My Name is Maayan Gordon
And this is My Story.....
My life has been an incredible journey, that has taken me to the highest of highs and lowest of lows.
From struggling with mental health to living the life of my dreams, I want to share my story with you.
By far one of my greatest accomplishments in life is something that I didn't even know was possible when I was growing up. Rewiring my brain and fundamentally changing the way that I interface with and process my life and the world in which I live. This has required profound and extensive effort. I began by becoming aware of my thoughts and feelings. I then worked backwards to trace "where" those thoughts and feelings came from. They always led back to a story or belief that I held. I then asked: "Is it possible that this story or belief isn't true?" and began to form new neural pathways to process the same events, facts, and information into new stories and beliefs. This process is now something I'm passionate about teaching others.
No one ever expects to become homeless. I certainly didn't. Growing up, I believed my life would be challenging internally, not externally. Homelessness seemed like something out of a movie or fairy tale like the prince and the pauper. But after surviving a gas explosion while naked in my home, everything about how I perceived life changed. And homelessness didn't seem like such a bad fate when compared to misery and death. But it was pretty bad. With no way to take a shower, no clean clothes, no heat or air conditioning, and no food to eat, life was uncomfortable and even painful.
Yet, I experienced a true sense of freedom for the first time in my life. Not just freedom from my family or responsibilities, but freedom from societal pressure. No one expects anything of a homeless woman. So I felt free to truly focus on who I was and what I believed about people, life, and the world. This freedom allowed me to discover my true self and form the foundation for the rest of my life.
Once I discovered my real self, separate from what society wanted me to be, I was able to begin building the life I wanted for myself, my husband, and our future kids. I started up a series of businesses around my passions and helping people, and 8 years later had saved up enough money to buy my first house in Spokane, WA. This was a house of my dreams, in the best neighborhood in the city, sitting high up on the hill, 2 blocks from a grocery store, with a coffee shop around the corner, 3 parks within a mile, and 15 minute walk from downtown.
I use to be terrified of people. Everytime I had to meet up with or speak with someone I would get severe anxiety. My heart would race, my mouth would get dry, and my stomach would feel so uncomfortable I thought I might puke. This would happen everytime my phone range, whether it was someone I knew or an unknown number. This would happen when I would drive to businesses and meet with the manager to pitch them my product. It would happen anytime I got invited to anything. It would happen when I would checkout from the grocery store. Every single human interaction triggered my fear and anxiety.
I knew this was going to be a problem if I wanted to truly connect with people and make an impact in their lives. I wanted deep friendships and relationships and knew that anxiety and fear were getting in the way of me living my true purpose and potential.
I had a deep intuition that vending at tradeshows was going to be part of the cure to this mental disease. So more than a decade ago I made a commitment and decision to master tradeshows and events. Even before I had enough money for a booth, I figured out a way to vend at tradeshows.
The first one I went to was a huge failure and we lost almost all the money I spent on the booth and travel. But I learned super valuable lessons and at the next show I cut our costs, had a better strategy and we made a few thousand dollars.
I attended 1-3 shows over the next 10 years and learned how to sell out our booth and make more than $10,000 in sales at every show we went to.
More than the sales side, I learned how to conquer my fear of people. I learned how to quickly connect with anyone in the world through eye contact and a smile. I learned how to engage people in conversation in a way that make them feel super comfortable. I learned how to turn strangers into friends in just a few minutes.
This profoundly changed my life and gave me one of the most valuable skills I have today. The skill of building deep and meaningful connection with any human being.
When I started my glassblowing business, I had zero experience in either making glass art pieces or selling them. My previous business had been a graphic design, custom stickers and shirts company. After taking a single 2-day private glassblowing class from a friend, I fell in love and spent all my savings to purchase the equipment I needed to set up my own home studio. I helped another artist clean out their studio in exchange for a bunch of scrap glass and got started!
I began by practicing for 10-12 hours every single day, and posted my work on Instagram to document my journey. I figured it would be easier to sell my pieces in the future when they were "good enough" if I showed people how much I was improving over time and let them come along on my journey with me.
A few weeks in, I started getting DMs and comments on Instagram where people were asking how much the pieces I was posting pictures of cost. I was shocked because I thought the pieces really weren't good at all and certainly not worth buying. I responded by saying they were just practice and not for sale. One of the people responded "How about $10?"
I thought about it and if this person really liked the piece enough to want to spend $10 on it, who was I to argue? My only concern was that the piece might break because my skills weren't well developed, so I told them if it ever broke I'd replace it for free.
It felt amazing to be making my first sales in glass art only a few weeks into my journey and I started thinking about all the other people who might want one of my glass pieces. Since I was using scrap glass, my only costs were my gases and time. So I came up with an ingenious idea.
I started $0 glass auctions on my Instagram page and used the platform like eBay. Every day, I posted all the pieces I had made before up for auction that started at $0 with bid increments of $3 or more and set the auction to end 24 hours after the first bid. People absolutely loved this because all the other artists wanted super high prices for their glass art. So I started selling every single piece I could make.
I learned how to make some really cool designs that only took me 15 minutes or less and got really good and fast at making just those designs. I realized that certain color combos would go for a higher dollar amount, so I focused on making the designs in the color combos that people liked the most and were willing to pay the highest for.
Over the 5 years of running that business, we sold more than 1 Million dollars in glass art. I also got to ship out 10,000s of packages, have 10,000s of conversations, and develop incredible insights into marketing, branding, and building loyal customers.
I joined TikTok in August of 2019 because I needed a new place to grow an audience and build customers for my glassblowing business. After 5 solid years of growth on Instagram, the algorithm had abruptly changed and we lost 50% of our revenue in a few months. Our posts were no longer getting shows to any new audience.
When I joined TikTok, I was pretty clueless as to how the app worked and took me a few days to even figure out how to post a video. I committed to posting at least one glassblowing video each day with the goal I would learn to use the app over time. 2 weeks into my posting, I woke up one morning and it said 99+ notifications from TikTok on my iphone. I opened up the app and was met with a flurry of notifications. They were coming in by the second. I had no idea what was going on, so I went to my profile page and was dumbfounded when I saw the video I had posted just the night before had over 1 million views. Not only that, but there were thousands of comments. I was shocked and blown away.
I started asking myself so many questions, because the previous day I had only a few thousand followers and now I had 10,000s overnight. I started studying my videos and figuring out exactly what made that post go viral. I decided to treat my TikTok account like a science lab and used each video as an experiment to learn how the algorithm worked.
I started to really piece together a formula for success and in October alone I gained 600,000 new followers and generated over 100 million views on my videos. I quickly grew to over a million followers and from there to where I currently sit at 2.3 million followers and over a billion video views.
A year after posting only glassblowing videos, I decided to branch off and start focusing my content on me and my personal brand. I was successfully able to pivot into content that let my audience connect directly with who I am and what I stand for. This is what I'm most proud of with my channel. Not only does my content let people learn who I authentically am as a person, but also empowers them to be the best version of themselve and to always stay true to who they are.
