Dear Middle Class.
Hello! I just realized that I have a lot of drafts that are stuck in my inbox. I decided to start clearing my inbox and start writing regularly again.
Warning: Not fully finished and a very LONG article, with a lot of errors, but I hope you get the point! I made a few quick edits with this one so you can at least understand what I was trying to write.
This is one of those articles that should have stayed in my draft box for a few more years. But in the interest of emptying out my draft box, I’m hitting publish and letting the chips fall where they may. My mind was at my destination before my life was.
Hello. I’m Alesha Peterson. I’m pretty sure most of you don’t know me from Adam. But I’m a singer, actress, and model that just so happens to be an entrepreneur and been involved in a number of startups and business partnerships.
Yes. I’m one of those people that lives life on my own terms and while I’m not against or hate corporate America, a 9 to 5 er is not for me. I perform quite a bit and no normal traditional job would accommodate me.
I’ve noticed throughout my young years of life people have said I’ve had it easy, I’ve gotten breaks because of my looks, that I get white privilege because I’m a light skinned yellow bella pine slinger and (you would be amazed at how many times this is the case), and something other than my own efforts got me my successes.
This makes my skin crawl.
I’m annoyed by the fact that when I run into someone that sees my luxuries, you will say how I have it easy, how I’ve had some connections that’s out of your reach. You start to explain to me how you can’t do the work or don’t want to do the work, and you’re content with living comfortably instead of getting your own luxuries.
#1 I was underestimated and misunderstood.
In my years of grade school, high school and college I was overlooked all the time. Meaning what came easily to others didn’t come easy to me. Like Jack Ma, I was rejected while everyone else was accepted. What came easily to others didn’t come so easily to me. To the few organizations I was in, I was never one of them, I never felt completely welcomed. Like you know the feeling of being there, but being invisible? Even inside my organizations, I saw politics, and cut throat behavior (basically the same type of horror stories that you read about in some job settings). In college, my friends, were definitely more successful than I was. Some may even say I’m being hard on myself because according to people I talked to about it, many of the situations I came across were unavoidable. However for the purposes of not making this a 12 hour post, lets just say they kicked butt and I didn’t.
I will be that Gemini with a lot of startups under my belt before it is said and done. Basically everything I didn’t have the opportunity to do? I’m creating a version of it in some capacity of it in my real world life. There’s an instagram quote that said since they won’t let you play ball in their gym it’s time to build your own court. This is what I’m doing: basically turning every painful thing into a successful project in some shape or form.
Remember the part where I said I’m not a traditional 9 to 5er is not for me? Well for a little experiment I decided to get a few normal jobs in Indianapolis, and kept the fact that I’m a model, actress, musician and entrepreneur a secret. I’m not famous so I could got away with it (and still can get away with it). Here’s what I still find unfortunately.
The guys got more breaks than the girls. Meaning if I made a mistake, they came down harder on me. If a guy makes a mistake, well, they had an easier time. Guess what, the boys in some cases are still more favored than the girls! I had to always remind my bosses that I’m not a doormat. I’m all for being a team player, but I didn’t let people get comfortable with talking to me anyway. I had to tell people 3x my age to chill out and I’m not your slave! And I always had to tell people to quit blurting out my age to perverted guys. Just because your impressed with my youthful looks does not mean I want to go out with your son or I want you to announce on a loudspeaker how old I am. I’ve had to be aggressive about this. It’s freaken ridiculous. This alone has been a turnoff; for the most part, I hate it that folks are obsessed with my age (and later I will tell you how I turned this “fountain of youth” into a successful business venture). I also hate how I’ve been asked if I have a boyfriend or if I’m married like a guy defines who I am as a person. I was even asked out on a date during one of my job experiences. I’m like are you serious? I’m at work. GO AWAY. I’ve had to be really aggressive about that also. I keep my private life private (yes I’m one of those people).
My favorite jobs ever? Gen Con.
My job experiences also taught me to not underestimate people based on their appearance or speech (I try not to underestimate because people do it to me).
Early in my career, I experienced a lack of respect in business because of my young looks. “I was perceived as this stupid and young kid with no money,” Rather than let prejudicial comments stop him, he worked harder and gained the favor of vendors and business partners. Because I have a young look, lets face it, too many people think I’m a young kid and stupid. I don’t wear million dollar clothes that are not flashy. Does that mean I have no money. Just because I don’t flash, doesn’t mean I’m disqualified.
