Before Moving to LA Read This!

My move to LA has been one of the best moves that ever happened to me, but I wish someone gave me a guide book to the city before moving here.

LA has so much to offer and it also has some real challenges. To help you prepare, I came up with a guide to help with important things to consider.

  1. Financial Preparation-

I am starting here because this can make OR break you. The stories of coming to LA with $1,000 are great and good inspirational stories, but you are going to be in a word of hurt if you do that in or after 2017.

Here’s why. The cost of living is something we hear a lot about as it pertains to LA, but that does not put into perspective what it means. Groceries are more expensive, housing is not just more costly, but it can be too to have a safe place to live if you are not prepared to drop more than $2,500 for a studio, and then buy appliances and a window unit. You read that right not central a/c a window unit and buy machines. So if your mental calculator is not the best, your total move-in costs could quickly exceed $3,000 for a studio with no real updates completed since 1990.

Another aspect of preparing for is the super competitive housing market. Here today, gone today explains apartments in LA. If the apartment is a great deal, comes with a stove and fridge (or 1 of the 2) expect it to be gone quickly. Shopping around is a luxury in LA.

Check out the housing links for Craigslist, HotPads, and Westside Rentals to help you find a place to live before moving so that you can unpack your bags and not find yourself couch surfing for months on end.

  1. Physical preparation-

The hustle and bustle of the city are real. That said, you need a healthy outlet to sweat out the alcohol, possible stress, and being photo ready for the LA weather.

Start early. Before you move, find a park near you to go running or map out a route in your neighborhood. LA is a city where a gym membership is friendly, but plenty of people stay fit with a hike and boot camp.

  1. Spiritual preparation-

This is probably the biggest and most crucial point. Know who you are before you get here—something a sound spiritual life can only provide. Moving to LA, you are going to encounter your favorite actor or singer in random places. You may be invited to countless events, and there is always something to do. Be sure those opportunities do not define you and that your self worth does not need a backdrop, exclusive party, or celebrity picture to let you know you belong.

The fantastic thing about LA is there are great spiritual outlets. There are churches, Buddhist temples, and everything in between to meet the spiritual and religious needs you have.

  1. Work Ethic-

Point blank has it before you get here. You may be the best in Middle America, Dallas or Houston, TX, or even Miami, but 100k people in LA are just as good and probably better. What is going to differentiate you is your work ethic. No is going to be something you hear a lot of. It may come in the form of “let’s talk later,” “let’s do lunch,” or “something came up,” but be diligent and stay ready. You have to be prepared like never before, which is why your spiritual preparation aligns with your work ethic.

  1. Professional Preparation-

Be good at many different things and master one. LA is the land of opportunity. You should be knee-deep in what you say you want to do. You may be moving to be an actor, but do not be afraid to dust that degree off and find a 9-5 until things get moving for you.

You may DJ on the weekends or in the evening but drive for uber/lyft until you establish a network. In LA, most people have multiple hustles.

This connects to the spiritual preparation portion, be kind and be humble. The person in yoga pants could be a yoga instructor, the VP at a major network, or your next publicist. LA is a casual city. You just never know who is who. I know social media makes you believe you have to dine at $100/plate restaurants nightly and brunch every day just do not fall into the trap that if that becomes your lifestyle, you no longer feel the need to be kind and to stay humble.

  1. Learn the Areas-

Before moving to LA, I thought I knew where I wanted to live. After over a year in Los Angeles, I now realize I knew nothing. Here are a few neighborhoods I have learned about.


I first crashed with a friend in Hollywood. I loved the walkability and inexpensive Uber/Lyft in the area. The downside can be pricing and parking. Be prepared to only have street parking except from 8 am – 6 pm and not on Mondays for the street sweepers, which I never saw.

The Valley (Sherman Oaks, North Hollywood, Van Nuys)

Surprisingly this area comes with some fairly nice spaces. You can get more bang for your buck and you can get some good updated spaces. The downside is you are far from a lot of things and rarely does anyone travel to the Valley if they do not already live there. The area is also great for those who work at studios and dancers. North Hollywood also has a train station to help get you through the city.

Mid-City/ Koreatown

This area has decent apartment pricing. The challenge is parking. There is rarely parking available, so if you live in one of those areas, be prepared to pay for a spot if the option is available.

Ladera Heights

This neighborhood is a true gem. You can find homes that remind you of a suburb of your local community. For me, it reminds me of some areas in Houston. After taking a look at my place, I walked to Starbucks, the cleanest one I have EVER seen and found nearly 50 people playing Chess and checkers. Everyone seems to be friendly and it is not too close to the airport, but close enough for you to get there for $5 in an Uber/Lyft.

Good luck with the LA move. May it lead you to the next level of your journey!


I Traded Financial Stability for Mental Peace.

In 2014 I realized I no longer wanted any parts of Corporate America and the hustle and bustle of working a 9-5 where I had to wear a suit and tie regularly. I knew I enjoyed the perks of being able to travel when I wanted, earning a great salary, but I hated working to live. I will not make this about race, but I will say Corporate America is not always the friendliest if you look like I do.

It seemed no matter what I made there was always something coming up that I had to work to pay off, pay down and contribute to. I admit that was me. It was spending habits, social circles and coping (as Solange explains it in Cranes in the Sky).

