I went from making 100K a year to making over 100K in one month in a little over 2 years since I became a full time content creator. I went from having 20K Instagram followers when I left my job at the end of 2018 to over 100K Instagram followers today. My life has completely changed. I’ve been flown to Paris. I created my own print magazine. I had my first professional shoot for an online magazine. I co-created my first clothing line. I’ve sat front row at fashion shows and made more money than I ever thought possible. I helped my mom buy a house and I bought my own house. When I think about the place I was in 2 and a half years ago and where I am now…(currently sitting on my balcony in Miami while the sun rises with a freshly brewed cup of Nespresso), I can barely believe it. Life is really amazing. I wake up with vigor and happiness instead of a heavy weight on my chest. This is my entrepreneurial story and I wanted to share these things not to brag or boast although I’m never going to be shy about my accomplishments and Gods abundance over my life, but to encourage and to let everyone know that their dreams, whatever they are, are totally, completely and utterly possible. Here are my 7 Tips for Being a Successful Entrepreneur.
SET YOUR GOALS
It’s very hard to navigate through life if you’re just wandering around aimlessly going with the flow. That’s cute in your childhood and teens but not so much in adulthood. To get where you want to be, you have to know where that is. Sit down with a pen and paper and write down what you envision for your life. Be as specific as possible. I did this when I first left my 9-5 job as a Physical Therapist to become a full time content creator. My goals at the time were to make 5K a month so I can live comfortably and to create 2 other sources of income independent of brand partnerships which included YouTube and my Print Magazine. You can do this for your career and for your life. Once these things are written down then you know where you need to start to accomplish these things. My goals are always changing and as I move through life and accomplish things, I create new goals.
HAVE A PLAN FOR TRANSITIONING INTO FULL TIME ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Don’t just up and leave your 9-5 unless the work environment is toxic and detrimental to your mental or physical health. When I left my job I had already been thinking about leaving for a year. Even though I wasn’t 100% sure at the time that I would leave, I started saving. I saved a few thousand dollars until I had a nest egg of about 14K. I was already making about 30K yearly from blogging on the side at that time. I also had many brand connections stemming from the previous 8 years that I’d been blogging. It was not a rash decision. I had enough money to get me through about 4 months and was already making a good amount of money from content creating on the side before I left my job. Be smart about your moves. Have some savings in case you hit a rough month or a rough few months. Take your time building the relationships and your business on the side while your full-time job pays you. Remember if you’re going to work that hard for someone else you can spend a few hours a day before and after your 9-5 to work on your own business. Develop a plan for your exit strategy. How much money do you need to save to feel comfortable going out on your own? Write that down. How much money does your business need to be generating before you feel comfortable leaving your 9-5? Take all those things into consideration and also take into account your work ethic because trust me once you have that extra free time to pour into your business you can certainly make up the difference in revenue but you have to be motivated to do so.
BE PREPARED TO WORK HARDER THAN YOU’VE EVER WORKED IN YOUR LIFE
I’ve worked for several people most of which owned their own businesses and most of them were millionaires. I saw first hand how incredibly hard millionaires worked for their money especially when their business was brick and mortar or in the healthcare field. It takes a lot of very hard work and stress to become a millionaire and biiiiiiiiiiitch I’m up for the challenge! I have never worked as hard as I have the last 2 and a half years of my life. I mean honey…the work is never ending. From the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep, I am working. There are no days off, there are no vacation and sick days. You have to create those for yourself. There’s no one making you clock in every morning so if you are a procrastinator and generally consider yourself lazy, then entrepreneurship is not for you. I’ve just recently gotten to a point where I can relax a bit but now I have new goals, especially with home ownership and the savings goals I’ve set for myself. I have made it a point to have at least 200K in my savings account at all times. So I need to work a little more. The good thing is the work I did in those 8 years before I went full-time were not in vain. I built an amazing following during that time, cultivated my content creation skills and prepared myself for what doing this full time would look like. And now although I still work hard, I don’t have to work as hard. I make my money make more money which brings me to my next very important point.
DIVERSIFY YOUR SOURCES OF INCOME
When you’re an entrepreneur its easy to think that all you need is just this one business to work in order for you to be successful. I get it because most people think you can only be one thing or only do one thing. The key to building wealth is having several streams of income. So even if you have a business selling a product that you make and it’s doing fantastic, what else can you monetize? Can you teach people how to make the same product? Can you create video content that teaches people what you do? Do you have other passions that can make you money while your products are still selling? Can you partner with other brands to create an additional source of income? I think a lot of entrepreneurs get bogged down with that one thing and forget there are infinite ways of making money doing what they are already doing to sustain their business. For example I started off blogging, right here on this website. I would sell ad space to brands and put their banners in my side bar for $100 a month (that was back in 2010). That was a quick way for me to monetize my platform without doing much work because I already knew I would be updating my blog regularly and people would read it. Currently these are my sources of income: Brand Campaigns, Affiliate Link Commissions, YouTube Ad Revenue, My Ebook + Template + Course Sales, My Co-Created Clothing Line & My Print/Digital Magazine. That’s 6 sources of income and I’m working on a 7th that will be implemented in 2022. The more revenue streams you have as an entrepreneur the less likely you will go into a downward spiral or debt if one stream fails. My backup plans have backup plans. If suddenly I never got another brand campaign, I’d still manage to bring in at minimum 5 figures a month. And most of these streams came naturally and are just building on the things I was already doing. It takes about 10 hours to create an ebook that can generate 4-5 figures in a month forever! The money I invested into cameras, tripods and the latest iPhone to create content, paid for itself in less than a month. You really can’t elevate your business by being cheap. Go into your business with an abundance mindset. What you put into it, you will surely get out of it.