Before long, and after building up my LinkedIn, I was taken seriously. “I was able to land some of the best deals of my life,” he said.
Again, I learned from those experiences to never underestimate anybody in life because of looks, demeanor, accent or dress. Today when he thinks about hiring someone, he looks at the character of the person, his or her attitude, skill level and potential cultural fit. When I’m 50, I promise to treat everyone, no matter what age they are, with respect. I don’t want to be one of these people that says just because I’m older you automatically have to respect me. If I’m being a b**** please tell me, I would greatly appreciate it and do not ever want to start setting my ways of doing things.
#2. I watched more friends pass away to suicide then I will ever admit to in a blog post.
I’ve had people confide to me how they wanted to end their life also. I will spare you the grizzly details. I secretly think this is one of the biggest reasons why I do not like talking about college, I’ve seen way too many people take their lives over it. This changed me more than I care to admit. When people ask, I’m like why am I being asked about what I did in college again? Will people ever leave me alone about that? If I were to sit here and talk about all the traumatic things that happened to me in college, I would be able to have enough material write a whole book, and maybe a whole series. And trust me, I remember everything. There are times I have to forget to move on with my life. BUT I can remember as needed. Please filmmakers spare the proposals.
#3. I had a tumor, was sued, a friend passed away, along with a few family crises happened to me in 2016.
Apparently, there were people who thought I was Bill Gates loaded in 2016. My friends I cared about never reached out to me. The people that told me I should make my health a priority was the main ones threatening me, and threatening to sue me. I would probably say while my health wasn’t the greatest, I was harassed about money the most. Back to back hospital stays really taught me how people are when it comes to money.
I wasn’t going to post on Instagram my doctors visits, or pictures of my treatments. Or post every funeral I attended or explain how they passed away in full detail. Yes I got into several ventures, I got a movie role for 2017, and formed a few music bands. Because things seemed to be going well for me, that gave people the license to sue? Apparently so.
Please don’t tell me different. I read too many stories of cancer patients getting sued for not paying back student loans even with having cancer and not medically being able to work. To all my fellow tumor and cancer peeps. If you are having a bad time I understand where you are coming from. Unfortunately, people care more about you paying them then how you feel or your health. (I’m not trying to sound like a b**** but it’s true. I’ve become more blunt nowadays).Too many times, people only wanted what they wanted even though I told them I’m making my health a priority. I’m convinced some thought I was lying because I wasn’t telling everyone/posting it on social media/etc, just like I said. So trust me, I understand what is happening to you. I was on my way to financial freedom but my hospital stays broke my finances in 2016. I felt like I was being stabbed all the time. My current million is not a lot (some of you may be surprised to hear me say that) but as soon as I hit multi millionaire or billionaire status, I would love to help more of you with medical expenses. I’d also love to help several of you with unforgiving and ruthless student loan debt. I’m convinced after this experience, I’m in hell trying to reach heaven.
**2018 update: I want to point out that that medical thing is an ongoing situation, and it amazes me how many record labels in my home state of Indiana wanted to put me in an uncomfortable position of recording at night. I must look stupid but I’m not. I wish them all well but I don’t trust easily. I decided to eliminate that because being a lady, recording with guys at apartments or hotels isn’t a good idea. If something happens, the lady gets blamed. If I’m in Nashville, LA, NY or Miami and ask to record at 9:00 am in the morning, it’s no problem. That’s where I’ve started recording more music in more entertainment friendly areas. Sure, pervs exist everywhere, but doing projects during the day decreases sketchy situations from happening.
#4. While people don’t like that I’m around fancy cars, do you know how many years I didn’t have a car?
In high school, I wasn’t taught how to drive. I had to end up teaching myself because my parent made up excuses as to why I should wait, keeping up with the joneses is bad, how I should be happy about being at one of the top private high schools in the city, etc. The big point was missed. I did not care about those things or even care that I had a car all the time. I wanted to learn a skill and share another bonding experience of learning something new.
KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES WAS NOT MY THING. If I can afford it, I won’t do it! Even today, I will tell my friends, eh, this is not a good idea. Just because you have a chunk of change doesn’t mean you want to spend it on unnecessary things. Not depending on other people, being able to get to point a to b without constantly annoying and asking people for rides. I’m an ENFP for crying out loud. We are independent to a fault.
Just for the record, I park the car quite a bit and use Uber, Lyft, or public transit all the time.
#6. I could keep going. In the interest of not making this a 12 hour post, I will stop.
To those who say I had it easy. I strongly disagree with you. I just never complained to anyone, and that’s the difference. I posted my band performances, posted horrible singing on my Snapchat (by the way why in the hell did they watch that crazy stuff I had no clue). During the hardest periods of my life, I was on my own. The people that said that they would be there for me either left, passed away or criticized me so much it turned me off. I even had to tell people on YouTube that I’m not a God and my life is not perfect. I found out that people are not really down for you like they say they are. My friends and members of my own family still are on my college’s side despite me briefly explaining that I was harassed, faced micro-agressions, and unnecessary political correctness (James Ward Jr has one of the best articles I’ve seen). They are convinced that the things that happened to me was my fault. If you tell me otherwise, you are lying. Your silence speaks volumes. You ignoring my texts and calls speaks volumes. Let me make it easy for all of you. You don’t care, but don’t have the balls to say it.
When I started to make things better, I only shared it with a select group of people from college who I thought gave a damn. I didn’t make a point of posting every single thing I did on Facebook because I found out quickly that money changes people. When you have something that people want, they will come calling non-stop. I’m also not a bragging person that hasn’t changed, so for that to happen to me especially is weird. While some will say that they are rich because you have friends to go out and drink with on the weekends, money doesn’t buy happiness, etc. Guess what? MONEY DOES MATTER. I wish people would treat me normal, honestly. But the truth is people treat you nicer if they think you have it and will kiss your ass for it. People say they don’t want to be wealthy but front like they have money. You claim you don’t have any spending money, but spend $400 dollars to get VIP tickets see Beyonce or Taylor Swift, and spend another $200 on buying booze at a bar. I love the queen and TS, and love bars but I had to stand on the sidelines for a while to work my way to this point. I hated missing out on fun times with friends. As I write this, I’m still working like I’m #2. I’m still looking into new ventures and opportunities as I speak.
Not so surprising bombshells.
#1. What I’m doing is not magical or impossible. You can do the same thing.
If more people had the right mindset, more positive things would happen. When I was around millionaires and billionaires, I wasn’t jealous of them. I became inspired by them and knew I could do the same thing. I acted like I belonged. I gave to them Instead of expecting them to always give to me. Instead of calling Donald Trump names or being mad accusing him of having white privilege, I decided to focus on creating wealth so I can give the people I care about the same treatment. If you’re not a trump fan, or think he’s racist as hell consider this: I’ve known professors and teachers that makes Donald Trump look like an angel. So when people mention to me how mean he is, how he’s this, that, I’m like well? I’ve dealt with people that is a lot worst. If I recorded every mean thing some teachers and professors have done to me it could rival some of the things you are seeing on television today. Guaranteed. When you had things happen to you before, you recognize it and it becomes easier to deal with. For example, recently on my Youtube, someone said “Ewww Gross” then I said “You’re gross” then they responded “Lol, it’s fun to be nasty sometimes” and I said yep sucking is fun! I actually turned a “hater” into a fan by keeping my cool. Will I have this pleasure all the time? Of course not. But I like hater comments. They make life fun!
Experience makes tough skin, folks.
I also love it when people say wow your in your mid twenties and don’t have kids? Having goals is not worthy of an standing ovation or trophies. Quit acting like it’s an special accomplishment, y’all. It’s not. I’ve had guys fall hard in love with me and one of the things I tell them is I’m really focused on my career (meaning I perform on a regular basis, I’m out of town for gigs, and I’m on movie sets). They took it way too personal that I’m driven and extremely self-motivated. I tell them like I’ll tell everyone. No one is going to give it to you, you have to work for it! Because I worked for it and made tons of sacrifices, you are seeing the results. This is also how I feel about my fountain of youth and fitness habits. It’s not something that people need to freak out over all the time….I put in the work, and the results show. It’s gotten so bad that I personally have to take the focus off my age and put the focus on the subject at hand.
