The entrepreneurial struggle is real, but the journey is so beautiful

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| August 09 2016,

10:30 am

When I made the decision jump headfirst into the world of entrepreneurship and move 3,000 miles away from family and friends in New York City to start a new life in Los Angeles, I was petrified

In the months leading up to my final day at my former job and spontaneous move to the West Coast, I suffered from uncontrollable bouts of depression and anxiety. Sleepless nights became my norm. Self-doubt and fear consumed me. “Are you really doing this? Can you really afford to move across the country? Where will you live? What if you fail? Can you really handle a big move AND a startup? Are you insane?!” These questions and thousands more tormented me and threatened to derail my plans, but I fought back

I’ve always been rather stubborn and headstrong, prideful and impulsive too. When I decide to do something, despite immense fear, there is no turning back.

The flight to L.A. was terrifying. During the taxi ride to the airport, I tried so hard to hold back the tears, but failed miserably. My stifled sobs alerted the cab driver. He tried comforting me by sharing details about his journey to America from Mexico, where he didn't know the language, didn't have any support and had to live in a tiny apartment with 15 other people. His story gave me the courage I needed to board that plane

The first week in my new city could not have been more beautiful and blessed. I’d booked a week’s stay via Airbnb with a complete stranger. I had seven days to find a permanent place to live…seven days. Although my sister and I were working tirelessly to get Birds of Paradise Public Relations up and running, we had a few hurdles to overcome before we could make our official announcement that we were open for business. So, I’d moved to LA with a small savings, few possessions, no place to live and technically no real source of income. By the end of the week, God had provided all my needs: I’d found a great roommate, landed a freelance job with a public relations agency in San Francisco, reconnected with friends from the East Coast who had moved to L.A., and had a new budding friendship with one of the kindest souls I’ve ever met — my Airbnb guy

I’d never felt more blessed, loved or happy in my entire life. I loved everything about L.A. and was convinced that my move and decision to start Birds of Paradise Public Relations was destined

Photo: Courtesy of author
Photo: Courtesy of author
Four months later, while on a trip home to the Virgin Islands to coordinate a client event, promote my company and partake in the Carnival festivities, chaos struck. I was suddenly facing the reality of my situation. My freelance contract with the PR agency in SF was cut short due to issues at the company. Panic slowly crept in as I realized I was going to have to make a very difficult decision: Abandon my dreams or tough it out and focus my attention on my company

I chose the latter.

My trip came to an abrupt end as I headed back to LA to regroup. In the midst of all the confusion and fear, I realized something. What was supposed to be a temporary arrangement while I grew my business had turned into a crutch. My “gig” had made me comfortable — too comfortable. The illusion of having a safety net meant I had lost a bit of focus on what I was supposed to be doing — growing Birds of Paradise Public Relations

I was determined to turn things around. The team and I hit the ground running. We ramped up our marketing outreach and focused on our growth. Within weeks of returning home, we landed a very small contract with a new client and published two of our advice columns in top industry publications, PR News Daily and Bulldog Reporter

Despite the ups and downs, various highs and lows, bouts of fear and anxiety, I have never felt more free or happy in my entire life.

This journey is hard. It is frustrating and extremely stressful. But in spite of it all, it’s beautiful.

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