ADAPT AN ABUNDANCE MENTALITY IN ALL FACETS OF YOUR LIFE
I have a secret to tell you: Money, and making money was one of the biggest sources of my anxiety in life. It used to have me up at night, would have my jaw clenched, my neck stiff and have me worried all day long. I no longer worry about money. If I lose it I know there are a hundred and one ways for me to make it again. This is also why I have no problems investing in the things that are going to take my career to the next level. I know I’m going to get that back and more! I spend thousands of dollars a month on photography and video edits. THOUSANDS. But that money I put into those things pales in comparison to what I make from doing that. I also continue to create content for myself (even if it’s not sponsored or a brand collaboration). Because those things I do for myself for fun and for free are the things that lead brands to me in the first place. Surround yourself with like minded abundant thinkers. People who think that there’s enough for everyone. Because believe me people who have lack mentalities will always find fault with why you want more for yourself. They don’t think they deserve more and they don’t think more is possible. You can still love these people, hell they might be family and friends, just know that they probably won’t be happy for you and you can’t change their minds. But you can level up yours by surrounding yourself with like minded people. That time I spent working for millionaire entrepreneurs was probably the best thing I ever did. Because I was surrounded by abundant thinkers who could always find new ways to make themselves more money.
GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE IS CRUCIAL
No matter what business you are in if you are providing a service your customer service skills need to be on point. When I was 15, I got my first job working at my neighborhood McDonald’s and the first thing we were taught is that the customer is always right. Now, I don’t necessarily believe that because I’ve come across some very insane and entitled customers but it’s all in the delivery of how you handle them. My business is in content creation and my business would not prosper without my subscribers, followers, readers and those who purchase my digital, physical and recommended products. So I make sure that my work day includes responding to comments, DMs, and inquires on my products. I know that without the support of these people, I wouldn’t be thriving in this space. A lot of people tend to forget that, especially in the influencer realm. Honestly, I think it’s one of the things that differentiates me. My engagement is extraordinary. Now here’s something you may find interesting. I don’t have the biggest following on Instagram or YouTube but I’m definitely going to make a million or close to a million dollars this year. I don’t say that to brag but to let you know it’s not always about the number you see that determines a persons worth. It’s about their drive, their passion, their relatability, their effective communication, their creativity and most importantly their appreciation of those who support them. In my field of work, that’s what brands are paying for. I’m not the prettiest (to some…to me I’m fucking gorgeous), I’m not the most prim and proper (I’m a little rough around the edges) but one thing I’m gonna do is show you that if I can get this bag and live this life so can you. Which is why I appreciate my haters as well. Because even though they may watch to hate the more they watch (and put money in my pockets) the more they too will be inspired to spend less time focused on my life and what I’m doing and start making sh*t happen for themselves.
GIVE YOUR BODY & MIND SOME ATTENTION
Entrepreneurship can be stressful and uncertain. Most entrepreneurs, myself included, work themselves into the ground. We work during breakfast, we work during lunch (if we even remember to eat lunch), we work on vacation and we stress ourselves to death. I have to remind myself to actually live and enjoy life. It’s gotten a lot easier since I moved to Miami where people are practically on vacation every day of the year. It’s helped me to slow down a bit and actually enjoy the fruits of my labor. Even though you may be an entrepreneur and able to make your own schedule and do what you love for a living, it is still work and can still wreck havoc on your body mentally and physically if you don’t rest. Exercising has helped me focus more on my physical and mental health. When I’m exercising, I’m not thinking about the 5 campaigns I need to shoot, or the YouTube video I need to record, or the taxes I need to do. I’m focused on being in the moment. Even though social media is one aspect of my job, I’ve pulled back a bit from being on it. I find doing instagram stories to be quite taxing and exhausting so I don’t do them as much. I have created entrepreneurial boundaries and that has helped lesson my anxiety around work which has helped me tremendously with my mental wellness. It’s ok to take a break. If your business is set up correctly, it won’t adversely affect it.
SHOP THE LOOKS
Bonus Tip: F*ck a Niche, do it all
One thing I will also add about entrepreneurship is to know your audience. Know their ages, their education level, their income. What ever statistics you can find on your audience or consumers, study and learn that information and create content or products that will cater to the greatest audience. I make significantly more money than when I started blogging 11 years ago. Does that mean I’m only going to show luxury things now? No, that would be stupid when I know the average income level of my audience. I also know that I don’t only shop or wear luxury even though I can afford to. Most humans are multifaceted with what they will or won’t spend money on. I also don’t want to alienate anyone and want to be as inclusive as possible across my content. I show things I like of all price points. I throw in elements of lifestyle, travel and home decor. I mix things up and don’t put myself too much in one box to cater to my wide audience and to hopefully attract a wider audience. In the end this can only help to expand my business and the brands who want to work with me. I’ve worked with Saks and Alize. I’ve worked with Nike and Nasty Gal. I’ve worked with Walmart and Farfetch. I’ve worked with Stuart Weitzman and JustFab. Why? Because I shop at and use all these products. I don’t put myself in a box because that just limits my coins and my audience. I hope this blog post was helpful and motivated you to go out and do what you’ve always wanted to do. If you’re interested in reading similar posts about entrepreneurship, blogging, influencing, starting a YouTube Channel and more check out the blogging section of my website with free information for you to get started. I’ve written over 20+ blog posts on this subject and get very in depth with the money aspect of entrepreneurship in this field. You can also check out my ebooks and Pitch Templates to level up your business and social media.