Failed Millennial: [REALLY] Owning your Life

Looking for Park Place (and a Place to Park)

I refused to buy a car. I couldn’t afford it and my father drove our family car until it literally fell apart. He would drive with the windows down and his hand on the sill arched upwards to the top of the window. He was still the coolest looking Dad in his aviators — gliding down the highway as luxury cars flew by with tinted windows wound up.

But cool wasn’t the intention. He was actually holding the door closed — and we had no air-conditioning. Even in 100F (30C) weather.

But he would always remind me as the cars went by: he OWNED his car. The bank owned everyone else’s.

To this day, that sense of ownership stays with me.

I laugh at, not laud, the hot chicks with their Prada handbags in the clubs and cars paid for in bed by more wealthy powerful men. The same goes for the boys in Daddy’s SUV’s eating on the family dime at the best restaurants. These folks put image before ownership — short term gains ahead of long term goals.

So when it came to my business, after five years of working for other clients in advertising, building brands, images, ideas, logos, magazines and bank accounts for them — I decided to really own my business, that is, not be held ransom to the demands and payments from clients.

In August 2016, I had a bad health stint due to gut dysbiosis, that laid me up on drips and death’s door once again so as I sat in my bed with nothing else to do, I decided to re-write the script.

I fired every single one of my clients, save for my favourite one that would sustain me at a reduced level of living. I had no kids, no mortgages or loans — I was doing this.

I wrote a couple ideas down:

  • Film or TV idea — video was the future
  • Print — a magazine brand that people would want, even in a digital world
  • Social — dominate ONE channel in one field in social media for leverage
  • Write more — lead people to better lives

In truth I wrote alot of things down, so much so I had to create a Life board on Trello. Need help with one? Drop me a line.

One year later, I built, branded and leased my print idea to a powerful group of businessmen. It’s a work in progress. I am in the 8th month of a weekly column printed in our Sunday paper that talks about alternative means to good health and helps walk people in the direction where they can learn to be better versions of themselves. You can find the Instagram version here. And an award-winning local film director reached out to me to help build the social media component of a pretty cool new show that will air, for the first time, exclusively on social media channels. And in so doing, it will also highlight some very cool local talent and reward hard work as we build up the show over the next few seasons.

In essence, after five years of working for other people, even while I was working for myself as I am held ransom to their needs, I found a way to re-instill passion and purpose into Huckleberry Media Company, my brand, my kid.

And that’s just one component of my ownership model — the rest varies between fitness, nutrition and influence. It’s a work in progress. But I own the work, and the progress.

And yes, I entirely own my SUV … and aviators.

Kieran Can
Huckleberry Media Company
IG @notanadagency