*3, 2, 1.... HAPPY NEW YEAR!* "2017 here we come", someone shouted — I was at one of my college friends apartments in Downtown Indianapolis, I had not a single care in the world. I was one week away from my 3 college classes starting, I liked taking artsy pictures and getting the occasional free top or pair of kicks, but wait, where the hell am I going with this? I, in this exact moment, had no freakin' clue the wrath that 2017 was about to have on me, but oh how I wish I had.
Here's to the year that a 19 year-old-girl lost herself completely, left college after 1 semester, quit her job, followed her dream, met a boy & found herself all over again — oh yeah — and all in one year!
MaddyCorbin.com launches as a means to keep a portfolio of my photos and at the time "collaborations". College Maddy begins, wasting over 1 hour in driving to and from IUPUI everyday: hating the car ride, hating the classes, and hating herself. I worked at Suite Little Muse / Suite Escape doing everything creative within the brand, I would take artsy photos & book photo clients when needed for $$$.
College Maddy cont. (in its worst capacity, allowing it to take over my work, ie. not posting to Instagram, staying out late, having 0 plan on what's next in social media), I get interviewed by Pattern Magazine as a fashion blogger (at the time I had no idea what this meant, knew I liked clothes, and I guess it sounded cool?), I still worked with Suite Little Muse / Suite Escape, I was taking on more projects as a freelance photographer with Shutterstock, I had an amazing opportunity to contribute free photographs for Darling Magazine to use, I turned 19 & traveled to Chicago with my high school best friend for the weekend. This is when I hit 10k on Instagram.
Here, in good ol' May, things finally started to change. College Maddy cont. but she was coming to an end (found better balance, and skipped classes to find herself & make a plan for the life she wanted) (sorry Mom), my Instagram started picking up, posting became regular & I began taking on even more work (some local!) I started blogging more like 20 Goals Before I Turn 20 & Close The Book That Teaches You Social Media, I traveled to Tampa all by myself & met some of the most amazing gals from Instagram. I helped a local Airbnb artist build a brand for her spaces and did a staycation in the loft above her garage! *Maddy, you may be onto something here*
AKA The month that shaped my entire year. There was one morning, and I can't for the life of me pinpoint exactly when it was, that I decided I was done. I was done dabbling here and there in this industry, trying to do the stuff other 19 year olds were doing because I was 19, & taking the safe route because it was just that, safe. I was ready — I'm gonna take my jump. Here me talk about this month more in depth in my YouTube video How I Got Started Working In Social Media, this month I: quit college, (exit college Maddy), quit my job & hosted a meet-up for Indy creatives to talk about my manta "endlessly creating myself" see more in the blog post here and the final product video here.
This is the "oh sh*t, I've made this decision now I have to prove myself" month. I began by working with tons of local photographers, this gave me what felt like not only more content but quality content. I went to Chicago twice around May-June, one for fun content curations and the second for a mentee. I began sending DM after DM to smaller brands looking to collaborate to broaden my portfolio, things continued, I found my rhythm and found confidence to push my dreams further. I launched the #MaddyCorbinMentorship Program in response to the handful of emails I would get per day regarding the journey I had chosen & young eager creatives who wanted the inside-scoop to get in on the industry. This has grown with me, and my brand over the months and I have been so blessed to have a group of over 40 individuals I have worked one-on-one building the brand of their dreams!
The month of love. I loved everything about June. It was warm in Indy, the inspiration was ready & hot, oh and hi Bryce! ;) Not only did June bring one of my biggest collaboration months, I began getting paid for my work AND I was emailed on behalf of Urban Outfitters to work on their Back-To-School Campaign, which you can see here. So this is the holy grail right? Have I made it yet? This month was about learning to take more images alone, pushing my craft and fun fact: every image for all of my collaborations and campaigns around this time were taken on my iPhone!
Urban Outfitters reposted my image. Yup. I was at the car dealership when it happened with Bryce & immediately called my Mom, I acted like a lunatic but it was one of those moments where I had that "this IS going to work" feeling. They are very rare in this line of work. My DM work from the previous months had paid off as this month I had pulled on collaborations with Daniel Wellington, an 8-Brand Campaign through Stylinity & L'Occitane through a NYC creative industry. This month I also initiated the most mentees in one given period, 6, one in which Bryce & I traveled up to the Dunes for a group Mentorship Session.
