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Career Day is the new Square YouTube docuseries highlighting ambitious business owners who have taken risks, bet on themselves, and found success. We partnered with YouTube Creators Charlie Chang and Elle Mills to explore the careers of several young, creative entrepreneurs. Throughout the series, aspiring entrepreneurs get an in-depth look at tools and inspirational stories to help guide them through their own journeys.
Ari Genesis | Fire Rugs
Genesis grew up with artistic instincts, embracing painting and dance since he was young. When he saw a friend making rugs on social media, he was inspired to try it out. Fire Rugs is now a successful eCommerce business and popular brand, with more than 800,000 followers across TikTok and Instagram. Genesis shared his tips on starting and growing a business from scratch:
- Hold onto your creative energy: “I find it so fun to take risks and put yourself out there in imaginative ways. You just have to do it. I feel like the thing that really helped me was not telling anybody what I was doing. When you talk about a project before it’s completed, for me, it takes the energy out of it. It takes my motivation for that project out of it, once I finally announce it and tell everybody. You’re sort of releasing all of that pent up excitement that you have about it.”
- Grow your business by sharing your knowledge: “All the exposure and orders that I’ve gotten throughout the entire business have all come from social media. It’s even better than ads, because who wants to see an advertisement? The TikTok was doing so well. It was an ad in itself, basically, just being on the app. I just kind of record the process, and since it is such a new art form, just kind of showing the best ways that I’ve learned to do things tends to work really well, just sharing some knowledge on making rugs, tutorials, and stuff like that works really well. And also ASMR is doing really well right now for rugs. It’s just a super satisfying art form to watch and to do in general.”
- Put your own spin on a successful idea: “Don’t be scared. Don’t make excuses. Go with it, you know, pull the trigger. I would say just taking that first step has gotta be the most important thing. Just look at what other people are doing that’s successful and make your own spin off of that with your own personality and your own spice to it, because it will be completely different. You will see growth. If you really care about it, and you put your time into it, and it’s something that you believe will do well, people will see that you’re passionate about it. They’ll see that you care, and they’ll want to watch you. People love to see the light in people’s eyes, you know?”
Kelsey Davis | CLLCTIVE
CLLCTIVE is a portfolio platform that connects creators to brands and creative opportunities. Prior to starting the company, Davis was a full-time college student at Syracuse University and a visual content creator for brands such as Coca-Cola and Puma.
- Embrace your fear: “So I used to be an athlete. Going to the WNBA, that was like my vision, that was my goal. Starting my business was the first time that I had to overcome the fear of, you know, ‘Hey, I had this identity that I was committed to yet I don’t feel fulfilled,’ right? Okay, if you’re not playing basketball, then what are we gonna do, right? And how do we become the best at that? Part of being a good business person is being a good decision-maker. It’s definitely difficult, but there’s no better feeling than trusting in yourself and seeing that through … It’s still a scary journey, but that’s why you have a team. We all have fear. You can’t run from that. You have to actually acknowledge it and face it. It’s something me and my co-founder do all the time. We have retro meetings and we’ll ask, what are we afraid of? What hurdle are we not acknowledging right now? And the quicker that we get there, the quicker that we can overcome.”
- Know why you and your business matter: “When it comes to monetizing yourself as a creator, it really comes down to: How are you monetizing your human IP? So I think that really has to do with knowing who you are and knowing your ‘why’, and knowing what you have the ability to create. People come up to me all the time and they’re like, hey, I’m a creative, can I work with you? And I’m like, cool, who are you and what do you do? And often they just say they make videos. Cool. Like for what? For whom? What type of videos? Like, what are you good at, right? It’s really important being able to articulate succinctly who you are and what you do.”
- Use social media to build a community and network: “What I found that works well for me is just reaching out to people on social media that I look up to, or that I want to, you know, connect with, and then we build a friendship there. And then once you meet one person, you sort of can meet their friends and it just sort of snowballs like that. And that’s definitely been one of the best things I’ve ever done in my entrepreneurial journey.”
Sam Rosenthal | The Game Band
After working at a number of different gaming companies at the start of his career, Rosenthal founded The Game Band and created two successful titles in Where Cards Fall and Blaseball. Along the way, he had to learn how to run and grow a business as he transitioned from the corporate world to a start-up.
- Be prepared to strategize, as well as create: “Leaving my job, it was scary. I can’t imagine it not being scary for anybody. You know, I was probably very excited to finally have an opportunity to do so, and also completely unprepared for what was to come. When you’re working in a company, it’s not just like the cushiness of a steady paycheck, it’s also like the cushiness of being told what you’re supposed to be doing and getting feedback on what you’re doing. And when you’re off on your own, it’s up to you to set your priorities like just the business is functioning at a core level … I think the toughest thing was just getting out of the mindset of, oh, it’s just going to be this freeform creative process. I actually needed to learn how to manage a company and manage myself as part of that company too.”
- Make a plan for the logistics: “A lot of the things they don’t tell you when you’re about to start a company, especially if it’s like an entertainment-focused company, is that there’s a lot of logistical, not super-interesting things that all of a sudden you’re responsible for. You know, I had to figure out how we’re gonna run payroll, you know, the very first week I started the company. All of those different types of things are, you know, they’re not told as like, these are going to be the responsibilities of a creative director, but they are the responsibilities of a CEO in virtually all forms.”
- Ask for help: “I usually am looking to understand whenever I’m faced with a problem that I’ve never faced before — what have other people done in similar situations? If there are enough similarities, you can at least see what kind of ground was tread before and try to avoid as many pitfalls as you possibly can … I think being able to say, ‘I don’t know’ and ask for help is one of the most important skills to develop as an entrepreneur. It’s really easy to tell when you’re faking it. So many times you’re going to be faced with things that you just have no idea how to handle. If you’re not able to go and ask people what to do, then you’re gonna end up having to learn a lot of these lessons the hard way, which you do not wanna do. Entrepreneurs love this stuff. Like if you are asking another entrepreneur for help, just the way that most entrepreneurs’ brains work is they get really excited and interested in whatever problems you’re facing and then wanna help you solve them.”