I never planned on being an “influencer.” I was unemployed, newly relocated to Massachusetts, so I started making videos on Youtube. Fast-forward 5 years later and here I am, a full-time content creator. Now that I create content as a full-time business, I have to constantly remind myself of why I started, otherwise, the temptation to quit might actually do the trick.
To be clear, I could never imagine myself back in somebody’s office playing into office politics and working overtime to disarm the white folks who see my blackness before they see me, this is true. However, there are parts of this business that can be soul-crushing if you don’t quite “fit in.” And that’s where I am.
So let’s get back to the subject at hand, shall we? Last week I was contacted to host a fashion party at Primark in Boston. To be fair, I only had a few days to promote the event, so I sent a bunch of emails to my local list of supporters, posted a facebook event to my facebook page and my my personal page, and I posted on Instagram a couple of times.
Nobody showed. Okay correction, 3 of my blogger friends showed up at one point during the 4-hour event to stop by and say hi. I would have hoped, that at the least, a member of my family would have taken pity on me and stopped by, but nope. Not a chance.
To say I was disappointed was an understatement. I work, around the clock, 7 days a week, as a creator. I work with professional photographers, constantly re-invest into my brand, and still, for some I’m not popping. I look around and see folks doing a fraction of what I do and getting “put on” left and right. Shit, members of my own family don’t think what I do is worth supporting. By the end of the event, I got in my car and cried my way home.
I wasn’t popular in high school, so the idea that as an adult I would find myself in an industry that is dependent on popularity feels contrary to who I am at the core. I’m not about this life, I’ll never be about this life. And I’m done pretending I’m about this life.
I’m not quitting any of my online activities, don’t worry. I will continue to create, host events, do videos, but what I will no longer do is search for validation from other people. This, of course, isn’t going to be easy because I pay the bills by advertising for brands and if folks aren’t interested in me, my family won’t eat. However, I didn’t venture into this business to have the self-esteem I’ve worked so hard to build crushed by Instagram likes. I’ve always been a risk-taker so being newly re-focused on the content, and nothing else will simply be another risk I’m willing to take.
Saturday’s event was also a much-needed ego check. I don’t think I’ll ever forget what it felt like to have no one show, and I think it’s important to have moments like that to keep you grounded.
In an event, here’s to keeping content first, and likes last. And if you haven’t already, click HERE to sign up to my mailing list so I can notify you if I’m ever I’m ever in your city.
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