Back in early 2020 when the pandemic hit, I was completely and utterly unemployed.
I had just quit my day job a few months earlier in November 2019 to pursue my side-hustle-turned-business in a full-time capacity - and I was making plans with my business partner to take it to the next level.
But the timing couldn’t be worse - only a few months later, Ms. Corona hit and my business was one of her casualties; it had already struggled to find a product-market fit for the last two years, and the pandemic was the final nail in the coffin.
So I found myself out of work, with no business, no job, and no opportunity to freelance.
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All the companies I previously worked for were struggling to survive, their clients had dropped off and they had cut most of their staff to decrease their costs.
So while everyone was trying to figure out this new situation (and stock up on toilet paper), I found myself with a lot of free time…
Part 1: “Have you tried this thing called TikTok?”
With all the new free time I had… I caved and made a TikTok account.
I was skeptical at first and needed a lot of convincing ("Isn’t it an app for dancing teens? Or funny people, of which I am neither?") but I made it with the encouragement of my business advisor who had mentioned it a couple of times in the past month.
He said it was a platform I desperately needed to make content on.
"The beauty of TikTok is its algorithm," he said. "No matter how many followers you have, everyone has the same chance of becoming famous overnight."
Even with that very convincing prospect, I was skeptical; I had no content to post, so what value could I add? But my business advisor had seen some of the illustrations I had posted on my art Instagram account and said, “Just post videos of you drawing that stuff, you’ll find your niche.”
And he was right. But not in the way that either of us expected.
Part 2: Going viral for the first time (on the internet, not from COVID.)
My very first TikTok post was a drawing process video of Jennie from the band BlackPink.
Their single “How You Like That” had just dropped, and I was inspired by their concepts and photography.