Ep 4

Why You Should Never Give Up with Julia Seraphine

Julia Seraphine

Show notes

Katerina: Hi, Julia.

Julia: Hi, thank you for having me.

Katerina: Thank you for being on the podcast. How are you doing?

Julia: Oh, I’m doing excellent. Thank you for asking.

Katerina: Great. Julia, could you tell us a little bit about you, your social influencer… because you’ve been quite active on on social media, especially Instagram. Could you just tell us a little bit more of about what you do on Instagram?

Julia: So what I do on Instagram is I try to cater my posts for my followers which are usually just women and girls aged like 20 to 35. I post a lot of fashion, and in every caption I try to include some tips and tricks for how to be an influencer… Some social media advice or just how to make good content that your followers really enjoy.

Katerina: Yeah. So, what made you become an influencer…. Why being an influencer?

Julia: Well, actually when I was only nine years old I went on this site called Roblox which is kind of like a social media site for children, and being nine, I was really like open and adventurous, to the whole… like meeting new people, making friends. And I actually was able to use that website to get like 3000 followers. Yeah, I had the second largest fashion group on the website, and I had more than 100,000 plays on the personal game that I had come out with.

And it was ever since then that I kind of devoted my life to studying social media and marketing, online advertising. And it wasn’t until college that I created my Instagram. But I was able to get 1000 followers, very fast. And then, I wanted to use my platform to kind of show like my fashion sense and express myself. And just to kind of put myself out there on the Internet and slowly over the years, it’s been like three years now that I’ve been an Influencer I have almost 16,000 followers.

Katerina: Right. So, you’ve mentioned on one of your profiles that you studied some algorithms behind being an influence on Instagram? Could you just tell us a little bit more about what this algorithm is all about? Are you referring to the organic algorithm, because this is how you build your audience right?

Julia: Yeah, I mean I was just studying how the websites themselves behave, and Instagram is definitely my favourite to study. I did a lot of research online, tried to look into forums, trying to read more about sociology and psychology to see how I could, like, do like human algorithms, as well as like Instagram algorithms.

Katerina: And, and you also managed other people’s accounts as well?

Julia: Yeah, I’ve had clients from all over the world. Most of them being in the New York City area where I’m from.

Katerina: Right. Do you think that the influencer market is still kind of alive, given that, in some countries they kind of remove this function of putting likes on Instagram picture… Do you think there is still, you know, a market to be an influencer on Instagram? Or other social media sites?

Julia: Yeah, just because you can’t see the lights on Instagram doesn’t mean that you can’t like engage with your followers. Like, having likes on public accounts hasn’t really like throttled my career per se, because comment counts are still public and people can still engage with you by liking it, it’s just not public anymore.

Katerina: Yeah. So what’s your favourite thing of being an Influencer?

Julia: I would definitely say it’s meeting really interesting people from all over the world, including like sponsors that I’ve had, or just my followers in general. I like to engage with as many as I can. I do unfortunately get a lot of direct messages, which is kind of hard to respond to all of them but I’ll respond to as many as I can.

Katerina: Yeah. How do you deal with cyber bullies and trolls on Instagram? Did you have any of those?

Julia: I’ve had a few. I’m not going to say I haven’t had any. But I think the last one that I responded to… They said that I should stab myself and I was like “Thank you.” And then I just ignored them. Henceforth, you should do…

Katerina: What sorry? Starve yourself?

Julia: Stab myself like with a knife.

Katerina: Really? Oh my god.

Julia: Yeah.

Katerina: Why would someone say things like this?

Julia: They like commented on my post. I guess they just didn’t like my outfit. Um.

Katerina: Oh my goodness. Yeah… I mean it’s difficult. You know, the comments like this actually make you more anxious. How do you deal with this mentally? Because it can be quite hard, you know… for a very sensitive person to get comments like this?

Julia: Yeah, I actually have really really bad depression, so much so that I’m on medication and dealing with all this extra attention online, which makes me very anxious. I like to talk about it with my therapist and also my psychologist or… I forgot the, who is the one that prescribes medication? Who’s the one that I talk to… psychologist or psychiatrist?

Katerina: Psychiatrists normally prescribe medication and psychologists normally, you know, they’re talking doctors, aren’t they? Cognitive behavioural therapists they are the people who talk through, you know, about your feelings and so on. And psychiatrists… they do prescribe drugs. Yeah.

Julia: Yeah, because I see both, and it’s been really hard because I’ve had like insurance medication denied before. Yeah. And I’d have to keep trying medication after medication and go through withdrawal after through withdrawal.

Katerina: And how long you’ve had this?

Julia: Oh, my whole life. I am just depressed and anxious, the whole time.

