Why Your Perception of a Career in the Blogging and Digital World is Twisted
"What do you do?" is a question I get asked frequently, as I am sure a lot of people do. To put it simply, I am a creative professional in this new-age social and digital space. Still don't get it? I am a writer, creative director, blogger, host, producer, event producer, branding expert, and entrepreneur.
Wait... what? No, I do not have a typical 9-5. I have about a 6 am to midnight, 7 days a week career. As someone in the creative industry, content producing doesn't have a time that you throw in the towel for the night. As the days change, so does what needs to be created. Think about it this way - in the entertainment industry, it's very similar. It falls under the creative career umbrella. Content creation is made for entertainment and that's what I do.
There's a misconception that blogging is just taking pretty photos and posting them on social media and waiting on bated breath for likes. Sure, maybe that's what it is for some people who have a lot of time on their hands or consider it a hobby. But blogging for me surpasses that and has turned into a business venture. While quality imagery and video content is something I take seriously, it's important to know that one must blend creativity and business cohesively to create a brand with a well-known reputation, aesthetic, and one that can connect with an audience. I will say this plain and clear: not everyone has this ability. You need to have a business side and a creative side to your mind.
I feel lucky that I am only 25 and have both corporate experience and creative, freelance experience under my belt because it is these experiences that have given me everything I need to know to start an entrepreneurial business venture on my own. When I began blogging, I knew that I didn't want it to stop at a website. As someone who has been kind of a psychotic perfectionist my whole life (which has its pros and cons) I knew I wanted to take The Gilded Bellini to multiple levels. As I mentioned before, everything that is done with this blog I do myself, with the help of some very talented digital professionals that help bring my vision to life (that I would be nowhere without... you know who you are!). I have complete control over the content I create, whether it's writing my script for my brunch videos, covering a restaurant, reviewing a product, doing a social media campaign, collaborating on a video with another influencer and so much more.
On top of The Gilded Bellini side of my life, I have a career in celebrity charity event production. If you have any idea about the extensive work that goes into event production, then you know it takes up a LOT of time. To be honest, I don't really go out that much with friends and leave very little time for a social life. I haven't even been home in almost 2 years. It's because I put my work first. When I am not working at my office, I'm working on all things The Gilded Bellini - writing, filming, networking, meetings with publicists and brands... even simply brainstorming. It is a constant around the clock job. I'm working before work and after work. Well, I have three jobs you could say: event production, The Gilded Bellini and hosting. My life is a constant hustle. While you can probably rely on your cushy 9-5 job (which I used to do too, so I am speaking from experience!) the work I do won't produce a profit or results if I do not put in the CONSTANT WORK.
I've been put down by "friends" and family members saying that I don't have a "real career" countless times. I laugh more often than not because they don't even have the slightest CLUE about what goes into brand building and being a professional in this new-age social and digital world. I am not always public about what goes on behind the scenes in my career. But, everything you see is a DIRECT reflection of the work I have put in to make a vision come to life. The only way it has been happening is through non-stop effort, work and persistence. You need a certain type of work ethic to do anything that involves pushing boundaries and limitations. You also need PATIENCE. This stuff does NOT happen overnight.
If you come from a traditional background, the idea of not having a traditional, society-approved career may baffle you and you probably look down upon it. That's fine. But you should not criticize those who are taking career risks that you probably haven't had the opportunity to attain. And it's totally ok - some people are more business oriented. Some people are more laid-back. Some people are strictly creative with no real sense of how to turn a vision into business. As a professional in the digital space, I put myself out there at face value and subject myself to judgement. But I also subject myself to creating a positive and reassuring entertainment space for my audience.
My whole life I have dreamed about a career in the the entertainment industry. One where I had creative freedom and could put the things I loved out into the world and connect with other people who felt the same. And that's exactly what I'm doing now, in a very non-conventional way. It started from when I was young, too. My mom was an actress when she was younger and she's always encouraged me to be brave, be persistent and be different. An opportunity might not be there again if you wait 5 minutes. Just like an actress that is constantly working to perfect her skills, go on auditions, land jobs and make a name for herself in her field, it really translates to my own career and my long-term goals.
People think that your job is your identity. While it does make up a large portion of who you are as a character, it's not YOU. I can't stand when people define you and THINK they know who you are based on your career. You are so much more than what you do. You're more than the surface level stuff, and you're for sure more than what you put out on social media.
For a traditional entrepreneur, you must have the skills and persistence to create an original product and market it as a business venture. As an entrepreneur in 2017, you must do exactly that, but on a much larger scale because of how easily accessible your work is to be recognized. That's why it is so important to maintain branding. Some people don't know the first thing about how to properly brand something, or publicize it or market it or even be proud of it because they're embarrassed. It is difficult to explain to someone who does not fully understand this facet of someone who runs a non-traditional business, but I know that every entrepreneur would for sure appreciate if you tried and weren't so quick to judge.
Let's face it: the digital world is not going anywhere. It's the future. We are SO lucky to be living in a world, and even in a country where being able to express ourselves through content creation is ACCEPTED for the most part and not looked down upon. What I've learned is to never dim your light just because someone else looks down upon who you are or what you're doing for whatever personal reason because they've got nothing of their own to be proud of. I encourage EVERYONE to take risks, be brave and put yourself out there. Don't make excuses. Anything that's worth it to you takes work, and I know you know that. It takes sacrifice, and sometimes pursuing what you want means giving up quite a few things. But if it's for what you love, it won't feel like a chore. Maybe working 7 days a week or writing or being in front of the camera isn't for you. That's totally fine! But please... do your best to not be so judgmental and pigeonhole or limit someone of their capabilities and intelligence just because they are not doing what YOU do. I am speaking for a lot of people who I know have seen backlash or can't put in words how they really feel.
To sum it up, I never thought that I would be working as hard as I do, ever in my life. I thought when I worked in public relations I was working hard... and I was. 14-hour days in Manhattan are no joke. But I wasn't living up to my capabilities or trying to be my best self. I was hindering my own creative abilities by doing everything that was expected of me and I wasn't breaking out of this glass box I was put in by society, friends and family members. I have a huge respect for people who are immersed in this digital age or on a creative career path with me, and even more of a respect for people that aren't, but are open to understanding and appreciating differences. Just because someone isn't working the job that you do, doesn't mean they're not working hard to pursue what they are passionate about.
Let's respect, collaborate, understand and listen... we will learn so much more from one another, and you may realize you want to explore a new side of you that you didn't know you wanted to before.
On that note, I'm off to work! Catch ya later Bellinis, and thanks for reading and for your support. Xoxo
Photography by Emma Lynn Cinema