#2. Raise your standards
Why is it that we see “poor” as a badge of honor and see the rich and wealthy as bad, that they took something from you to get where they are? I totally understand that some people may have different starting points but don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s 20. Just because you are at rock bottom doesn’t mean you don’t have what it takes to get to the top. I love when people tell me that $20,000 a year is good money yet they are working 60 hours a week to get that. Here’s a better plan.
If you’re a cook that gets paid about $30/hour to do pre-litigation work and settle cases, then how much are the clients paying the firm for your work? I’d guess the firm probably bills clients at least $150/hour for you to handle this on their behalf.
So now you know that you your time is worth at least $150/hour. The firm is just taking $120 of it from you as a “finder’s fee.” Hmm…seems pretty steep, don’t you think?
Could you take those exact same skills and make money by yourself? One way that comes to mind is divorce filings. The process is expensive (can cost hundreds or even thousands to file), but in reality, most paralegals know how to do this work.
Could you open up an “express” business to offer this very specific service for a better rate? There’s clearly a never-ending market for it!! (And God, are they willing to pay!)
How about learning something you don’t know to get the things you haven’t had before? When I tried to get some of my friends and family involved in some of my ventures in the past, they acted uninterested, or ignored the messages. So I stopped telling them about it. Landing on Forbes, Huffington Post, and other magazines gets their attention though. The irony is when I make a chunk of change, they wonder how I do it and accuse me of hiding some secret formula from them. I’ll tell you my definition of good money hands down. Good money is having 7+ streams of income. Good money is making money while I sleep. Good money is being able to buy rounds and rounds on drinks. Lets just say I want to drop $6,000 on friends (if this is something you want to do). Better money allows me to do this without thinking about where it’s going to come from. Better money allows me to order food off the menu and not worry about the price. Better money is when I want to a bar on Tuesday, and I have the whole place to myself. Better money is going to Kentucky Kingdom on a Wednesday, and earning money while I’m facing my fear of heights.
I keep reminding people that a traditional get up from work, drive to work, cublicle 9 to 5er is not for me not because I think I’m too good to work at them. I’ve seen too many people put years of loyalty into a company just for them to be thrown away. I know some people don’t experience this. But Isn’t it scary to think that someone else can control your time, your wage, and your salary? Well it is to me, and I have found creative ways to earn money or find work that is flexible. Flexible to the point where I can sleep in til noon, travel during the week and not be stuck in one location. I will repeat this below so you get what I’m saying.
#3 Wealth Creation, Earning Money and Jobs
I really have changed my views on wealth creation, earning money and finding and keeping a job. Instead of focusing on the money, I focus on adding value versus how much I’m getting paid per hour or per gig. It’s crazy because I stopped chasing money, and more opportunities for me to make it has come around. If you are happy earning money at a 9 to 5er, I’m not knocking you. I’m not even saying I should say never say never.
Once again, as I said above. I’ve read and seen too many horror stories of people being loyal, putting their years in at a company. Then for whatever reason that company chooses, they dump you out the door. Just like that, you have no regular income coming in. I do not want another entity controlling how much I get paid or controlling my destiny. People, I can’t. I won’t. I saw enough of the rat race in college and I’m not going to do it. It’s almost like putting your hand on a frying pan, then feeling the burn. And doing it over and over again. And hoping that by the 5th or 6th time, you will be liked enough to finally get in. Simply put, I bossed up and created my own lane. (Remember, don’t kill yourself for a job, they will replace you in a week).
Here’s the mindsets I personally follow and the ones I ignore.
Old School Mindsets I Ignore:
1. Work your way up the corporate ladder. You need to build up your resume and expertise.
2. Good things happen to those who wait. Just wait your turn like everyone else.
3. Everyone has to pay your dues. I spent years working day in and day out to get senior priority, time to put in your 20 years.
4. Be grateful that you secured a job in this economy. Times are hard enough as it is.
New School Mindsets I Idolize:
1. I don’t have to accept a company’s assessment of my value. They don’t determine how much my salary and wage is. I determine what I’m worth. I decide what skills I’m bringing to the table.
2. I know and deserve to receive significant rates for my skills. My services are worth the high price. I have everything I need to be successful.
