Years in business: 4
Q: What inspires you to get up every morning?
A: Besides loving what I do and being motivated to work on something that excites me, it’s really about discipline. I take the phrase “self-employed” to heart and I tell myself how would I act if I worked for someone else? I try to keep my morning schedule the same so I get right to it when I start working.
Q: When you were younger, what did you think you wanted to be? How did you end up on this path?
A: I wanted to be a Power Ranger. Get up, go to school, defend my town when monsters rolled through, it was going to be great!
Beyond that, I always wanted to entertain, but I lived in a household that encouraged me to look for a “real job.” I walked the line for a long time before deciding to go into entertainment via media editing.
Q: Can you name a really low point in your life? How did you get through that?
A: In early 2019 I left my first corporate job ever. I was unhappy, it wasn’t paying the bills and I had rather risk not having work at all than going into the office every day. I wish I had a short answer about overcoming that sort of thing, but it really was a long term process of discovering what made me happy and what I could do in the meantime, month to month, to keep rent at bay. I guess the catch all term here is “never giving up” but there were plenty of days where I gave up mixed with eventually convincing myself to give it another shot.
Q: Please tell me about an experience of discrimination you went through. How did you handle it? How has it affected you?
A: So currently, one of my main jobs is being a mobile (i.e. wedding) DJ here in Southern California. New wedding vendors have a tough time as it is, but I realized there are even more challenges for people of color to succeed in this space. For one, there’s less of us, so finding people from your experience to network with is difficult. Plus many wedding venues still employ vendor lists–an honor roll of preferred vendors that venue suggests to potential couples. Getting on those lists aren’t clear and for one reason or another, it seemed like certain vendors had no problem appearing on these lists while diverse vendors don’t seem to have as many opportunities.
Because of that, you’re kind of forced to employ new tactics to stay afloat and to build your brand. There is a frustration in the unwritten rules of the industry, but I make sure never to pass that resentment down to my clients. They are just looking to plan a night to remember, so I focus on that.
Q: Can you remember a turning point in your career?
A: During the pandemic I was locked down like everybody else pretty much and I decided to pivot my emcee and comedian knowledge into creating original podcasts. While the subject matters varied, I approached each show with a focus on levity. Being a podcaster has opened up so many opportunities for me as an entertainer, a silver lining of all silver linings.
Q: When you have your bad days, how do you keep going?
A: I don’t!
Just kidding, but not really. If it’s a really bad day, there’s no reason to shut it down for the day with an intent to regroup. If you have the time and capital, I’d suggest 1-2 day vacations/holidays as well. If you’re unable to that, just know that you are trying your best and take stock of the things you can work on and the things you can’t.
Q: What book has helped you the most and why?
A: Unlabel from Marc Ecko
Marc Ecko’s book (an audiobook) is a great look at the traditional rise of an entrepreneur that really impacted a subculture (urban fashion in this instance) but had the added insight on how he almost lost everything after reaching success. It’s the ebb and flow of prosperity that really makes the book stand out to me
Q: Who is your business inspiration and why?
A: Comedian Jay Leno is a person that always had multiple streams of income, even before it was cool to do so. It has beens aid that Leno banked his entire paycheck from NBC when he was hosting The Tonight Show and solely lived on the income he made on touring as a comedian.
Q: What tools do you use on a daily basis that help you?
- Google Docs
- Google Drive/Storage
- Microsoft ToDo Canva
- DaVinci Resolve
Q: What does success look like to you?
A: Being able to make a living being myself, working for myself and being true to self is what I’d consider success.
Q: Name three things you think are essential for success?
- The discipline to work on something for yourself or brand daily
- A “board of trustees,” or a group of people that you can go to for advice and recommendation
- An analog or digital planner