Finding your purpose is no easy objective. Identifying what you’re on this earth to accomplish and how you can be happy while doing it sounds like a simple concept. Considering the next couple of facts, it’s actually pretty damn hard. You’ve spent 12 years or more learning in an education system that places emphasis on groupthink instead of building on individual gifts. Now you’re in your early to mid 20’s, acknowledging the fact that you’re not using your gifts, and you’re balancing that need to find your true self with new responsibilities like car payments, building good credit, and everything else on the long list of shit you wish they told you about before hitting the real world.
The thought of failure scares you, and taking a step back to sacrifice comfort just to find yourself is crazy talk. So what do you do? You settle, you settle into the existence that was designed for you instead of taking ownership over the canvas that is your future. You want to Van Gogh your life with all of the beautiful colors that make you awesome, but instead you’re drawing simple shapes, because those make sense and everyone will at least accept them.
If this sounds right so far, then you my friend are sabotaging yourself. You’ve got something to offer the world, and you can do it in a way that best represents who you are. Believe it or not, there are people who get paid to be exactly who they are authentically. It may take some time and patience, but with enough focus you can find your purpose and build your life according to what makes you feel most inspired. If you need an example, look no further than Julian Mitchell.
An award-winning brand marketer and multimedia journalist, Julian Mitchel has had a hand in creating content and campaigns for brands we all know very well. Honda, Google, and Wells Fargo ring a bell for sure, and he even worked with Sean “Diddy” Combs himself to launch REVOLT Media & TV in his role as Social Media and Editorial Director. Currently, Julian is a contributor for Forbes and the Huffington post. However, his most important work is in his efforts to teach people with untapped potential how to create an income just for being who they are.
But what the hell does that even mean? I’m shy, does that mean I can get paid for it? Well it goes a bit deeper than that. Mitchell understands that people are realizing they don’t have to follow tradition. Nothing is attractive about working one job you kind of like for most of your life, only to retire with half of your annual salary to show for it. We want options, and we want to be inspired each day. Beyond that, we want freedom to be who we are while we earn an income, instead of waiting until 5pm to let our authentic selves show.
Where folks tend to struggle is that they aren’t sure how to acknowledge their skill set, and monetize it. That’s where Mitch comes in, with is Get Paid To be Yourself workshops, attendees are walked through the mechanics of monetizing their value. From LA to Boston, Julian Mitchell is changing lives by empowering others to be the best version of themselves while getting paid for it.
With such an inspirational mission, and a resume that speaks volumes about his work ethic, I knew Mitch was a perfect candidate for our Movers & Shakers series. A collection of profiles highlighting up and coming and established creatives alike who are making waves in their respective industries. This time it’s all about a growing force to be reckoned with, whether it’s his aim or not. Hello world, meet Julian Mitchell.
“I’m just an incredibly driven and passionate person with an abnormal sense of belief, focused on living out my purpose to the fullest potential. I was born in Seattle, Washington, before later moving to Las Vegas at 11 years old. I grew up without my mother and father, so my grandmother raised me for most of my childhood. My older brother also lived with my grandmother and I. My upbringing has several layers to it, but in short it was a lot of free roaming — living in my imagination and exploring things. Because my grandmother was so much older, there wasn’t much structure and that came with tremendous benefits and challenges. There was a lot of turmoil, but by the grace of God I was able to turn it into fuel to go create the life I wanted for myself.”
Your mission is to empower young creators, and to encourage people to design their lives according to what inspires them. How did you come to realize this mission?
“I came to embrace this mission by living it out, and experiencing the process of staying true throughout the journey – then being able to look up and realize everything I saw for myself to a point has manifested. I truly believe getting paid to be yourself is the real American Dream, and there isn’t a feeling more rewarding than knowing you’re authentically yourself, aligning with your purpose and inspired by how far you can take it. You never have to question if you’re compromising values or integrity, regardless of failures that come. Creating the life you want is an ever-evolving road, but assures you attract everything promised to you in this lifetime. So many people settle for being a fraction of who they are designed to be, and in essence only tap into a fraction of their power. I want people to realize how powerful they are.”
What is the “Get Paid To Be Yourself” series, and can you describe your selection process for interview subjects?
“Get Paid To Be Yourself is an editorial series that profiles dynamic individuals who have crafted multifaceted careers rooted in who they are and what they care about. The people I highlight have built sustainable businesses by understanding the value in their unique interests and perspective, and found organic ways to monetize that value. When selecting people to profile, I look for people who shape key segments of culture on a major scale but may not be well known, but they also have compelling and/or inspiring stories about how they arrived at the place they’ve landed. Ultimately, I look for people who stand as a lesson on multiple levels – whether how to do business, navigate the journey, or believe in yourself.”
What do you think are some of the reasons that people struggle to monetize their value?
“I think most people struggle to fully monetize their value for a number of reasons. First, we’re not taught how to outside of mastering one skill set, and pursuing one career path. Formal education often programs us to take on a trade and associate our value to how far along we progress in that profession. As a result, the idea of enterprising or simply expecting a career that encompasses multiple passions isn’t prevalent. Secondly, I think people underestimate the power of their perspective. Your perspective is your value. It’s a one-of-one, because every person on the planet lives an exclusive set of experiences. That means we each have value to offer than only we can. When you create a demand or desire for that value, you can monetize it. But, because we undervalue it, we too often give it away. Thirdly, I think there is still a sensitivity or insecurity around doing what you want for a living. It’s almost an apologetic attitude, because monetizing your value can mean defying convention, going against what other people want for you, and putting yourself first. But, when your intentions are genuine and the value you offer makes people and society better – you shouldn’t feel bad about it.”
