The Decision To Stay In School, Or Not?

Over the past years I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many incredible young adults, including many whom have joined the Be Fearless Summit program or interned for me to learn the ropes of working in business. Since COVID happened, I’ve been so curious how young adults are coping with being home all day.

I did SO poorly finishing high school from home. Though I’m a huge proponent for online school (listen to the podcast episode from my old podcast This is Life Unfiltered about online school) my love for having the flexibility of doing school from home doesn’t mean it’s easy. An intern who used to work for me messaged me this morning tell me she’s coming to LA and decided to put college on hold, which I applauded her for because it takes a certain type of responsibility to feel comfortable leaving and finishing in the future.

I’d honestly suggest all of you stay in school as crappy as it is right now virtually. That being said, if you’re desperate to leave school right now because of the financial or mental strain on being home all day, I’d ask yourself the below:

Does your dream job require you to have a college degree or not? If you want to be a lawyer, doctor or financial advisor, you’re going to need a degree to get a job. If you’re thinking of pursuing something more creative in social media marketing or photography, you may be a candidate for taking a step back from school.

Will taking some time off allow you to pay back the debt you’re in and get you close enough to catching up on your finances when you head back?

Will you be able to deal with the shame your family/friends might inflict on you if you decide to stop halfway through college? 

I think the decision to leave school during COVID comes down to deciding what your end goal is. If you don’t know what your dream job is, that is TOTALLY fine too! I’d encourage you to make sure you’re bringing in some type of revenue or pursuing a side hustle before leaving college.

EPISODE 1: THE POWER OF…

A FAKE ASSISTANT. 

This week on The New Unfiltered, my new podcast, Alix and I are diving into a seriously funny topic of conversation – faking an assistant. I posted a Tik Tok a few months ago which I discussed on Life Unfiltered that I ended up taking down, that was pretty much a short video explaining how I snuck into the first class lounge in England one time by making a fake email of someone in the public relations department at the airline that sponsored me to email me saying I could get into the lounge. I was so young when I did that, but the experience taught me how much more you’re respected in business when you do have a full team. I won’t spill too much of the episode so you have to listen for yourself to see how you can get on our level of ruling the system – not letting it rule us.

Each week on The New Unfiltered you’ll hear a topic discussed, alternating (usually) between something business-related and something sex/ sexuality- related, so that you’re never bored while listening to the show.

Tune in to the full episode below and write a review on the podcast app so we know you love/hate us!

 

The New Unfiltered · The Power Of A Fake Assistant

Welcome to…The New Unfiltered

This is just the beginning.

If you’re new to the party, WELCOME.

Maybe you know me from my Radio Disney show Fearless Everyday, or maybe you’ve been following my journey since the beginning.

I’m on a mission to inspire every young person to be fearless, which is deeply inspired by me growing up with no role model. As I say in the teaser, it’s not really easy to land a show on a network like Disney with no connections!

Since leaving Radio Disney, I’ve been able to put so much time and effort into growing the Be Fearless Summit, with the ultimate goal of turning the summit into an app over the next year. Prior to Fearless Everyday, I had a successful podcast called This is Life Unfiltered where I interviewed different founders for over 2 years! It was dope, but I was getting bored towards the end of it. I have so much that I want to say and I don’t get to share as much of my life when I’m interviewing someone else.

All of these experiences have launched me to where I am now: a successful entrepreneur, but more than that, confident and ready to tackle anything that comes my way.

In this 10-part series, you’ll meet my best friend Alix, whose been along for the ride since the beginning. Each episode tackles something that’s happened in our lives, whether it’s a sex story or a business one, with the ultimate goal that you’ll walk away feeling like you can be as unfiltered as we are. 

The New Unfiltered airs Mondays at 5 AM PST.

Listen to the teaser episode below, and on every streaming platform!