After my audience grew to 1M+ followers on TikTok, I wanted to do something to give back and help others. I also wanted to test my skills and stamina as a glassblower and do something no one else had done before. So I came up with the idea to do a glassblowing charity event where I would blow glass for 24 hours straight and donate all the money raised and all the pieces made to 3 charities that supported causes I cared about. And I decided to stream the entire 24 hours LIVE on TikTok!
I reached out to TikTok and asked if they would help by promoting and streaming the event live on the official TikTok channel. The agreed to give me a 1 hour global time slot and this allowed us to reach a total of over 500,000 live viewers cummulatively over the 24 hour period.
I joined LinkedIn in September of 2019, right around the same time I joined TikTok, and started connecting with entrepreneurs from all across the globe. I was sharing every ounce of wisdom and insights I had learned in my 10 year journey as a solopreneur and was taking 20+ zoom calls per week to share my knowledge for free with anyone it might help.
By doing this, I connected with Melissa Simonson who, after a few chats and getting to know each other, invited me to speak at the Empowery Conference, the first ever all-women speakers conference held in the Amazon industry. I had never spoken on stage in person before, but I had done a lot of podcast interviews and had gotten more comfortable speaking through hundreds of zoom meetings, so I said yes!
I wrote my speech, drove down to California and delivered it in front of a live audience. Everyone loved my story and the insights I shared and the speech was a huge hit. I met so many incredible people at that event and made a name for myself in the Amazon industry. The speech went so well, I was invited to several more Amazon Events after that, and I continue to share my knowledge in that space.
Since 2020 I have spoken on more than 50 podcast episodes as an authority in the marketing and branding world, as well as an expert on TikTok. The episodes I’ve been featured in have received 10,000s listeners and downloads.
In addition to that I’ve been featured in many news and magazine articles including Forbes and Yahoo Finance.
Even though the focus of most of these articles has been in the marketing space, everything I speak about is through the lens of human psychology and emotions. I continue to receive feedback on a regular basis that the information I share has helped people develop new ways of thinking and change their lives.
When Maggie Lower, CMO for Hootsuite, asked me if I would be willing to deliver their keynote speech with her on stage at 2022 SXSW I was honored and quickly said less. I was even more honored when she asked me to help write the speech.
I was on one of our brainstorming calls to prepare for the keynote and came up with the phrase “Courageous Creativity”. I knew we had something deep and meaningful to share with the live audience who would be in attendance.
On the day of the keynote, we had a packed room, and one of the event employees told me it was the most full she had seen the room over the entire 5 days. Together with Maggie, we shared how companies need to be courageous in expressing their values and taking creative risks to connect with their audience. Afterwards, I had person after person come up to talk to me about how the speech connected with them and how much it moved them.
By the time I was 18 years old, I had already taken out student loans for college that my parents had cosigned for. I didn't understand anything about money or finances, so taking out $40,000 didn't seem like such a big deal to me. I thought everyone who wasn't rich had to go into debt to get ahead in life. It wasn't until I was in college and away from home when I started to learn how money worked.
I had to buy all the things I wanted myself, so I looked online for any "gigs" on Craigslist that I could get and complete while still in school and going to classes. I found that there was a lot of need for writers, and that was a skill I was really good at. I started making $20/hr doing freelance writing work while attending 5 college courses full-time and I thought I was rich.
It wasn't until I dropped out of college after 3 semesters that I started to understand even $20/hr was not very much money as I began paying back my student loans. I saw that most of the $800 monthly payment I was making was going to interest and the loan was barely being paid down over time.
Then, when I started my first business and filed taxes for the first time, I also reported the income I'd made from freelance writing. No one taught me anything about taxes growing up, so I thought it was automatically taken out of your paycheck. That's what I had always seen or heard my parents talk about. I didn't know what a 1099 contractor was or that I had to pay my own taxes separately. I got hit with $15,000 in IRS penalties while I was still homeless trying to build my first business.
Over the years, I paid off the IRS penalties, and repaid my student loans with some help from my parents, but I had taken out an auto loan to be able to buy a truck for my business. I saved up enough money and was finally able to buy a house in Spokane, but then I also had a hefty mortgage loan of more than $200,000. Then in the 3rd year of my glassblowing business, when our sales tanked, I had to take out a $30,000 line of credit just to keep the business afloat and not lose our house, which we had purchased just months before the downturn in sales.
I learned everything I could to better understand debt and building wealth and in 2021 became debt-free after we sold our house for a 6-figure profit and paid off all the loans and credit card debt that remained. It was such a valuable experience to go through so many financial failures and successes to be able to share what i've learned and use it to help others become debt-free.
Ever since 2010, my husband and I had always talked about going on an epic tour across the entire US in an RV. We dreamed of adventures, meeting interesting people, and visiting all the places we had never been before. In 2020, we committed to making that a reality and started planning a 2-year road trip all across America.
I wanted the trip to be something that not only allowed me to live my dream, but something I could use to help other people live theirs. So I decided I was going to center the trip around a cause I was really passionate about - supporting small businesses.
Especially since Covid hit, so many small businesses have struggled and suffered, and I have always had a deep connection to them as both a business owner myself and a loyal and loving patron of the small businesses in my local Spokane community. The people and places that made up small businesses in my town added so much value and meaning to my life. I wanted to find a way to help everyone feel the same deep connection to their community that I had.
So I came up with the idea for the Main Street Tour, where we would visit 100+ cities in all 48 continental US States and stop at small businesses in each one to empower them, help them with social media, and share their stories with the world. I wanted to find a corporate sponsor who shared my passion and mission for supporting small businesses so I could be even more effective and create a bigger impact.
Through coincidence or fate, I connected with Maggie Lower and Melanie Gaboriault through LinkedIn and learned that Hootsuite was just starting to shift its focus on small businesses and how to better support them. After getting to know each other, we felt that together we could help each other and small businesses more than working alone. Hootsuite agreed to be the title sponsor for the entire Main Street Tour.
This has been my greatest collaboration and partnership that is creating such a huge impact on 100,000s of people that are impacted by the small businesses we are able to reach.
Childhood & Background
My journey began early on in my childhood because I grew up in pretty unique circumstances. Both of my parents are currently PhD scientists and highly accomplished, but when I was young my mother was still in graduate school for neurobiology and my father was a nurse practitioner midwife and one of the only male midwives in the entire nation.
I am the oldest child in a family of 4 children, with a younger brother, and 2 younger sisters. We are spaced 3, 9, and 15 years apart respectively. We didn't have much money as I was growing up, but always had enough to get by. I grew up in Seattle, WA and when I was 7 years old we moved to Dallas, TX for just a year and a half before moving back to Seattle.
I always felt like an outsider my entire life growing up because I was often the only girl in the room and who participated in the activities I enjoyed. My parents were always busy working so they didn't socialize as much as the other moms did and I didn't go on many play dates. I began facing mental health challenges early on because I felt trapped in the environments and scenarios that I was forced to be in with little choice and few skills on how to cope.