3. I add value and people are willing to pay for my services and ideas.
4. I control my income streams and destiny.
Remember, I’m young and dumb with no money. I originally said in the last post that I would remove the millionaire out of of the title. I didn’t put it in the title. So as far as I’m concerned, my family will not take my advice under consideration.
But I know a couple that doesn’t like to work. When they have money, they will post on Facebook everywhere they been, vacation destinations, and the fancy restaurants. If they want to borrow money, they will call you tons of times. If you need money? Good luck, you are not going to get it from them. But if you have money, you are the bank. You got to do something because no one is going to give it to you. Maybe your method is working 2 to 3 jobs, or working Freelancer or Upwork. I wonder if they think this happened to me by sitting on my butt and wishing a million dollars would fall out the sky. If there is a kumbaya type song of this nature that exists, please let me know. Lol.
#4 Sometimes Perceptions Are Stupid AF
Ever noticed how whenever you try to break out of your comfort zone, there’s always someone who wants to criticize and tear you down?
There’s a basic fact I’ve come to realize about the world, and it’s a tough one, but it’s 100% true: Most people aren’t comfortable with seeing you make the changes necessary to achieve your dreams.
Sounds harsh, I know.
But the more you break out of your shell in life, the more people will be threatened by seeing you reach your true potential.
Because it robs them of their OWN excuses.
You can work and expand your comfort zone and try many things, but the world will always want to put you in a tiny box. People will try to shape you into an image that THEY find comfortable for THEM.
So I follow this personal rule. If a business ignores me and doesn’t want to give me the same courtesy they give their other clients, I won’t do business with them. It will be the best business lesson I can ever teach to again, not underestimate anyone and sometimes, perceptions are stupid. Just for the record, people thinking that I’m a kid with no money has cost some businesses some descent accounts. They usually try to apologize and say hey we want your “investment”, or what not when they hear from other company about me. By that point, I found someone else that actually said hello when I walked in the door. I’m not asking for Queen Elizabeth or Dali Lama treatment. I simply ask that they treat me the way they want to be treated.
I will continue to live my life how I want to, not how everyone thinks I should. I’m not ghetto, I don’t have kids (the idea of being a mother scares the shit out of me), I’m not promiscuous. I do not respond to every guy that says “hey babe” or “you’re cute” (it personally aggravates the hell out of me, I’m Alesha, not your sex object. I’ve hurt a ton of feelings over that behavior. I hate when guys call me hunny or sweetie in a professional setting. That also makes my skin crawl). If I missed a stereotype, let me know in the comments. I’ve been told that I’m intimidating as hell because I don’t fit peoples’ idea of how they think I should be. Cheers to being intimidating as hell. Unfortunately, too many people in my years of my life have tried to keep me in a box in a gray area. Instead of getting to know people as a individual, I notice too many people categorize. I don’t understand it. Never will. They don’t appreciate you being yourself until you are super uber successful, then they wonder what you are doing or how you are doing it. People say I’m different. No, I’m just being Alesha. It’s not magical or anything special. There are tons of people who are going great things and create startups every single day. :)
People hate? Give em a reason.
#5 Comparing Yourself To Others Is An Act Of Violence Against Yourself
Some of my friends might argue that I’m killing it right now, but you do you know how much I was killed in traditional education? How many times I didn’t fit into the educational box they wanted to keep me in?
It might seem that people around you are ahead of you, more successful than you, etc. For me, when this was happening to me in college, I used it as motivation. That mental slaughter that you hear about? I endured it and it is possible to survive it. I will not lie to you, it’s not easy. But it can be done.
Who knows? Someone might think you are getting ahead of them and think you think you’re too good to hang out with them. No joke.
Are you the one that says omg I’m so jealous or do you inspire jealously? Just asking the question out of curiosity.
After pursuing my own dreams in Hollywood, and entrepreneurship and fitness and in fitness for many years, I’ve heard that “jelly” phrase over and over.
“OMG you got cast in a movie? I’m so jealous!!”
“OMG you’re opening up startups? I’m so jealous!”
“OMG, you got those abs, skinny girl! Do you ever eat?” I’m so jealous!
That phrase has a deeper meaning than what’s on the surface.
When someone says, “I’m so jealous!”, what they’re really saying is, “I wish I had the guts to go after my dreams and aspirations like you, but I’m way too scared.”
