“This is going to sound very Deepak Chopra,” she starts. “But it’s what worked for me.”

As an accomplished actress, creator of the lifestyle brand, 1214 by candy washington, self-employed writer, and founder of the Billionaire Blogger society, Candy Washington has a wealth of insights for those who’d like to take their passion full-time.

“I started a career by asking myself,” she continues. “‘if you could wake up in the morning and do whatever you wanted to do, what would that be?’”

Candy’s have-it-all day starts simply:

She writes first thing. An actress, she works on set. She jumps on social and connects. She goes to dinner to “laugh a little and chill”— her words.  “Okay,” she realized, there’s a common thread here.

“My purpose is to add value through storytelling.”

While Candy can’t tell you your purpose, she does have a few suggestions for those interested in developing a personal brand—all of which are achievable.

Get specific and have a niche

“People will often think if I’m just a mommy blogger in Canada, no one will find me or that I’ll miss out on opportunities but it’s the opposite” she says.“The niche will open you up to a big gamut. Get very specific because the people who find you will want to hear from your point of view.”

Candy also stresses the immense importance of knowing your worth.

“All jobs pay for your time even if you’re salary-based. Your time is valuable. I had a friend starting out who told me her rate and I was like, ‘oh no! You couldn’t even buy starbucks with that. You’ve got to know your worth.”

It’s okay to counter an offer from a brand, or to say no

“If you counter a brand, they won’t say ‘now or never,’” says Candy. “They’ll say, ‘we don’t have the budget right now.’ The response won’t be, ‘oh my gosh, you asked for something: blacklisted.’ That’s a faulty thought.”

If your end goal is to make brand collaborations a full-time job, however, it is hard to say ‘no’ but your brand depends on it.

Candy Washington, for example, has beautifully white teeth.

“I always get pitched for teeth whitening products and I always have to tell them no because that’s something I would never actually use. They’re already white,” says Candy. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!”

Candy acknowledges the difficulty of maintaining a higher level of incredible integrity to your brand during leaner months but you have to do it.

“When your audience is engaged, they know. They know when you’re doing something for a check and they know when you’re doing something because you’re really into it.”

It’s important to understand your role

Know your worth; know your service. Understand exactly what it is that you offer to brands if paid collaboration is your end game.

Candy Washington is very deliberate in articulating her role to brands. “I always tell brands that I’m not a salesperson but I am here to be a content creator for you.”

And not just any content creator —a professional. “I always try to make sure there’s some kind of higher message there,” says Candy.

“Even if I’m talking about eye shadow. The message is that beauty comes from within and we’re using eye shadow to express that. It’s not: ‘buy eye shadow and you’ll be confident.’ It’s the other way around. Your clothes or hairstyle or makeup, or the music you listen to, are simply a reflection of who you are.”

“My goal isn’t to tell people what to buy. My goal is to share an experience through my lens and hopefully my audience will find something of value in that. I can’t control a sale. If my work results in a sale, awesome; if not, I still did my job!”