The year of Feast and Famine.
I ended 2015 exactly the same way I ended 2014 without a job and not knowing how I was going to pay the bills.
Lark and Owl, LLC
I created Lark and Owl with the idea of creating online courses and digital products in marketing. I never moved forward with this plan. I kept trying to turn Lark and Owl into something else every time I started to work on it. I wanted to turn it into a consulting firm, advertising and marketing agency, and so many other things. I had no focus. At the end of the year I brought it to a close.
I started off the year by becoming a consultant in YouTube and digital marketing for two awesome YouTube Creators. The King of Random and Kuma Films. Both have gone on to achieve tremendous success and it was an honor to play a small role in accelerating that process. Taking on these consulting gigs helped provide for my family early in the year and allowed me to cultivate my skills.
At the beginning of the year I received a call back for a social media manager position. I went in for my interview, which lasted 2 hours and was asked to return again later that night for a second interview that lasted 4 hours! By the end of this long interview processes I was hired and put straight to work the very next day, which was a Saturday at 9AM. I was hired on as a independent contractor at first, but within a week or two I was in a full-time position as their Senior Brand Marketing Manager. My role there consisted of building and managing branding, marketing, website optimization, and social media strategies. I helped launch companies and brands. Created internal training videos and was to oversee all training material for the company. I loved working at Connor Group. I had an incredible boss, awesome co-workers, and a stress-free environment. I was paid $60K with the best benefits I've ever heard of in my entire life. The money we made helped my family pay off debt, save money, and go on fun vacations without worry. We were happy and comfortable and had a 5 year plan to be debt free! Then I quit my job to be an entrepreneur.
The Family Vlog
In May of 2015 we started doing a daily family vlog. This was a way for me to create something new everyday and document our journey. To see how 2015 played out in real time go to our YouTube channel: The Ambriz Family.
When I initially quit my job, I had a plan to do YouTube full-time and make something out of Lark and Owl, but I had previously been talking with a friend about starting an agency called Creative Flannel. This agency was going to be in the vain of Sandwich Video and Shareability. I was to bring my knowledge of YouTube/Video Marketing and creativity and my partner was going to bring his knowledge of salesmanship and connections. In the end we never could narrow down a business plan and for 2 months went nowhere. He went off to invest in a company and I started putting my focus into the UTuber Community.
I wasn't putting my focus into my YouTube channels like I wanted to, Lark and Owl was on hold, and Creative Flannel was a hype dream. But somewhere along the way I took the reigns of UTuber Community and put all my focus on a venture that wasn't going to provide me with any source of income. But I loved every minute of it. The UTuber community turned to UTuber Nation on the call of one of the admins of the group, who ironically isn't an admin anymore and went on to do other things. So the name UTuber Nation stuck and I started building a website, getting sponsors, setting up presenters, finding venues for the meet ups, growing our social media presence, setting up merch, and managing an entire organization. The Utah Film Commission took noticed and I was brought on board to be a liaison for YouTubers in Utah. I made a ton of awesome friends, connections and became some what of an authority in the YouTube realm here in Utah. I never set out to do any of this, but I had so much fun doing it and I felt I was good at it that I made it happen.
As Lark and Owl, Creative Flannel came to a close I started focusing on building something new. VidStrategy. I had been inspired to form this company after attending VidSummit. At this conference on video marketing I was validated on my own knowledge and experience. I had spent the past several years trying to prove myself to everyone and I realized while sitting in a room of people esteemed as professionals that I was one of them. Someone who just had a passion for video and marketing and geeked out about it. My plan to start building online courses began again and it was going to be under the VidStrategy name. That was until...
I thought I had figured things out, but as 2015 was coming to an end I had depleted our savings, gotten us into more debt, and still didn't have a steady income. I even had my younger brother invest in my business, but that money was used to stay afloat. I was offered a few full-time jobs, but I would turn them down because it didn't feel right. I took on a few freelance gigs here and there. I had reached a humbling point from the constant struggle of trying to start a business and not actually starting it. The year ended on a high note. My mom and sister came to visit for the holidays. My younger brother and I did the crazy thing of taking my little sister to Disneyland for a day by road tripping to California one day, going to Disneyland the next and returning home the day after. The year ended and I had no job, no money, and no idea of how to support my family.
Through it all my wife supported me, my little girls were happy and healthy, and I was more confident in myself and what I could accomplish.
2016 started in the most unexpected way possible. I took UTuber Nation to another level, I continued doing YouTube Consulting for different creators, I started outlining my YouTube course, started working for two marketing agencies one in video marketing and one in social media marketing, I started building an online course on crowdfunding in partnership with an awesome company, and in the month of January 2016 I made more money in 2 weeks than I had ever made in my entire career. I pulled in $4,500 more than enough to provide for my family for that month and the month to come.
I can honestly say the Lord brought three amazing people into my life that for the first time saw my potential and gave me the opportunity to grow and encouraged me to continue being an entrepreneur and make something of myself.
Thank you Bryce Fisher, Jake Larsen, and Joseph Allen. All three of you were answers to the many prayers my family and friends extended in my behalf.