Like so many years 2016 started with me discussing moving to Los Angeles and quitting a very good paying job, but I did not put a date on paper. In February of 2016 after a weekend trip to New Orleans I discovered that a longtime friend had passed away due to complications during a surgical procedure.

It was literally at his funeral that I became inspired. Seeing a church with standing room only for a 31 year old shook me as if I was in a bounce house with twenty 5 year olds. I walked to my car thinking that my friend who passed, figured it out. He was determined to enjoy life as it is supposed to be enjoyed. Despite his health issues he never stopped pursuing his goals and his dreams. It was that day I looked at my calendar, decided on a date and made a declaration that on this day I would not only leave my comfortable job with a company car, good salary and ridiculous bonus, I would take a leap of faith.

I had applied to jobs in Los Angeles for nearly two years with frequent interviews and no job offers. Every job wanted a candidate to start or to come in to interview the next day. So I decided to trade my financial stability and move to Los Angeles with no job. I tell this story, because despite moving here without a job, a car or a place to call my own I never felt better. There was a huge mental weight lifted off my shoulders and I spiritually I found myself in a place of peace I had not experienced in at least 18 years.

That move not only, blessed my spirit it made me a better at managing my finances, my time and protecting my peace. I have become more clear on who I am, who I do and do not fit with and I have been able to grow.

Though my bank account is not as large, I may not be able to go out as much (on my dollar); I may not be able to eat out as much I have everything I need. If I never knew before I know now what faith looks like and what stepping out on it yields.

Though I know this may not work for everyone, I encourage anyone reading this to find out what it is you need to do to get mental and spiritual peace and go after it.



This weekend was so memorable for so many reasons. Not simply because of the trip I took, but because the growth I’ve experienced over the last year.  Last year, on September 5th, 2014, I lost my job. I didn’t really share that with anyone at the time. Part of it was shame and part of it was self doubt, I am writing this blog to encourage someone who may feel stuck or feel like they aren’t progressing at a pace they would like.

At the time I was let go I had a mixture of feelings. I felt relief from a stressful environment, but I became stressed at the thought of having bills with no income. Upon losing my job, I no longer had a career to attach my ego to. It was a life changing moment. Throughout the next 5 months I did not know what God would have for me. My faith was tested, my finances were tested, and my ability to remain confident was tested.

Fortunately I saved about 3 months worth of money to be comfortable, however like so many Americans I was not prepared for the nearly 6 month transitional journey. I took on marketing communications consulting projects throughout the time while working a part time job and applying for jobs. That period of time developed patience like I never knew I had. Applying for easily over 750 jobs, over 5 months across the country does take a toll on your confidence.

I won’t delve too deep, but as a person of color we face an unemployment rate nearly twice the average I mention that, I hope in my lifetime we will have laws and penalties for companies who shy away from diversity. Both were more educated than I was. Throughout my transition, I thought back frequently on how two men I can call friend’s both overcame periods such as mine. They both have gone on to prosper much more than they previously did and came out better than before. The thought of their stories and their perseverance stuck with me. Their journey’s stuck with me.

As God would have it a couple of months into my transitional period I was transparent with a friend I regularly volunteered with. I shared I was looking to change industries and roles. He referred me to a colleague, Tanya, who owned her own career services company. Tanya improved my resume and highlighted skill sets I hadn’t given enough credit and gave me a great boost of energy and confidence. Shortly after the meeting with Tanya I received a call about the job I currently have and I interviewed with them from November to January. To date it has been one of the best professional experienced ever! The benefits I have are amazing and I’m on track to make more than I ever have before. I work with a group that embraces diversity and has been like family.

During the time I was unemployed I enrolled in classes to freshen up on a few areas. I am thankful for the educational opportunities I have received and worked for, both formal and informal. God has allowed me to do things with just an undergraduate degree that many with two or three don’t have the opportunity to do. That’s a blessing in itself. I’m thankful for the mentors I’ve had and for the people I’ve been able to witness grow in front of me. All of those experiences prepared me and made sure I was ready for life as I live it today!

The reason why this is important is I’ve learned to save even more than I did prior to my last career. I manage my time more efficiently and my confidence is no longer attached to what I do, but who I am. I know what’s important and I’ve made the commitment to stay encouraged despite my circumstances. During that time I never missed a meal. I could even still hangout or go out. So I know that though things may look well packaged on the outside that things can literally be in shambles or shaky underneath.

So to anyone in a transitional period learn from the situation. Start creating habits for the life you want AFTER that transition. Start doing the things you WANT and NEED to grow spiritually. Most importantly never lose sight of what your end goal. I had countless interviews, 2nd interviews, and 3rd interviews, but it wasn’t until I was where I was supposed to be, that I received what I was supposed to. Don’t give up! Your transitional period may not be unemployment. It may be the end of a long relationship. It may be the death of a loved one. It may be financial hardship. You may have a family member who’s decisions are weighing heavy on you and affecting you, but don’t give up. Don’t lose sight! Stay faithful and God will undoubtedly do what he said he would for your testimony. It will require you to step out of your comfort zone. My pride was a killer in my past. I wouldn’t ask for help, I wouldn’t open up or be transparent, and I wasn’t able to stand in my truth. Do not let your pride prolong a transition! Be encouraged.