Do you put an enormous amount of time and effort into your daily job, only to be assisting in the achievement of someone else’s dreams? Does the blood that your bleed, the sweat that you sweat and the tears that you cry over your hard work coincide with someone else’s goals? Are you currently settling for someone else’s success, rather than working to establish your own? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to these three questions, then you should take a page from Toronto born and raised, self-made blogger, model, content creator and social media wizard, Ruby Benson’s book. From having absolutely no idea what she wanted to do after graduating from the Media, Information and Technoculture program at Western University in 2013 to running a tremendously successful blog (Rags & Ruby), Instagram page and collaborating with some of the most wildly successful brands in the world, Ruby is a self-made, powerful female entrepreneur.
With only one goal in mind, she made it a priority to ensure that happiness and success coincided with one another. Originally working a 9-5 job in fashion, absolutely nothing would stop her from side hustling. Through modelling, managing her Instagram page, freelance styling, blogging and content creating, she had a solid understanding that the corporate world was not for her. As a result of this, her extreme passion for creativity allowed for her to consistently come up with new and improved content for her social platforms, ultimately, pushing her into a new direction.
Ruby has been given life changing opportunities that people around the globe can only dream about. Opportunities that have allowed for her to collaborate with some of the most infamous brands such as Calvin Klein, Chanel, Gucci and Adidas, to name a few. However, it is critical to understand that these collaborations were not just “handed” to her. In fact, not much in life for many of us are just handed to us, without some form of push behind it. Ruby put in work, every single day, writing to big name brands and ultimately, securing partnerships with them given her experience, willingness to learn and underlying passion for fashion.
Today, I find it even more important to acknowledge the women and men out there who have stopped at absolutely nothing to ensure that their hard work, dedication and drive has made them successful - whatever successful means to them… on their own terms. Through this, Ruby has formed from the ground up, a self-made brand that uniquely fits her. Ruby admitted that sharing content with the world is definitely her passion. In fact, when she first started producing more ‘creative’ photos, she was consistently shot down and told she would never be a successful blogger or Instagram creator based solely on the fact that her photos didn’t fit the standard mold of what a typical blogger photo should look like. Yet fast forward a few years, and now brands hire her SPECIFICALLY for her creative content.
“My biggest piece of advice for anyone trying to establish themselves as a brand on social media is to be yourself and to create content that you’re actually proud of. Not content that you think is marketable”.
On a typical day, Ruby answers e-mails, sends pitches and mood boards to brands of interest, sets up shoots for any projects she currently has on the go, and attends brand events. When I asked Ruby what advice she would give to someone wanting to take the leap and become self-employed, she had the following to say:
“Just believe in yourself and make the jump. I had a little bit of money saved, but when I first left my full-time job to be fully self-employed, I was definitely not making enough each month to sustain myself in the long run. That pushed me to work harder. Instead of being scared to reach out to big brands, I knew that I had to if I wanted to be able to pay my rent. Getting used to rejection is also a big thing. It does suck at first, but now I look at it as their loss, not mine. You really have to believe in yourself and believe in the art you are putting out there”.
Ruby has a tremendously truthful and authentic attitude that is truly captivating, particularly to large brand names who through collaborations, allow for her to make a living doing what she is passionate about. Being part of a 21st century influential group of bloggers who use their connections to sustain themselves has taught Ruby to never lose hope, especially when you are told ‘no’.
“All I know is that I hope to spend the rest of my life self-employed. I’d love to do more creative consulting and art directing work with brands as I get older, but always on a freelance basis. I’m also discovering new fields that interest me. For example, right now I’m reading holistic nutrition textbooks, am on the waiting list to volunteer at the Humane Society, and am trying to learn more about sustainability and helping our environment”.
At the end of the day, Ruby believes that everyone deserves happiness. She practices gratitude every single day, and tries to live her life in the moment so that when it is her time, she can look back and smile on the crazy adventure that were her life. At the end of the day, you need to be your biggest fan, especially based on the fact that not everyone out there is going to love the content that you put out there.