Remembering Anna's HONEST Words

 Picture inside The Honest Company HQ, in Playa Vista, CA.

Picture inside The Honest Company HQ, in Playa Vista, CA.

So I had a planned post for today around IG Stories, but I decided to change it up last minute. Hey a Friday following a long week can do that to ya.  This is a rather long post, with me pouring my heart out, so appreciate you taking the time to read.  

I am 6 weeks into my journey as a solopreneur - I don't really like that word, but to be honest besides an on and off virtual assistant I am a one woman show...for now.  I switched things up recently and became a full-time photographer, while still working in advertising as a part-time consultant and freelancer.  Although I started my business in 2015, until 6 weeks ago it was a side hustle, with my security being in my full-time corporate job. So far it has been going really well, until I hit a snag with motivation late last week.  With all the books, blogs, panels, Facebook communities, and podcasts I knew building a business was going to be hard. BUT man y'all this sh!t is hard.  Like really hard. Hard to work alone. Hard to keep on tasks. Hard when you hit IT issues. Hard when you don't get that new client or you freeze even though you practiced your elevator pitch 100 times before.  I was scared and a ball of doubt was telling me I couldn't reinvent myself. I thought to myself...did I just throw away a stable career to play photographer? So last weekend I sat down and reflected on what I needed to do to get me inspired again.  I took a step back on everything I have learned to date, which brings me to today's post.

Earlier this year, myself and a few of my former coworkers Anna and Diana were invited to a Refinery29 women's panel. It was very intimate and hosted at The Honest Company HQ in Playa Vista, Ca. It was a great panel with a solid lineup including Jessica Alba herself, along with Rachel Zoe, Jen Atkin, to name a few.  I recall as I watched the panel of speakers, myself along with many others around me were in awe of these women. Look, this wasn't my first panel and definitely not my last, but it was my first time attending one with talent of that caliber all on one stage together. They were famous (like movie star & buddies with the Kardashian famous), successful, rich, with millions of followers on IG. Although they shared their personal stories of success, I still felt like that was something an average Jane like me could never achieve.  I felt by hearing their stories I had dedicated too much of my life working in corporate instead of doing my own thing. Q&A opened up and that is when things got real y'all.  Women asked questions that made it obvious they were feeling the same way as me.  The panel answered as best they could, understanding that yes some of them were famous before starting their businesses.  But there was one optimist in the room, Anna. Before Anna asked the last question of the evening, she made a statement that address the entire room. She said, "Lets be honest, we are all really successful women just being here tonight." So if this doesn't make sense let me explain.  If you look at the second sentence in this paragraph you'll see I said this was very intimate, meaning the panel was not open to the public. We were all personally invited by Refinery29, because we were successful women in the advertising industry who held mid-manager to executive positions. If not for our careers, we would have never been invited in the first place.  So as I sat there I was thinking to myself, Anna is right.  Why did I not acknowledge that part and give myself credit? 

I was so into my thoughts at that moment that I didn't catch exactly what Anna asked the panel, but I remember Jessica's answer.  I am paraphrasing here, but overall Jessica said as she wanted to launch her business people saw here as just an actress and even after the proven success of Honest, she still felt insecure at times during meetings with a room full of MBAs.  Yes, Jessica was famous before starting Honest, which created benefits, BUT also set backs.  Also, in looking at her entire story, you have to give credit to all her hard work, blood, sweat and tears that went into becoming a successful actress in the first place.  She worked hard for all that sh!t and she deserves everything she's achieved. With Anna's statement paired with Jessica's response I had a paradigm shift in my reaction to the situation. It's foolish not to give credit to the skills you have worked so hard to acquired.  It's also foolish to put people in a box.

But like many, a week ago I lost my way a bit.  I became frustrated comparing myself to current photographers who look like they got it all together and started their photography career in their 20s. I found myself scrolling through my IG feed completely obsessed with photographers who have large followings and a continuous flow of my ideal clients.  I once again felt like I wasted my time working corporate when I could have been building my photography empire. But after remembering Anna's words, it kicked me back into gear.  Since I was a teenager I knew I wanted to work in advertising.  I didn't fall into the industry by mistake. Every step I made was strategically calculated with the end goal of working in digital media on major national brands. I worked hard for that sh!t and I will never label it as a waste of time ever again. I realized up until 6 weeks ago I labeled advertising as my career and photography as a side hustle, because advertising was paying a majority of the bills. But that is far from the truth. I have been perfecting my photography skills this entire time and equally obsessed with the industry, it just wasn't something I would actively showcase. I am not reinventing myself, but rather I am bringing photography to the forefront.  With this new power of motivation I am changing my business model up a bit to bring both industries into my services, so more to come on that later.  I am so excited for the future again that I cannot help but smile all damn day long.

If you've read this far, thank you. I appreciate you. Hopefully with this tale of honesty it will help those questioning their own path.  Even if it only inspires one person I have paid it forward.  And thank you Anna for your optimism and hard work.  You inspire me everyday and I am grateful to call you my dear friend.  

Until next time, be cool.

Best,

Lin