For one of the top food instagrammers, it wasn’t all cupcakes and cappuccinos

(photo credit: Instagram/breadbutternyc)

(photo credit: Instagram/breadbutternyc)

Recently named one of Refinery29’s Top 10 NYC “Food Instagrams to Follow” and Zagat’s “Top 100 Food Instagrammers in the U.S.” Marisel Salazar, a New York-based writer, social media/content strategist and photographer, it wasn’t always cupcakes and cappuccinos. In a world where social media and online access has leveled the playing field for writers, bloggers and photographers, how does one overcome their own fear of failure, make themselves standout, and establish a financially stable career doing what they love doing?

Marisel not only had to make her career work, she had to overcome her own personal fear-based limitations.  Through her journey she discovered that fear can also be a great motivator. That a life worth living is a life lived to the fullest with high risk and high reward - forget safe, routine and ordinary - And sometimes failing hard is a better life lived than not following your passions of doing what you love.

marisel salazar: There is no roadmap for being a food writer, much less a successful and financially stable one. I'm still figuring it out! I come from a very traditional and safe career minded family - everyone works for the federal government, which has lots of security and cozy benefits. I used to be a web analyst in fact. I was terrified I would eat through all my carefully earned savings and not make any income. Fear, however, can be a great motivator. I wasn't afraid of going broke I realized - I was more afraid of resigning myself to a mediocre, safe, and ordinary life of a 9-5. So I made up my mind: No matter how scared I am of how I would be able to support myself as a food writer and content strategist, that I would figure it out, because the alternative (boredom, not living life to the fullest I could) is far worse.

Failure and what it means to you….

marisel: I fail every day. It's not a once and a while thing - it's the norm. Pitches don't get accepted, proposals rejected, stories killed, passed over for partnerships, etc. It becomes a familiar feeling. At first, I was crushed, crestfallen - I didn't feel good enough. Now, it serves as a spark. I get angry, defiant - which spurs me to try even harder, do better. I also had a great support system and many words of encouragement from my friends, family, and partner. It is essential to have a cheerleader(s).

(photo credit: Instagram/breadbutternyc)

(photo credit: Instagram/breadbutternyc)

(photo credit: Instagram/breadbutternyc)

(photo credit: Instagram/breadbutternyc)

The Hustle + keeping your end goal in focus = mental toughness, success and life well lived!

marisel: I went through a rough patch last year where I had several retainer contracts abruptly end at once. I found myself cobbling together one-off projects to get by. I thought it would only last a month or two. That turned to three. Then four. My budget was tighter than ever - not a single morsel was wasted. Anything spent beyond the bare essentials was a luxury. Going in-house constantly invaded my thoughts. The consistency! The benefits! The bi-weekly paycheck! But that was playing it safe to me and seemed like a cop out when things got tough - going back to a salaried job, working for a single company, working for their dreams - not mine. The risk was sticking it out and clearing this rough patch. And I did. There was never a guarantee that this rough patch would end. So I had to work really hard beyond it to make sure did everything in my power to be proactive about making it through and not wait for a miracle or a lucky break.

Make sure to check out Marisel’s website and follow her on instagram!

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