5 blog posts went live this month. A Friday Night In, How-To Start A Blog (Successfully), #LoveLoccitane, Let's Talk About Hair & What I Didn't Expect About Post-School Entrepreneurship. Other than that out of honesty I had hut a rut. I work nonstop for many weeks at a time because I love what I do, this month was overwhelming which drew me back a bit, as I took more time to focus on my family & Bryce. In August I started my YouTube channel thanks to the amazing support of Bryce who convinced me that I was going to have to make the jump for it at some point, thus, I recorded and uploaded my first video ALL IN THE SAME DAY. I'm excited to push my YouTube venture more in 2018. Because of YouTube I really started using the camera I had on hand at the time, a Canon Rebel t6i.
Around this time is when my schedule and the way I went about things starting really falling into place. I got on a daily routine sending cold-emails to brands pushing myself to pull on more paid collaborations. I added a monthly playlist to my per-month content, I was working double time on my engaging on social media to grow my engagement, new collaborations came up like Coach, Simon Malls & SummerSalt. In September Bryce & I worked with Airbnb artist, Deborah, again for a collaboration Broad ripple staycation in her newly finished Duplex. This month I also did multiple day trips to and from various parts of Ohio working to build more connections and gain fresh content with photographers.
Enter in the sexy, Canon 6D Mark ii & Sigma Art Lens that changed my content game forever. I like to say that October was the awkward month in between calling my job a hobby and a full-time job. In October I traveled to Knoxville, TN with my family, and then Bryce & I went to Grand Rapids, MI in collaboration with JW Marriott & Experience GR. This month I really took on more Shutterstock Assignments to function as a part-time job. I worked with BioClarity, Marc Anthony Hair, Cluse, Daniel Wellington & Shoes of Prey. This month I also launched my #MaddyCorbinPresets Collection as a product of the Maddy Corbin Shop which will be expanded next year. Due to the traveling that occurred this month, I got a spark of inspiration and started pushing further on this.
You see this website you're reading this post on? Would not have come to without the girl at GoLiveHQ which we collaborated last month. Other than that collaboration I had the opportunity to work with Eva Hair NYC & Target, Nisolo, Final Price, as well as started another L'Occitane holiday collaboration. In addition I added about 7 other small business collaborations to my portfolio. This was my first time really in the industry for the holidays and busy season, so it hit me like a truck. I had so many ideas and things I wanted to do content wise than I wasn't able to produce, but there is always 2018. Last month I also Launched #MaddyMail, a weekly newsletter for creatives all across the world. This is beginning the first week of 2018 so if you haven't signed up yet be sure to, at the bottom of the page! I also had so much fun doing huge sales (50% off presets and Mentorship Sessions) and more!
Well, well, well — here we are. December Maddy has no idea who the heck January Maddy was. This month I wanted to travel to the big apple with my love & so we made it happen. We collaborated with Moxy Times Square and stayed in the city for 5 days, I was happy to announce next month I am a part of a 10 person #PantenePartner team headed back to NYC for work, I brought 1 new mentee on board this month, I had 7 blog posts (including this one) that went live in December including: a Weekend Guide to Grand Rapids, my December Playlist, A Girl & Some Crazy Pants, "It's Called Vintage", a L'Occitane Gift Guide & Maddy Corbin's Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide. I was put on a campaign with Squarespace, I helped my mom start a small business and Bryce helped me get back into YouTube for the coming year as we published a video going behind-the-scenes of a few of my Instagram posts. You can see it here!
As for 2018, I honestly have no idea what is in store. 2017 played out in a way that I never could have guessed. If you would have told January Maddy I would be sitting here writing this I would have thought you were insane.
For you, it's time. That thing that has been in the back of your head, or the idea you came up with a few years back that you wanted to create. Create it, do it, make it, building the life you want and never be afraid. We are given one life, one chance to make a story, and 2018 will just be a small chapter in it — why not make it one to remember?