Part II: 2018

The struggle continued into 2018. False remorse from ending my previous relationship crept into my weakened heart and nagged at me for the first few months of the year. In addition, the pressure of $30,000 in credit card debt, which I had neglected for the better part of a year, was starting to seep into the front of my mind.

I entered the year with a little bit of steady income at my bus boy job, and I was booking some small video jobs here and there. I moved myself into a new apartment. I was reading, meditating, exercising, and eating well. Things were improving. Slowly. But I needed to make more money faster if I was going to get on top of my credit payments and get my head above water.

Despite my efforts to rise into a higher paid server position, management persisted in keeping me where I was. The thing is, nobody else wanted to be a bus boy. But one night, as is inevitable in the restaurant industry, several servers didn’t show up for work, leaving me as the most to jump in. After a quick training I threw myself into the fire. I’m not good with ingredients, tastes, wine flavors, and all the technical knowledge that a great server at a nice restaurant can spin off without thought, but I am very gregarious by nature, so I took it in stride that night and did quite well. Knowing I would be stuffed back into my dish washer role against my will the next time everyone showed up for work, I took my newly obtained “Server” job title and applied to 4 other restaurants. Within two weeks I had locked in an official server position.

I also started working as a contractor with Vive Media, a video production company in Charleston. I saw this as an opportunity to get an intimate look at the creative and business sides of the industry I was committed to.

The Vive work started off on a great foot. The founder, Matt, had too much on his plate, and I was capable and willing to help him out with whatever he needed. This turned into handling inbound leads, running outreach campaigns, closing new projects, assisting on shoots, leading smaller shoots and filming and editing behind-the-scenes content. It was the perfect position for me. I got to work with someone who was already doing what I wanted to be doing, and my learning skyrocketed faster than I could have ever imagined.

By April I had turned a corner. I felt pretty balanced internally, I felt good about ending my last relationship, I was feeling confident about my video work, and I was making enough money to quit my restaurant job and start chipping away at my credit card debt.

The rest of the story of 2018 is pretty boring, honestly. I worked a lot. I worked on every production I could, had several of my own clients, and was helping Vive grow with my outreach efforts and BTS content. At one point I cold-called the city of Savannah and ended up closing them for more than $7K. I also locked in 2 sponsors for a Norway trip, which may be the only super exciting story from that year.

Matt and I booked a trip to Lofoten, Norway for September 2018. This would be my first time in Europe since my birth in England, which apparently happened although I don’t remember it. To offset trip costs, I cold called hundreds of cold-weather gear companies and ended up closing a sock company for $5,000 in video and photo content from our trip. I also negotiated a free 2-week hotel stay, which would have costed us more than $2,000, in exchange for video and photo content.

When I first started doing videos, I made vlogs. They were fun and I consider them “play.” Most of the client work I was doing was fun because I was learning a lot, but it wasn’t the stuff I would do if I wasn’t getting paid. Booking these clients for Norway was the first time I ever got paid for work I would have done anyways – it was the first time I saw that as a real possibility. This seed of thought would eventually grow into a full-fledged decision-making force that would push me to eventually leave Charleston.

The lessons I brought from 2017 into the beginning of 2018 were to take responsibility and be humble. After that storm in 2017, I spent the year humbly and diligently working, rebuilding my confidence and getting myself back on my own feet. 2018 showed me that my lessons from 2017 really work. It showed me that if I stayed open to learning what I don’t know, and put my head down and do the work, good things will happen. I really believe you can build the foundation for your life from that mindset.

See you next Friday for the final installment in the series!

Click here for Part I.

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