Because if you think about it, what is stopping the jealous person from having what you have?
THEMSELVES DAMN IT.
Yes, I work in movies.
Yes, I create startups.
Yes, I workout, lol.
But there is no reason why the jealous people can’t do it, too.
They hold themselves back.
Think about the last time someone said “I’m so jealous!” to you.
Maybe it was when you created a business.
Maybe it was when you made the decision to pursue your dream.
If you had to really dig deep, why was that person jealous of you?
It’s like we are in the “Rich Cool Kids Secret Society” (where our mission is to pursue our dreams), and all these people are jealous because they want to be in the society, too.
But the funny part is, there is no secrets, no society, no applications to apply for.
There is no secret formula.
There’s no presidental election required.
There is no secret handshake.
Anyone can get in the club. All they have to do is find their gifts and take action.
While you will read many stories of successful entrepreneurs making millions of dollars, gracing the covers of Forbes, and being inspiration to many, they don’t tell you about the bad and the ugly. If you want to have it “easy”, or be able to gain lifestyle freedom my question is how much are you willing to mentally, emotionally, and psychologically deal with? Can you handle temporary discomfort for long term freedom? Can you handle people treating you like complete shit and abandoning you because they don’t understand your goals? Can you handle family and friends who you thought would always support you ditch you? I can’t answer these for you, but they are things to think about! I’ve read and hear many stories of entrepreneurs falling into depression, killing themselves and having mental breakdowns because it became too much. Honestly, it depends on how much you can take.
To all those who say that I’m spoiled, have it easy or had everything handed to me, you have no clue and it’s not worth explaining myself to you. Silence is the best response to a fool. Guess what, at the time I was writing this in 2016, this whole post deleted on me, so I had to start all over. I tried to remember as much as I could from the deleted post. Hey LinkedIn, please put a feature that allows you to get to previous draft versions. I can’t imagine what I would have felt like if I didn’t have a version of this saved somewhere. That by itself makes me not want to write on here no longer. I had so many more posts just for LinkedIn but that creeped me out. So be sure to catch me on Huffington Post, Forbes, and Business Insider. If I could recover that original version somehow, that would be wonderful.
P.S. So if I’m silent towards you. Well. You’re a fool.
Signed the biggest college reject and loser who couldn’t get them to bat an eye when I needed it. I know I’m damn strange.
Alesha Marie Peterson
Self Made Millionaire
See the titles above
P.S. Pejman Ghadimi, this was influenced by your Dear Poor People letter. Yes what I’m doing is not magical, as I stated before. Some think I’m doing the impossible, but they can do the same thing if they put in the work. To the person reading this, I hope you write one of these letters also. Send it to me so I can read it!
Hello There! I’ve been involved in different businesses in several different capacities from being ceo, coo, co-founder, and more. I’ve learned so much from creating businesses, and I look forward to all the learning experiences I will have from starting new ventures.
With one business I was involved with, we made it possible to install a little device with customized hardware and a SaaS solution implemented to the router, the business owner was able see live data about social media info collected.
With another company, we had professional internet marketing company that focus on digital marketing campaigns, services and jobs such as SEO, PPC, Online Reputation Management, and social media marketing.
With EYT, I oversaw day-to-day operations and keeping the CEO apprised of significant events;Yes I actually talk with my business partner on a daily basis. I created operations strategy and policies; Communicated strategy and policy to employees and interns; Fostering employee alignment with corporate goals; and overseeing human resource management. I also delegate tasks to my team.
My current project is Bones’ Custom Guitar. We create custom guitars for musicians with imported wood. No one Bones’ guitar is the same. We also repair guitars. Jared, my band mate came up with the idea and foundation for Bones’.
Long story cut short. I’ve been playing gigs and booking shoots. My go to guitar, Blu Blu broke during this. When I went to get it repaired in Indy getting it fixed cost way more than the actual cost of the guitar.
It didn’t seem right. After talking with other musicians in Indianapolis, Chicago, Nashville and other cities for second opinions they thought the shop was trying to pull a fast one. So our mission is to offer fair prices for repairs and custom guitars for fellow musicians.
We are both Indy & LA based.
My biggest project currently? I’m also involved in entertainment as an actress, founder, and producer. We are currently producing 2 film projects with one of them having 1 million in financing.
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