Three years ago I moved to Los Angeles with a whopping $200 in my bank account.
A few months before my move, I put most of my money toward a plane ticket to L.A. to find an apartment. First, last, and security was due on the apartment I scored with two other girlfriends in West Hollywood.
After arriving back home in Florida, I sold my Jeep Wrangler and traded it in for a fuel efficient Toyota Corolla because after doing the math—it shaved off over half the cost of gas to cross the country. I also began selling pieces of furniture I accumulated over the years, and anything that wouldn’t fit in my car— the nonessentials. All I needed was my camera equipment, clothes, and a few pieces of home.
Everyone thought I was insane. I had an array of friends and family reflecting their fears on to me:
“See you back in a year.”
“What are you going to do about money?”
“Don't get into porn.”
“LA is crazy, you are going to lose yourself.”
“Wait, you don’t have anything lined up for work?”
In my brain, people sounded like the adults in Charlie Brown cartoons! Muffled noises. Nobody could convince me to stay at that point—my mind was made up.
From the moment I walked across the stage at my college graduation, everything in my body and soul screamed over and over, “GO . . . GO . . . JUST GO!”
Over a year later — I DID IT. I pulled the plug, took action, found a place to live, set a date to leave, and convinced my best friend Jess to come on an adventure across the US with me.
It was one of the most freeing, incredible experiences of my life. It gave me the confidence to know I could truly do anything I really set my mind to. I had everything I owned in my car and the only thing I cared about was the next destination. I wasn’t scared, I was excited. My faith was overwhelming—I knew everything would work out, it always does.
Here I am—3 years, 5 months, and 1 week later. I have a roof over my head, incredible humans in my life, and still completely obsessed with my craft.
We have massive potential to create the life we always dreamed of. Have I struggled at all since coming to L.A.? Abso-freakin-lutely! But my fire is stronger than ever before!
Today, I have five pointers I really want to share to shine your light even brighter. Think of these tips as a little spirit juice while you navigate Los Angeles, or any new chapter you may be embarking on.
5 Tips to Make You Shine In L.A.
1. CUT THE FAT
- Get rid of toxic people and energy in your life. If you find someone doesn't bring joy and instead makes you feel like one of the little children in Hocus Pocus . . . getting the life sucked right out of you . . . it’s time to detach. Having the right type of people in your world is crucial to survival in Los Angeles. You will meet SO many people here, good and bad—don’t waste your precious energy and time on “takers.”
- Simplify!! I am reading an incredible book by Greg McKeown called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. He talks about the importance of simplifying your life in all areas in order to maximize your energy and time. Declutter your closet, decide what is essential and nonessential in your life, sort out all the camera gear or art supplies you’ve been collecting that sits in your packed closet—you will be amazed at how it will instantly make you feel better and more accomplished!
2. BE AUTHENTIC
- I live and will die with these words. Being truly authentic changes EVERYTHING. Fall in love with yourself and discover what really makes you tick. What kind of person do you want to be in this world? This is the quest of my life. When you embrace the person you are, you attract the people that jive with your vibe—your soul mates, your teachers, your lovers. Not only that—your art will SHINE. When you create art in an authentic way— you begin to realize it doesn’t matter if everyone likes it and approves, because the right people will resonate with it. BE AUTHENTIC start right now—begin your quest to discovering what that means for you. Doors will open, others will close—but the closed doors won’t phase you anymore because you are living YOUR truth.
- NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK you beautiful butterfly. Los Angeles is filled with some of the most talented humans around—you can have the best website, great content, etc. But the reality is, you must make real CONNECTIONS with people in person. 85% of the jobs I have booked were from face-to-face meetings, talking with people at events, out on the town, over at a friends house, etc.
- People can see right through you out here—we have all developed a “bullsh*t” detector, so it’s important you change your thought process while networking. DON’T make your intention be “what can this person do for me?” DO be present. That means be humble and authentic—talk to them, see if you can offer them help in some way if you really want to connect—without any expectation of a return. If you genuinely can let go of the worry and fear clouding your thoughts, (i.e. amount of money sitting in your bank account, the past due bills, or things that are out of your control, needing that next job—yesterday!) you can really free up your mind, and possibly create a real connection and make new friends/possible clients you vibe well with.
- Always aim to evolve with your craft. If we don’t remember to evolve with the ebb and flow of our lives and industry, if we don’t acknowledge those changes, it can reflect in our work which leaves no room for real growth as an artist. L.A. is filled with so many people fighting for their craft—the way we choose to nurture it will speak volumes on our willingness to evolve.
5. ACTION STEPS
- Nike said it best—“Just Do It.” The moment I took that first baby step, moving to California, (even though I didn’t have it all figured out) it wasn’t perfect—but somehow the pieces of the puzzle came into view and clarity continues to present itself on a daily basis.
- Making conscious action steps toward a bigger goal or adventure is absolutely key to survival in L.A. You have to fight for what you want, it won’t just appear on your doorstep—though somedays I wish it would. Big goals or dreams can be scary—which is AWESOME! I highly recommend living just outside your comfort zone on a daily basis.
- Are you craving a new group of friends? Action step: Attending an event that speaks to you, brings you joy, or makes you laugh—opens a door to meeting like-minded people in the area to connect with.
- That dream magazine you have been stalking on Instagram or have been reading since you were 15? Action step: research direct contacts/emails and sending off a submission or inquiry.
What’s the worst thing that could happen? A no? A closed door? SO WHAT. You put it out there in the universe and it’s going to come back to you in one way or another. KEEP GOING.
If you found this helpful, want to share a story with me, feel inspired—email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below. I would love to hear from you! I’m with you and can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together!