Hey Tribe! My name is Jasmin Rhia and I’d Rather Be Rich Not Famous is dedicated to providing creative and motivated individuals with the tools necessary to monetize your greatest passions. In addition to this, self-care and the importance of living with a balance can also be learned with the help of this blog.
Are you a student in College looking for a way to earn money in your free time? Perhaps you’re an artist with a burning desire to create for a living. Or maybe you’ve just had a child and although you’d love to spend more time with your family, the amount of financial stress you are under has you working full-time away from home.
Whatever your situation may be, I’d like you to realize that 1. you are not alone and 2. there is a way out. Thinking about money is often seen as stressful. This is probably why so many of us don’t take the time out to know our net-worth, create a monthly budget, open an automatic savings account, or create an investment portfolio for our future. No matter the depth of your situation I want you to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
The principles and methods taught in my book The Ultimate Guide To Building Wealth Young serve as the exact same steps I followed in order to unlock my greatest potential as a freelancer. After living the last few years of my life stagnant and unhappy, I am now free and enjoying life more than ever! Let me assure you that I am not sharing this with you to brag or boast. Instead, I am sharing this with you so that I can stress an even BIGGER emphasis on my tragic past. To show you that I can relate, please allow me to tell you a story about a girl who thought she was living the dream…
California Dreaming: Before I made the life changing decision to plan for my future, I spent a good amount of time wasting money and seeking the approval of others. I’m not sure if any of you can relate but I use to spend THOUSANDS of dollars on music equipment, beats, studio time, music distribution, Trademarks, LLC’s, mixtape copies, social media marketing, and my so called “image”. Hair, nails, clothes, shoes, sunglasses, you name it! The amount of materials I accumulated over the years to “look the part” was insane. Completely ignorant to creating a budget for myself, I justified my reckless spending by telling myself I was merely investing in my career. “Fake it till you make it” was the name of the game and I was very down to play.
Becoming a self-made millionaire was always something I envisioned for myself. My ultimate dream was to launch a nation-wide non-profit campaign to help raise self-esteem awareness amongst children. I also fantasized about owning my own record label that signed on artists with a positive message. What was the flaw in my vision? I truly believed I needed to be seen as “cool” in order to be successful. I had convinced myself that I needed to build relationships with the most popular celebrities in the industry in order to achieve this goal. This not only affected the content of my music, but it also affected my spending habits and the type of people I surrounded myself with.
After graduating from FIU in December of 2011, I decided it was time to leave Miami’s ratchetness behind. As a result of being burned several times in my early rap career, I no longer wished to be in the spotlight as an artist. I decided that producing and writing pop music could be a better angle for me. Because of my interest in working behind the scenes, I was now anxious to relocate to Los Angeles, California. In order to achieve this goal, I moved in with my Grandparents to save money and build my new portfolio. After saving up exactly $10,743 working as a cocktail server in Jupiter, FL, I booked my one-way flight to La La Land.
All That Glitters: Out on the Westcoast it wasn’t long before I began to catch the same sickness so many speak about in regards to the entertainment industry. Like a child watching MTV cribs again, I was completely mesmerized by all of the luxury cars and houses on the hills. I became infatuated with chasing the lifestyles of the rich and famous and focused ALL of my energy on making it big. My ego started to take a turn for the worst as I surrounded myself with “yes” people who influenced most of my decision making. Without even realizing it I began moving backwards. The saying “It’s all about who you know” had turned me into a fame whore. The standards I once held for myself and the people surrounding me had quickly vanished into the dark.
Shelter: During my first year of living in LA I managed to pay just $300 a month for rent. I worked part-time in order to focus on my career and my friends were extremely supportive by allowing me to sleep on their couches. One day after coming home from the Trader Joe’s on Vine St, I received some sucky news. My friend sat me down and expressed to me that their landlord wanted me out of their Beachwood apartment. Apparently I had overstayed my welcome. Not only did I have to find a place ASAP, but I also had to find a job that could pay me double the amount I was making serving tables at The Sidewalk Cafe.
Lyft: On September 30th of 2014, I began
traveling 6 hours North to work in San Francisco as the Party Lyft driver. I had decked out my car with LED lights, a disco ball, gnarly seat covers, and a mounted IPad for the ultimate playlist experience. I was now making an average of $4000 a month driving part-time in the Bay area. Not only was my Venice Beach rent taken care of, but I could now afford many more trips to the mall.
