I’m one of those people who has been an entrepreneur since I was a kid. Like most people, I’ve worked the standard 9–5 jobs, but working for other people just isn’t in my DNA. Being an entrepreneur has been a dream of mine for years now. I’m a creative, driven person, and having to work inside of a box just isn’t something I can do.
Aside from being an entrepreneur, my passion is helping people with their mental health. Seven and a half years ago, I hit rock bottom with my drug addiction. I had a 10% chance of living, and they said that even if I quit drinking and using drugs, I probably wouldn’t live another year, and I was only 26 years old. Here I am 7 years later alive and sober, and all I want to do is give others hope if they’re suffering from depression, anxiety, addiction or any other mental health condition.
The freedom of the internet and social media allowed me to pursue both of my dreams of becoming an entrepreneur and helping others. I started this journey while working at a drug and alcohol rehab. I got laid off due to downsizing, decided to triple-down on my mental health brand The Rewired Soul, worked my butt off and reached tremendous success.
Everything was going better than I could ever imagine, and then it all came crashing down.
I was working at a fancy rehab. We’re talking a 5-star chef, basketball court, gym, massages and all the other amenities. While working there, I realized how many people would never have the opportunity to go to treatment because they didn’t have insurance or couldn’t afford rehab. Because of this, I started The Rewired Soul YouTube channel.
Every single day after work, I’d come home and make a video related to mental health to try to help some people out there. Aside from the full-time job, I had a work cell phone that was on 24/7, and I’m also a father. I was juggling a lot of things, but I’m passionate about helping others, so I made videos daily.
Like most influencers, I started out with a small audience, and it was like that for about a year. After studying the YouTube algorithm, I learned that talking about trending topics reaches a broader audience, so I started using these topics to teach people about their mental health. The channel took off.
When I was laid off in September of 2018, my channel had less than 10,000 subscribers, and by the end of 2018, I had reached 70,000 subscribers. By February 2019, I hit the milestone of 100,000 subscribers.
This was incredible. I lost my job, took the risk of focusing on The Rewired Soul instead of searching for work, and because of my hustle, I succeeded.
On average, YouTube ad revenue was bringing in about $7,000 to $8,000 a month. My affiliate sales were earning me another couple thousand, and the sale of my eBooks and Audiobooks were also bringing in a decent amount of money. I was making twice as much as I was at the rehab, and I was doing it exactly the way I wanted to.
I won’t get into all of the details, but right after I hit 100,000 subscribers, everything collapsed. Due to my ego and thinking I was invincible, I made a lot of mistakes. The biggest mistake I meant was trusting the wrong people. After a private DM was leaked, dozens of YouTubers made videos about me creating a false narrative, and everything ended pretty much overnight.
Within a month, I lost 20,000 subscribers and couldn’t get views to save my life. Due to the lack of views, my YouTube ad revenue plummeted, and so did my affiliate, eBook and audiobook sales.
Just like that, I went from making $10,000 a month to about $1,000 a month.
Luckily, my girlfriend is a lot more responsible with money than I am, and she convinced me to put a lot of the money I made in savings. This gave me quite a bit of a cushion to live off of for a few months. I figured this storm would blow past, and I’d be back normal in no time.
A lot of people thought I was going to just quit, and even more people said I should quit. Even though 2019 was one of the roughest years of my life, it was nothing compared to getting sober. In my heart, I knew I’d been through worse. If I could stay sober, I could overcome this challenge and make a comeback.
So I thought…
The Hardest Decision I Had to Make
I had enough financial runway to last me a few months, but the savings started to dwindle away. When my savings started to deteriorate, I got a credit card. I hate credit cards, but I refused to give up. I thought if I could just survive a few more months, everything would be back to normal.
Months passed, and nothing happened. I maxed out my credit card, and things got bad. I could barely afford my car payment and other bills, and even paying rent was a stretch. I had to have my girlfriend cover my half of the rent a couple times, and I hate borrowing money.
The worst part was that I have the best son on earth, and I couldn’t even afford to give him his allowance. Since he’s so awesome, he understood and kept doing his chores anyway. This absolutely broke my heart.
Not only am I a fighter, but I’m stubborn. I was more than qualified to get a job, but I refused to. I felt that if I went back to working a normal job, I’d be giving up on my dreams. I thought if I went back to the typical work environment, I’d be setting a terrible example for my followers who I teach to never give up, and I’d be setting a bad example for my son.
Finally, I had a moment of clarity.
I realized that I’m only 34 years old, and I have plenty of living to do. I know that I’m capable of great things, but in that moment, I had to take care of priorities. Even though I felt like I’d be giving up on my dream of being an entrepreneur, I remembered that our feelings aren’t always reality. So, I humbled myself and started looking for work.
First, I reached out to an old boss who I did some freelance writing for in the past just to see if he had some work for me. It was perfect timing because they just fired someone, so he hired me for contracted work. It wasn’t going to be enough to live off of, but if I combine that with the little bit of income I was still making, I knew I’d be fine.
That same day he offered me the position, I got a message from another old boss of mine. She asked me if I was working, and I told her about my current situation. She had left my old company to start an integrated marketing firm, and they needed a content manager. She knew I was a writer, and she offered me a full-time position.
I know this sounds farfetched, but this actually happened. I went from scraping by to getting a full-time job offer and a part-time gig in one day. The combine income alone from these two jobs is more than enough for me to live off of and actually have disposable income again.
I’ve been working both of these jobs for about four or five months now, and the best part is that I didn’t have to completely put The Rewired Soul on hold. I just had to get even better at time management. Not only am I still uploading to YouTube, but I’m also still managing my Twitter and Instagram as well. I’ve also rediscovered my passion for writing, so I’ve been writing daily posts for weeks now.
You’d think that I’d be burnt out, but when you have a dream, you don’t give up on it. For us entrepreneurs, we have to make it work. And don’t get me wrong, work-life balance is huge for me. I’d be an awful mental health creator if I didn’t find that balance. Even with all of the juggling of my different aspects of work, I have plenty of free time to spend with my girlfriend and my son.
If I can do it, so can you.
I wanted to write this because I know there’s someone out there who needs a little inspiration. If you’ve been knocked down, I want to be an example that you can get back up. If you’re working multiple jobs and have entrepreneurial dreams, I’m here to let you know that you can do it if you’re willing to work for it.
If you’re like me, you may not be the best at what you do, but people like us outwork the competition and persevere, and that’s how we succeed.