Growing up Orthodox Jewish meant many things. It meant that we kept Kosher and I wasn't allowed to eat any fast food. It meant going to a Jewish school and having to wear only skirts, because girls weren't allowed to wear pants. It meant going to synagogue every Saturday and walking 2 miles each way, because we weren't allowed to drive on the Sabbath.
For me it meant feeling a part of something while feeling isolated and different at the same time. Being Jewish made me feel like I belonged to something special. But my mom wasn't a rabbi's wife and the fact that she worked made my family different. My dad was a midwife and that made my family different. I liked wearing pants and playing sports and that made me different.
From 2nd grade until 5th grade, went to an Orthodox Jewish school. I developed critical thinking skills early on through the Judaic studies classes because the main focus was on reading text from the Torah and then trying to interpret what it actually meant. We would even study the writings of other scholars and what their interpretations were. Everything was a puzzle that wasn't meant to be solved and there was no one right answer.
But I was also bullied. The class sizes were extremely small with only 15-30 kids in every grade. So I felt excluded when the other 4 girls in my class would have conversations with out me and giggle after looking my way. They would tell me that my hair was ugly and I was wearing ugly clothes. I developed a deep level of insecurity and struggled with body image for the next 15 years. I hated going to school and always felt anxious about facing the emotional turmoil I knew I would experience on a daily basis.
I was really active and athletic from a young age and was always involved in sports and physical activities. This lead to a number of more serious injuries that I experienced throughout my childhood. These injuries taught me a lot of life lessons were an important part of my mental and emotional development.
When I was just 5 years old, I was playing on the coach and had a penny in my hand. I was doing summersaults off the arm of the sofa and having a blast! I didn't want to lose the penny so I thought it was a clever idea to put it in my mouth for safe keeping. On one of the summersaults I involuntarily swallowed and the penny went down and became lodged in my asophogas. We waited 24 hours to see if it would pass down my throat but it refused to budge so we went to the hospital where they removed it with a suction tube.
When I was 8 years old I wasn't allowed to ride skateboards or scooters because my parents viewed them as being too dangerous. This was hard to deal with because, as a kid, the Razor Scooter made its debut and was hugely popular. I felt it was super unfair that I was the only kid not allowed to have video games or a scooter. One day, I was playing with a friend who lived close to our synagogue while our parents were in prayer and he let me ride his scooter. I knew it was against the rules, but I did it anyway and promptly fell and broke my wrist.
Another major life incident happened when I was in 5th grade on Mother’s Day. I was riding my bike with my entire family at Seward Park in Seattle and I had a cycling accident where I was propelled into the air along with my bike and when I landed I had a major laceration deep into my groin.
I was taken to the hospital via ambulance and needed 144 stitches with most of them being internal. I spent a full week in bed barely able to move, and then when I returned to school, I was on crutches for six months.
In highschool I played basketball and repeatedly suffered from major ankle sprains to the point where I had to wear a boot almost my entire senior year.
All of these injuries taught me quite a few lessons, including:
- Life is going to be painful at times
- I am tough enough to handle any pain that comes my way
- All injuries heal over time
- Taking care of your body is super important
- Prevention is better than treatment after the fact
- Pain is more mental than it is physical
- Pain isn't something to be feared, but respected
For middle school, I went to Aki Kurose in the Rainier beach neighborhood of Seattle, where I was one of only 8 or 9 white students out of 800 in the entire school. It was a profoundly different cultural experience that allowed me early on to see how big of an impact the environment had on how we thought of ourselves and our futures.
Just like when I was going to Jewish school, I never felt like I fit in. Not only was my skin color different, but I grew up in a different area than most of them, I didn't have cable tv or watch any of the tv shows everyone else did, I didn't know any of their inside jokes, I didn't know what was cool, and I didn't know how to relate to them. I felt like an outsider.
I tried out for the basketball team and even though I couldn't dribble very well, I was tall and strong for my age and could shoot the ball well. I improved quickly and moved from the JV to the varsity team after one year. This is where I fell in love with basketball, not only for the fun of the game, but the bonding and friendship that came along with it. I also loved competition, and our team was at the top of the league.
Finally I was part of a team where I felt I belonged. I felt cool being on the team and other kids in the school showed me respect and were kinder to me because of my "status". Our team had inside jokes, special cheers, and meaningful moments that we shared together. It was the first time I felt like I was truly a part of something special.
After middle school, I got into a prestigious private school in Seattle called Lakeside. It's where alumni like Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Adam West, Craig McCaw, Maria Eitel, Seth Gordon, and many more attended.
This was when I got my first laptop at age 12. I started to explore the Internet and fell in love with the ability to discover new things I never knew existed by searching online. To be honest, I spent much of my time at home reading books. I had trouble making friends because I always felt so different and didn’t know how to connect in conversation. Books were my escapism.
I continued playing basketball and was on the junior varsity team for my freshman and sophomore years. I then moved up to varsity for my junior and senior years. Our team was highly competitive with Sandy Schneider as our head coach. She is in the Washington State women’s basketball Hall of Fame and holds the longest win streak record of any high school basketball team.
I gained an incredible amount of confidence from basketball and fell in love with the team aspect, but I also still struggled greatly to connect as deeply as I wanted to.
But I also struggled deeply with mental health issues in high school. I still felt so different and alienated from all the other kids. Most of them had gone to middle school together and were already friends. Most of them came from rich families with mansions on Mercer Island. Most of them were allowed to watch cable tv and play video games when I wasn't.
I wanted more than anything to have someone I could call my best friend. I wanted the kind of friends who invited me over to their house after school. But I was so deeply scared, insecure, and ashamed of who I was that that never happened.
I started smoking weed and drinking in my junior year and would come to class high or drunk as my emotional pain deepened. I was always able to easily maintain good grades, so I was bored a lot of the time and would feel so incredibly alone that my entire soul ached. I started shoplifting on a regular basis until I was caught and arrested, but because I wasn't 18 yet was given 6 months of community service. Towards the end of junior year, things got so extreme that I experimented with cutting until our school counselor found out and told my parents, who sent me to dialectical behavioral therapy.
I felt trapped in a life and body and mind that I hated and didn't know how to make things better. Escapism was the best way I knew how to cope so I engaged in any activity that took my mind and focus off of my emotional pain.
Sports taught me many valuable life lessons, including grit, perseverance, hard work, teamwork, sacrifice, and the knowledge that I am always more capable than I believe. Playing sports allowed me to experience such a roller coaster of emotions from the lows of failure and defeat to the highs of winning games by one point at the buzzer. All these experiences helped me learn to form a positive relationship with failure as a stepping stone in life. Failure is inevitable on your journey when you set really big goals for yourself, but how you approach failure determines your overall experience and whether or not you reach your end goal.
My parents put me into sports at an early age.
