From Passion to Career


Imagine waking up every day and doing what you love. That is the life of 26 year old Michelle Phan, a YouTube sensation, who has really developed her career based around her passion, makeup. She started her YouTube channel, MichellePhan, in 2006 at the age of 19 and uploaded simple “how-to” makeup tutorials. Right from the start, she knew she wanted to help girls and young women feel and look their best.

Fast forward to 2013, she amassed over 4.1 million subscribers and was dubbed “the accidental millionaire” by Insider Magazine. With a reported net worth of $1.6 million1, it is no surprise that she was able to take her passion and turn it into a lucrative and successful career. So how did she get there? What is her secret?

Unfortunately, there is no one secret that defined her success. Although there are two key factors that led to her there.

1. Right Place at the Right Time

She saw opportunity in an underserved market on a platform that was gaining popularity in her target demographic. Prior to YouTube, Michelle already had a blog where she talked about beauty and provided makeup tips; this merely served to function as an extension to her growing blog. As her YouTube channel grew, so did her aspirations. Today, she has her own jewelry line, Ever Eden coming out, as well; she is the co-founder of The main take away from this is that Michelle actively looked out for opportunities to begin her next chapter, the thing that would heighten her career to new levels. As a leading lady, that is admirable because she always has her big picture in focus and takes measurable steps in order to reach those dreams.

2.  Constant Self-Improvement and Growth

Since the inception of her channel, Michelle has constantly improved her video quality through better voiceovers, graphics, and descriptions. This improvement and professionalism presented in her videos can be credited to her success as becoming a YouTube partner, spokesperson for Lancôme, as well as starting FAWN Inc, a media company dedicated to creating innovating content for their audience. The latter has been Michelle’s own creation as she has always wanted young girls to feel and look their best. This essentially is her passion and she is able to do that through her makeup tutorials. From this, we can learn that self reflection is vital to find areas of improvement, as well as narrow down our true passion which leads to focused search for those opportunities.

So you’re probably wondering…What does this have to do with me?

When Michelle started her YouTube channel, she was around the same age as many of us undergrads today. Even though we are in school and are constantly busy with assignments, extracurriculars, and life in general, it is very easy to get sidetracked from the big picture, our big dream. That’s why we need to actively seek opportunities and take it if the right one comes along.

So what are you waiting for? Turn your passion into a meaningful career.


Mariam Azhar

University of Waterloo


For Further Reading/Viewing:




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