At the beginning of each new year it is custom to create a list of resolutions or goals for the upcoming year. Last year my best friend and I drove across the country from South Florida to Los Angeles.
Of course there were dreams I was hoping to fulfill once in California. Dreams of renting an apartment with my best friend, getting a job in Hollywood behind a camera, and just accomplishing what I thought I wanted to achieve at that time.
After weeks of jumping from random places to stay, we fell flat on our faces. I ended up having to find a cheap room to rent off Craigslist, while my best friend had no choice other than to drive up north to Oregon. It’s been eight months since I arrived in California and I’ve worked three different minimum wage jobs, drove for a delivery app service, and found a few PA jobs in the area. For months, I was living under the motto of if it can go wrong, it will go wrong. My Jeep got the death wobble and I spent months going to different places to try and get it repaired. I tried to go the cheap way and ended up with a faulty repair. If I had driven one more mile of the highway the tire would have fallen off and it could have taken my life, as well as the people around me.
All of this was happening while I was living in a small room with no air conditioning, in a little house full of families who spoke almost no English at all. Now some may look at this entire experience as a failure. I mean I did have higher expectations, but I firmly believe everything happens for a reason.
These past months I’ve been pointed in a completely different direction of where I originally wanted to go. While jumping from job to job and experiencing Los Angeles, I found a passion. A passion in which I might have never found if I had not taken a leap of faith and made the 2,500 mile journey here.
So at the beginning of 2017, I have a new set of goals. As I get further and further into my transition it is becoming more apparent that the transgender community is experiencing a lot of hate and ignorance. I want to make a difference. I want to change and educate the way society views transgender individuals. You might be asking how? It’s quite simple. I came out to California wanting to work in film because I love being behind the camera. But Hollywood films really don’t spark any interest in me. I’d rather create films that have a purpose and can do some good in this world.
I honestly have no idea where I’m going to begin and how I am going to execute this dream, but that is what this year is for. So cheers to 2017 and turning dreams into reality.
I started my first business at 14. It was a pressure washing company. At that time, I did not know what the word entrepreneur meant. All I knew was that people needed their driveways pressure washed, and my best friend and I could do it while making $50-100 per hour. We ran that business for 3 years. I used the money I made to buy my first car.
The second business I built was a landscaping business. At 18 and 19 respectively, my partner and I grew the business to 20 employees and 120 weekly clients. By that point, I had a little bit more business knowledge than when I was 14 and knew the definition of an entrepreneur. However, I was still living with my parents and did not know the stress of financially supporting myself. I did not know what it was like to build a business and have it be my only financial support system.
Today, I am 21 years old and the founder of Force Media, which is a podcast production company. We use podcasts as a content marketing tool to help grow our client’s business.
I start the story off with all of this info to give a little bit of perspective. In my previous businesses, I did not have to financially support myself, and I had a business partner.
Now, I’ve lived on my own for 2 years, the only money I make is from the company, and I do not have a business partner
It’s funny because “entrepreneur” is the biggest buzzword in the business world. Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. There are so many people that brag about having a startup, building their own business and working for themselves. Those people are in business for the wrong reasons and probably won’t make it very far.
The reason I started a business is I believe we only have one life to live, and we should spend it building our own dreams, not someone else’s.
Due to social media, there is this impression that entrepreneurs get to travel the world, speak at incredible companies, work whenever we feel like it, and just have the best life ever.
Do all those things happen? Yes. They can happen, and they have happened to me. I have traveled around the world, I have spoken at awesome conferences, I have taken days off work because I control my schedule, and I do love my life.
However, do not believe the lies that a newsfeed tells you. We don’t share the difficult times because we don’t want to look weak.
Well, guess what world? It’s time to pull back the curtain and peek into my mind and daily life.
Each day I usually wake up depressed and scared. I am depressed because I think about how I am nowhere that I want to be in my business and that we do not have enough money coming in. I am scared to fail because if we don’t start making more money soon, we are going to have to close up shop.
I usually spend 20-30 minutes reminding myself of why I started on this journey and when I build up enough confidence, I get out of bed to start my day.
Next, I sit in front of my computer and try to decide what is the most important that I need to accomplish for that day. What is going to push my business forward? Sometimes I just stare at my computer for an hour paralyzed by all the daunting tasks ahead. There is no guarantee that any of my ideas are going to work, so I don’t know where to start.
Then I’ll answer 10-20 useless emails that make me feel productive when in reality they are just time wasters.
Finally, I’ll get started on some type of work that is actually productive. After doing this for a few hours, doubt will start to creep back into my mind that I am worthless, and I don’t have what it takes to build a business. I tell myself I should quit and go work my way up in a corporate company. At least in another company, there is more of a set path that I can go on.
At this point, I usually leave my apartment and go on a walk to clear my head. I will call my mom, brother or a friend to brighten my day so that I don’t get even more depressed.
Once I finish talking I go back inside to try and get more work done but usually get lost in the chaos.
Should I try to find a new client? Should I work on a current client’s project? Do my clients even like me? Does my business even provide value to my clients? Why am I even trying to build a business?
It’s a vicious circle. I could go on and on, but I’ll be beating the same bush.
I am depressed daily. I fake confidence every day. I cry once a week because I am so stressed, anxious and angry.
The “cool” activities that everyone sees is what I let you see. It’s what I want the world to see, but that’s unfair because everyone is going through a struggle we know nothing about.
The things that have helped me is reminding myself why I started on this journey, venting to loved ones, and making sure I participate in non-work related activities (karate, bowling, working out).
Will the business fail? I have no idea. What I do know is I am not going to give up. The fragility of life is my motivation. We can die at any second so we need to confront our fears and not back down when life is tough.
A comfort zone is great, but nothing ever grows there. Whether you’re a business owner, a corporate employee or an alien from Mars…ask yourself what you want out of the world ,and go take it. No one is going to give it to you.
If you ever want to vent, you have an ear to listen.
The most honest account of an entrepreneur’s life … On dying, girls, building a million dollar empire, etc. A great story about an incredible adventure, not dancing so fast, appreciating where you are in the present, having fun, and enjoying the journey