I’ve worn a lot of hats in my career — voice-over talent, videographer, on-air host and producer, content creator, and now, entrepreneur as CEO of my own company, SFK.
I once thought starting my own company was out of reach. SFK, or Serena F****** Kerrigan came about in college when I was hyping up my best friend because she wasn’t feeling great about herself as a way to self-motivate. I even told everyone that I legally changed my middle name (I didn’t actually.)
At the start of the pandemic, I quit my job to create and build a brand that empowers women. Now, evolving 3 years later and learned how to be truly confident and fulfilled on my own. As I launch my very own streaming platform, SFK TV, I want to pay forward all the lessons and advice I’ve learned from launching my own brand and business.
Stop convincing yourself why you shouldn’t do it
Just before the start of the pandemic, I had this, “If not now, then when?” kind of moment. I was in my 20’s with no real level of adult responsibility yet, so I quit my job to become a content creator — when we were all on our phones more than we’d ever been. The stakes were not high at that moment.
Pre-Covid and now today, there’s just so much distraction, events, things to do, social engagements. It’s so easy to not focus on what is going to get you to where you want to be. During quarantine, I was able to get laser-focused on what it is I wanted to do. Being locked inside one’s home is a really great way to do that.
Things can happen to you or for you — and I decided in that moment to look it in the face, and get it done — to everything I said I was going to do.
Enter the group chat
When I was launching SFK, I started going live on Instagram at the same time every single day. Some people were howling at 6pm, others were clanging pots and pans, I was going live on Instagram. It was called Quarantine with SFK. From there, I started my dating show (Let’s F****** Date) with the goal to both entertain and make people feel not so alone and lonely during a really scary and unprecedented moment in our lives.
The result was this precious moment in time that connected me to my community and audience in such an authentic way. We were all really together, and I’ve never felt more connected to them. It was truly a major part of my success.
I still reflect on 2020, and it continues to motivate and inspire me — none of this happens without your community. I’m constantly thinking about how I can show up for and stay connected to them through my live comedy shows or with the launch of SKTV. Your audience is what’s going to push you forward as an entrepreneur at the end of the day.
Ask for what you want
“I have absolutely no shame in walking up to someone from a brand and saying you should hire me.”
I’ve never been afraid to ask for what I want because the absolute worst thing someone can say is no. I’ve walked up to so many CEO’s and just said, “We should do a collaboration together”. That’s how I collaborated with Studs, and Joe and the Juice.
I’m of the mindset that waiting around for anyone to do anything for you is such a waste of time. As an entrepreneur and a woman, I think people equate rejection with their own self-worth and take it personally instead of realizing that it has nothing to do with you at all. What I’ve learned is that rejection — from a person on a date or a job or opportunity — has nothing to do with you. And if it does, the scenario is just redirecting you to where you’re actually supposed to be.
Embrace making mistakes
I’m never afraid to say the things that are going to happen because I realized you actually create your own truth — you're the writer, producer, director and star of your own life, and you have so much more power than you think. No one actually knows what they’re doing. I’ve spoken to so many people going into their first jobs who are terrified of messing it up, and I want to tell them, you will absolutely mess up. It’s a certainty. The first week of my first job I charged like a million personal Ubers on my corporate card and broke a tripod. I learned valuable lessons to not do it again. Just have the courage to live.
Make technology work for you“Tools like Adobe Express are empowering — it’s so easy I actually think my grandma could use it.”
As a business owner, you have to decide when to delegate and when to do things yourself. I love being creative and contributing to what my social media team puts out. I love to make graphics and content — but I need it to be easy-to-use and collaborative. Tools like Adobe Express are empowering — it’s so easy I actually think my grandma could use it. You don’t need to spend all this money on a design package — you can do it yourself, work with your team, and even edit and post content on-the-fly — which I did recently at an event, removing the background from this amazing photo.
There’s so much content and as a business owner and creator you’re expected to create so much of it all the time, so a resource like Adobe Express is so pivotal and liberating — so you can make it yourself without feeling trapped or that you can’t have X,Y & Z.
Stop focusing on followers
I've never been focused on followers — I’ve always been more in tune with my brand versus the reach. Because you can control your own brand — you can’t control other people. The social media space is so, so saturated and if you get fixated on follower count, or breaking algorithms you’ll drive yourself insane because you have no control over any of it.
What you are in control of is building your own very strong brand, creating beautiful content, making amazing products and making an impact on people’s lives. Focus on that and you will get the reach you’ve always wanted to get.
Overnight success isn’t scalable
I’m still growing my own brand and evolving (I look back to the content I made during the pandemic and... cringe.) But having been cringey is fine — it means you’re evolving and growing. I’ve become more confident and comfortable with myself and know my mission (to empower people to live their best lives) and I’m doing the foundational work to get my business ready for when ‘that point’ comes and it blows up. So long as you know what you stand for or your voice and are committed to evolving your brand over time, you’ll never be in this place of, “Now what? Who am I? How do I create longevity for myself?”
You can’t be liked by everyone because you don’t like everyone
I’ve missed out on a lot of brand deals because of the use of an expletive in my brand — it's such a focus for some people. But to me it’s all about the intention behind it — I'm not just doing it to be salacious.“So many people told me because of this word I wouldn’t get a manager or an agent or a brand deal or be on TV, or even get a boyfriend. They’re so f****** wrong.”
There’s a real empowerment from the conviction of that word. It’s about a woman claiming who she is and saying it with such vigor and power, taking up space and not playing small. You are the only person who can create truth around your identity and I’m not willing to compromise my brand. The ethos of who I am and what I promote is for people to be unapologetically themselves — be proud of yourself.
“The Queen of Confidence”, Serena Kerrigan is a digital content creator, entrepreneur, creator of “Let’s F******* Date” card games, a spinoff from her Instagram Live dating show, and CEO of SFK LFG.
Out now, SFK TV is her very own membership streaming platform with a built-in community designed to entertain, educate and empower with new episodes dropping every Sunday at 8pm.
This article was originally featured in the Adobe Blog.
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