Ok well here goes nothing 🤞
This is it, my first official "diary" entry!
This platform used to be my blog where I shared helpful tips and tricks for branding.
Every other weekend, I would sit down and hammer away at my keyboard for 5-6 hours, pumping out a LOADED post that I felt really proud of...
But honestly had no idea if it actually helped anyone.
And after having a good sit-down where I got REALLY honest with myself... I realized that I was more interested in using this platform to document my journey of growing my brand, building my business and helping my clients rather than having some boring branding blog that's drier than eating toast in the Sahara dessert 🤷♀️
So I'm going to start by being really real with you and say that this diary is NOT the place you would go for tips and tricks on branding.
I'm writing this out of purely selfish intentions, because:
I need an outlet. It's f*cking tiring being "professional" all the time.
Life and business moves so fast that I need somewhere to dump out my scattered thoughts and emotions (b/c my cat sucks at listening and probably doesn't care)
I want to keep a record of how I grow my brand in the full glory of all its messiness — I don't expect to do this perfectly, and I think it's damn valuable to document the process!
So if you get something out of this... FANTASTIC! Stick around because it's going to get rowdy 🎉
Now where to begin... do I need to introduce myself again?
Most of you know me as "Rachel the Personal Brand Strategist". This is great, but if I were to be honest, it's also really boring 😪
Growing up as a kid, I never saw myself as a the type to become a stick-up-the-ass business person.
I was the crazy art kid who LOVED drawing, reading fantasy books, and spending most of my time with my head in the clouds — imagining that I was some hobbit going on an epic quest to save mankind.
(Any LOTR fans out there? I used to have a huge crush on Legolas as a kid) 👀
I also happened to grow up in a Chinese Protestant church, which meant that I had an obedient and charitable attitude trained into me from a very young age.
That basically translates into me becoming the biggest perfectionistic-people-pleaser you will probably ever meet, and that sets the scene for everything else that you know about me today.
And while that bodes well for me if I decided to just stick at my cushy, full-time design job where I got weekly, in-house manicure / facial treatments... 💅
There's not how my story ended up going.
I ended up having a series of big heartbreak moments that led me to starting up my own business in 2019 — despite the fact that every fiber of my being was taught to seek stability from a young age.
I had a falling out with the church and the community I spent the first 23 years of my life hanging around. It made me see the world for the first time and understand that there is so much CRAP that needs to get resolved here on this planet that it requires all hands on deck — including mine.
I realized that I wasn't happy at my dream job. I wasn't being challenged, I was staring at a computer for 8 hours a day, and I honestly felt that the work that I did made ZERO difference in anyone's life. I needed to leave to prevent my creative spirit from dying at the age of 24.
One of my friends asked me how I was going to "save the world" with no dollars in my bank account, no clout to my name and no understanding of how the world actually works. That was the big wake-up call that told me that I needed to grow the f*ck up and start creating my own opportunities.
So I quit my job and started up my own business in 2019 without even understanding what it meant.
Honestly, I was just a glorified freelancer who didn't get that I needed to:
Register my business
Have legal documents for my client engagements
Learn how to market myself & sell my services
Manage my own bookkeeping
Act all serious and "professional" to command respect
And the laundry list goes on, but I think you get the point. I actually wasn't built for this.
I made SO many mistakes in my first year (and honestly still do) because business requires you to have a backbone, thick skin, and a vision for what you want to create.
(I had none of those things going in so the first few years involved me hanging out with the wrong types of people, investing in pipe dream opportunities, and sinking myself in so much debt that I'm still dealing with in it in year 4 of my business).
So it seems, the grass isn't greener on the other side and there are still days when I honestly wonder if I've made a mistake.
Then why am I still doing this?
I realize I make business sound really horrible. It is, and it isn't.
I think that starting up your own business is a pipe dream that is sold to a lot of people who are feeling stuck and unfulfilled in their jobs.
They get pulled into the shiny promises of, "You can make money from your laptop on some beach! All you need is a wifi connection!", without the understanding of how the world of business actually works.
This results in a lot of heartbreak, financial stress and confusion. You also meet a LOT of really crappy people along the way.
I don't want to say that I've become jaded over the years, but I can definitely say that I REALLY understand people now... and know what types of people I want to avoid moving forward.
What's getting me to stay is that the act of building my business is teaching me SO many things about myself and the world that I would have never learned if I was stuck at some job with everything being handed to me on a silver platter.
In other words, my business is my vehicle for personal development!
I believe that I'm becoming a kinder, smarter, stronger and more capable human being by showing up every day for my business and asking myself the following questions:
Am I happy with the person I'm becoming?
How do I want people to see me?
What do I want my contribution to be?
Is there something that I can be doing better today that I wasn't doing yesterday?
And even though there are moments that feel REALLY challenging... like, hide-under-the-blankets-and-not-want-to-see-a-single-human kinda days, I honestly can't see myself doing anything else!
The act of working on my brand serves as a reflection tool for me to visibly SEE who I'm becoming every day. On the days when the voices of self-doubt get especially loud, I like to look at everything I've built and remind myself of who I actually am. On the good days, my brand helps me feel even BETTER when I show up!
With my business, I hope to be able to help other people do the same thing for themselves — to lean into these questions, get to know themselves better, and discover what feels GOOD for them when they show up in this weird space called the internet.
So all in all, I'm so happy that I get to share this journey together with you! I hope that the things I share in this online diary serve you as well, and I'm already looking forward to the next update! 💖