- I played soccer in a recreational team when I was 6 and 7 in a coed team.
- I played 3 years of little league baseball, 8-11, and was the only girl on my team.
- I began playing basketball when I entered middle school at 10 years old and played through my senior year of high school.
- I played volleyball for 2 years in middle school.
- I also played one season of softball as a senior in high school.
I have always had a deep passion, love, and connection with animals of all kinds, so I found ways to work with them from an early age.
When I was 12 years old, I spent a summer in Israel where I convinced the head of the zoo that I was mature enough to volunteer there and spent the summer scooping horse poop, cleaning the chinchilla cages, and helping coral the ringtail lemurs every time they would escape from their exhibit.
I had always wanted a dog, but my mom was allergic, so I wasn't allowed to have one. After many years of begging, my parents finally let me get a 4-year-old dog from the pound named her Lucky. I loved Lucky, but I always wanted a puppy. My parents refused to get another pet, but after several more years of begging, good grades, and extra chores, they presented me with another option.
They said if I wanted to, I could raise a guide dog for the blind. I would get the dog as a 6-week-old puppy but would have to give it up after a year and a half so that it could go serve a blind person.
I immediately said yes and I jumped at the opportunity not only to get the puppy that I always dreamed of but also be able to make a profound impact on someone else’s life in a way that I never had before. I had to go to six months of guide dog training meetings before I was allowed to get my puppy, who’s name was Garth.
This was an incredible experience for me because I took Garth everywhere and he almost never left my side except for when he slept at night inside of his crate. I took him to school with me, on the metro bus, to basketball games and everywhere in between. After raising Garth in my Junior Year, I got another Guide Dog Puppy before senior year started, named Shep.
When I turned 18 right before graduating high school, I began volunteering at the PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynwood, where I learned to bottle feed baby squirrels, birds, and the occasional seal.
All of these experiences helped to develop my deep sense of compassion towards all living creatures and has helped me to be more compassionate with myself and with others. I also developed a high level of responsibility because of the amount of work and commitment each of these took. These are 2 qualities I carry with me today that have had a huge impact on my life.
At the end of my senior year in high school, I was accepted into two colleges that I applied to. The first was the University of Washington and the second was Occidental College.
In my eyes, the only option was to go to Occidental College because I wanted to get out of my parents' house and it seemed like the only way to do that at the time. I honestly wasn’t even aware of the option that I could just get a regular job and live on my own.
I had wanted to be a veterinarian my entire life and college was the only way to do that, so I decided my best chance was to major in Chemistry and pick another science focused study to minor in. I wanted to double major if I could to make my resume more impressive in the hopes it would give me an edge at getting into veterinary school. Because of this I was taking 5 classes instead of a normal full load which was only 3 classes.
During freshman year, I lived in a dorm room with 300 other boys and girls, and there was partying and drinking almost every night. I absolutely loved the social aspect, but the downside is no one really seemed to be interested in their studies. I started losing focus and motivation as to why I was there in the first place.
Part of that was due to the fact that I hated lecture classes. In high school, we never had lectures and every class was discussion based, which I found engaging and enlightening. I was getting A’s and B’s in all my classes, but was bored out of my mind. I'd often skip class to hang out with friends. I felt a huge amount of pressure to get straight A’s because the only real reason I was going to college was to get into vet school.
At the end of my third semester, as finals were approaching, I had what can only be referred to as a mental break down. I would cry histerically in my dorm room for hours at a time, feeling torn between 2 decisions that felt impossible to make. On one side was to go ahead with finals and give in to the pressure, give up all my time and freedom to pursue a dream that I didn't even know if I truly wanted or would enjoy. On the other was to drop out of college, disappointing my parents and everyone I knew, and take a leap into the unknown without any plan.
In reality, there were many more options I could have taken, like reducing my workload, seeking out more help, or taking a semester off. But I wasn't aware of any of those options. I ended up deciding to drop out of college completely because I couldn't bare living a life where I spent most of my time doing something that made me miserable and wasn't fulfilling, just to get to a goal that I had put on a pedestal inside my own head.
Personal Growth Journey
My negative self-image and body-image issues started when I began going to school. I have always had a vibrant and loud personality as well as a deep curiosity in everything. This came off to some of the other kids as annoying and because our class size was so small, I didn't have a lot of opportunities to make friends. There were only 2 other girls in my 2nd and 3rd grade class and a total of 8-10 kids.
I was really sensitive as a child and anytime I made someone upset, I would always internalize it as something I did "wrong" or there being something inherently "wrong" with me. Embarressment and shame were my frequent companions.
What started out as a negative self-image around my personality grew into a negative body-image as I entered middle school and was more exposed to the media. Growing up in the 90s, girls were "supposed" to look a specific way to fit into society's beauty standards, which were very narrow.
I had thick curly brown hair which wasn't "pretty" compared to straight thin blonde hair. I wasn't super skinny, and I didn't have the right clothes. So kids made fun of me, and whenever I watched TV, movies, or saw people in magazines, none of them ever looked like me, so I never thought i was pretty or beautiful.
Then, going through puberty, none of the boys ever took much interest in me, which made me feel even uglier. I struggled throughout middle school and high school with my mental and physical image of myself.
It wasn't until I met my husband that things truly started to change. He saw and loved me for both my body and personality, and the incredible way in which he saw me helped me begin to see myself differently.
This helped me realize I had the power to change how I saw myself, because previous to that I truly believed how I felt about myself was permanent. I thought I had just been dealt a poor hand at life and would have to learn to accept and suffer from my shortcomings. Ben, my husband, helped me realize I could change how I saw myself, which, in turn, helped me change how I see the world and everyone in it.
It took many years of education, practice, and intention to get to where I am today, but I can happily share that I love myself so fully that my love overflows and allows me to share it with others on a daily basis. I love how I look, I love who I am, and I even love all my flaws because they give me the opportunity to show self-compassion and empathize more easily with others.
If you currently struggle with your self-image or have in the past, I know exactly what you're going through and what that feels like. I also have developed all the tools anyone would ever need to overcome those challenges and its my honor and priviledge to share those with you.
Growing up, I struggled to form the type of friendships and relationships that I desired. I wanted to form deep friendships based on shared values, not just shared interests. I wanted friends who were deeply committed to the relationship and would be there through thick and thin.
It wasn't until I took a hard, long look at the person I was that I realized I wasn't forming those relationships because I wasn't a person who could live up to the ideals that I wanted. I wasn't kind enough, compassionate enough, or generous enough. I was too judgemental, cynical, and negative.
So I started working on all the parts of me that I wanted to improve. I saw a clear picture of who I wanted to be and saw clearly the person I was right then and now and was able to see the chasm in between. Slowly but surely, the gap between these 2 versions of myself closed.
As I started tapping into my full potential and becoming the person I was meant to be, I started forming deeper and more meaningful friendships. I became a better wife to my husband, a better friend, and a better business partner. I started experiencing emotions and meaningful connections of a level I had only ever dreamt of.
