1,000 all-time views on allthingsdope.com!

allthingsdope.com just passed 1,000 all-time views in our second full month of having a centralized hub for the entire @GullySteez network.

This is my third attempt launching a blog for my company in the past 11 years. None of the previous iterations worked out in the long-term but I took some valuable lessons from each experience and have grown substantially from each failure.

They say third time’s a charm and I’ve been on this path for a really, really long time but in a lot of ways I’m just getting started.

Time to get back to work!

Be You. Live R.E.A.L.

My Dreams

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.

Be You. Live R.E.A.L.

Unemployed But Growing

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.

Let’s try this again…

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.

Be You. Live R.E.A.L.

Got Purpose?

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When I first moved to Tampa I was upset. Maybe even depressed.

I wanted to be back home.

I wanted to go to my old school.

See my old friends.

I wanted to go to 85th and play handball till the sun went down.

But life had a different plan for me.

A plan that required me to be in Tampa to realize what I wanted to do with my life.

Fresh out of New York I took an entrepreneurship class my first semester of junior year at Wharton high school.

That entrepreneurship class changed my life by opening my eyes and making me think about the possibilities of building my own business.

It required me to write out a business plan and it was that plan that ended up being my first draft for what I’m doing now.

It was a plan for a retail store that would sell the dopest sneakers and clothes.

And I’m trying to execute that plan with Gully Steez, my blog network and aspiring retail outlet for All Things Dope.

I truly believe that I was placed in this city for a reason and I’m not leaving or claiming I’m solely from NY when we succeed.

It’s NY – FL. Queens – Tampa. Always.

This is because I feel like Tampa gave me a sense of purpose that staying in New York may have never provided.

Moving here was truly life changing.

If I had stayed in New York my life’s trajectory would have been very different.

I had aspirations to go to law school or climb up the corporate ladder. But I never felt passionate about those aspirations.

I only had them because they were the “SMART” goals to have. The goals that would most likely lead me to success.

The entrepreneurship class changed all that though. It was like it validated something I had known deep inside all along.

I don’t want to work for somebody else for the next 30-40 years of my life.

And my mission, my purpose, my main goal is to build a company that lives forever.

I don’t know how I’m going to do it. And I’ve made countless mistakes in the past three years since I registered my company.

But my resolve has never been stronger.

My drive has never been stronger.

And my goals only keep growing.

I found my purpose and I’m shaping my destiny.

I implore you to do the same.

And remember…Be cool, Stay fresh, Live REAL.

CHANGES…they happen. Adapt to them.

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Changes, they’re all around us. In our personal lives. And in our day to day lives.

Changes can come small, such as encountering a detour sign on your way to work and having to take a different route.

Or they can be a bit more substantial.

Like your loved one is moving away and you’ll have less contact than before.

Whatever the change may be, you adapt to it. You move on. And if you don’t move on, time moves on. So you, my friend, might as well.

The worst thing a person can do is refuse inevitable change. Or lose their composure in the midst of it.

If you encountered that detour sign and refused to follow it where would you go?

Nowhere.

The best way to look at change is to view it as an opportunity to redefine yourself.

To grow.

Lost your job? You’ll find a better job you’re more passionate about. You can get a job in a different market. You can start your own business. Or go back to school. You have plenty of options. And most importantly, you can learn from your experiences.

You should welcome change and be optimistic about what the future holds.

By resisting change, the stress you create for yourself is unhealthy. And unnecessary.

I urge you to look at the changes you encounter and take them in stride. Look at how you can use them to your advantage. And you will come out of every major change a stronger person than you were before.

Stay Gully my friends.

http://www.GullySteez.com

Dare The Impossible, Live The Vision

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I’m 23 years old. Nearing the end of my tenure in college. And lately I’ve been getting the infamous “what are you gunna do after?” question.

When people ask me this question I guess they expect to hear something about advancing my career in the area of my study. Or about a certain company I want to work for to start my climb up the corporate ladder. But I can’t tell them that.

Some people pursue a job in the field of their study. Some people don’t. Some people are crazy enough to try and pave their own path as entrepreneurs.

I think most graduates want to get a good job and love it. We’re taught to want to climb up a corporate ladder. But for some crazy reason I want to build my own ladder. I’m not looking for a regular career. I’m not playing it safe. For now I’m pursuing my dreams. And all I want to do is follow my vision.

 

I tell people that truth. In regards to what I’m going to do with my International Studies degree; I don’t know. Maybe nothing. I tell them I want to build my own business. And that I’ll do so by printing t-shirts. And of course most people think I’m absurd. Some have actually told me that what I want to do is impossible. But I don’t let that phase me. Because when you have a vision for something you should never let anybody stray you from your goal.

The thing that drives me the most when contemplating people’s doubtful reactions is my elementary/middle school’s slogan: Dare The Impossible, Live The Vision.

That slogan has brought me strength every time I encounter someone’s doubt. It has guided me ever since I decided I wanted to be an entrepreneur. It guides me now when I’m warned of entering a saturated streetwear market. And told that the learning curve of screenprinting might not be worth operating a print shop.

To me living by that slogan means setting the highest standards for yourself in whatever it is you are most passionate about.

It’s realizing that no goal is unreachable if you get up and do something to achieve what you want.

So I implore anybody reading this, no matter how high the odds are stacked against you…DARE THE IMPOSSIBLE AND LIVE THAT VISION.

You are an unstoppable force. Don’t doubt yourself.