Well, this is quite embarrassing. But, what’s ego nowadays? For the last few months, I’ve known this day was coming. The day where I ran out of grant money and maxed out of a few credit cards just to stay afloat.
I’m a 30-year-old woman with multiple degrees and face plastered on the internet having to beg for money.
I laid in bed, in the dark, trying to crunch the numbers. What can you possibly do to make a quick buck to cover next month’s bills? I could sell my plasma as I had done years before when I was at the bottom of the barrel. Yeah, I almost passed out a few times and the huge needles left scars on my arms but at least you had gas money. I thought about sex work. I could make an incognito Tumblr page. No one would know if I sold a few ‘butt’ pics to some scum dude living in a basement. Although, I’m not technologically smart enough to cover my tracks and not be exposed as ‘Leah V, Muslim Blogger Sells Nudes’. I could start taking on clients that I’ve recently denied and sell my readers and supporters shit like Flat Tummy Tea, bundles of Brazilian weave, waist trainers, teeth whitening kits, and miracle creams.
Just for the money.
Basically, I’d have to change up my entire brand just to make money. How stupid of me to think that I could possibly be an organic content creator, keep it real, and not go commercial, and still pay my phone bill.
I don’t want to sell you guys (gals) stuff that I wouldn’t buy. I don’t want to sell you pipe dreams. I want to keep my blog organic and helpful and my social media a safe place for us to congregate and speak our truths, but honestly, I can’t maintain this.
I’m crying as I write this because I shouldn’t be asking for money. I should maybe have a paid off home, a nice husband who doesn’t cheat, and a family that supports me. I should maybe have a job with insurance and a 401k and a savings account. I should have two sane parents that tell me that everything is going to be okay and that they got my back.
I don’t have any of those luxuries. I’m on my own in every way possible. And, I don’t have a choice but to figure out a way. Hustle.
“Leah V has been on all these websites and magazines, I don’t believe she doesn’t have money.”
Let’s dispel that myth. Just because you are Insta-Famous doesn’t mean that you are capitalizing off of it. How many people have gone viral and are still living in their mom’s basement? Social media attention does not equate cash flow.
I have NEVER made a penny off my blog. Why? I don’t believe in forcing ads on people. I don’t believe in forcing people to buy clothes they don’t want. I don’t believe that art always has to be turned into some capitalist system. I want my blog to be a place where people go for inspiration because they want to.
I don’t make money modeling. I don’t have the luxury of living in LA or NY where modeling gigs pay. I live in Detroit. They don’t pay models here. You get the photos and that’s it.
I give out free advice and consultation. All the knowledge I have and built and created is worth something. I must not know my worth because I give out free advice all the time. I give of myself free all the time. I help people build their brands, for free. I help people gain self-confidence, for free. And, I’m not saying this to make you feel bad or to make you feel like I was doing all of this for some ulterior motive, but I’m on the brink of quitting.
I cannot sustain myself by doing free or volunteer work any longer. I cannot host events for free. I cannot be on panels for free. I cannot blog for free or consult with you for free.
As my bills pile up, as the collectors call my phone, I am angered that I am giving so much and receiving so little. Do I not value myself enough to charge? Why do I have to hit rock bottom before I start to value myself and my work?
I’m an artist first and a business person last. I have a need to create and share my art, my work with you, the world. And, although I want to quit and say F it all, I will always find a way to create.
So, will you help me continue to create?
Instead of sex work or selling bodily organs, I came up with a campaign that I’m launching right now.
I’m selling ‘10’ spots of 1 on 1 sessions. We’ll call it “Chats with Leah V”.
In this 30-minute session, you can pick my brain, ask me questions about branding, building social media platforms, how to break into modeling, networking, content creation, fashion, style, body-image, mentorship, or you can just talk to me for half an hour about whatever you want. It’s your time.
I’m charging $99 per session.
All the proceeds will go to paying off my credit card bills, creating new content, rent, tissue, food, and toothpaste and gas in my car, etc…
So, email me Leahjvernon@gmail.com or Paypal the $99 fee to lock in your session because I’m only doing ten to start.
I just made a Patreon account, where readers like yourself can also donate $1 to $200 monthly. Some awesome goodies are attached to those donations.
And, if you just want to help a sister out, you can either Venmo (@LeahV) or PayPal (Leahjvernon@gmail.com) me a donation, so I can keep going, stay afloat and stop crying because I can’t pay my bills.
Support the arts and the artists that make it possible.