Katerina: The whole time? Wow? Right. Well, and that doesn’t stop you to actually carry on and do things you do?

Julia: No, I think it makes me funnier and that definitely helps me, which is a humorous is like a coping mechanism.

Katerina: What’s causing it? Do you have any explanation?

Julia: I’d say probably just like neurobiology is just causing it. The chemicals in my brain are just not up to par.

Katerina: Right. Yeah. What advice could you give you know to girls of your age who go through the same… through the same process and… you know, have the same experiences like you like depression and anxiety.

Julia: I would say definitely try to find a network of support for yourself whether it’s an actual like therapist, whether it’s like trying to seek out medication if you feel like that would help you… because it doesn’t help everybody. Yeah, I’d say talking to a therapist, getting medication and seeing friends a lot. Or just trying to put yourself out there and make more friends because with having anxiety it’s really hard to make friends, especially with the social component of it.

It’s really hard to like open yourself up to the possibility of rejection in any social situation. But it’s worth it for when you find a group of friends who are there to support you through not only the good things that happened to you but your lower points when things aren’t that great.

Katerina: Yeah. How do you deal with uncertainty in life? Because often anxiety is caused by, you know, by inability to deal with uncertainty.

Julia: Yeah, like uncertainty is really a huge thing for me that causes me a lot of anxiety. I try to figure out in like write down my feelings when it comes to feeling how… like “Oh, this could happen to me or this could happen to me, or like what happens if this happens.” All of that uncertainty can really like negatively affect my mindset. So I like to write things down. I like to introspect, and I like to talk to people that are closer with me like my boyfriend or my therapist.

Katerina: Yeah. Because you’re also trying to build another business at the same time, don’t you? Could you just tell us a little bit about your Princess Gem Store.

Julia: Yeah, so I started Princess Gem Store when I was in college as a business student, and I was only doing in person sales at first. And right now we’re expanding into e-commerce which is actually kind of terrible timing, because of how shipping is going lately. But we actually aim to sell affordable, and good quality jewellery that won’t turn your skin like a different pigment and won’t give you an allergic rash. It won’t fall apart, or it won’t tarnish very easily, but for fast fashion prices.

Katerina: Yeah. And do you think that actually being an intrapreneur can worsen your anxiety? Wouldn’t it be easier for you to actually get your nine-to-five job and instead of trying to start up a business? Because Princess Gem Store like I understand is in a startup mode, right? Or it’s been already going for a while? How long it’s been going well?

Julia: Well. It’s been going for about two and a half years. I was just doing in person sales, like I mentioned earlier, and currently we’re just expanding into e-commerce… we have been for a little bit. And the website is done but unfortunately with the shipping delays, we can’t really launch just yet. But being an entrepreneur has really like had very anxious moments for me there have been times where I was like “Oh my gosh, I have to get these bills paid before this time.” And that’s a lot of money. And just putting a lot of like, not only money but time on the line to become an entrepreneur. But it’s all been worth it I would say.

Katerina: Why?

Julia: Well for me, being an entrepreneur has taught me a lot about interacting with the world and interacting with other people. I’ve learned a lot about how society works too. And how marketing actually plays a big role in interpersonal relationships, or even just sociology in general. I feel like I’ve learned a whole lot.

Katerina: Yeah. So how do you balance, you know, a busy life because you also… you’ve been through college as well and you’re well educated and so how do you balance being an entrepreneur and being a social influencer at the same time, while educating… going through the education system. How do you balance your time?

Julia: For me, I kind of had to set myself to a schedule, and wake up at a certain time, and go to bed at a certain time, exercise at a certain time. And I would have to schedule what I’m doing hour by hour. Such as today like I have to schedule doing one thing and then after your podcast, I have to do like certain other things for my business. And I just have to make that to do list, and follow what to do list has been a really huge help for me. Not only because I include a little calendar of what I have to do each day, but because I get to see the responsibilities that I can do when I’m not scheduled to do something for an hour.

Katerina: Yeah. So, what’s your unique skill set that helps you to actually do so many things at the same time. What you’re good at?

Julia: I would say it’s probably time management. Again, having a to do list that really breaks things down in incredibly… like reduce the amount of stress that comes from planning things out. And it can really give you more time to do things, instead of just idly sitting by… also multitasking really helps.

Katerina: So what’s your typical day… you wake up and then how many hours you spend on your business?

Julia: I would say, I work between eight to 10 hours a day.

Katerina: Yeah.

Julia: Definitely is like a huge time commitment, but I don’t mind, because this is what I’m really passionate about and I do have a lot of fun working.

Katerina: Yeah. What do you do for downtime? To reduce stress? What do you I do?

Julia: Well, for me I like to look at Pinterest. I like to look at cool ideas for outfits post on my Instagram.

