Jean Carlos, a 24-year-old native New Yorker found a way to escape the 9 to 5 grind and pursue a career in digital marketing. Although he chose to leave a job as a retail manager making $80,000 a year, his passion for growing online brands enabled him to create a business from home and within three months of working on his online marketing brand (Digitality Marketing), he was able to scale a successful business. My interview with him gave me insight into his journey as an entrepreneur.
“I am a 24- year- old New York native who currently runs and operates a full- service digital marketing agency that focuses on online advertising, social media management, content production, and lead generation. I love branding and marketing because of how creative yet analytical you must be in order to see it come full circle. I realized that I was able to have both of those characteristics which have allowed me to truly serve our clients and their needs.”
Chasing the American Dream
Polonia understands what it means to truly work hard for what you want in life. As a second-generation American citizen, he had to watch his family overcome the unique obstacles and challenges that come along with being a working- class family. He says that having to watch his grandma work extra hard took a mental toll on how he viewed work, family, and balancing personal life and financial responsibilities in general. He no longer wanted to just “get by”, he began to value his time more—he wanted financial freedom!
“It just didn’t make sense to only have a traditional 9-5 job. Even if you love your job (which I hope anyone reading/hearing this does, if not PLEASE reevaluate), you can still always do more! So, for both financial and passion-driven reasons, I pushed myself to go against the current. I knew that if I wanted to make sure my mom, my grandma, my family was set up for success, it wouldn’t happen by only working 40 hours a week for only $40K a year. There had to be more meaning to life and there had to be a better way. I knew entrepreneurship was the path I needed to take. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I don’t like being told what to do and how to do it. I’ve always wanted to be a leader more than a boss. I knew that if I had my own business, I could also make an impact by creating jobs and having an amazing culture! I started this answer with two reasons, but truly there are hundreds of reasons why. If you let me, I can talk anyone’s ear off about this topic just from the mere fact that I love it and believe in it so much. I think everyone should dip their feet in entrepreneurship. It is also its own kind of beast that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll always like it, but that’s the fun part!”
Overcoming the Challenges of Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship isn’t for the weak! You have to learn how to be self-sufficient and roll with the punches. With every set back comes an opportunity for growth, re-evaluation, and introspection, and without these key components, success is impossible. Polonia gives key advice on how he has managed to stay positive in the face of uncertainty.
“Never give up. I know everyone says it, but it’s the honest truth. Someone in the world just like you or even had it worse than you, didn’t give up on their dreams and now they’re loving [their life]. Owning a business requires grit, tenacity, dedication, and a ton of people skills. Find others who compliment your weak points so that you can thrive off of each other. Go into it with the understanding that you might not be profitable in year 1 or even year 2, but know that you’re going to work your ass off to make it happen. Surround yourself with people who are going to push you forward, not hold you back. It’s crucial to constantly see success around you because it puts you at a different frequency to act the way you need to act in order to do the same. Most importantly, don’t let only money be your motivator. You’re going to lose. Someone who’s out there doing what they love will put you out of business if you don’t love it because they’ll end up working harder than you. Find a passion in it and let that drive you to success. I don’t believe in a reward until the job is done. I wasn’t always like this, but recently I took on the 75 Hard challenge by Andy Frisella. I won’t go into too much detail on it, but I would recommend everyone to do it. It has built incredible discipline in me mentally and physically to get things done. So, can you reward yourself? Absolutely, because life is also meant to be lived, but never let it consume you. Don’t think that once you hit a goal you’re done because there is always the next one. So, don’t let the “rewards” keep you stagnant. Set some goals, crush them, reward yourself, and then set even bigger goals and don’t do it again until you’re able to crush those as well. Reward yourself when the job is done, not when you feel you deserve it. So many people say “ahhh I’ve been good for so long” and yet they’re still not where they want to be. It comes down to all of those little stops along the way. So, go big on your goals and then go big on the reward! “
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