What My Passengers Never Knew: After spending an average of 12 hours in driver mode I would end the day with a hot shower at the Fitness SF in SOMA. After getting ready for bed in the locker room, I’d head back to my car and start the engine. Depending on my level of exhaustion I’d make a few good turns, parallel park, and shut the car off. After making sure the coast was clear, I’d quickly pop the trunk and step out the car to gather my blanket and hair bonnet. Next I’d get back into the car, tie up my hair, set my alarm for 5:03 AM, and then let my seat back as far as it could go. After a few adjustments I was as comfortable as any 5’8 person would be sleeping in a four door sedan.
Home Sweet Home: After driving for an average of 8 days in the Bay I’d head back South to Venice Beach. Upon arrival I’d usually smash an entire pizza then sleep off the trips exhaustion. The next day I would gain the strength to run errands such as grocery shopping and laundry. After leaving the bank I would turn in my rent then head east on 1-10. In 30 minutes tops I’d arrive at The Beverly Center. Here is where I’d spend a good portion of my money on clothes, jewelry, and sneakers. It was like the more money I made, the sooner I’d spend it all!
After returning home from the mall it was now time to put in the real work. My goal was to start performing my new album by November 2015. Feeling super behind as always, I’d lock myself in the studio for days at a time with very few breaks. I completely took living on the beach for granted and hardly made time to see my friends. I was so far in the zone that I was out of it, and within a week I was loading up my car for my next trip.
Rock Bottom: After nine months of living my life in this manner, the burnout phase hit hard. Even though I was doing the most, I felt empty inside. More than ever I craved stability, better health, steady income, and needed to serve a greater purpose in life. After reading Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth, I realized my ego was holding me back from achieving any sort of long-term happiness. Although I was inspired to make a change, I quickly became depressed and embarrassed at the way in which I lived my life. I also felt trapped. I was making all of this money but spending it to the point where I couldn’t afford to leave. What was once a flexible and lucrative gig became my ultimate crutch. Worried sick, my Mom begged me to come home for two weeks. She expressed to me how she sensed my sadness and felt strongly that I needed a time-out. With rent due around the corner however, there was no way I could afford to take the time off.
Wake-up Call: On August 16th, 2015 it finally hit me. While driving my passenger home at approximately 2:50AM we were struck by a drunk driver. He had ran a red light at the intersection of Sunset Blvd & Noriega St. and the impact of the crash had caused my car to spin onto the opposite side of the road. Upon stopping I remember banging my hands on the steering wheel screaming “F@3% MY LIFEEEEE!!!!!! ”
As you can probably imagine, I was not okay.
Aside from all of the soreness and burning sensation, I was madly afraid. In the blink of an eye I had become a homeless woman in the rough streets of San Francisco. “How am I going to get back to LA? How am I going to pay my rent on time? How am I going to make a living?” These questions repeatidly raced through my mind at 100 miles per hour. From the time 911 was called up until the arrival of the paramedics, everything felt so surreal. I do remember feeling a huge sense of relief once my passenger was cleared. Evidently his drunken state had prevented his body from tensing up. I waved goodbye and before I knew it I was being hauled off to the San Francisco General Hospital Trauma Center.
The fact that everyone was fortunate enough to walk away from the accident is truly a blessing. After being discharged I sat in the SFGH waiting room anxious for my Mom’s arrival. For the first time in a long while I was humbled. She was able to find a flight that same morning to rescue my crazy ass.
The question I often ask myself when looking back on everything is “really though? ” How worth it could it have been risking my life in this manner? Shortly after settling back home I was watching an episode of Emily Owens, M.D. that really resonated with me. A girl who had been living in her car was terribly assaulted and jacked in the middle of the night. It took me watching this girl beat to smithereens on a hospital bed to truly realize just how reckless I lived the last year of my life. During the course of my Lyft career I drove around 3,500 people who had the luxury of affording San Francisco’s ridiculous rent. Why would I choose to be homeless here when I had perfectly fine shelter in Venice? The money was my obvious answer back then. Today I now see deeper into my situation and can confirm that I was completely unconscious. Instead of applying my skills towards freelance opportunities or using my marketing degree for steady pay, I made the decision to embrace the starving artist lifestyle. All for what? In hopes of a stupid “rags to riches” story?
I really don’t think the car-wreck was an accident. Just hours before my car accident I was contemplating suicide. It took me several months after moving back home to fully recover from all of the darkness. Today I am blessed to say that I no longer take my life, health, or family for granted. God is good! The same amount of energy I use to put into trying to become famous is the same amount of energy I now put towards becoming more spiritual. As a result I am able to live a rich life. As cliche as this may sound, knowledge is truly powerful. It took a near-death experience right after hitting rock bottom for me to realize this. After putting my mental health first, ditching my fake persona, and focusing on my true purpose in life I decided that if given the choice,
I’d rather be rich…not famous.