About

Hi! I'm Justin. πŸ‘‹

I’m a creative entrepreneur in Victoria, BC. Here's some points about who I am (and what I do).

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Β For Work

😎  For Fun

  • πŸ“ Writing about life & entrepreneurship
  • πŸ“Έ Creating new photography projects
  • 🎬 Making videos on YouTube
  • ✈️ Exploring & travelling (when I can)
  • πŸ• Camping with my gf and 2 dogs
  • β˜•οΈ Exploring coffee shops & cafes

🎯 Current Goals

  • πŸ„β€β™‚οΈ Live a dope life on my terms
  • πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦ Optimize for health, family & fulfillment
  • πŸŽ“ Prioritize personal development
  • πŸš€ Build scaleable businesses (while...)
  • 🚫 Avoiding 40 hour work weeks

About this Blog β€πŸ’»

I'm trying to spark better conversations around life, fulfillment, creativity and business. I'm trying to put a beacon out for anyone that's interested in having these conversations, too.

For the first 8 years of my career I worked in tech & marketing. I didn't know anything else. During that time, I always questioned my career and the path that I was headed down. I remember thinking to myself that my two major career paths were either joining a big company (like Facebook) or joining a smaller startup (like what Unbounce used to be). I could see the pros and cons of each, but I couldn't see any other options.

Then something happened three years ago that I didn't expect - I was laid off from my cushy job. In that moment I had a stark realization: I was either going to pursue one of the two paths mentioned above, or I was going to try to find my own path.

Up until 2019, none of the friends or colleagues were self-employed. It was completely foreign territory. Some of my friends even advised me against making the leap because they'd never seen someone do it successfully. It felt like everything was against me.

But miraculously, I made it out alive. Better than alive, actually. In my first few months of being full-time self-employed, I somehow made double what I made the months prior working at the agency. Even better, I did it by working less hours. I did it by working on creative projects that I loved.

I don't want to say it was easy, because it wasn't. Entrepreneurship is a difficult road of up's and down's with all sorts of challenges along the way. Nobody tells you what to expect or how to do basic things in your business. Taxes, business licenses, corporations, contracts.... there's no guide for this stuff.

But what I didn't anticipate is that it wasn't any more difficult than working for someone else. The challenges were different and the learning curve was steeper, but overall it wasn't any more complex than the work I was doing previously.

The only difference is that now I'm reaping all the benefits of that hard work.

I got to see what life was like outside of the rat race (I hate that term by the way) and I'm happy to report that self-employment is not only an option, but a really fucking good one at that.

Work (Expanded) πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»

I find the question "What do you do for work?" difficult to answer, mostly because it depends on the day. Most of my time is spent running the day-to-day operations of my two creative businesses:

🎬 Brand Storiesβ„’ is my video production company where I get to work with clients to produce high-impact marketing & branding videos. I prefer to work mostly with small-to-medium sized businesses, but my client roster includes brands such as Staples, University of Victoria, Ethical Bean and SPUD.ca.
https://www.brandstories.ca/

πŸ“Έ PhotosForTinder.com started as an initiative to help people level up their online dating profiles to help them find love. But what started as a humble side-project has quickly grown in size, and I now work with a kick-ass team of photographers & copywriters to serve clients in Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna, Los Angeles and Seattle.
https://www.photosfortinder.com/

Besides that, I spend a small portion of my time consulting, mentoring and teaching.

I get to wake up every day and do work that I love. I don't have a boss. I don't have set hours I have to be in the office. Nobody has to approve my vacations. I get to decide where and how much I work.

I'd even go so far as to say that depending on your personality, entrepreneurship might actually be a better fit than you realize. It could be the thing that makes you feel alive, inspired and in complete control of your future.

My only real regret is that it took me way too long to figure all this out.

This leads me to some tough questions πŸ€”

  • Why didn't I know this path existed before?
  • Why didn't I start my own business sooner?
  • Why did some friends/family try to warn me against starting a business?
  • Why do some people think that self-employment is a scam?
  • Why aren't more people working for themselves? Wouldn't they be happier?
  • Why do I feel awkward having these conversations with my friends?β€Œ

Look, I don't want to be that guy. I don't want to be the person that tells you to "chase your wildest dreams" or "hustle until your eyes bleed". I don't want to post stories of me working on my laptop on the beach with hashtag #entrepreneur. I don't want to sell you an unrealistic dream and get your hopes up.

But I do want to have these conversations because I think they're important. I want my friends and family to know that they have options. I want them to know there's an alternative path with their name on it. And I want them to know that it's not going to be as difficult of a path as they think it is.

So this site will be a place where I can have these conversations freely; where I can explore these concepts openly without judgement. After all, this is my turf.

When I post on a platform like Instagram or Twitter, I often feel like I'm preaching my ideals on to other people against their will. Nobody asked for my opinion on how 40 hour work weeks are way past their expiration date. Nobody asked for why I feel the great resignation was inevitable.

But here? This is my safe space. If you don't agree with my ideas around life/business, you don't have to listen to it. You're free to leave, unsubscribe, etc. Nothing is forced on you.

But if you are interested in having deeper conversations around life, work, business and creativity, this is the place to have them. If this stuff tickles your fancy, then consider subscribing.

Can't wait to hear from you.