For many people who choose social media as their career or business, they come to love it because of the creativity and social interaction involved - not to mention it’s a thriving industry that isn’t going away anytime soon!
But for me? My love for social media goes a lot deeper than the buzz of a new follower on a client’s account. Social media completely changed my life - so I’m sharing my story with you here to show you the less talked about and more sacred side of social media...
Growing up, I was a painfully shy child, always hiding behind my mum’s legs when strangers would try to talk to me. I wasn’t one to put my hand up in class and I never wanted to be the leader. Ever.
It was in school though, that I fell in love with words. A whole lot.
While my family spent weekends at the local sports field watching my brother play soccer, I locked myself in the car and snuggled up with my books and let my imagination wander. I became hooked on the dreamlike worlds I’d read about in books and how the words spoke to me - it was through words and reading when I felt normal and completely me.
Throughout all of my teenage years though, there was that constant nagging from within - something felt not quite right. I knew even back then, that there was something more for me in life besides living in a coastal town and just going along day by day.
Without me knowing it, even back then my intuition was whispering "you’re destined for something bigger".
In my high school yearbook, I wrote that I wanted to be 'the next Carrie Bradshaw’. I thought this was it. I was so ready for something big to happen! When I graduated high school, I found myself moving to the Gold Coast to study a marketing and journalism degree.
But after moving from Coffs Harbour to the Gold Coast, I soon lost connection with who I was. I felt lost in a new city and I desperately craved expression. I craved the feeling of being truly seen and recognised for my gifts. I craved just being me.
Looking back, I can see now that I never had a solid idea of who I was in the first place. I was sitting in the passenger seat of my own life - watching everything pass by without ever participating.
I had always let my ideas be just that - ideas. But no more.
I was ready for action. And that intuitive whisper was only growing stronger day by day… ”there’s something better for you out there”.
So I took a leap of faith and started a blog in 2012.
I let myself write and I reconnected with my love for words in a new way - a way that was completely free. I wrote about my life in excruciatingly raw detail.
I wrote soul whispers that I’d never even said out loud.
And while that type of blogging isn’t my style anymore, it served me at the time. It brought me back into flow with inspiration. It brought me the opportunity to speak my truth and it brought me sweet connection and a sense of community.
With a newfound sense of passion, I dived into my studies and re-engaged with life. I asked myself: what do I want from this life of mine?
I got really curious, and clear and realised that I didn’t want to be a journalist at all. The masculine energy of the industry and the corporate gigs my other university friends were getting, all felt off to me.
As I curiously waited for clarity - my something bigger came in the form of an internship as a social media manager.
The experience taught me what it means to be an entrepreneur as I was mentored by the young, female CEO who took me under her wing. It taught me how to use social media to build online communities as I connected with hundreds of other young entrepreneurs and built my support team.
And most of all, it unlocked my own personal transformation into what I truly wanted in life.
Our team were at a retreat where we were asked to draw our ideal job. I scribbled a terrible stick figure working from home in a house near the ocean.
That awkward stick figure drawing became my vision board for Sophie Zen and for my life.
When we got back home, and I was feeling completely at ease with my newfound clarity, my partner mentioned that I looked ‘so zen’.
Sophie Zen was born in that moment.
So in my final year of my marketing and journalism degree, when all my university friends were thinking about their corporate 9-5 jobs, I secured the social media handles and bought the domain name for Sophie Zen. “No big deal, I’ll take it slow,” I told my friends and family.
But the universe had other plans (as it always does) and in the months that followed, I was approached by a woman (who I’d connected with in my early blogging days) and she offered me my first real job as the social media manager for a magazine.
I dove head first into building social media communities and sharing my passion for social media, on social media and just a few months later, I landed my first client for Sophie Zen who messaged me on Facebook. I was ecstatic!
While everyone around me seemed to be criticising social media for ‘destroying society’ and accusing it of being the ‘fake highlight reel’, I was using social media to find my voice, build a community and create a business that aligned with my higher vision.
I was using it as sacred space for personal brands and companies who craved true connection with their tribe.
And within less than a year of drawing my little stick figure working from home by the beach, I was living my dream.
When I look back on my life to this point, I realise now that I used to be someone who sat on the sidelines and spent all of my time consuming art that others had created. Movies, TV shows, books and magazines. I wasn’t creating anything of my own. I wasn’t even creating a life of my own.
Social media however, gave me the sacred space that I needed.
It was the sacred space that allowed me to explore what was true for me, giving me a platform to pursue my passions. It allowed me to feel connected to other people - and ultimately connect to myself.
With social media as my sidekick and sacred love, I was able to graduate university without having to apply for a graduate job and move to Melbourne where I get to blissfully work from home each day.
Social media has given me the opportunity to build a business and create a life that’s completely aligned with who I am and who I want to become. And it can do the same for you.
In the years since starting Sophie Zen, I’ve created and achieved things that I would have thought were impossible when I was growing up - from that little shy bookworm kid to being a business owner today!