Pushing 30 & No Career Plan...
Pushing 30 With No Set Career Plan
I’ve always been the type of person to go with flow and never felt the need for a set life plan. Of course I’ve had goals, and consider myself ambitious with the drive/energy to achieve my ambitions, but when I left college all those years ago I had a vision of what I thought my life would look like now, and it’s defiantly not that (yet). Right now, I feel like it’s a natural time to reflect, rehash the lessons I’ve learned and evaluate what I still want to achieve, so here I am putting pen to paper / fingers to keyboard which will hopefully help me work things out and allow you to learn a little more about the life of a model, actor, blogger, human with no plan B.
I’m going to start this post where I feel my career really began. I was working on a contract abroad at the time as a singer/entertainer. The year before I worked on a similar contract in Rhodes, Greece, but this year I was in Egypt. Towards the end of my time in Egypt, me and my then partner broke up, which defiantly left an emotional toll, but also really made me look inside myself and realise I didn’t want to do that job anymore. There was a real cliché moment where I was watching the sunset in a little fishing village outside of Sharm El Sheikh and after suffering the emotional turbulence of the last month or so, it suddenly hit me that I actually have a choice. I am in charge of me and what I want to do. Before this, I had lost track of my own hopes and ambitions. I had lost that sense of self that can so easily slide away in a first love relationship. It was September but my contract didn’t end until November, but I made up my mind, I didn’t want this for my life anymore.
Coming home, my main focus was to sign with an acting agency, get some classes under my belt and start making foundations in the UK. Within the first year of being home, I started to attend classes, and signed to agency, who also put me on their modelling books. I also started doing some promotional work in order to support myself going to castings/ auditions. There was a point close to when I first started acting that I landed a really great commercial that paid an amazing six figure sum. I have to admit at the time, I naïvely thought this would be it - I would be earning that amount constantly. I heard the warnings of others before me, saying how that money comes and goes, but I can’t say I really listened. I burned through that money like nobody’s business, but not on anything that was technically sensible or investing. I just presumed those jobs were my future, but that was five years ago, and I haven’t had a better paid job since. I don’t necessarily regret all the clothes or the trips or the drinks or the nights out or the new furniture, or the designer litter tray for my cat etc etc...(Okay, maybe the litter tray was a bit too far)...but in hindsight, I could of been more sensible with my money.
From this experience it really hit hard how acting is so up and down, and there are literally no guarantees. Even after all the castings, or you get through the second/third/tenth round of an audition and eventually you actually get the job, your part can still be cancelled. Last year I was waiting on the schedule for filming a new show developed for Amazon, but instead of the schedule I got an email saying the part I was playing had been written out! I was also pencilled in for an amazing car commercial last year which was another six figure sum - but that fell through.
From these experiences I’ve learned that I do need something stable and to rely on something other than this. So I decided - I still want to be in the game, with the opportunities to score big, but also have something that supports me for when I don’t.
As mentioned, my modelling career really began when I was looking for an acting agency. The agency I eventually signed with also put me on their modelling books. I started working with some local brands, a few editorials, some catwalks and beauty shoots. I wouldn’t say modelling has ever been my main focus, or something that I purposely sought out. Don’t get me wrong I’m super happy it’s a part of my life and I love it. I feel like it’s just as much a creative outlet as acting. In general terms, I think I started in the modelling world a little bit later than most. I must of been around twenty-two/twenty-three at the time, which isn’t old by any means, but it isn’t the fresh face of a sixteen/seventeen year old either. Now, as I’m a little older I’ve defiantly noticed the jobs I am requested for aren’t as regular. In no way am I bitter about this and accept the industry for what it is. Perhaps in another few years I’ll get more work with more mature brands – right now I’m probably at that weird time where I don’t look really young, but also I don’t look old enough to be part of the more mature campaigns. It was this realisation that really inspired me to go more down the blogging/Instagram route....
INSTAGRAM / BLOGGING
It was about three years ago when I was spending time in Essex with my cousin, and we were discussing my Instagram. At the time, my feed was very messy, mostly standard pictures of the family, the cat and the odd selfie. We decided to scrap everything and start again. I had so many professional model pictures; it seemed silly not to be utilizing Instagram. I began uploading my pictures much more cohesively and allowing myself to be creative with it. From this point, my audience grew and grew and now I’m currently at 25k, which is amazing to me. For any outsiders looking in, it may seem a little bit trivial, but I love creating content, working to a brief from brands and using my feed as my canvas to express myself.
When I first started on Instagram I was always under the impression that potentially I might get sent the odd freebie – this I kind of expected. I have to admit, I love freebies. What I didn’t expect was to actually earn money from it. Last year I quit doing the promotional work I was using to support myself because I no longer had to do it. Just to explain, the promotional jobs I’m talking about are the ones where you hand out freebies in shopping centres or event pop-ups etc, hard work and often hard to get hold of your pay. I’m beyond grateful I can now do something I love whilst earning enough to get by, but is this where I’ve found myself now – getting by?
We’ve spoken a little about acting, modelling Instagram and blogging, all my current job titles. Going back to my earlier statement about where I thought I’d be, and where I am now, I don’t refer to this with any negativity. I know if I had a conversation with my seventeen year old self and told him about my day-to-day life and career, he would be in awe. I’m proud of everything I’ve achieved and the life I now lead – however like my little epiphany in Egypt, it dawned on me that I now need to up my game, live the life I want, not just getting by financially. At this point when I’m pushing the big thirty, it’s inevitable that I’m reflecting and asking myself these type of questions, which I would like to point out isn’t due to any “pressure from society”. These questions are coming from me only, not because I’m “supposed” to be asking them, but because I want to.
WHAT'S YOUR PLAN B?
One question I’ve always been asked, and I’m sure anyone who works in a creative role can relate to is: What’s your plan B? My answer is the same now has it always was...I don’t have a Plan B.
I’m just as passionate about acting as I ever was, and doing a self tape casting for a pilot show in US recently, helped me realise this. PLAN A – ACT. I love the modelling side of things, being on set and a part of someone’s vision. PLAN A – MODEL. I’m also passionate about my social media, creating content and working to a brief. Again, I can’t tell you how grateful I am that this now helps support me. PLAN A – SOCIALS. When someone asks about my Plan B I don’t have one. All my plans are a Plan A. Perhaps the trick is to give yourself options that you are equally just as passionate about and keep expanding on them. My PLAN A is ever evolving, and this year part of that Plan will be expanding even more.
For the first time in my life, I’m at a point where I feel the need to have more of a structure in place. The plan is to still peruse my passions but also expand on them. Pushing thirty and I’m more ready for the future than I ever have been before.
Thanks for reading - Billy B x