The New Unfiltered · Meet Alix and Alexa

The Debt Series: Launching, Landing & Paying Off Company Debt

Hi guys!! Today is a bit of a different kind of blog post. Even though I try and be as authentic to what I’m dealing as possible and feel like I am, I don’t frequently discuss money unless it’s in a broader sense. I’ve spoken to friends of mine who are financial geniuses to inspire you to take care of your finances (search “money” under the search bar on Life Unfiltered and past posts/ podcast episodes will come up) but last week I realized I could bring myself into the discussion now: I have debt! I’m always asked by you how much money I make and though I’ll never tell you directly how much I make in a month or a year (plus it constantly varies) I do well for myself at this point in my career. I’m 23, live in a beautiful apartment, and don’t have to worry like I used to. That doesn’t mean I don’t have serious money anxiety still, but I’m more prepared for the up and downs now more than I ever was.

If you have followed me for a while, you’ll know that I’m completely self-made. I’ve never had someone give me money, no financial help from my parents, and certainly no other side gigs you guys don’t know about besides what I’ve said I used to do / occasionally do like consulting on other companies. The most I’ve ever been given was $1,000 by my dads friend when I started a nonprofit, Media Impact and Navigation for Teens. Unless I’m moving into a new apartment, I never have to check my credit score. On Friday night I was curious what my credit score was so I looked it up and realized my credit score is shit (640) and I have about $25K in debt. Why didn’t I realize that? Because the majority of the credit card debt happened between when I was 16-18: and then because I was (still can be) dumb and young, I completely forgot about it and didn’t realize what interest was.

Lemme tell you: interest is somethin’, somethin’

So now it’s been 5 or 6 years and some of my credit cards (which I canceled – ALL OF THEM – also having no idea that canceling credit cards is probably the worst thing you could do) have doubled in interest since I was paying the monthly payment every month, up until now. To remind you again, all of these things you’re wondering why I didn’t know…I have had literally no one to tell me. Why do you think I’m starting a mentorship program? To fill the void I always found existed!

The shame that occurs around discussing money/ debt, regardless of whether you’re the founder of a company or a college student, is tremendous. When people think of debt, they automatically think you’ve gone wild gambling or partying and now you owe tons of money and have no money. That’s not the case. I’m genuinely proud to be able to sit here and type out that I owe $25,000 since starting my company and hopefully it’ll inspire you to do a few things I’ve done differently, or the same: because either way you’ll be successful!

If you’re wondering how I’m 23 and didn’t go to college and owe $20K in debt, it’s because doing it on your own is f****** HARD. When I moved out to NY, I was broke. I don’t think I even had a credit card or $1,000 to my name. When I moved to Boston, I was doing TV segments religiously: every day I’d be in a new city working with 5 brands who’d end up screwing me over (because I didn’t have contracts!!), physically and mentally exhausted, but knowing I could go home and work on my blog and podcast and whatever else that continued to inspire me. Some people have 9-5 jobs, mine was booking TV segments every month to make a living to afford to pursue what I’m able to live off of now, my own brand and the summit.

Many brands, especially big brands, work on a net – 30/90. AKA, I wasn’t ever paid directly after going on TV. So what do you think I did? Relied on my good ol’ friends credit cards… to pay for all my travel, the models, food, and then when I’d finally get my check, I’d take the majority of it and pay my rent and then go back to my friend (the cards!) It was difficult but I knew it would pay off.

Every entrepreneur I know has debt, much more than what I’m in, and it’s not bad or good.

It just is what it is. How the heck else are you going to start without any money?

If you’re reading this and want to start a company less now that you know I have debt, than you’re not meant to be an entrepreneur! You do whatever you need to do to make it work if you’re an entrepreneur. There is no excuse to not start a company you’ve been thinking about starting for years.

Luckily I have savings and an Acorns account (get one!) with a new plan to aggressively pay off this debt before it goes up.

Looking back, what I would’ve done differently is keep 1 or 2 credits cards like I do now, not 7 like I did. I had all of the airline cards and that was super stupid, I only fly American Airlines. I would never use Paypal Credit again (I’m disturbed at home much money I’m giving them because the interest in 4 years has tripled) and I would take out a loan to have paid all the cards off 3 years ago with little interest. And I wouldn’t have canceled my cards!