Katerina: Yeah, it’s like doing window shopping on Pinterest.

Julia: Yeah, like, I don’t really buy anything off Pinterest, but looking for ideas, always really like sparks my creativity. I also like to do research, research is always fun for me. I could just study for hours at a time. And just like really fall down the rabbit hole, but have… really good time doing it.

Katerina: Yeah.

Julia: Could you also tell us a little bit about your.. mentorship activity because you also… you also mentoring other intrapreneurs of different ages. Could you just tell us a little bit more about this as well?

Julia: Yeah, I actually volunteer to mentor entrepreneurship students. So if you’re an entrepreneurship student out there, I would probably be able to help, you know. So what I like to do is… my speciality is social media for business. So I’ve been chosen as the youngest social media mentor or the youngest mentor in general for the entrepreneurship societies that I’m in, which are like in Connecticut, mostly. I’m also the administrator for The Entrepreneurs Society, and I’m the assistant judge for one of the larger pitch decks in my State of Connecticut.

Katerina: And you are very young as well…

Julia: Yeah, I’m 21. I just graduated with my Associate Degree certificates, and I’m hoping to finish my Bachelor’s degree at Yale University if they will accept me, which is a very slim chance.

Katerina: So what can you say to people, to young people… who are saying, oh you know I can’t start a business because I’m too young, and the age will work against me. What can you say to these people?

Julia: Age is just a number. I’ve met so many young entrepreneurs who have, like… who’ve gone so much farther with their businesses than I have. And it’s really going to show me that, like you’re never too young to do anything. When I started on social media I was only nine. And I remember getting this really prestigious award for, like, it’s called the All Connecticut State Academic Team. Yeah, given to only like 20 students a year. And it’s for the Connecticut College system. And I remember winning and one of the other people winning was only like a 13 years old.

And I remember being so inspired by that, that there was this 13 year old, who’s not only like in college, but they’re succeeding so much that they’re one of the best students in my state. And I always say that to entrepreneurs that are like, “Oh, I’m too young, like I can’t do that I’m just a kid,” I always go and tell them like “Hey, it doesn’t matter how old you are… if you’re like 50 or 13, you can do anything that you want.”

Katerina: Right, great, great advice. Julia, I’d like to ask you a question and I guess this is something a lot of people are interested in, you know. How do you define success because you are doing so many things… you are trying to… you know… you are an influencer on social media… you are running a business a jewellery business. And also, you are a mentor… What success means for you? How do you define it?

Julia: I would say success means growth. And in that I mean like in each respective thing that I do, am I, growing. When I’m, like, researching as a social media expert, do I feel like my knowledge base has grown. When I do influencing on Instagram, have I grown more followers? When I work on my website… has my website grown to where I want it to be?

Katerina: Yeah. How often do you review this metrics? Once a month or once a week?

Julia: Every single day.

Katerina: Every single day? Right… Because it’s, again, you know, in different books that entrepreneurs give different advice. Some say that for the first year of running a business you shouldn’t be looking at all these metrics and you know you all you need is to focus on creating content, be out there spreading the message. Other people say… well, actually you need to see what’s happening on your website and your followers folders, like every week, or month, and have specific figures you can measure yourself against. What’s your view on that?

Julia: Well, I would say not to really not hold yourself to any standards besides your own. So don’t really compare your account to a larger account and say like, “Oh this account has been up for the same amount of time as I have, and they have like 100,000 followers.” That’s only like a recipe to make yourself more depressed or anxious like “Oh, I could have done this and this in this amount of time. It’s so bad to compare yourself. Only compare yourself to your own set ideals, not anybody else’s.

Katerina: Right. So, you know, you are very young, but you are very successful… you’re doing so many things. Have you ever thought of quitting? Have you ever had a situation when you thought “Well, I can’t, I can’t do this anymore… I, you know, it’s too much.

Julia: Yeah. Yeah. There was a time where I just stopped working on the website because I got so overwhelmed being depressed and in college, and just doing all of these different things… like even before I started becoming like more of an influencer even before… I started mentoring students… or offering my social media expertise professionally. Like, I would just get overwhelmed. And for a while I just took a break from building my website for the Princess Gem Store. I focused more on my grades. And I remember taking a few, kind of like months long vacations. Just like not like travelling anywhere just vacations from working. And I would feel like “Oh, I should probably like stop this. This is taking a huge toll on me, I feel so overwhelmed.” And then it was through help of my therapist and my support network that I was able to kind of figure out how not to overwhelm myself with all the little details. Or try to be such a perfectionist that I overwhelm myself.

Katerina: Right. So you are perfectionist?

Julia: Oh yeah. I want everything to work perfectly, but I know that it can’t.

