If writing this article inspires one young entrepreneur, it makes it all worth it. I learned so much over the course of my career including the earlier years when I was still figuring out what I wanted to do. I think for years I compared myself to my friends and co-workers. People always seemed more put together, more focused, more understanding of their future and I couldn’t for the life of me find something that I looked forward to every single day. I questioned from time to time whether that existed.
I started waitressing when I was 13 years old and found happiness and fun in that. I loved talking to new people, seeing how they interacted, and getting to know different families. But I felt pressure to do more than that, even though I felt content there. I struggled with not feeling like I fit in where I was, and I struggled with not knowing what direction to go in so that I could fit into the model that society created for us.
I stumbled along the way, a lot. I moved to Hawaii to try to find myself and be far enough away from family so that I had no choice but to learn to survive on my own. I loved it out there. Found myself, met friends that turned into family, changed from the inside out, felt like I experienced life and then decided after 4 years to come back to NY. I went back to the restaurant I used to waitress at, the one that I had gotten fired from for calling out too often. I started waitressing 7 days a week. I loved the vibe, the families, the employees, learning my co-workers’ culture and finding a life in a new place.
Still I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted more. I wanted to help businesses, but I didn’t know how. I connected with local businesses and started to create websites for them. I would find trucks that had business names and no websites, and I would write down the phone number and call them and pitch a website design. I was always into fashion, so I bought a cheap car and went to Chinatown in NYC and started going in once a week, buying designer inspired bags and coming back to Westchester with my large zipper duffle bag that was on wheels and I went in and out of salons on Westchester Ave and Central Ave selling bags. I created a clientele that would text me pictures of bags they wanted.
But all the small jobs weren’t amounting to enough money to make bills, so I started looking into more ideas. I met someone locally that owned a salon who I was doing a website for and she asked me to help with an event. It was a Breast Cancer awareness event that I was putting together with her. Fast forward to the day of the event, over 100 people came out to support. I called a photographer to cover the event, I called all the local news outlets to cover and it ended up being a huge success.
I realized after that event, that watching the success of others brought happiness and a drive to me that I haven’t felt before. I quickly started my own PR firm and went through so many ups and downs along the way, but I never gave up. I now have a team of 8 in NY and a staff in Los Angeles, an office in NJ and one in NY. My advice to any young aspiring entrepreneur is to just never give up. Don’t let others deter you from following your dream. Start an internship. Learn everything you can from the people that are doing what you want to do and then do it so well that you can do it on your own. Push through the financial struggles because the reward when you make it is so rewarding.
You want to be able to look back and know you did it, not look back wishing you did. Life is too short and its worth all the trials and tribulations to get to where you want to be. Don’t be thrown off when you see your friends and family succeeding. Don’t wish you were in a different place, work to get there and when things go wrong as they sometimes will, fix it and move the f*ck on. That’s my favorite line because if you stress and pick every obstacle apart, it will take you longer to get to the place you are working towards.
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