If you’re about to start a company, get the Chase Sapphire card and put $4,000 on it in 90 days (like rent or travel) and redeem the 60,000 points you’ll get for money (about $1,000) and then pay off the card. Get Acorns or Robinhood now and start saving. Don’t make the mistakes I did, but don’t let the fear of money stop you from starting.

Coming Soon…Match With A Mentor

After spending the past few weeks talking with tons of students and having the chance to be a part of the Fairfield University pitch conference, an idea started brewing in my mind. Creating the platform I have to date has allowed me to speak to so many of you, one-on-one, about what you’re struggling with in your life. You’re not alone: many of the issues I hear you’re struggling with, I have too! I always found finding a mentor to be a strenuous and exhausting process. How is it that everyone I know has a mentor besides me, yet I’ve been going to so many different conferences for the majority of my career!

So, Be Fearless Summit is filling the void I still have, matching you with a mentor in the area you’re interested in getting experience in. Stay tuned!

 

How I Overcame Being Young And Being Rejected

Want to win a pair of AirPods? I’m giving away a pair HERE!

Earlier this week I was invited to join a Zoom call with a group of young adults in California, who were eager to know about being a business owner at a young age. One of the questions from the girls was how I overcame being young and getting taken seriously. It’s a question I’m randomly asked throughout the years, yet a question I rarely think of. All of the mistakes and obstacles I overcame when I started out feel like a faint memory in my mind, because I deal with new obstacles now!

When I started out, I was fearless and eager. I still am! I was often taken advantage of because of my age (who ever decided that people who are young aren’t able to be successful when they’re young was totally wrong) and rarely taken seriously. This wasn’t just from people in the industry either: my parents were skeptical I’d be successful, so were my friends. I get it: being 16, 17, 18, even 12 or 13 and having an idea is rare. For those that it happens to, the real struggle comes down to getting people to believe in you.

How’d I overcome the age obstacle? Age, actually. The wiser and older I got, the more mature I became to get comfortable in being young, hungry and eager to make change. The background noise doesn’t matter because all that really does is your will to be successful.

My biggest career mistake was that I was too young and hungry to be able to understand business when I was younger, so I kept getting screwed over in my endeavours. If you’re young and have an idea, don’t let your age stop you. Let it fuel you to do more. If someone says no to you, then talk to someone smarter. Anyone who is successful and self-made knows that someone young with an idea is usually the one who ends up with millions in their bank account by 30.

I remember countless times when I’d work with a brand for a TV segment and the most minor thing would happen and I’d never get paid. The brand knew I was young and took advantage of that.

How’d I solve that? Simple. A contract. Take my mistakes from being young and utilize them. Age will be a faint thought in your memory if you do.

Launching A Business in California? Here’s How I Did

Ask any young American entrepreneur where the best market for startups is, and there’s a pretty good chance the answer will be California. The main reason for this is that California is of course home to Silicon Valley, which people recognize as a cradle of innovation in the 21st century. But there’s deeper validity to the idea that California is America’s startup capital.

In 2019, a report on startup funding by CB Insights found that California, New York, and Florida were home to the most well-funded startup cultures in the country. That report focused specifically on emerging companies in the tech industry. But backing up California’s more widespread significance in the startup world, Business Insider looked into startup growth just a few years ago and found three California cities (San Jose, San Francisco, and San Diego) among the top 12 locations for new business growth in the United States.

So, to summarize: Yes, there’s a reason many people think of California first when imagining a thriving startup market. And that brings us to our main question, which is how you can make your business succeed in California when there’s so much competition.

The real answer to this is to come up with a can’t-miss idea and pursue it with passion and dedication! But regarding strategy, there are a few key things you can focus on to give yourself the best chance to succeed in the state.