These meaningful relationships have changed my life more than any amount of money or business success could have. Every day I am grateful, happy, motivated, and at peace because of the friendships that I now have and continue to build.
When I was 14 years old, I started drinking alcohol. When I was 16 years old, I started smoking weed. It started out as just an occasional habit and then progressed to a daily one by my junior year in high school. I would get high before class and after school. Some days I would bring alcohol with me to school and even drink during class. I was doing anything I could to escape my emotions and anxiety.
When I got to college, the drinking and smoking were way more intense and it was all around me. I routinely would get so drunk I'd end up puking in the dorm room toilets and hung over the entire next day, only to go out the next night and do it again. I desperately wanted to fit in, and drinking a lot as a girl made you "cool". Sometimes I would skip a lecture class because I'd gotten so high I couldn't make it coherently out of my dorm room.
Over time I built up a tolerance to weed and stopped drinking so heavily. I would medicate daily, but wouldn't get "high" anymore. I used it as a way to not get stressed and it actually helped me focus more on work and building my first few businesses. If something bad happened or my emotions got too out of control, I could just smoke a joint and feel better.
I realized that it wasn't a healthy habit and that it was really draining my energy. So in 2020 I quit and focused all my extra energy on healing the traumas that I was still running away from. Since then I've had an incredible period of personal growth and development that has helped me achieve so many incredible things.
In my junior year of high school, our school counselor noticed that I was coming to classes high, and also that I was cutting myself and told my parents. They were shocked and really upset and, with the counselor, they decided the best thing was to force me into DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy). I had absolutely no desire to go, but didn't have any choice.
Going to therapy made me feel even more broken and ashamed than I already felt, but I learned a few key lessons that over time changed my life. One major discovery was that I could completely affect my emotional state through a change in my physical state. Before therapy, I always believed I was at the mercy of my emotions. I never felt like I had any control over them. I couldn't control what, or how intensely i felt emotions, like loneliness, sadness, shame, embarrassment, and despair.
But then I learned this trick where, when you are feeling overwhelmed emotionally and out of control, you can fill up a sink with really cold water and dunk your head into it and it completely shocks your nervous system out of feeling the emotion you were before you dunked your head.
Just having the knowledge that I COULD do something to impact how I was feeling was life-changing for me. And at some point my curiosity kicked in and I wanted to understand more about how emotions worked and how they were connected to our body. This has led me to research emotions, emotional intelligence, neurobiology, and neuro linguistics for the past decade.
We often don't realize the influence and power of the forces in our life, especially when we are young. I have always absolutely loved and adored my parents, and growing up did everything I could to win their approval and please them. This led me down a dark path of mental health issues as I continually sacrificed what I wanted for what others did.
I let society and all the people around me dictate which direction I went, and I suffered for it silently, putting on a mask with a smile and hiding all my pain inside. It wasn't until I was in college I realized I needed to choose between living life for myself and living my life based on other people's expectations of me.
When I dropped out of college, I made a firm decision that I was the only person who knew what was best for me, and I made a commitment to always follow my heart from that time forward. I would never again let my parents, friends, or society dictate what I would do with my life.
This led to an incredible period of exploration and growth as I worked to discover who I truly was and what I really wanted out of life. I only found my truly calling in the mental health and emotional intelligence space by experimenting and exploring so many different options and paths. I learned something new every step of the way, through my successes and failures.
I had a near death experience when I was 19 years old, in 2010. This event would prove to be the most terrifying experience of my life, causing me a deep amount of trauma, but also became the biggest blessing of my life.
One day, after I had dropped out of college, my boyfriend Ben and I were cooking naked by our stove and the LOUDEST bang and concussive force happened without any warning. We had just experienced and been at the epicenter of a GAS EXPLOSION.
I couldn’t see and immediately ran to the bathroom to see if I was OK. I was worried something was wrong with my eyes, but I was able to take out my contacts and see that it was just the lenses that had been burned (I believe they saved my eyes).
My legs hurt and I realized they were burned, and I felt in more of a state of panic than I ever had in my life. I stuck my head out of the bathroom to see if Ben was OK and he was screaming and shaking down the hallway. It was one of the most horrifying sights I’ve ever seen in my life and my brain quickly started asking me if we were about to die.
I knew this could be a life or death situation so I immediately called 911 and told them that we had been in an explosion and needed help right away. We both got in the shower to try and cool down the burns.
The pain was INTENSE, but the panic and fear were even worse. Neither of us knew if we would survive or be ok. The fire department arrived first and they went into the house and quickly gave us morphine, which helped immensely with the pain and the panic. We told them what had happened and when the ambulance came it immediately rushed Ben to the hospital because his burns were much worse and over more of his body than mine.
The next ambulance came and took me to the hospital as well. I was put in a different area of Harborview medical hospital because Ben had to be taken to the Intensive Care Unit. I was scared and ashamed because the explosion felt like it was my fault. The gas that caused the explosion had been a buildup of butane, which we had been using to extract THC outside of our house (but with the door open) when we had been making cannabis concentrate.
I was discharged from the hospital the next day, but came back for the next 10 days as Ben recovered in the ICU. When he was finally able to come back to the house, we were in a state of financial ruin. We hadn’t had renter’s insurance, so we had damages we had to pay for the house, medical bills, and during that time I lost all of my freelance work.
For months I felt depressed, with every ounce of hope I once held feeling like it had been ripped away from me. It took months before I had a positive outlook on anything, and several years before I overcame the PTSD that resulted from the explosion. During that time period, though, I focused all my efforts on facing my deepest insecurities and traumas, and began a very long healing process that allowed me to thrive and flourish where I am today. If I hadn't been in that explosion, I'm not sure I ever would have truly faced my innermost demons and conquered them. I am grateful and proud for what I overcame and the person I worked hard to become.
As a kid, I never expected to become homeless. It wasn't until after the gas explosion that I considered it for the first time as a real possibility. We were heavily in debt and I didn't feel mentally or emotionally stable enough to get a job. I didn't have anyone I felt I could go to for help, so I decided that the situation where I would have the least amount of pressure was the best way to go. That just so happened to be becoming homeless. We didn't have any money and I couldn't face the pressure and added shame of needing to pay rent, debts, and other bills.
We borrowed $1500 from Ben's dad and bought a 1978 barely running RV. We used every last penny we had left to make it down to Los Angeles, where we parked literally next to the school I had just dropped out of, close enough to get Wi-Fi from my laptop. It was really peaceful in that neighborhood and we felt safe.
We were homeless down in Eagle Rock for close to 6 months. At the time, we had two dogs, Shep who was the guide dog puppy I raised in high school that ended up flunking out due to a very minor issue, and that we had kept as a pet, and our dog Hershey, that Ben and I had gotten together when I first moved in with him.
