It feels like I’m always longing for something and I can’t quite verbalize what that “something” is. I’ve been dreaming about running this company for years and as I look back on the journey I can’t imagine doing things differently. At the same time I have the self-awareness to know that even though I spent a substantial amount of time and energy on my projects I probably could have done more to further my cause. And yet, I have no clue what more I could have done.
These aren’t fully formed thoughts and if you’re reading this then you could probably tell that I’m conflicted. On one hand, my company is over ten years old and hasn’t had any significant income in over 8 years. On the other hand, 8 years ago I had the crazy idea that maybe the future would be based on online communities and that I should start my own. Fast forward to today and my network has grown to include 8 active brands/segments with 200,000 total followers and a monthly reach of a million people per month. The reach is impressive but the financials are not. I have not monetized our following in any way and my company brought in $0 last year. I’m not embarrassed by it. But I really didn’t think it would take me this long to get there and, naturally, I’ve questioned myself several times.
However, I’ve learned that the overwhelming dreams are the best ones to have because they fill you with a sense of purpose. My dream gives me something to constantly chase. Maybe it’s not meant to be realized and maybe that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I try to stay focused on the dream and take steps to achieve my goals. Maybe all this time I’ve been building the foundation and the next 20 years will be dedicated to finishing a skyscraper. And maybe I was supposed to learn to fully embrace myself as a writer before I thought of myself as an entrepreneur. There’s a ton of maybes and more will pop up along the way. That’s part of the fun.
I’ve been unemployed for almost two years and my inbox is overflowing with denial after denial for jobs I’ve applied to but the universe keeps showing me that I’m on the right path.
These past two years the GullySteez.com network has grown from 20,000 total followers to over 200,000 on social media.
Content shared to the All Things Dope group on Facebook has reached over 600,000 people in the last 28 days (the first time we ever hit that mark). And we’ve reached 1.2 million in the past 60 days.
The entire network has a monthly reach that consistently exceeds a million people per month and I just launched a centralized hub to follow the guidelines that Facebook has laid out for me to reach monetization.
I’m finally getting paid to do what I love and even though it’s not enough to supplant a full time job I know that I’m heading in that direction.
I’m also following a life long dream to take my writing seriously in the process and have integrated it into the overall plan for the network.
All things are working just the way they should be and I’ll continue to work my tail off to feed myself off my projects. I’ve said this once and I’ll say it a million times more to continue engraining it in my soul – this is a lifetime gig.
If we’ve been able to grow this much with a $0 marketing budget these past two years I can’t even imagine what’s gonna happen when I can start pouring money into everything again.
Slowly but surely. It’s Constant Motion…forever. Be You. Live R.E.A.L.
February 3rd 2014 was the last time I posted on this site. I was 24 years old and had just graduated college. My dreams were still fresh in my mind and I was riding a natural high from it. I thought the sky was the limit and was sure of myself to a fault.
But just like my intentions when starting this blog – I had a good idea that was stifled by my inability to execute on them. Don’t get me wrong; the dream is still more alive than ever but the road has been paved with a constant battle against myself. It’s a battle against procrastination and a crippling anxiety in a war I haven’t been able to win. Historically, I tend to overthink myself to indecision or find ways to sabotage my progress. I fill my head with thoughts and ideas that overwhelm me and then I end up doing nothing about them.
Honestly, as I skimmed through the last few blogs posts on here I felt a deep sense of shame and embarrassment. Why did I let this slip through the cracks? Why didn’t I prioritize sharing my thoughts as I encountered obstacle after obstacle and failure after failure? I even thought of erasing the first posts and starting fresh as I vowed to relaunch this blog and dedicate myself to blogging at least once a week. However, I decided that the best way to hold myself accountable was to keep them on here to serve as a reminder about how plans fade can over time if they’re not nurtured with action.
I’ve put things aside too many times with the intentions of getting back to them later on only to drop the ball and leaves things undone permanently. Fortunately, the one constant thing I’ve done throughout the last 8 years was keep dreaming. And although I should have been executing at a more productive pace I’ve been able to grow the Gully Steez brand into a digital media network with over 200,000 aggregate followers and a monthly reach that exceeds 1 million people per month. Even though we’re not profitable and I can’t live off our brands yet I’m extremely proud of where we’re at and my ability to change directions multiple times without regrets. We’ve touched hundreds of lives with our projects and I’ve willingly given my time and money to support the creative community.
Since my last blog post I’ve worked multiple jobs in accounting and have accumulated nearly a decade of experience in that field. It’s something that fell on my lap and that I accepted. I thought I was doing the right thing by going into accounting and playing it safe. I worked for a start-up for five years and thought that I’d be able to grow rapidly but ended up stuck in place and eventually laid off. The whole time I worked there I tried my best to impress my bosses and expressed my loyalty by going above and beyond my job duties but it didn’t matter to them. I wasn’t deterred though and have kept the same attitude throughout my journey – I’ll always go above and beyond whether it’s appreciated or not. And I did just that in my next gig for a lovely company that treated me well and who I saw a future with…until the pandemic hit. I’ve been unemployed ever since and am now reassessing my entire career and adult life in the process.
I’m nearly at two years without a job and just moved to a new city with a mountain of rejections piling up in my inbox on a daily basis. And yet, I’m not overly worried. I know that all things come to those who work for it and I’ve been hustling my tail off on the things that matter to me: my writing, my brands, and my growth. I’ve enrolled in coding classes and plan to learn everything I can about Front-End Development with the hopes of switching careers while learning a skill that can help me expand on my vision for the brands. I’m not sure when or if my company will ever make enough money to pay me a salary so I’m willing to take it slow and work 20-30 years while making sure to always work on growing my projects on the side. That being said, I’m completely focused on monetization after 8 years of building out the foundation and running our art projects without thinking about how to scale them or how to make money with the goal of sustainability.
The time for dreaming has come to an end. I’ve reached a different level of awareness while struggling with who I’ve allowed myself to become and the only thing left to do is act on how I’m feeling. I need to give it my absolute best shot. I can and I will grow my brands into a sustainable business. I will support myself with my writing. I will prevail.