Right after college, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and I had a clear view of what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a writer, but journalism was a practical way to pursue that dream and still make an honest living. I was a news editor and reporter during my last semester in college and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In my head, I was like, “Hell yeah, I did what I wanted and I love it. That’s what life is all about!”
After graduation, however, I moved from Brooklyn to Toronto and real life hit me hard. On a personal level, I was grappling with an out-of-body experience where my body was in Toronto but my mind was back in Brooklyn. On a professional level, journalism was a difficult industry to break into. With my minimum wage job as a supervisor at a grocery store, my dream of being this hot-shot writer was slowly crumbling.
I didn’t give up hope, though. In December 2012, I came up with 25 HRS. It was a blog based on news centered around the two cities that I’m from. Basically, a Toronto and New York City beat for you journalism heads reading this right now. Working overtime to make your minutes worthwhile was the motto. Hashtag, pat yourself on the back and trademark that motto ASAP because it’s catchy AF?! Indubitably.
On January 25, 2013, I started the blog and by May of the same year, I crashed and burned. My family and friends had no idea what I was doing. Most importantly, I had no idea what I was doing. Shoutout to one of my cousins who said that I was a writer and blogger at a family dinner. You were the real MVP, major keys included.
A few years after that, I drifted and tried to focus on getting a full-time job because I needed to eat, survive, and pay my bills. Three jobs later, I am here writing to you that I still want to be a writer.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a full-time writer. I need to eat, folks. Becoming a writer or pursuing an artistic career is a huge leap. They don’t call us starving artists for nothing. Self-doubt and fear will try to send multiple friend requests to you on Facebook and you have to constantly ignore, block, and deny them. However, there are three things that help me to stay the course and keep pushing.
As mentioned above, I need to eat in order to live. I’m pretty sure you do, too. I have huge respect for people who risk it all and become full-time entrepreneurs. It shows passion and the utmost dedication to the cause. Yet, it’s important to remember that your journey is not everyone else’s journey. We’re all Cinderella in a way. The shoe fits whom it fits, no questions asked. It’s rare that people just win at life automatically. It takes a lot of planning and strategizing to figure out your next move. You want to aim for a checkmate, not a stalemate when making important decisions about your life and who you want to be.
Make a plan about how you’re going to take care of yourself financially because in the first few years there will be zero to little income coming in.
Do Your Research
You know how they say reading is fundamental? You know what, friends? It is actually true. When I was younger, I got my hands on any book that I could read. As I was getting older, I kind of lost that along the way. While I was trying to figure out this journey, I realized that the only way to know more about whatever I’m trying to do will be to read about it. I encourage you to do this. Extensively. Four books in heavy rotation for me are Make Yourself Marketable: The Ultimate Personal Branding Planner by Emmelie De La Cruz, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes, How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh, and Memories by Lang Leav. Make Yourself Marketable taught me the power of planning ahead. Year of Yes taught me about the challenges of balancing my personal and professional life. Memories help to cure my writer’s block from time to time, and How to Be a Bawse…need I say more?
A few times in your career, it’s a guarantee that something unexpected will pop up. For me, it is the new ad policy regulation from YouTube. I’m at a crossroads because I’m wondering if I should stick to blogging and podcasts instead of adding vlogging to the mix. This is where changing tactics come in. I will keep the videos coming on YouTube, I just need to figure out a way to budget my time.
While looking at a recent video from Shannon Boodram, also known as Shan Boody on YouTube, she mentioned that her channel (which has over 281,000 subscribers to date) was not being monetized because of the content she shares on that platform. However, the biggest takeaway I took from that video was learning how to evolve and grow with whatever a situation or life throws at you. It’s all game, a good game if you want it to be.
Work Hard and Keep Believing
With most things in life, if you want it you’ll have to get through the good, great, bad, and ugly in order to get it. There may be tears, there may be all-nighters, there may be low bank accounts, there may be a lot of swearing. If I’m being totally honest here, that was the road to getting my degree. The road to being an entrepreneur is a lot like that now, but with different obstacles. If it’s worth it, the obstacles will seem minute to the long-term goal at hand.
Although I am not a full-time entrepreneur (yet), I know that I will be. I am calling that into existence right now. This is all a work in progress for me. Being an entrepreneur takes a lot of dedication and hard work. If it is something you want to do, it is your duty to take that chance and pursue it. Just be smart about it.