Meet Lauren Z. Ray: Open-Minded, Living Real Life and Creating Video to Tell Stories

Meet Lauren Z. Ray: Open-Minded, Living Real Life and Creating Video to Tell Stories

Jun 19, 2024

First up on Free At 50's Summer Interview Series: You Tube and Instagram sensation Lauren Z. Ray!

Meet Lauren- I found her on YouTube!

Lauren was in my hometown of Williamsburg showing it off on YouTube for anyone into history and travel. And I was hooked on her style and her story. Like me, Lauren moved to Virginia because she loved the rich culture and history - and also for her - the food haven that Richmond is. Every video of hers I watch is a little slice of happiness.

She's a natural to kick off this series focusing on the 6-Step Checklist to Escape the 9-5 I've created for y'all to move into your next chapter. This interview is the first of six you'll see on the blog this year.

Lauren's bio:

Lauren Z Ray is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and content creator based in Richmond, Virginia. She is currently working on a documentary feature that is set to premiere this Fall. She has an Instagram series where she interviews local Richmond businesses and creates mini documentaries about them.

Besides that, she loves filming her life in Richmond with her vlog series on YouTube. Sharing stories and promoting local businesses are her passion as well as history, architecture, and traveling.

YouTube star and Instagram sensation Lauren Z. Ray

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The 6-Step Checklist is the foundation of Free At 50 life.

The steps I took to get me here (intentionally or not) make up a pathway to living the life I want to live. And it's no surprise that when I asked Lauren about her take on each step, she delivered concise and powerful inspiration for each one.

Let's get started. 6 steps, 6 questions.

Step 1: Finding Your Why. What is your why? Not money... but why you want to earn income by doing what you do the way you do it...outside the 9-5?

I love telling stories. It's been my obsession since I was young. As soon as I picked up my first camera I knew I wanted to tell stories by making films. Meeting people, hearing their stories, experiencing life - these are all the things that fuel me to create the videos I do.

Step 2: Shift Your Mindset. What mindset shift is/was necessary for you going from 9-5 life to becoming an entrepreneur?

I needed to shift my mind to be more open and be willing to not know the future. As soon as I kept my mind and heart open, I was able to see opportunities in front of me.

There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to running your own business, but if you keep an open mind and stay confident in what you are doing it's a lot easier to do.

Have an open heart and shift your mindset to go in the right direction

Michaela, at home in Germany • Thank you very much for a like from Pixabay

Step 3: Narrow Your Options. How did you narrow all your options to land on the business you've chosen?

I've always loved making video, and have since I was a kid. It wasn't a hugely important skill to have except to make TV (television) shows, commercials, and movies until social media became bigger.

Once there were platforms at your fingertips, videos had a place to go. Once businesses saw the importance of video, that's when things really took off. Society has shifted and video is more important than ever so my skills are important, and luckily I love creating them too.

Step 4: Research The Best Fit. Once you narrowed your options down, what type of research led you to your current approach to business (even your branding and/or your ideal client?

For me, the research is mostly within. After many years of taking on any project that came my way, I asked myself what I enjoyed the most. I wanted to make sure I really loved the projects I took on because that often led to better results.

This way I also enjoy the process more, which makes it more sustainable.

Lauren Z. Ray asked herself a question and decided to pursue making videos to tell stories

Image by Methawee Krasaeden from Pixabay

Step 5: Build Your Toolkit. How did you determine what tools you'll need and where did you start?

Staying up to date with the current trends and equipment is extremely important. I make sure to watch other film-makers on YouTube to see what they are currently using. I also watch tons and tons of videos on all the platforms I make videos for. This helps ensure I am up to date on what works and what other people are doing.

Step 6: Take Action. What one piece of advice would you give to anyone working on creating life outside the 9-5 that will help them take action?

Leaving the 9-5 can be extremely scary, but you have to be brave and jump. Your real life exists just outside your comfort zone.

take action to go outside your comfort zone. walk through the gate and experience real life outside the 9-5

Photo credit: Daphne Reznik, gate in Colonial Williamsburg

Free At 50 calls to action:

  1. Download the 6-Step Checklist to Escape the 9-5 here.
  2. Subscribe to this blog using the form on the page and don't miss a single interview this summer! (you can read them any time for inspiration, not just as they publish!)

Find Lauren online:

Lauren Z. Ray in Richmond Virginia experiencing real life outside the 9-5 and making video to tell stories




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