Vol 1 Issue 1
This is the million dollar question I get asked, why did I start a YouTube channel? I am a 38 year old educator from South Texas. I have been in the education business for 15 years both at the secondary and collegiate levels. I enjoy what I do and what I teach, but I don’t always enjoy my environment. Public education is a labor of love. Ask any educator and they will be the first to tell you that teaching is definitely a work of the heart; AND let’s don’t forget school administrators, their job is DEFINITELY one done out of passion and love for the craft… believe me, I studied to become one! After I received my masters degree in Educational Administration in 2015, I began applying for leadership positions within the area I reside. If you know anything about school district employment, you will know it is not always WHAT you know, but rather WHO you know. I guess I didn’t know the right people because I never got selected after countless interviews and applications. Still, I didn’t let it get me down and kept on going. I took on additional duties at my current job to learn more about other aspects of the school. I volunteered for committees and made an effort to meet new people in the industry. Even after I completed my doctoral degree in Educational Leadership in May of 2019, I still never got my start. It discouraged me, because I knew I had a lot to offer and the willingness and motivation to learn. I knew I was capable of handling a leadership position, but no one ever took a chance on me.
So there I was, a 30 something doctoral grad with a degree in one hand and fear and uncertainty in the other. By now I should have had it all figured out, or so I thought. I was so unhappy with my current job, not because it wasn’t a good job, but because I wanted and needed more. It’s a scary feeling to be unhappy in your career when you are all you have to depend on. About a week after by doctoral graduation, I went on a work field trip to Orlando, Florida. It was amazing! I had never been to Disney World or Universal Studios; I think I was more excited than the students were! On the trip we had an amazing tour guide named Antonio, owner of King College Tours. I had met him the prior year on our school trip to NYC (that was a winner too). On these trips we would travel around town in a charter bus, and it was usually a half hour ride or more to wherever we were going. I would use this time on the bus, to of course, do my makeup. Antonio would watch, make funny comments, but that was it, nothing out of the ordinary. Our second to last day on the Florida trip, we were visiting a local college. Antonio had such an inspiring speech for the students that was completely off the cuff. He spoke about following your dreams, and pursuing a career in something you truly loved; not one based on how much money you could earn or what parents wanted. His message was so inspiring that I felt as if God was speaking directly to me through him. I thought about his words for the remainder of the day. The next morning we all gathered in the lobby of the hotel, preparing to head to the airport. Antonio came up to me and said he hoped I would pursue something in makeup, because he knew I didn’t belong doing what I was doing. My two friends that were along on the trip, Laurie and Adrian, had also been telling me for a long time I needed to explore my love for makeup in some way, shape, or form.
When I got home, I couldn’t let it go. I felt as though I was given a directive that couldn’t be ignored. A few days later, I texted Laurie to tell her that I was going to take her advice and start a YouTube channel, but to keep it a secret until I was ready to go live with it. Naturally she was very excited. I went on to completely transform my spare bedroom into a beauty studio. I painted the walls, got rid of things, bought new things, and completely overhauled the room. The weekend before I launched my channel, I took my family to lunch; my aunt and uncle who were visiting from Virginia, my uncle from my hometown, and my mom. I told them that after we were done eating I wanted them to go with me to Best Buy to purchase a camera for my new venture. They were all very excited and waited patiently as I chose the best camera to start my YouTube channel with. Once we were back in the car and ready to head home, everyone said a prayer for me. My aunt laid hands on the camera and prayed that it would lead me to greater things. A few days later, I launched Steff’s Beauty Stash on Instagram and YouTube.
Filming my first video was very strange. I couldn’t get the words out the way I wanted. Once I felt I had good footage, I went to look it over and realized my microphone wasn’t plugged in! There went 2 hours down the drain. That summer I made as many videos as I could; and it was a lot! I kept posting regularly upon returning to work in the fall, trying to find the proper balance between my day job and my new YouTube gig. Your first year on YouTube isn’t the easiest. A lot of people quit during their first year because they don’t get the views or subscribers they hoped for. My goal was to always have 1,000 subscribers one year after I started. I reached my goal ahead of time on May 29, a few weeks before my one year anniversary. It was an incredible feeling that definitely helped to validate my year of hard work.
I never allowed myself to get discouraged, that is the one thing you need to know. There are going to be plenty of hard times, plenty of lows, plenty of “what if” moments. The one thing you need to always remember is why you started in the first place. I went into this knowing all my spare cash was going to be used to fund my channel. I knew that I was going to have to cut back in certain areas of my life to be able to afford the kind of things I wanted to do on my channel. I knew that my free time was going to be spent on creating and editing. I knew that parts of my life were going to be paused but that it would all be worth it in the end. I can honestly say I have regretted NOTHING! Well maybe not having started sooner, but that probably wouldn’t have been possible since I was still in school. Steff’s Beauty Stash is definitely a labor of love. I hope to continue to grow and learn all I can about the beauty community. I am even happier now that I have this website where I can blog and keep all my content in one space.
I hope you all will continue to visit my website and social accounts so we can keep the joy of beauty going. I am honestly living my dream right now. The best advice I can give you with anything is to start ASAP, remember why you started, and celebrate even the tiniest of milestones. Nothing worth it ever came for free; it takes lots of hard work, sacrifices, and love to see your dreams become your reality.
Stay hydrated friends, drink your water, and I will speak to you all very soon!