You played a huge role in developing the social and editorial identity of Revolt. What was that experience like, and can you share what you learned from working alongside Diddy?
“That experience changed my life – as a person, and as a professional. It required a level of focus and drive that pushed me to new limits. My team was small, but we were responsible for launching a network. Having no television experience, it was the ultimate challenge of proving to myself that I could step up and create something I believed in at the highest level and know it would have a direct impact on the same culture that raised me. I didn’t see any networks speaking for us, as diverse young people with passion for music, going the extra step to have engaging conversations consistently with fans. I poured a lot into making sure we did that, and were a progressive platform for creators. That took countless sleepless nights, meetings, intense work sessions, presentations and producing content around the clock. But, we accomplished that goal and made history. Nothing can ever take that away.”
“PD taught me that there is always another level to reach, and it’s all about how much you’re willing to push yourself. I learned that when you’re on a mission to do something great, excuses don’t exist – you find a way to get it done. I also learned that “making it” and “success” are illusions. Everyday is new opportunity to surprise yourself and do something powerful and game changing. You can’t focus on what you’ve done right, because you should expect to perform. But, you should always focus on how you get better. He always challenged me to do more and get better, and gave me the confidence to know that if you have a vision and are willing to outwork anyone, experience or odds don’t matter. You will win. He also taught me that information is also more important than experience – the person with the information is the one with the power.”
Aside from your work at Huff Post, MediaBistro and writing for Forbes, you conduct workshops teaching others how to turn their gifts into an income. It seems like just as you’ve mastered how to monetize yourself, you’ve turned around to show others how to do it. What was your personal journey like in getting to this point in your life?
“In short – I always had a drive and belief that matched a vision for my life. That was met with a lot of opposition, whether people thinking I was crazy, expected too much for myself, or they simply didn’t understand. Instead of being discouraged, I always kept those moments tucked away in my mind and used it as more reason to go conquer. Though it took a lot of struggle, it made me bet on myself and trust my inner-voice no matter what it looked like. As I matured in that, I became more confident and clear in what I wanted for myself at each stage – I started broadening my scope every step, making the commitment that I would do that work required to get there. That also translated into my desire to conquer different fields, from marketing and media, to teaching and speaking. When I turned all of them into sustainable streams of income, it showed me that others could do the same if they had the understanding of how to navigate.”
Why do you find creativity and self-monetization so important? Are the two concepts really applicable to everybody?
“It’s economic freedom. Enterprising is a form of economic revolution, in whatever form – whether as an entrepreneur, or freelancer. If more people tapped into their multitude of talents and designed the career they wanted, incomes would increase and accumulating wealth would seem more attainable than it does now. If you don’t monetize your value, someone will for you. And, it’s often much less than what you deserve, with all of the restrictions and conditions that keep you from truly being who you are. I think it’s applicable to everybody because it isn’t exclusive to a particular structure – you decide what it looks like.”
In due time, and with enough work you very well may position yourself to be an authoritative voice in discovering creators and entrepreneurs who are next to impact culture. Is this an intentional effort of yours?
“I’m honestly just focused on doing the work and getting people to see that everything they thrive to be, they already are – it’s just a matter of staying on course and growing. The message is intentional, and the movement is intentional also. I think being an authoritative voice for discovering the next wave of entrepreneurs is something that comes with consistency, and I’m committed to remaining consistent. People will catch on soon enough.”
What’s your opinion on education as it relates to encouraging creativity and entrepreneurs? Are there some changes that need to be made?
“I think entrepreneurship is emphasized in schools, but not in an unconventional way. I still think the concept of creativity and entrepreneurship is seen as skipping a career to start a business, or find that one huge idea that can change your life. I’d like to see it taught as a natural trade, or path that is encouraged for creative people who wish to accomplish a variety of things, and own a multitude of businesses in their lifetime. In short, I think schools should teach more about enterprising.”
With your resume, you could call a lot more attention to yourself than you do with press. Is there a reason you stay relatively low key?
“Doing quality work consistently has always meant more to me than recognition. I think great work speaks for itself, and my movement will make the impact it is suppose to. Honestly, I think what I’ve done to this point, and the way in which I’ve done it, most people won’t truly grasp or appreciate it as much as some may expect in this moment. I don’t compare or expect to get all the love — those who know, know.”
Since he was 18, Mitch has had a vision for creating his own media company in the same manner that Marc Ecko introduced Complex to world. Julian wants to usher in a smart pop culture. One that includes content and experiences for our generation and ones to follow that people can take inspiration from.
“I want to build a global movement that reflects an elevated way of thinking, living, and understanding the world we live in.”
Something tells me Julian isn’t one to fail, his track record speaks for him and soon so will his media company. He isn’t just moving and shaking his way through the media industry, he’s cementing a legacy as one of the most influential minds of our generation. It’s your world Mitch, and we’re lucky to be in it.