In the beginning, we had very little money for food and would walk 2 miles to a grocery store called Super A foods so that we could each buy their hotdog plus a soda for $1.10. I remember that hotdog being the most delicious thing, but years later we went back and realized it was almost inedible. Starvation will really change your taste buds. We had to save most of our money that I would make on random freelance writing jobs for dog food.
Every single day we started going into the school's library, because I still had access through my student library card. It was like a haven because it was a gorgeous library and down in the basement they had soundproof media rooms. We would go in there with my laptop and spend hours and hours trying to come up with ideas for how we could make money.
This is where I started my first business, called 2K Diffuser Beads, a smoking accessory we made by purchasing airsoft bbs in bulk, repackaging them into small jars, and selling them wholesale to smoke shops for stoners to put into their bongs. We made sales by cold calling stores, visiting them in person, and promoting them online through Instagram.
This is how I discovered I had a gift for marketing and we started selling 100s of jars per month. We finally had enough money to eat, shower, and enjoy comforts that we had been missing for months. More than that, it gave us hope again.
I saw a trade show/event being advertised online that looked amazing. I’d never been to a tradeshow before, so all I had were the ideas and imagination in my head to rely on, but I was incredibly optimistic based on our current sales in the way that they advertised the show. I made the decision that we should sell our RV that we were living in so that we could pay for the trade show booth. We sold the RV for $1000 and I had another $1000 saved from our wholesale orders.
We paid the $2000 for the trade show booth and used the rest to make as many jars of diffuser beads we could to have for sale during the show. But the show was a disaster. Almost everything that we saw advertised online was a lie and they did almost no marketing to draw people into the show. They also gave us a horrible booth placement in the very back of the show so by the time people got to our booth they had already spent all their money. More than 50% of the show room/tradeshow floor was completely empty.
We made only $500 at the show and were devastated. We no longer even had an RV to live in. We found a super cheap, cash motel that was $50 per night and we snuck our dogs into the room and stayed there for a week before we realized we were going to run out of money and simply didn’t have a plan. I made one or two smaller sales that allowed us to get a rental car for a day and we “borrowed” it and drove all the way back up to Seattle.
Ben called his dad, told him the situation and asked for advice/help. Luckily his dad was in the process of buying a new house because he had just gotten remarried and they were not going to sell the old house, instead they planned to rent it out. He was willing to give us a huge family discount and allow us to move into that house.
However, we didn’t have anywhere to stay when we got back up to Seattle so his dad told us we could sleep in the garage of the house they were about to move out of. His new wife was not happy at the idea when he brought it up so he asked us to make sure that she didn’t see us and we were not allowed in the house even to use the bathroom.
For two months we lived and slept in that very cold garage with our dogs. In the morning and at night we would go into the yard to pee, making sure no one saw us. During the day we would walk to a Starbucks that was close by and spent all day working, trying to sell more diffuser beads.
When we moved into the house, things got a lot better. Our life became much more comfortable, and we were even more motivated to make sales. We were making enough money to pay for rent, food for us and our dogs, and things started to feel normal again.
Every single day we spent hours and hours filling jars of beads, working online trying to make sales, called calling smoke shops and it became a very boring routine for us compared to the more adventurous life we have been living when we were homeless. We missed travel and adventure. We started planning our next trip. In our heads we thought, it wasn’t living in the vehicle that was unpleasant, it was having no money and not being able to afford food to eat.
Meeting my husband Ben, and the relationship we have built together is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life, and I wouldn't be the same person if it weren't for his love and support.
I met Ben in Seattle, WA, a week before I had to go back to Los Angeles for college. I walked into a Seattle smoke shop and felt an immediate connection with the person behind the counter. His name was Ben. I came back every day for the next four days to try and catch him again at work but each of the times he wasn’t there. On the fourth time, his manager, who also happens to be his roommate, noticed that I was asking for Ben and maybe had a crush on him, so he invited me over to their house the next night for a small house party.
I showed up to the house party, the night before my plane was going to leave for Occidental College, and ended up spending the entire night talking with Ben before realizing I had to quickly leave and go catch my flight, which was at 5 AM.
When I got back to college, Ben and I started texting and calling each other every day. I still went to my classes but really lost interest now that I had a new-found interest both in Ben and also my freelance writing. I started flying Ben out to California every weekend so we could spend time together, and our relationship deepened. When I had my mental breakdown before dropping out of college, he offered me to move in with him.
We moved in together, got our own place, and were deeply in love. Everything seemed to be going great. Until the gas explosion happened, and we both became traumatized and depressed. While we were homeless and for years afterwards, we both struggled with our mental health and would get into horrible fights.
Every time we fought, we would do things that we regretted, but we were both so committed to working on our relationships, and working on ourselves individually, we decided to stay together. We both felt the other was our soul-mate, and no amount of stress, hardship, or trauma was going to keep us from each other.
Over time, as we worked on ourselves, our communication skills, and how to handle conflict in a healthy way, our relationship grew stronger and deeper. Ben helped me really become the person I wanted to be, by being a mirror and allowing me to see and work on my flaws. He stood by me through my worst moments, and has always loved me for exactly who I am. There's nothing more I could ever wish for in a partner.
In 2014, we got married, and in 2018 we bought our first house together. Today our relationship is stronger than its ever been and we continue to support each other in every area of each others' lives.
I fell in love with entrepreneurship and business when I was 19 for many reasons. The 2 most important ones are it being a way for me to express my creativity and the other it being the best tool for personal development I've ever found. Building businesses forced me to develop innumerable other skills that have helped me in every area and aspect of my life. Through my business journey I have developed and improved the following skills to a mastery level:
- Crucial Communication
- Risk Assessment and Management
- Time Management
- Energy Management
- Emotional Intelligence
- Social Aptitude
- Public Speaking
- Business Strategy
- Team Building
- Community Engagement
- Customer Experience & Journey
- Human Connection
There are too many to list, but above are a few that have had a huge impact on my life both personally and professionally.
Growing up in the 90s and early 2000s, my life was filled with messages of "stranger danger", the "menace of the internet", and to watch out for all the "scams and crooks" that were out there. My parents gave me a lot of independence and tried to protect me with cautionary words and tales.
Over many years, these messages were cemented in my psyche, and I became deeply afraid of people. All people. I subconsciously believed everyone had an ulterior motive, hated me, or would somehow harm me. I used to get so anxious before meeting someone in person that I would have a panic attack and get physically ill. I was so nervous of interacting with strangers, I was incapable of answering my own phone when it rang.
For all of my childhood, my strategy to deal with this fear and anxiety was simply to hide from people and interact with them as little as possible. I always felt safe and comfortable being alone. But as I grew older and into my adult years, I saw how this conflicted with my deepest desires and purpose to connect with people. I knew it was standing in the way of the person I was meant to become.
So I decided I was going to overcome my fear and anxiety and change myself into a person who didn't fear people and instead trusted them, believed in them, and was always excited to meet them.
To accomplish this goal I knew I needed 2 things. First to find and address the root and core of the problem that caused my fear in the first place. Then once I had rewired my brain around how I thought of and felt about people, I needed lots of practice to cement the new thought patterns, neural pathways, and emotional responses.
