Stuck in the Middle...The First Step to Creating Your Own Brand & Happiness
On Episode 10 of This is Life Unfiltered, we did a giveaway with Sara Happ, and the winner had to DM us and tell us what she wanted to change in 2018. We weren't talking about body appearance, or shoe size (I always wanted to change my shoe size, how pathetic is that) but instead of how to grow and learn in 2018. Here's what her message said:
This message stuck with me. I hear it over and over and over again: Gen-Z, Gen-X, millennials, all trying to go to school, be in every club, start a blog, make money from their blog, go to prom, buy a car...but how in the world can you possibly do it all? I'm convinced that anxiety and stress is incredibly heightened in the generations after mine because of social media. Imagine going to school, bored in your class and scrolling through Instagram, and constantly feeling like you should be starting a blog or an Instagram page to make money to help you pay for college. Instead of following my exact path of (spending all of my time in the bathroom on this Craigslist page trying to network with business owners), finishing high school and heading to college is what you are probably planning on doing, right? I have gone to conferences, read books, started my own e-book, and more to understand and answer this question of doing it all properly. I want to help my friends who have been suffering through this terrible phase for years, still coming out with a shitty job and little happiness on the other end.
What I've noticed is that people are afraid to take the first step. As Marisa said in her message, she has all these great goals for her life and brand, yet she finds herself scrolling through Instagram. By the time the social media scrolling ends, it's 7 PM and there isn't enough time to sit down and "create a business plan" by then. Do you think Elon Musk seriously woke up one day, created 1 Tesla, and become a billionaire? Hell no! I didn't wake up one day, start my blog, and see $10,000 in my bank account overnight. I've been blogging for six years and Elon Musk is double my age. You don't need to wake up and write a business plan for your company or your blog. You simply need an idea, sustainable or maybe (initially) not sustainable, and the passion and drive to accomplish step 1. Starting! By starting, I mean writing down in a notebook or a Kindle where you want to be in five years.
Want to be sitting in an office with 20 staff members asking you to answer their emails? Write down "start my own home furnishings company" and below that, you write "and my team is constantly asking me to answer their emails". Sounds funny, but that's what I did for years. Get signed with FORD Models. If you find yourself scrolling through Instagram, buy a book (I'm reading Sheryl Sandberg right now) turn your phone off and read. Ann Shoket, who spoke at my Big Life dinner in Boston, has a fabulous book for young hustlers. Buy some business cards on your credit card and go to Whole Foods; ask some people what they'd read on a blog, or if they run a business and want help marketing. If you're desperate for money and want to make it happen, you make it happen. There is no time better than right now. Growing up, my biggest fear was that in 25 years, I'd look back and realize that I hadn't followed my dreams. Even if I failed after 25 years, I could have something to show for after years of chasing a dream. After years of thinking I wanted to be a model and an actress when I was age 7, 8, 9, 10, and then realizing I was destined to fail in that world, I had the idea to start my blog. No business plan needed: just an idea. I understand I didn't need to make money, but I did need to escape my life just as badly as you may feel like, and I was equally as stuck. There are billions of people in the world, and you can be the next whatever you want to be. You just have to be confident enough in yourself to start somewhere.
Pro tip: Start a LinkedIn! Model it after mine, here. Have nothing to say? You can B.S. a little. Want to work in marketing? Say you did social media for your mom and her friend. Want to be in fashion? Call up a local boutique in your town, ask if you can "shadow" or intern for 1 day per week, and stick that on your profile. Who said you aren't doing anything with your life!?
P.S. If you're in the marketing field, this Craigslist tab changed my life. Click some of the top cities (Chicago, New York, LA, Boston) and go to the jobs category, click "marketing, PR, ad". I've had tons of remote social media jobs (when I needed to make instant cash) from this Craigslist tab. Your side hustle, whatever that may be, might not make you money off of the bat. But we've all got a side hustle, and we all have to make time for that little baby. Mine is my nonprofit, M.I.N.T. If I was making the big bucks off of what I really love to do, which is work on M.I.N.T., you'd probably see M.I.N.T. curriculum in every school by now! I've got to pay my bills, and so do you. Believe in yourself!