Upon meeting Paula, her bubbly and enthusiastic zest for life is evident to notice when you get talking to her. The 21 year old content creator from London is currently on a gap year working full time in digital recruitment for The Body Shop. She’s fearlessly pursuing her dream career path of becoming a professional digital content creator all from having a knack for fully betting herself which has got her this far as a digital entrepreneur with faith and creativity flowing left, right and centre.
From starting her blog Paula Pacesetter (www.paulapacesetter.com) in 2012, she entered the digital sphere with hopes of sharing her voice with the world and building an online platform centred on inspiring others.
On the meaning behind the name, she explained “One Saturday, me and my family were doing devotionals and we were reading a scripture talking about us as Christians being distinct, being world changers and being at the forefront leading the way. My Mum said “You know, God is calling us to be pacesetters” and I wrote it down and decided to go with that.”
When it comes to being a pacesetter, encouraging and uplifting others remains at the forefront of her ethos. Her blog is a platform for her sharing her personal growth, thoughts on faith and a guide for others looking for inspiration.
“I felt like I had a view of the world I wanted to share. I felt like I didn’t have anyone to discuss these things with, and the Internet was where I felt I could have these discussions. I knew I had a small voice but I knew it was so distinct that I felt like everyone needed to hear it. I don’t know who I thought I was, I wasn’t anyone special.
Earlier this year, Paula started the Careers For Creatives series, a compilation of useful advice for those wanting to pursue a creative career and interviews with those within the creative media industry such as PR executive Ronke Lawal and BBC journalist Hannah Ajala.
Another visionary venture that Paula started was the Two By Two project which is an initiative that pairs up two random people for bible study.
“The project was me pairing two Christians together for bible study. The idea came from God and the scripture was Luke 10:1 and it talks about how Jesus sends out the apostles two by two and they all came back positively praising Jesus about how great it was spreading the world and how they healed people.
Over that weekend it kept on developing and turned into the idea of two people doing bible study together and I also wanted someone to talk to about set scriptures. So I obviously had people in my house and my church I could talk to. But people I wanted to speak to people who I could be so honest with and not judge me because I wanted to know about this or that, and for me it had to be someone who didn’t know me too well. So I was like “Okay, online we can pair people up”.
With the help of her friends, the launch of Two By Two went exceptionally well with the introductory tweet receiving over 600 retweets and 700 likes in a matter of days which prompted her to turn her venture into an app which she is currently working on.
Paula’s visionary asset also flows in her talent in photography with her being a freelance photographer solely inspired by her own passion for photography.
“I’ve always loved photography and always appreciated it more than most people. Sometimes I’d look at a photo I’d think “This is done so well, the lighting and editing looks so good.” And I realise that not everyone sees a photo like that and this is a special type of art, this photography.
I believe that God puts something in each and every one of us, and one of his traits is being a creator. Being somewhere there is nothing and having that potential to create something beautiful there.
She began her journey by spending her time one summer working to save up for a DSLR camera. Following her investment, she spent time watching videos on YouTube and her friends who were photographers who taught her the ropes.
“I believe that you have to study photography to get there. I had friends at uni that did photography and even though I had a camera and they didn’t, they would still make the effort to borrow a camera and take cool photos which inspired me to try out photography. Then it got to a point I was taking photos for friend’s birthdays, and then one day someone asked me how much did I charge for photos which took me aback. But then I realised my work is actually good and started believing in myself.”
One aspect that we can learn from Paula is the importance of investing in your gift and realising that noticing you have talent isn’t enough when it comes to fully pursuing your dream career and understanding that it’s no mistake where you’ve been positioned. On what makes her believe in herself as a creative she explains:
“Before university I would have never called myself a creative or innovative but I always had that trait to do something cool and creative with what I’ve been given.
I believe that God puts something in each and every one of us, and one of his traits is being a creator. Being somewhere there is nothing and having that potential to create something beautiful there. So, if it’s YouTube, or photography or blogging it’s the driving force of God has put me for a reason to do something great here.”
Like many young adults, with a year to go before graduating from university, Paula is unsure of her exact purpose in where she’s heading in life but isn’t wavered in her confidence of where she’s heading.
“I have such an assurance it’s all going to work out because I believe that God will not allow me to just be left alone like that, so if he’s made me to enjoy the creative stuff in like that is where he’s called me to go. I can’t really go wrong with that.”
On what defines her independence of spirit she explains “As a Christian, I believe that our spirit is as individual, as different, as unique to us as we are as people. It links to what God’s plan for us to is, and I will continue to produce content that will hopefully inspire people in what I do.
I think God put in me a way to motivate, inspire and touch people. My bio in my blog says ‘Paula Melissa, here to inspire’ and I always have a vision of God using me as an inspiration – in a way to motivate and encourage people. Because of that, I think that’s what pushed me with my blog and now it’s going on 6 years. There was multiple times I wanted to stop but I felt God say to me “What about those 4 or 5 people that read it religiously and need it to keep going?” and that’s when I had to get out of myself and continue.”
You can check out more from Paula Melissa on her Twitter page here