a position in Anaheim at an online company.
Was moved from customer service to buyer within a couple of months, solely because my boss realized how terrible I am at customer service. He literally told me to never get another customer service job again when he promoted me, because I was so bad at it. I had a low tolerance for people back then.
I moved to Orange with a friend for a year before moving to Cypress with another friend.
The company was sold in 2012, so I got a front desk receptionist job in LA around November that lasted about 7 months.
Around this time, I started a blog called Lipstick, Lace, and Lattes with 5 girlfriends.
I lasted about half a year with the blog before leaving to focus on my photography. I am still thankful for that blog as it gave us some great opportunities, like working with Google.
Around this time, I moved again, to the current apartment I have now in San Gabriel.
I started a photography blog and got really into shooting.
In 2013, I was hired as a social media coordinator for an intimates wholesaler in El Monte.
January of 2014 was when I launched By Lisa Linh, as a fashion blog. I worked on the blog after work and on weekends, shooting whenever I could and did a ton of outreach every week.
Then on July 25, 2014, I announced that I was going to change my career and pursue nursing. That lasted about two semesters of pre-req’s before I said fuck it, and realized I didn’t care about being in the medical field. Plus I hate needles so that wouldn’t have really worked.
I then got hired for a marketing coordinator position in Pomona in around Feb 2015 and worked there until May 2015, which was when I decided to go full-time into blogging.
I’ve briefly spoke about this a few times, but I quit on a whim without a back-up plan and absolutely no savings. My dumbass went all in, blindly, and barely survived. I hit rock bottom, racked up so much debt, which I thankfully paid off last summer (WOO!), and learned the hard way about credit.
I took up some odd jobs between 2015 to 2016, including waitressing in Hollywood, social media consulting, and photography. All of which I kept on the lowdown because I was embarrassed to admit that I was struggling financially.
From 2017 to 2018, I launched a social media consulting agency and had about five brands onboard and two assistants. Month by month, I started realizing how much I loathed doing it yet the money was easy so I kept at it for the entire year. However, by November, I was completely over it and dropped my last client. As much as I loved telling people I was doing this and that, I also knew that I couldn’t continue preaching about doing what love when I didn’t love it.
This year is the first year I am going all in with blogging, no side jobs, no contracted projects, no consulting. Basically no other side jobs to diverge my focus from By Lisa Linh. I’m certainly scared as fuck, but if I don’t do it now, I’ll regret it later.
The last few years has certainly been a learning curve, filled with life lessons that I wouldn’t learn otherwise. If you guys follow me on Instagram, you’ve read this next part already but if you haven’t, this basically summarizes my journey thus far —
If you asked me at 18, what I wanted to be, I would’ve said journalist.
If you asked me at 21 what I wanted to be, I would’ve said accountant.
If you asked me at 25, what I wanted to be, I would’ve said photographer.
It’s OK to not know what you want, but it’s NOT OK to sit around and not even pursue things that you have the slightest interest in because you’re scared of failure.
Before By Lisa Linh, I had a million different positions —all of which have helped me grow my own business. So even if you pursue something and it doesn’t work out, at least you learned something from it that’ll def help you later. Guaranteed.
“No matter how hard it gets, just keep going. You only fail when you stop trying.”
A curated collection by Lisa Linh featuring guides, tips & tricks, and advice for your getaways, business, and life.