Meet yourfriendcurtis, The Friendly Face of Rollins College and Winter Parks Social Media Wizard
Today we’d like to introduce you to Curtis Shaffer.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
My name is Curtis Shaffer, I am an entrepreneur, a student of life, a travel & adrenaline junkie, and sometimes an influencer. I fell in love with digital media at a young age, making videos of my adventurous childhood from about 11 years old while growing up in New Zealand, one of the most beautiful countries on Earth. This passion for creating content blossomed as I picked up my first GoPro and started to document everything in my life making short edits for YouTube. When I moved back to the US from New Zealand, I was stuck in school wishing I could be shooting and travelling like I was fortunate enough to do so In NZ. Eventually, I picked back up the camera in High School and made use of what I had. Shooting for fun with my friends at school quickly turned into a full-time business shooting everything from senior photos to weddings and commercial brands. The entrepreneurial bug bit me and I officially started my first business at 15 years old. I entered college with incredible business experience behind me, yet a lot of ambition and ideas still ahead. I decided to focus in on my personal brand “yourfriendcurtis”, which was just my Instagram handle at the time, but slowly evolved into a YouTube series and brand for myself that I had established on my school’s YouTube channel, Rollins College. Fast forward to now, and I’m about to graduate with one of the most extraordinary college experiences ever.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
I have had many challenges throughout this journey of entrepreneurship and putting myself out there online for people to look at me. Earlier on, I only did all of this for fun. Picking up a camera was just a hobby and posting on Instagram was nothing more than a funny photo I just felt like sharing. Very quickly, what started as my passion, became my profession and practically my full-time job. At first it was like a dream come true, but I soon realized that doing what you love for work can lead to you hating what you originally thought you loved so much. This journey with business and digital media taught me a lot about what I thought I liked and what I thought I was good at. While I enjoyed making good money photographing other people and building other brands, I always most enjoyed shooting content for myself, even if it didn’t pay the bills. My biggest struggle was between doing what I was doing for fun and doing what I was doing for work. I didn’t want to lose the passion I had started this with in the first place, but I also dug myself in a hole, building a business and serving clients around this exact area of work that I so loved. Eventually, I realized that what I loved was marketing and creating content for myself and my friends. Today I’m lucky enough to be able to do that now, as my primary business.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
I specialize in social media marketing, digital branding, creative direction, and photography/videography projects. I would say my skills range from advanced technical media skills with cameras, computers and marketing tools to networking and personal branding skills, I like to get to know and understand people, to help them brand themselves and be most successful. My network of creatives, entrepreneurs, and many other talented individuals is my greatest asset. The relationships I’ve been blessed to build over the past 5 years have excelled my career and allowed me to connect to some of the most amazing people on this Earth. These relationships have also given me incredible opportunities to further my career. I direct and manage the operations of my marketing company CSTUDIOS, which consists of all the work I do with other brands, influencers, and companies. I also have stepped into talent management and providing creative brand consultation for influencers and brands. My favorite work consists of all the time and resources I put into growing my personal brand, yourfriendcurtis. From my 4 years at Rollins College, I’ve built a name for myself representing and marketing the school on their YouTube channel. My videos have been key marketing tools for the school to attract new students and push the Rollins mission. As I graduate and move on, I plan to keep growing my personal brand which consists of lifestyle, travel, entrepreneurship, educational, and other uplifting and inspiring content.
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
Find something in your life that you truly truly LOVE doing. Whatever that is, that is your golden ticket. With the power of social media and digital marketing tools, any idea and niche is monetizable. You can create a brand from anything and grow an audience for anything. Even if you aren’t putting out content online, doing the things you truly love to do in life with only bring you closer to your purpose and passions in life. You will meet the most amazing people who will connect with you like no other, you will find opportunities that may change your life, and most importantly you will be so happy and fulfilled because you are doing what feels right to you. This world is full of people telling you what to do and how to do it. There is no one size fits all. There is not formula for success. There are just the simple things in life, the things we like and the things we don’t like. Find the things you like and do them. You’ll be way happier that way than doing what you think others “want you to do” or what you think you “should be doing”. Also, no one is as “happy” or “successful” as they seem online. Don’t compare your real life to someone else’s highlight reel.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
I believe success means being happy and making those around you happier. Life is so short to spend it holding grudges, upset at the world, or disappointed in yourself and always wanting more. My greatest success, I believe, is my positive energy and true happiness that no one can take away from me. I try to always spread good energy and positive thoughts. I know this does not come across as naturally for others so I try to spread this energy with everyone I can you really never know whose day you’ll make just by being nice to someone. Also, if you are doing the things you love to do every single day, you are better off than anyone who is “making more money” or “living a more lavish lifestyle” than you but is miserable every single day. Your health is your wealth, both physical and mental. At the end of the day when you strip everything away from someone, all that is left is the individual and who they truly are. Take care of that person first because that is all you got.
What’s next for you?
With graduation soon approaching and my many projects starting to accelerate, I am extremely excited for the next chapter of my life this year. On behalf of my personal brand, I am planning to launch a podcast soon, documenting and sharing the incredible conversations I have with some of the most interesting and successful people in my network. I’m going to have some very notable guests from legendary bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman to some special A-list athletes and music stars. This podcast will be my space to share my inspirational, motivational, educational, and funny conversations I have all the time. I’ve become so fascinated in listening to other people’s stories, I can’t wait to finally share those with the world. In addition to the podcast, I’m working on continuing my vlogs in some way, shape, or form after I conclude my Rollins College vlog series. I’ve been so lucky to have this amazing opportunity documenting my life experiences throughout my college journey, it has only made me realize that I have so much more I can share through these videos once I graduate. Finally with my business ventures, I am currently working on establishing a few major projects in the Winter Park, FL area as well as Los Angeles, CA. I can’t say too much yet about what I’m working on, but what I will say is that I am planting seeds in these cities, that in years to come will blossom and grow as these cities continues to flourish.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more.
The best place to reach me is @yourfriendcurtis on my social media platforms. Instagram, TikTok and YouTube being my main spaces at the moment. Everything I am working on I usually announce on Instagram so you can keep up with all my other platforms through there.