After doing a lot of deep work on figuring out why I was afraid of people and if the stories I was telling myself matched my beliefs (guess what they didn't.), I then got to cement my new way of thinking through cold-calling and working tradeshows. Each gave me thousands of reps of getting to talk to strangers.
I got to practice and develop valuable people skills in the following specific areas, just to name a few:
- How to greet people
- What tone to speak in
- What specific words to use with different types of people
- How to make people feel special
- How to validate people and their ideas
- How to make someone feel comfortable
- How to empathize
- How to empower people
These skills and many more that I learned through this process have helped me not only in business, but a great deal in my personal friendships and even my relationships with family members.
Up until 2019, I was a purebred soloprenuer. The only other business person I worked with was my husband (and he isn't a businessperon at all, really). It wasn't until I joined LinkedIn, the social media business platform, that I started connecting with other business people. I began sharing my journey, my story, and the lessons I learned along the way and found that I was was able to truly help others with my insights and experiences.
My first ever in person keynote was given February 2020 at the Women's Empowery conference right before the pandemic shut everything down. I received incredible feedback and got invitations to speak at several other conferences. This launched a long list of speaking engagements virtually through online conferences, podcast interviews, and zoom presentations to corporations and businesses.
I fell in love with speaking for my ability to connect deeply with an audience, share actionable tips and insight, as well as energize and empower entire groups of people.
I now get to focus much of my time on helping people in this way. I speak on stages, in person and virtually, to not only share my story, but to help other people tap into theirs. Each of us has a story that can give us such incredible power if only we are willing to embrace it.
Business Growth Journey
All my childhood, from my earliest memories, I always wanted to be a veterinarian. It was the only job I knew about where you got to work with animals every day. Animals were my first true love in life. I have always felt a deep and strong connection with animals, both domesticated and wild.
To pursue this dream, I volunteered at animal shelters, raised guide dogs for the blind, and even worked at a veterinary office for 6-months while I was still in high school. I went to college to get a Chemistry degree so that I could then attend veterinary school.
I never thought about writing as a professional option or career until I needed to make some extra money in college. I started doing freelance copywriting jobs while I was still in school and I actually fell in love with it. This led me to question for the first time in my life whether or not I really wanted to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.
I started working consistently for one of the biggest Internet marketers and affiliate marketers online, and learned a lot about copywriting, creating landing pages, doing keyword research, writing email blasts and learning to close sales through email for digital products.
At the same time, I started realizing how much I hated school and going to classes. This all came to a head the week before I had to take my finals after my third semester. I had a mental breakdown and couldn’t stop crying from the choices I knew I had to make. The thought of dropping out TERRIFIED me! But I felt like I had no other option, I was just so miserable staying in school and I had finally realized that it would be a huge financial burden to repay.
I decided to drop out after 1.5 years to pursue copywriting full-time as a freelancer.
I started making between $800 and $1000 per week, doing freelance writing, which was more money than I had ever thought of making in my life. I moved in with my boyfriend Ben, and together, we lived in a house with three other people, renting a very small room.
We decided to move out and get our own place together in Seattle, WA. Everything was going amazingly well, and I thought I had life figured out. No one had ever taught me about money, saving, taxes, insurance, or anything like that so I didn't really have a way to measure my success. I only knew for the first time in my life I truly felt free.
Things were going great until one day while Ben and I were cooking in the kitchen of our rental home, there was a gas explosion and we were both rushed to the hospital. Although we survived our burns and injuries, the mental and emotional toll was great and it tooks months before I felt I could work again.
By that point I had lost all of my freelance writing clients and had to start over finding work from scratch. After the explosion, I had lost my motivation and had a much harder time finding work. Life felt heavy, hard, and without much meaning. During a period when we were now homeless living out of a broken down RV, I found my motivation in the idea of starting my own business and creating something truly my own. I became determined to start my own business and use my copy writing skills for that. Now I just had to figure out what kind of business I could start with 0 money and almost 0 resources.
My very first company I started with less than $100 while I was homeless. I came up with the idea to repackage and private label airsoft bbs as "diffuser beads" to sell to stoners to put into their bongs. I found a local supplier where we purchased airsoft BBs in bulk. Then I found a company locally that made bottles. We went to each of the facilities and were able to afford 1 bag of beads and 36 jars with lids to start. We also bought some address labels from Office Depot to use as the labeling on our jars.
2K Diffuser Beads was officially born. Because I knew how to build websites, I put together a website for the product, and started up an Instagram page for it. We printed out the words “2K Diffuser Beads” in plain black lettering on the address labels for free at the library. I also made some sales flyers/promotional sheets so that we could leave them with any smoke shops that didn’t want to purchase right away but still might be interested later.
We loaded the jars into a free flat rate box we got from the post office, which also was within walking distance from our RV, and we mapped out all of the smoke shops that existed within a 10 mile radius from our parking spot. We carried the box and started walking to every smokeshop on the list, asking them if they wanted to try out and buy our diffuser beads. The fourth or fifth shop that we visited was interested and bought all 36 jars at $5 each.
After that, we worked really hard every single day trying to make more sales. I posted product pictures to our Instagram page every single day, and Ben and I both spent hours and hours cold calling shops and sending out cold emails to any smoke shop we could find online who had their contact info listed.
We started making sales on a pretty regular basis. I remember the first time we got a large order from a distributor that was for 1000 jars of diffuser beads. A lot of the money went to product costs and there wasn’t a ton of profit left, but it was enough to give us a ton of help and made me think of going even bigger.
The business grew and we ended up in over 200 stores across the US and started attending industry tradeshows on a regular basis as vendors. The profits from the business helped us move back into a rental house and pay down some of our debts. But after 2 years of success, and filling jars of beads every single day, I realized I didn't want to be working in this business forever.
So I made a hard pivot and started my next business...
At this point we had gotten really burnt out on the diffuser beads and we’re not passionate about the project. I made a hard pivot and decided to use my graphic design skills to start at the new business called Graphx Creations. It started out with just logo and graphic design but I quickly learned there was a need for people to order stickers so we started printing own stickers.
I negotiated a huge discount through Office Depot to pay a quarter of the retail printing prices and we bought sticker paper in bulk and did all the sticker printing at Office Depot. We would then take the full pages back to our house and cut them by hand with a paper cutter. I actually remember that we started out with using scissors before we found out our hands would cramp up super bad after just a couple hundred cuts so we switched to a $40 at home paper cutter.
There was actually a lot of demand for logo design and sticker printing through craigslist and we had a steady stream of work. I started posting the work on my Instagram and generated even more interest. One day at Glassblower hit us up for an order of stickers that they wanted for a trade show they were going to and after they went to the trade show a lot more glass artists started to hit us up for sticker orders. It also helped to generate interest ones other Glassblower‘s size posting stickers we had made for Glassblower‘s on our Instagram. Word-of-mouth spreads quickly but a lot of glassblowers didn’t have enough money to pay the $200 for an order of stickers.
