People always seem to do a double take and stare at me like I’m insane when I tell them that I used to be VP at a successful company in the construction and renewable energy industry before I decided to follow my heart and start my own company.
I know right, why would someone who was making a six-figure salary throw that out the window just to follow their dreams? If you asked any of my family or friends at the time, they’d agree with you and tell you I was crazy. But here’s the thing, I was working hard to build somebody else’s dream. Think about that for a second. How many of us kill ourselves in an attempt to feel “fulfilled” when we’re really just fulfilling someone else’s big plan?
I wanted to be driven towards something bigger again, inspired and fired up every single day. So I started asking myself whether or not I was living a life without any regrets and if I truly felt I was making a difference in the world. Tough questions, but questions that got me where I am today. Successful, happy, and most of all, giving back and making the world a little bit better than I left it yesterday.
Step 1: Are you happy?
Do you love your job or do you love the idea of your job? I found myself questioning whether or not I was truly happy, even as VP. I knew I wanted to create something with much more meaning and impact in this world. So one day, I decided I had to at least try. Ask yourself what your dream is. What changes do you want to inspire within your community? Within yourself? Ask yourself these important questions and be honest with yourself! If you don’t feel fulfilled, then give yourself the opportunity to at least try to get close to that feeling! Sometimes taking a leap of faith and going with your gut is far more rewarding in the long run than sticking to a routine you hate.
Step 2: What are your interests?
I love music and I love the power of music to bring people together and drive conversations and relationships. Electronic dance music, in particular, was something I felt connected to. The dance music culture appealed to me and my friends because everyone is so accepting, loving, brave, bold, and free. I would think to myself after concerts and festivals, “why can’t every day be like this? Why can’t we be the bold, expressive version of ourselves out in the real world making friends and stirring up conversations?” So I personally fell in love with the Electronic dance music scene, but ask yourself where you feel inspiration and connection from. Go with it! The power to share something meaningful and beautiful starts with finding the beauty in something you love first. So go on, find that thing you love!
Step 3: Set yourself apart from the crowd
Don’t be afraid to be different. That means, own your uniqueness and fly with it! I knew I wanted to incorporate my love of Electronic dance music with some kind of social entrepreneurship. My dream was to be the leading company that creates a new standard in and outside of the music industry to lead with people over profits. I saw a lot of money within the industry. It is literally an 8-billion dollar industry! So I saw an opportunity to shift some of that cash towards some social good too. Whatever you want to pursue, figure out how you can stand out from the crowd. Think outside the box and never limit yourself. If your strengths are building and maintaining meaningful relationships, then why not incorporate that into your model?
Step 4: Don’t be afraid of making mistakes
There’s never a right time when it comes to taking a leap of faith. No risk, no reward, right? The hard part of being an entrepreneur is that it requires a lot of drive, courage, and passion. Along the way, you will fall and you will have moments of doubt, but you have to keep going. Part of the journey is the trials that come with learning your way. So you know what, make mistakes! Heck, make lots! Because at the end of the day, no one is perfect but the people that find success are the ones that welcome challenges and learn from each and every one. Growth isn’t meant to be linear, it’s not meant to be static. That’s the point.
Step 5: Be ready for a lot of rejection
Here’s the thing, when it comes to talking about following your dreams, you have to be ready and willing to be rejected. Things will almost never happen overnight. I used to go knocking on doors in college, and often times got a couple hundred doors slammed in my face before I got that first “yes”. Ever since then, I began to view every no as bringing me that much closer to a yes. Building my company was no different. Life is one big cold call and to score the jackpot, you must play the numbers game. One of my mentors, Ryan Blair constantly preaches putting in 10,000 hours before becoming an expert. Whether it is knocking on doors or sending out e-mails for DJ collaborations, know that a “no” is a “no for now”. Fast forward, all the people that used to say no to me are now saying yes. And for those that are still a no at this moment, will for damn sure one day be a yes.
So what are you waiting for?
At the end of the day, society no longer defines what our success or happiness is anymore. Think about what matters to you. Who do you want to work with? What changes do you want to create? What impact do you want to make as an influencer in your community? Whether you have visions of impacting your local community or the world, don’t let any norm hold you back from paving your own path. My dream is to disrupt not only the music industry but to cause a ripple effect in every industry to lead with people over profits. I want to inspire people to follow their dreams, build their passion projects, and birth socially conscious companies. So ask yourself, what is your calling and the path to your true north?