By Joy A. Kennelly
Every so often, there comes a point in my journey where I realize I can't do it all by myself no matter how hard I try. I need help. As an entreprenuer it's easy to get so focused on what you're working on that you forget there are people in your life who are struggling too and we're not alone in this.
We're all in this together. We all want each other to succeed.
Sometimes it doesn't feel like that. Sometimes it doesn't look like that. But when you peel away the facade, hear someone's story and realize they're struggling to make it just like you it's really encouraging. I'm not alone. I can relate to someone else. They get me too.
It was another reason I returned to LA after living in GA. I missed the entreprenuerial spirit, the "we're going to make something big happen," and the excitement of seeing people find success when they worked hard enough and long enough towards a goal. The skies the limit out here. You never know when you'll meet the next Bill Gates, Ralph Lauren, Van Gogh, or Jennifer Lawrence and that's exciting.
I also love the international aspect of CA. My new client is from the Domican Republic, I have a Russian friend I'll be telling you about in a little bit, and LA is such a melting pot you're always meeting new cultures, new personalities and new people. Love it!
Being an entreprenuer is something I've been all my life. I don't really know how else to be. When I was very young I picked flowers from our yard and sold them to our neighbors. When I was in high school my sisters and I sold the most candy bars in the entire school to earn a TV because we didn't have one growing up and really wanted it. We went door-to-door, sold them outside grocery stores and just made it happen.
My Dad wanted us to read and not be influenced by TV, but gave in when we won one of our own. What could he say? He's very entreprenuerial too and despite having stability with his teaching career, always invested wisely in real estate and taught us the value of a dollar and working hard to achieve it.
I've tried corporate life and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Each time has been a learning experience, a growing experience, and a chance to see how other people run their companies - what works, what doesn't. What systems are in place, what roles people play, how people accept certain things, or not. Also, a chance to make friends, many I've kept in touch with long after.
I've been working at Shopzilla, a shopping portal, off and on for a few years now and it's one of my favorite companies I have ever worked for. They're chill, low-key, low stress, no drama, and everyone genuinely likes each other and working there. At least that's what I've observed.
I always feel welcome when I pop in for my gigs and like I have value. It may be a minor role I play, but I feel accepted, supported and like I have friends who care. When I'm not there I don't think about them or hang out, but keep up on Facebook and when I'm back, it's like no time has passed at all.
All that to say, it's what I realize is missing in my life more and more. Working on my new web series/travel show and corresponding online social community for women has been a lonely, isolated experience. I don't have an office I go to, I don't have co-workers to bounce ideas off of, and I am not actively encouraging or supporting anyone else in their endeavors until recently.
That's why I was so happy to work with an actress to help her launch her career now that she has a starring role in a big TV movie airing on GMC this spring called "What Would You Do for Love." She's beautiful, talented, grounded, humble and smart. Everything you could ever ask for of someone you represent.
Her name is Suveria Mota and mark my words, you will remember her name because this is just the start of something big for her. She's too talented, too beautiful, and too motivated not to succeed. Plus, she has the support of her family which makes all the difference in the world.
See what I mean? Beautiful inside and out.
And we're just getting started working together! It was so fun to have her join me at the OK! Magazine's "So Sexy" party at the Mondronian Sky Bar recently because it was a great party filled with lots of beautiful people. Recognize anyone?:)
It's why I started my Goal Gals group and it's why I'm starting my travel adventure website/show for women too.
I want to show women they can have fun traveling, escape the worries of their life and come back with a renewed, refreshed outlook and perspective to attack life more joyfully, with an open-heart and feeling fulfilled. Travel does that as a by-product of new experiences and new people.
I may not have a lot of physical possessions, but the memories I've developed over the years from traveling is priceless. I'm not materialistic, never have been.
I like nice things, but don't need them to feel I have value as a human being. I learned that volunteering with Hungarian orphan children right after college and through my spiritual studies. The orphans gave freely of the little they had and were the happiest children I have ever met. It's why I ran a toy drive to give them toys for four years after meeting them until a Hungarian woman took over the toy drive for me.
That's why I wanted to share another friend's story with you too. You have probably seen Victoria Kashtan at various Silicon Beach events shooting pictures, smiling, always gracious, always kind, but her humble demeanor hides her brilliance which I really feel needs to shine and why I felt compelled to share her doc with you today.
Plus, her doc, Notes of a Freshman, includes another tech startup company I respect and support, Enplug. Win, win.:)
Here's the story line: "They are both Freshman – they’re both dreamers. An amateur Russian filmmaker struggling for her life in America meets a Chinese entrepreneur – David – building a new media Empire in Hollywood.
Inspired by David’s personality and deeply believing in his ideas, she rises to the challenge of making a movie about him and his company. Treating his character as a future celebrity in the beginning of his way she stakes her career on creating the story of the American Dream in the twenty-first century."
Watch and see...
Isn't she talented? And so interesting too. I find her Russian background very unique and also, Enplug's story too. If you care to contribute, or get involved, click here for info: http://www.victoriakashtan.com/#!notes-of-a-freshman/c23eb
So, all this to say, even though our LA Tech and Entertainment scene can be disjointed. Even though it sometimes feels like you're not really supported, you are. We're not alone. We are in this together. We really do want each other to succeed. I know I need to immerse myself even more by moving closer and getting involved even more.
Find an accelerator to be around more like minds. Find funding to move my project along faster. Find business people I can learn and grow from even more. Find more cool events to take my client to and introduce her to the right people.
I need the support and encouragement of friends who get me and what I'm doing too. I also need some distance between me and my family to be able to focus on what I need to accomplish for my client and myself more fully.
Even though I have no idea what the future holds, I'm excited for it. I know if I work hard enough I will find success for Suveria and myself. And hopefully other women who need a positive role-model to see they can make it too against incredible odds.
I gain encouragement from the youthful optimism of the young female entreprenuers I meet at various tech events who haven't faced road blocks yet, or experienced aging parents yet and all the dynamics that brings.
Here's something Victoria has on her website which encapsulates this feeling:
“Very quickly I realized that if you really want to become Someone in America you have to create something unique and be persistent in promoting yourself. Even if you can only show your naked ass in the window you have to show it every day at the same time so finally you’ll start to get paid for it”
– Vica for Notes Of A Freshman
I need to be reminded by younger entreprenuers that it is possible. Life can be good. And everything's going to be ok. Sometimes I just wish I had someone strong to lean against to gain strength from, but since I don't have a guy in my life right now I gain encouragement from my friends and my church. And God.
"For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil 4:13
9 "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12: 9,10
And I'll leave you with this because it's one of my favorite songs to listen to and sing along with. Gives me such hope and encouragement too. Christina Perri's A Thousand Years
Have a great day. I plan to!:)