So I started to do more bartering! I would trade $400 worth of glass for $200 worth of stickers and then I would post the glass pieces to my Instagram page and sell them very quickly for between $200 and $300. We learned from the glass artists that there was also a demand for T-shirts so we bought a vinyl cutter and a heat press and started making T-shirts for people as well.
Business was going great until we got burned out spending all our time cutting stickers and making tshirts. I enjoyed the artwork side of things, which led me to pivot yet again into my 3rd business venture...
A few of our glassblowing customers had suggested I try out glassblowing because they thought I would be good at it. To be honest, I was still pretty terrified of doing anything involving fire because of our gas explosion, but I knew this was a fear I had to overcome. I’d been friends with an artist named Drags Glass for more than five years, even before I knew any other Glassblowers. So I traded him some custom stickers for a one on one lesson and it was the first time I blew glass.
I fell in love with it right away and could see myself doing it for the rest of my life or at least a very long time without burning out the way I had on my other two businesses. There was much more creativity and challenge involved in things that I really loved and had felt we’re missing in my life.
We had moved to Spokane and fell in love with the city. It had the small town vibe that we had loved growing up in Seattle before it became a major metropolis. The people were so friendly and the energy in the city was phenomenal. Not only that but housing prices were so affordable. The rental house we found had its own garage so I immediately bought all of the equipment I needed to start my own glassblowing studio and started practicing every single day for 10 hours or more. I was able to get a bunch of scrap material from another local artist so that my initial costs for the products starting out were very low.
I knew that if I posted my initial pieces on Instagram and people could see my progress visually throughout the years that it would help validate any higher pricing that I started asking for in the later years of my glassblowing work. What I didn’t expect was for people to want to purchase my glass work right away. But that’s exactly what happened. I realized there was a huge demand for less expensive pieces and that other more experienced artists were not interested to make smaller and cheaper items.
I had an idea to start something called $0 auctions on my Instagram page. People went crazy for these, they had never seen glasswork available for sale starting out at zero dollars. Every single piece I made it started to sell, from anywhere as low as $3 up to $35 warmer for a single piece.
Fueled by success and growth potential, I worked hard every single day of the week, blowing glass, posting the pieces on Instagram, sending people direct messages and invoices, and packing and shipping the glass out to the customers. We made our own stickers which people also got really excited about an added to the level of value of their purchasing experience with us.
For 3 years straight i worked every single day - more than 14 hours each day. Sometimes the profit margin’s on the pieces were pretty low but because we were doing enough volume we were making good money. In the first year we made over $100,000, and the second year we made more than $200,000 and then the third year we made more than $300,000 in sales.
I reinvested most of the profits back into the business to get better equipment, and also things that we needed for our house since we came from owning absolutely nothing. Furniture, kitchen items, and living expenses were definitely not cheap. We also were able to catch up on all of our debts including $15,000 in IRS penalties from the first year we started business when we didn’t know anything about filing our taxes properly. In addition to that we saved up $15,000 to buy our first house together.
In our 4th year of business, our revenue took a huge dive when Instagram changed up its algorithm and the competition within the industry grew as well. We lost quite a lot of money as I worked to find a new source of sales.
I joined TikTok because I was looking for a new source of customers for my glassblowing business. When I first downloaded TikTok it was confusing and I wasn’t sure exactly how the app worked. I figured out how I could create and post a video and started posting videos of soft-glass because I could see that the full vertical screen function made everything much more visual.
I had moderate success in the first week, growing to several thousand followers, and then 2 weeks in I got my first viral video which received more that 1 million views in the first 24 hours. This BLEW MY MIND because in 7 years of using Instagram I had never gotten anywhere close to 1,000,000 views on a video. I started gaining followers like crazy.
From that first video I started to look at and see TikTok as a social science lab. I would generate a hypothesis before every video on why that video might go viral and then would analyze the results afterwards, learning more and more with every post. This led me to grow very rapidly and have huge success on the platform.
In October 2019 I gained more than 600,000 followers. By June 2020 I had 2 million followers. In March 2020, I realized there was a huge demand for the knowledge and insights I had gained through the process of growing my TikTok account and I started to offer consulting services to other creators, brands, and businesses who wanted to better understand the platform and how to best tap into its potential.
Today my audience stands at over 2.3 million followers on TikTok and the content now focuses on my travels, personal brand, and supporting small businesses.
A month after finding success on TikTok I decided to try out LinkedIn. On LinkedIn I started sharing my story, experiences and insights and found that I could bring so much value to other entrepreneurs, business owners or anyone with ambition who felt like they were fighting against the odds. I started forming deep and powerful relationships based on always giving value first.
In March 2020 I founded Maayan Gordon Media, as the demand for help on Tiktok and other platforms grew dramatically due to coronavirus. I discovered I had a unique talent for helping businesses understand how to form better and deeper connections with the people they interact with online.
Through LinkedIn I was also being contacted by podcast hosts to speak on their shows as a TikTok Expert. People were intrigued by my story and journey from homeless to successful entrepreneur and I began sharing my story to people all over the world through this new medium. This helped me build my brand even further and I began building some amazing relationships with people who could teach me so much and bring an immense level of value into my life. Today I continue speaking on podcast, presenting at online events, and sharing my knowledge and wisdom with as many people as I can. Bringing free value to people who can truly benefit from it has brought me a new level of fulfilment and happiness I had previously been lacking.
After a full decade of building my own businesses and using social media successfully, I decided to start my own media and consulting business. Maayan Gordon Media works with enterprise level businesses in a number of areas that all rely on human psychology. We also provide free resources to small businesses.
Maayan Gordon Media provides services in the following areas:
- Craft winning social media strategies
- Improve customer engagement & lifetime value
- Increase employee mental & emotional resiliency
- Discover the core motivating factors of all stakeholders
We also collaborate and work in partnership on several projects including The Main Street Tour powered by Hootsuite and as partners with Champion Empire LLC.
I have teamed up with Hootsuite on a 2-year road trip to bring value to small businesses all across America! We are traveling the entire U.S. in an RV visiting over 100 cities across the nation to support small businesses. We are providing free social media workshops and resources to help small biz succeed on all platforms, including TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.
In addition to workshops, we are supporting small businesses by creating content that increases awareness, helping them with customized strategies, time management, and encouragement.
Our mission is to show people how disruption is a vehicle for positive change. We aim to empower people to be conscious leaders within their community and uncover their personal power to create change.
Currently, a large portion of my focus and energy go towards speaking and writing.
When it comes to speaking, I give keynote speeches, virtual workshops & presentations, and speak into mastermind groups and organizations. I also enjoy speaking on podcasts and at in-person community events.
When it comes to writing, I write keynote speeches, professional articles, research documents, and am currently in the process of writing my first book, which will be published in 2023.
If you're interested in more details about my speaking and writing services, please reach out via email.