Unemployment and Creative Independence


It's been a long while since I've had the luxury of sitting down in front of my laptop with a cup of tea and no external responsibilities. Unemployed is probably a better, simpler way to define it.

My first job was in university, when I was part of the Manila Red Bull Wings Team, and I drove around my city looking for people to introduce the brand to. That was my first taste of partial financial independence -- earning a couple of extra $$$, enough to finance my short travels at least. Prior to this, I had interned at a digital marketing agency, a showbiz magazine, and a travel publication. Sporadically, I would also have freelance writing gigs that fueled my young heart's drive to earn a living.

It's safe to say that I was never truly unemployed, because I was working before I had to, or at least before what is expected of an average middle-class teenager. Money was never a problem for me, but it was something that I found myself unable to let go once I had it. After my first job, I couldn't bare not having an income nor asking for money from my parents like I used to. Whether it was pride or shame, I could never tell, but what I'm sure of is that my need for funds pushed me to work hard and sacrifice what I've longed for for a while now: creative independence.

So now, three years after my first salary, I'm not at all surprised that I am breathing a heavy sigh of relief that I am officially unemployed. Don't get me wrong, though -- the last three years have been essential to my learning process and I wouldn't have given that up for the world. Everything I know now, I know because of all the tasks I've done and the mistakes I've made. But right now I'm closing those doors and I'm walking towards the new path I've chosen for myself.

To be specific: this blog, my YouTube channel, and my clothing line, Morena the Label. I've been a little busy.

Sun-kissed Somewhere the Blog

I've been blogging since 2011, and my blog has taken many domains and forms. Some of them are still embarrassingly alive somewhere, actually, and I don't know how to feel about that. Nevertheless, I'm pretty freaking excited about where this one is about to go. Writing is my first love, and thinking about chronicling my travels once more in prose is sending butterflies to my tummy. I fucking love that I get to do that again.

I've been copywriting and blogging for a living since 2015 and that has honestly taken the fun out of the craft for me. I hated that I had to compromise my voice for brands, and I hated that I used my words to sell instead of tell stories, like they used to. There are so many talented copywriters who create amazing stuff with their words, but I am not one of them, I realized. To me, creative independence is of prime importance, and that means I write what I want, when I want, for myself. Like this blog, for example.

My YouTube Channel

While my blog never really took off, my first try at YouTube showed more promise. Two years since my first video, here I am with 18,000+ subscribers, 100+ videos, and 830,000+ views. The Youtube journey is different for each vlogger, but I'm pretty happy with mine. I'm no overnight success, but I'm creating content that people enjoy and appreciate. That's what I want to keep doing.

Over the last two years, my consistency has been a rollercoaster ride, and my uploads depended heavily on my mood and my motivation. Being burnt out at work and heartbroken didn't help either. So now that I'm officially unemployed, I'm excited to treat vlogging like a full-time job and create content more sustainably and consistently. I can't wait to plan my videos out and create schedules, propose collabs, accept brand sponsorships, etc.

Will my passion finally pay for itself? I sure damn well hope so.

Morena the Label

This brand has been yeeeaaars in the making, believe it or not. It has been an idea in my mind that's been brewing for so long that I don't quite remember when I first thought of it. What I do know is the turn of events that triggered its launch.

I just needed money. Hah.

I recently got accepted to a program that will have me move half-way across the world, and that move includes a huge sum of money that I unfortunately have not been able to save due to my other travels. So despite my overthinking tendencies, I said fuck it, I have to launch Morena the Label now. And so I did.

Morena the Label

I run Morena the Label alone, and I'm in charge of marketing, design, customer service, and even PR. The only thing I don't take care of is production and shipping, because I was lucky to have found a supplier that offers that service.

When I released my first collection, the response was amazing. I haven't yet reached my target revenue, but whatever, at this point, I'm just happy that fellow morenas and morenos appreciate my efforts. It's no longer just a passion project or a clothing line at this point -- it's a movement.

What's Next?

Now with these three projects under my belt, and a job waiting in Europe, I told myself that it's finally time to let go of the stability my two day jobs offered.

I will be unemployed for roughly 3 months before my next salary, and while that's a frightening thought for this control freak, I'm just holding on to the promise of creative independence.

I'll just make it work. I always do.