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Jessa Velasquez Talks About The Hustle And Struggle Of Being An All-Around Creative

By
Joyce Camille Reyes
March 12, 2020

There’s this tiny woman walking around the metro, coffee in hand, wearing a blazer on top of her gym clothes. She’s on her way to her office in BGC, where she works as a social media manager for a digital advertising agency.

Once her 8-hour shift is done, she’ll be on her way to a fitness class (she does spinning, boxing, and yoga) where she’ll be squeezing in an hour of exercise before heading to a promotional event for a brand she’s partnered with as an influencer. She also runs an online business (by herself!), so she may even get some work done for that on her way to the gym.

This is what a “typical” workday looks like for Jessa Velasquez, and quite frankly, it does not sound typical at all. No wonder her schedule is filled to the brim; she is an all-around content creator/influencer, PR & social media girl who runs her own online business. Don’t be fooled by her height (which she jokingly revealed to be an inch shy of 5 feet), because this girl packs in a lot of energy, skills, and guts.

Discover and work with Southeast Asia’s best influencers at GetCraft

In this interview with the Crafters, Velasquez talks about how she learned to thrive in this cutthroat creative industry, and how she continues to pursue the things that bring joy into her life.

Photo courtesy of Jessa Velasquez

Humble beginnings

Fresh out of college as a Marketing major, Velasquez started blogging as a way to express herself and showcase her love for fashion. “I wasn’t expecting it to go anywhere. I just really wanted something to do while I was still looking for a job. But then I noticed that a lot of people were actually reading my posts, and that’s what inspired me to take blogging seriously,” Velasquez said.

If you were to check out her blog and Instagram account, you’d see that she’s definitely gone a long way from the girl who had started taking her OOTDs using a beat-up iPhone 4. “There wasn’t even VSCO back then!” she said, laughingly reminiscing the days when post-processing was still a foreign concept to her.

By writing about topics she was genuinely interested in, Velasquez was able to draw in a wider audience. Brands soon took notice and started reaching out to her for sponsored content and event appearances. “I was really surprised that I was getting paid projects, since that wasn’t really my goal. I just wanted to create content and express myself through my blog,” she shared.

For Velasquez, the fair amount of success she’s been able to achieve so far may be attributed to her persistence despite the limitations and challenges she had to face. “I guess what happened to me is proof that if you really want to blog or create any type of content, you can always start with what you have. You don’t need an expensive camera. It’s more about the content you create and the stories you tell,” she said.

Photo courtesy of Jessa Velasquez

The hustle and struggle

Apart from her day job and freelance commitments, this modern-day fashionista cum entrepreneur also runs an online jewelry business called Ethereal. “With Ethereal, I’m basically in charge of everything. It’s my personal brand, so I take care of marketing, branding, and even sourcing and shooting the products,” she explained.

Working in advertising also helped Velasquez gain her edge as a content creator and influencer. “I understood, on a deeper level, what it was like to work with clients, talk to suppliers, do PR work, and beat strict deadlines. I understood the process and developed unique insights about marketing,” she said.

Doing all of this work, day in and day out—it’s not surprising that Velasquez continues to develop a unique set of skills that allow her to pursue a creative life and earn from it.

Also read: Time Management And Productivity Tips For Creative Freelancers

However, even though being an influencer contributes a fair amount to her income, Velasquez knows where to draw the line when it comes to accepting paid partnerships with brands. “I make sure to only promote products that I personally use and believe in,” she shared. And while the 24-year old advertising creative does not claim to abstain from the occasional after-work cocktails, Velasquez said she prefers not to promote alcoholic beverages as doing so may have a serious impact on her younger followers. “I have a lot of followers who are in their teens, and I just don’t feel comfortable promoting that kind of lifestyle to them!”

Setting these types of boundaries allows Velasquez to stay true to her personality and remain a good example to the followers she feels responsible for.

Also read: Influencers Are Not Billboards

Photo courtesy of Jessa Velasquez

It’s easy to see how much Velasquez loves her job and how much she enjoys her side hustles. But when asked if her day-to-day commitments ever feel like work to her, she was quick to say yes. “I love being able to live an exciting creative life, but that doesn’t mean I never get tired or stressed out,” she said.

In fact, Velasquez wants to remind aspiring influencers to manage their expectations as they work their way into the industry. “A lot of young, aspiring influencers think it’s all about freebies and fun events, but it’s not like that all the time. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’re really going to be disappointed because clients don’t always give out free stuff or hold fancy events!” she quipped. “It’s hard work; it’s not as easy as some people may think. But it makes me happy, so for me, it’s worth it.”

Finally, when asked to share her parting advice to aspiring creatives, Velasquez had this to say: “If you want to start doing something creative—whether it’s vlogging, photography, writing, or whatever it is that you want to do—you have to just go ahead and start. Never mind that you don’t have the best camera or the most advanced skills. It’s important to just start and figure out how you can improve along the way.”

Visit the GetCraft Marketplace to work with content creators like Jessa Velasquez.

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Jessa Velasquez Talks About The Hustle And Struggle Of Being An All-Around Creative

By
Joyce Camille Reyes
.
March 12, 2020

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Jessa Velasquez Talks About The Hustle And Struggle Of Being An All-Around Creative

By
Joyce Camille Reyes
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March 12, 2020

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