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How This Creative Freelancer Fell, Only to Land at Home in Her Business

What happens after the tassels fly and you’re sent out into the world after University, only to discover that life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? Adulting is hard. But it’s even harder when things go wrong and you don’t have a home to come back to. Kellie Daniel of Second Act Media found herself in just such a situation, but she got a little help from Magic Mike Live to steer her in the right direction - home to her very own business. This is her story. 



Tell us, what do you do?

I run Second Act Media - a content creation studio specializing in brand development and social media management. I love working with others who are just as passionate, fun, and kind as I am!


What's your story? What was your path to freelancing? 

I graduated from college last May and I got my BFA in TV Writing and Production. I was working at a big tv show, dating a super cute guy, just moved into a swanky apartment, and felt like I was on top of the world. But over the summer, everything changed. The guy I was dating dumped me, my job turned into a toxic one, and I was extremely unhappy. I ended up losing that job. 

The same weekend that I lost my job, I drove home to San Francisco to and get away, only to have my parents tell me that they sold my childhood home and we're moving to North Carolina. But that's not all! In one weekend, I lost my job, lost my childhood home, and had to say goodbye to a city that I grew up in. 

The weeks that followed were incredibly rough. I was at the lowest I had ever been in my life and my mental health had taken a turn. I had no idea what was next. I felt like an incredible disappointment to everyone I knew. I was envied by my classmates, so I felt embarrassed to share what had happened to me. Even though I was treated poorly at my job, I took everything personally and felt like I deserved everything. I lost my sense of self and didn't know if I'd ever see light at the end of the tunnel.

So now what? Well, I decided to take a trip to Las Vegas. I decided to get lit with the help of a few unicorns - a.k.a. the men of Magic Mike Live! You're probably thinking, "How can a strip show change your life?" The message behind the show is that no matter who you are in the audience, you do deserve happiness and that your dreams, or "fantasy" (a la Unicorns) can be a reality. 

We all go through challenges, make mistakes, learn and grow, but at the end of the day, WE are responsible for making a better life for ourselves. It's not just gonna happen overnight. I took to learning new online skills, like graphic design, social media management, and digital marketing. I dove deep in a new area of content creation and applied what I had learned in film school and quickly realized I loved it.

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How did you start your freelance business?

I slowly built my business and I landed my first client. She gave me a chance, and my business was born. If it weren't for Julie, I would not be where I am today. I put in a lot of hard work, tears, and determination, and look where I am now.

I share my story with other young adults and high school/college students because it's something that people don't want to talk about. What happens after the tassels fly is truly unknown. People are scared for the unknown after graduation, even those who seem to have it all together because they have a job. But in reality? No one does. 


What was your greatest triumph or your biggest learning experience? 

After losing my job and returning home, I did fall back into a depressive state, questioning who I was, my talents, my work ethic, everything that I was so sure of before. But I learned the importance of kindness in the workplace, the importance of lifting one another up, the importance of patience, and the importance of treating others with respect. In 6 months, I grew immensely in my personal life. And if it wasn't for this experience, I would not be more self aware of not only what's important to me, but also what I needed to work on to be a better person.


If you could give a piece of advice to a new freelancer, what would it be?

Fall. Fall hard. It's terrifying, no doubt. But use the lemons that life gives you and make lemonade. Also, never stop learning. Connect with others doing the same sort of freelancing you're doing, but also in other areas you might not be offering in your business. Take advantage of free webinars, online classes, or podcasts. There's always more to learn.

We're all moving at our own pace, filled with different paths along the way. And yes, it can get discouraging when you see that person from your class who you couldn't stand get a job at some huge company, or that person from your hometown land an opportunity that you didn't get, and you sit back and think, "When's it going to work out for me?" Know that you aren't alone in your frustration and doubt. And even when the going gets tough, keep going. Even when I wanted to give up, I kept pushing through and kept reminding myself of the people who DO support me, BELIEVE in me, and AFFIRM that I am a person who is worthy of good even when it's bad.


What advice can you give about the creative process?

My skills in content creation have been the most profitable, but I owe a lot of that to my experience to film school. I grew up as an actor in the San Francisco Bay area, appearing in front of the camera in several films and TV shows. But I also invested in skills behind the camera, which many don't think of learning about when it comes to managing social media or building a brand. 

Take a look at how movies and TV shows brand themselves, how scripts and screenplays are written, how the entertainment makes you FEEL. You can learn so much from reading a script or watching your favorite movie, don't sleep on this other medium of entertainment just because it's not in the same realm as social media at times!


And finally, what does freelancing mean to you and your life? 

Life is too short to go to a job you hate every day and cry to and from work. What good is that? That is not living. Freelancing has allowed me to live and receive the most out of life. I am able to do what I love while working at a pace that's better for me, at times that I find most productive, and meet people I'd never have the pleasure of working with. I am able to take time off when needed, invest deeper into myself, and ultimately chase happiness every day.



connect with Kellie

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