At age 22, DeAndre Brown quit his job in corporate banking to pursue his dreams.
He currently runs a TikTok account full time and hopes to build a career in television.
This is the story of Brown's transition from banking to content creation, as told to Charissa Cheong.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with DeAndre Brown, and it has been edited for length and clarity.
I recently celebrated my 23rd birthday, and looking back on the past year, I can see that my life has changed significantly.
At age 22, I was the youngest person on my team at my job in consumer banking, earning a six-figure salary. [Editor's note: Insider was unable to independently verify Brown's former salary.]
I called myself "the corporate baddie" on TikTok, and posted comedic videos comparing how millennial and Gen-Z individuals operate in the workplace. I now have 579,000 followers on the app.
Over time, I noticed I was making good money through brand deals and partnerships, and it became more difficult to balance time spent at work with content creation.
On top of this, I felt that some people I worked with did not appreciate the fact that I was making content about corporate life, and talking about my job on social media. When I started to feel like I wasn't being appreciated, I put in my two weeks notice and left my job at the beginning of May.
I've been working full-time as a corporate influencer ever since, and hope it will help me pursue my dreams of being on television.
@imdrebrown The acronyms be killing me. Talk to me with common sense #genz #youngprofessional #corporatebaddie ♬ original sound - DeAndre Brown
Though it was a difficult decision, the leap of faith has taught me so much about what it takes to pursue my dreams. Here are some of the biggest lessons I learned about pivoting from a steady job to an entrepreneurial role as an influencer.
Hiring someone to help manage my finances gave me more confidence to deal with a lack of consistent income
One thing I learned from juggling my job in banking with my TikTok platform is that content creation can be extremely lucrative. There were certain points where I was making my entire annual salary in a single month through brand partnerships as an influencer. [Editor's note: Insider was unable to independently verify Brown's current income.]
@imdrebrown #stitch with @imdrebrown I now get to chase my childhood dreams while still advocate for a cause that I hold dear to me (thanks to you all) - toxic work culture #corporatebaddies #job ♬ original sound - DeAndre Brown
I got to a point where I thought that if I wanted to quit my job, I'd still be able to sustain a good living for myself.
However, I also decided to hire a wealth manager who could advise me on how to save and what to invest in, and I would recommend that anyone else looking to make money from content creation does the same.
Profit from content creation might be really great during one month, but who's to say that the next few months are going to go as well? My wealth manager prepares and advises me for those low points where fewer brands are reaching out and it's harder to get by.
Listening to motivational podcasts also helped me overcome the fear of uncertainty
The lack of stability that comes with being an influencer has been the most difficult challenge I've faced since leaving my job.
Not having any certainty about what's to come is scary, and it's probably my biggest fear in life. Things can be going so well for your platform one minute, but anything could go wrong, and people could stop watching your content.
I'm a very religious person, so I believe in walking by faith and not by sight, trusting that things will work out. Even aside from religion, though, I still think it's important to trust that hard work and consistency will pay off, even if it doesn't happen right away.
Listening to motivational podcasts is what helps me on difficult days when I doubt myself. Steve Harvey is one of my favorite podcast hosts, and in general, I feel like hearing other people talk about their success stories in podcasts is a great push that helps put me back on track mentally.
Strict scheduling is key to maintaining a work-life balance
One of the best things about quitting my job is not having to work long office hours. Now that I'm self-employed, I can do what I want, when I want, but there can also be major drawbacks to this when it comes to making sure I'm on top of my workload.
Since I'm not working in an office job, there's no supervisor looking over me to make sure I'm on track. Instead, I've had to learn how to manage my own time and plan out a thorough schedule for myself using my Google Calendar.
I usually try to write my schedule out a week or so in advance, making sure to allow myself time for leisure and things I enjoy doing, as well as for meetings and work.
For example, every day, I schedule time out to walk my dog and go to the gym in the morning, and I've prioritized planning to start my day with activities that get pumped up, so I'm not tempted to lie in all morning.
Some people have less respect for me now, but I know I've done the right thing
When I was still working in banking and would introduce myself to new people, they would always say they were impressed by the fact that I had such a good job at a very young age.
Now, when I introduce myself to people as a content creator, I feel like they generally have less respect for me.
@imdrebrown Reply to @tmcoop__ Comment any advice/ help you need on accessing Corporate! Gotta help the #corporatebaddies #youngprofessional ♬ original sound - DeAndre Brown
However, I tend to not let that bother me because I know that I'm still able to make really good money as an influencer, and I still get to sit in the same rooms with important people, as I develop relationships with brands and businesses in the corporate world who want to work with me.
I think my niche, as a content creator who helps connect young people to the finance world, has helped me find success as I can help brands speak to younger audiences.
I know that I'm not going to be a full-time influencer forever, and I hope to work in television one day, but I'm excited about where the next few years and months will take me.
Read the original article on Insider