This time last year I was checking my bank account multiple times in a single day. There was stress, fear, concern. However, through the pursuit of digital marketing, I have challenged my weaknesses, magnified my biggest aspirations, and created a sense of security (and peace) that I have been longing for. Now as I walk this path I learn that it comes with its own set of challenges...in ways that makes me eager to learn and grow every day. I am aligned. I am at peace. I am home.
I’d be lying if I said this feel-good feeling wasn’t foreign to me. I’m not one to decide quickly on what I want for dinner, let alone announce to the world that I have found the one (my dream career, that is). The quest of finding the perfect job, fitting my needs and lifestyle while allowing me to move freely, has been an uphill battle since the start of my beauty career as a cosmetology student. After moving to New York City for makeup school in hope of having a breakthrough, my lack of inspiration and motivation in the field was becoming more apparent. The city that never sleeps did indeed keep me up at night... about my future. And when you’re stuck eating a broke-girl pizza special for the third day in a row while only sort-of liking your job upon graduation, is it really living? There had to be something more.
The 9-5 really wasn't me. I knew I was becoming a version of myself I didn't recognize so I had to make a change.Declaring the start of working on myself was the only thing I could control at that moment. The first big question was, "Should I leave New York City?"I took a step back and decided to get honest with myself and my needs.This mindset shift led me to move away from the city and fall into better terms with myself. Eating clean, working out, and spending time outdoors does wonders for the soul and I was starting to actually feel at peace with my life. The lingering issue was that I started my journey as a cosmetology student in 10th grade and felt pressured to keep that alive. I wondered if I could somehow keep the beauty industry insider knowledge I gained but do everything from outside of the city. Maybe have the best of both worlds.I still had this entrepreneurial drive within me I couldn't ignore.
I kept thinking, "What if I could take my beauty skills, start a business and work on my own terms?" Maybe this beauty business would be the answer to all of my problems!
Well… maybe not. But what I did discover was far bigger than anything I had dreamt about my business. I was only 21 by the time but I was fully operating a makeup and lash extension beauty studio by myself. I had worked far more years in the field than most people my age, so it made sense that I’d work for myself, right? While I did enjoy connecting with my clients and working on my own terms, I still felt a total lack of satisfaction. Not to mention, my exhaustion levels were through the roof. I was a one-woman show, taking texts and calls at all hours of the day and busting my butt to serve as many clients as my body allowed. As the pressure grew, I started to reflect back on what led me to that spot in the first place. Growing up in the beauty industry around my mother who owned a salon, it felt like a bad breakup I kept avoiding. However, there was one aspect about the job that I did really enjoy. I found myself spending hours upon hours editing my portfolio pictures, creating graphics, and overall managing my social media accounts. Creativity has always been an integral aspect of my work, and somehow I felt more inspired to create digitally than I did working on others. I quickly began learning the ropes of social media and editing, so well in fact that people started reaching out to ask about my work.
“What kind of camera and editing software do you use?!” someone would slide into my DMs. “Uh… my iPhone 8 and a $2 app?” I felt kind of silly until I realized I had the power to change people’s perspective of my business with an iPhone. That single discovery led me to building a very trusted business with little experience.Soon, my smaller Instagram following was driving so much organic engagement that I was working my way into having a full client book and money to live comfortably. Digital marketing was a game I became fairly familiar with. I thought if only I could do this part of the job every day. Maybe someday... But at that point, I had gotten a little overwhelmed by how quickly business was growing and felt more and more trapped. Was I supposed to stay in this single location forever and focus on this growing clientele? I shouldn’t have been complaining about business growth, and yet there I was… And just like any other unsatisfied job I had, I decided I wanted to move onto other opportunities and explore my options. If not now, when? If I was going to put myself first, I couldn’t do it half-assed. With change comes growth, right?
It wasn’t long before the landing of my first job as a lash extension artist. I was hired on the spot at a multi-million dollar salon and spa in the Washington, DC area and could not miss out on this opportunity. The only downside? Over an hour-long commute each way every single day. At this point, I think I was just ready to not have the burden of running my own business. And there was a decent financial opportunity here. The owner told me there was a chance to earn six figures? Sign. Me. Up.
On day 2 of the job, the salon owner came to me looking very excited. “I just looked at your Instagram and WOW. You have the vision we are looking for and we want you to run our social media”. I didn't know how to react. Was I getting a different job now? Additional work? But it felt good to have my skills recognized so I blurted out..."Okay, sure!"I was thinking I'd be uploading a photo or two. Nothing too major.
However, day 3 came as an even bigger surprise to me. Not only did they hand me a company phone to run their account, they let me know they dropped the digital marketing agency they were working with.Come again? You want me to replace an agency?! Oh, it’s getting real.
That day changed my life forever. It was then that I realized other people saw what I saw. They understood the value of digital marketing, maybe even more than I even did at that point. I tend to overthink things all too often, but this felt like the validation I needed. I didn’t pursue marketing after loving it with my own business, and yet it fell back into my lap within two days of leaving it.
It was all fun and games until that commute got very old, VERY fast. Two hours a day, every day was getting to me.I also had less time to work on social media as my lash clientele grew larger. And Christmas coming up meant it was about to get busy and that was my chance to work myself into a six-figure job! Or so everyone thought…The truth was I just wasn’t fully happy. Yes, I got to do paid social media work, but that came at the expense of a commute and the continuing of beauty services which I wasn’t all that thrilled about. Ironically, as my beauty skill set was nearing perfection in some areas, there was taste a taste of something sweeter. Following my gut, I dipped into savings with my hard-earned money and purchased a Rich+Niche course. I knew once I took it there was no turning back. Some shots only come once in a lifetime, so waiting was no longer an option.
Signing up for Rich’s course led to a very unexpected outcome. Anyone looking to become a digital marketer most likely sees the value in living a remote-capable lifestyle, and this held true with Rich. So much, in fact, that I was able to sign on my first client within two months of the course and commit to working for myself full-time.Suddenly I found myself more motivated and eager to learn, try, fail, get back up, and try again. Obstacles I once found in the way were nowhere to be seen. And I could do it all in sweatpants?! I am invincible.
But the best outcome was the community that resulted from the network inside the Rich + Niche Collective. I finally found a group of like-minded individuals who shared the same aspirations, drive, and commitment to their craft. Rich+Niche has created space to grow, inspire, support, and elevate one another as the future of digital marketing pioneers.
Given that I am fiercely independent, I feel like I have found my place. I can work on my own terms, yet grow alongside a group that holds me accountable and pushes me to be my best self. Goodbye commutes and income ceilings. Goodbye overthinking and answering to others. This is my time. This is my life now. I am aligned. I am at peace. I am home.Editor's Note: If you want to sign up for the same course Zoe took click here.