I'll preface this by saying she can tell her story much better than I can write, so here's the full story of how she dropped out of college and eventually became a career creator (16 min watch):
1. Aim to increase your "luck surface area"
2. Serendipity is when opportunity meets preparation. The more you do something that you're passionate about and share the process, the more you're luck surface area increases
In 2015, Sara was heading into her 3rd year of college and was in the midst of switching her major from electrical engineering to computer science. She’d started her YouTube channel in 2011 so at the time, she already had 4-5 years of video creation experience.
She was posting 1-2 videos per week and the topics included creative tutorials, walk throughs, new lens breakdowns, and tech unboxings.
She took her content a step further and launched 3 pilot episodes for a new docuseries, Creative Spaces TV, where she interviewed and profiled creative entrepreneurs, artists, and freelancers.
She had 3,000 subscribers and was committed to learning everything she could to succeed as a creative.
She heard about the Adobe Creative Max Conference from a friend, found a college discount for the tickets, purchased them for $300, and used credit card points to book a flight to LA.
💰 Frugality ftw 💰
While at the conference she met Becky, one of that year’s Adobe Creative Residents.
Residents had the opportunity to have a year of their expenses covered by Adobe so they could pursue their creative careers, whatever that looked like to them. To become a resident, you had to go through a stringent application process and show that you were dedicated to your craft.
She asked Becky to record a Creative Spaces TV episode and to her surprise, she was introduced to adobe’s creative manager who then mentioned that they were hosting a creative “design off” in Nashville and needed someone to record it.
Sara jumped at the opportunity even though it only paid $200. However, because the opportunity aligned with her main goal of becoming a full-time creator, the pay was almost irrelevant.
After the Creative Max conference, she was inspired and motivated to become apart of next year’s Adobe Creative Resident class, which only welcomed a few creators each year.
It become her new North Star - all actions were going to map to landing the role.
She had a little over 6 months to become the perfect candidate while still needing to pay her bills and stay afloat after dropping out of college. She needed roughly $600/month so she connected with a photographer that she’d previously interviewed on Creative Spaces TV to begin producing video content for his clients to earn an income.
As part of the pursuit to Residency, she started publishing a daily blog about her creative process called #Everydaze (inspired by now-popular, Beeple) to help stand out amongst other applicants. She was reverse engineering the role and increasing her “luck surface area” by consistently creating and sharing the process - which she did for 100 days.
When it was time for the new Creative Resident applications to open, she submitted her portfolio and made it through the first round of interviews.
She was still creating videos on her own YouTube channel and between interviews, she made the video that changed everything - "How to vlog like Casey Neistat".
The video caught Casey's attention, he shouted it out within one of his own videos, and Sara's channel skyrocketed from 4,000 to 100,000 subscribers almost overnight.
In the final interview they asked her if she even still wanted the Residency role. However, because viral videos don't produce immediate income and this was her dream job, she took the Creative Residency, moved to New York, and began to make a name for herself as a creator.
She had a year to create whatever she wanted while having her expenses paid for by Adobe.
Fast forward to today and she now has 846,000 subscribers and almost 100,000,000 million views.
While her rise to popularity happened almost overnight, it can all be mapped back to establishing a goal, putting in the work, and increasing your 'luck surface area'.