Be Original

The most important asset you can have on your side when you’re entering a particularly competitive market is originality. This doesn’t mean your business has to literally be the first of its kind. But you do want to avoid blending in with competitors in such a way that you don’t make any noise. So, even if it’s via a small change, a single product, or some good old-fashioned creative branding, strive for originality above all else.

Narrow Your Pitch

A previous article on the ‘Best Way to Start a Business’ put forth the idea that “if you can condense your ideas into one ‘Shark Tank’ style sentence pitch, you’re on the fast track to success. It may sound simple, and in a sense it is, but this really can give a new business a leg up in a competitive market. Whether you’re giving it to friends and family, a local network, a prospective investor, or someone you just met at the gym, a quick, snappy, and interesting pitch will increase the likelihood that someone takes a look at you. And every time that happens, you have a chance of converting a new customer or perhaps even bringing in some funding!

Conduct Market Research

This is actually another idea that was put forward in the aforementioned article, but it’s important to point out again here. Market research is absolutely essential if you’re looking to establish a successful business in crowded space. It will help you to develop your ideas and form your brand not based on pure intuition, but instead based on clear market needs and desires that you identify directly. In a way, doing market research means finding out in advance exactly how your business can succeed. Then all you have to do is act on that knowledge.

Form an LLC

A lot of new businesses, in the early going, are essentially independent projects. That’s all well and good, but it will benefit you from a competitive standpoint to go ahead and register as an official LLC sooner rather than later. For one thing, you’ll almost certainly owe less in taxes. But more importantly, you’ll have those letters: LLC. These effectively label your business as “the real thing,” and will help to set you apart from a sea of independent operators. Plus, achieving this status is fairly easy to do. A step-by-step LLC formation guide for Californians lays out only six things that really need to be done, and they can all be managed online in just a few hours’ time. That’s well worth it to gain the legitimacy that comes with being an officially registered new company.

Brand Creatively

If you live in California, or you’re exploring it as an option, it won’t take you long to notice the excellent branding all around you. Culture Trip’s look at California clothing brands shows some distinct, well-known labels with names that stand out and looks that stick; tech companies and new apps throughout the state famously have “buzzy,” memorable names and designs; even the state’s local breweries and wineries tend to put out labels that inspire envy. Branding is part of the game in California perhaps more than in most places, when means it’s essential for you to label and show off your business in a way that catches people’s attention (and holds it). This is easier said than done, but one helpful idea is to make the process part of your market research. Figure out names, designs, and general aesthetics that appeal and go with them!

Again, the real key is a can’t-miss idea and a passionate approach. Given those, the funding and growth will come in time. But if you’re looking for practical steps you can take to start standing out in America’s most competitive state for new businesses, these tips should help you out.

Coming Up On The New Unfiltered

My new podcast The New Unfiltered with my best friend is coming out November 16th!! We’re super hyped about this show – and plan to do 10 episodes for the first season to see how it goes. This is my first time having a “business” partner for a show and it’s intimidating because I’m so used to doing everything on my own. I know you guys will love this show and though it’s a bit different than what you’re used to seeing me do, I hope it gives you an inside look into working your way up in the craziest industry in the world, and how the people you have around you can actually make or break you.

The New Unfiltered comes out November 16th on all streaming platforms!

Getting Out Of My Comfort Zone To Be A CEO

I sat down with Josh Talks, an awesome initiative surrounding mental health, to discuss how I turned my idea for a blog into a full-time career.

There are so many people, myself included, who are feeling more anxious than usual with the election coming up. With people saying a war could break out depending on who gets in (that’s not going to happen!) it’s enough to keep us all on edge. Get out to the polls or vote via mail, and know what you can do to equally get involved in your community regardless of who gets in. Since this election is so unique, it’s an equal chance for you to become more engaged with how you can make small changes in your community if the government isn’t necessarily stepping in to help make those changes.

There is no time like the present time to proceed with an idea you’ve been sitting on. What’s holding you back besides fear?