Katerina: Why do you think you are like this? Because this is a sure way to be anxious… trying to make, you know, make everything be perfect.. Can you actually achieve this?

Julia: I’d say it’s probably because I’m so self driven, and I’m such a self starter that I feel personally responsible for like my destiny in this world. And that’s also why I hold myself to such high standards personally at such a young age that I should be doing so much of this and so much of that. Or just trying to further my career as early as possible, because I’m so self motivated.

Katerina: Yeah. So if you’ve had one magic… sort of power and… and suddenly, you know, you were given one superpower, what would it be?

Julia: It would probably be time travel. I thought about this a lot, actually, which is not healthy for someone who’s so anxious. And I would say time travel because I would be able to go back in time and give myself advice to get everything right and kind of like, teach myself what I’ve learned from my mistakes before I make a mistake. Because I do make mistakes, I’m not like some infallible person. I would definitely go back and just teach myself. You shouldn’t do this in this situation. But I know at the end of the day, the next best thing is to just learn from my mistakes.

Katerina: All right, so you, you are mentoring other entrepreneurs but do you have a mentor yourself?

Julia: I definitely do, yeah. And at my school there is a professor her name is Professor Luglio. And she’s the entrepreneurship programme leader at my college. And she gave me so much advice over the years I had her for I’d say maybe like three or four of my business classes, and she even helped me come up with a programme to get my Entrepreneurship Certificate, and a Fashion Retail Management Certificate as well as an Associate Degree. And her, and the entrepreneur in residence at my college, both gives me really huge like excellent advice. The entrepreneur in residence, his name is Mike Gore, and he’s been a huge help with my business launching, and just teaching me everything that I know about business as well as Professor Luglio. They’re both my mentors.

Katerina: Yeah, that that’s great to have someone who can direct you… it’s important for entrepreneurs. But if you were to give an advice to another starting female entrepreneur, what would it be?

Julia: I would say don’t let anybody tell you that you’re too young or oh you’re just a girl … you shouldn’t like focus on all these sophisticated things, I would say, like, don’t let anybody else get you down except for yourself. And don’t even get yourself down that much.

Katerina: Yeah, so be more gentle on yourself. Yeah, because we, we tend to be quite harsh sometimes and we are our own critics and judges, aren’t we?

Julia: Yeah, I’m my biggest hater.

Katerina: [Laughs] Yeah. We try to catastrophise, you know, and just kind of think “Oh my god if something….” We always think about the worst case scenario, don’t we?

Julia: Yeah, always but I would say like, definitely be more gentle on yourself and don’t take it so hard, what other people have to say to you… like their ideas for what you should be doing with your time.

Katerina: Yeah.

Julia: And if someone today, you know listening to this this programme are about to give up on their dreams, what… what would you tell them? If they started the business but they hit this… sort of… wall of challenges… and they’re about to give up. What advice would you give to them?

Katerina: I would say that giving up is the easiest thing you can do for the worst possible reason, because it means giving up on your dreams. Definitely do not give up on your dreams, try to ask people for help instead. Like, try to find a mentor, try to ask your professors, try to reach out to people online in Facebook groups or in forums, yeah… just trying to like get help from others instead of giving up because giving up is the worst possible thing you can do with your dreams.

Katerina: Yeah. And … what’s your plans for the future? So now you… you’re going to be launching the new website, right? For the business the Princess Gem Store? And you’re going to continue with your social influencer project, continue being you know active on social media as well.

Julia: Yeah. Yeah, I plan on keeping on. Doing my goals and launching my website for the Princess Gem Store. I’d say My dream is to become a public figure, and to try to become like a philanthropist… but first to become a philanthropist, you need to become like a public figure and you need to get the capital to sort of invest in good things for the future so I’m working on that currently.

Katerina: Yeah. So what advice would you also give… you know, to the people listening this podcast, to self guard their mental health? What advice would you give them?

Julia: I would give the advice that I would give to my younger self, which is, like, if I was able to talk to my younger self, I would tell her or me… that you should definitely seek out a therapist. Because even though it’s scary to kind of like share how you feel with others and be open to a new person, and just let yourself be vulnerable. It’s so scary but like, it’s such a good investment. Not only for your mental well being, but for the success of your future. Because I definitely wouldn’t be as successful as I am if I did not see a therapist, because I would always get in my own way, and my therapist really helped me not that.

Katerina: Yeah. Yeah. That’s great advice from Julia. Julia, thank you so much for sharing this story with us and I wish you all the luck, and for the future. And, you know, have a great launch of a new website and they will definitely hear from you again. Good luck with everything.

Julia: Thank you so much and thank you for giving me a platform to give advice to others. Thank you.

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