Ceryn Chen, Vice President of Advertising at Influence Tree
Ceryn Chen is a digital marketer, media buyer and vice president of advertising at Influence Tree. She is deep into spirituality and higher vibrations. Ceryn lives in Austin, Texas and has worked in the digital marketing space at agencies doing SEO, media buying, funnels and digital campaigns for the past decade.
Hi my name is Ceryn Chen. Back in 2017, I encountered a situation that completely shifted who I was and experienced a spiritual awakening where I just woke up to the truth of life. This happened when I went to the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada. I drove from Los Angeles to Vegas and on the way there, I got into an accident in my Audi, then when I arrived, my phone and credit card got stolen. I went to the concert with my friend Michelle and I don’t know what happened. She was shot and killed but I survived… The sheer nature of what happened and how there were so many signs that tried to stop me from going led me on a crazy journey where I went out searching for answers. Why was I saved and why did she have to go? What was the universe telling me?
A Dark Night of the Soul — Leading to a Spiritual Awakening
I fell deep into a dark night of the soul where I spent two months in therapy, just crying my eyes out because I was such a huge mess. I then felt a spiritual awakening of sorts that took me to a point in life where I felt awakened from living in the matrix and awakening to the true sense of what the world is about, from energy vibrations to digging for my own truth and evolving into the person I am today.
I began to find a lot more clarity, trusting myself and the universe. I adopted an attitude of gratitude and began meditating regularly and I had an instant transformation of sorts. I began to realize that everything is tied to vibrations and that I was at such a low vibration that I attracted negativity. Yet, when the vibrations within me began to get higher, I started to attract many positive things in my life. I dropped my ego, found inner peace and began hanging around good people. I began eating high vibrational foods and began figuring out how to channel source energy and the life force around me.
Things didn’t always start out that way though. When looking back from childhood, my parents were extremely strict and were always trying to live out other people’s expectations. I feel they had the wrong principles and were going after the wrong things, from chasing money and achieving things that would make them look better instead of looking internally to find that level of inner fulfillment and happiness.
A Childhood That Pushed Me Through the Toughest Years of My Life
There wasn’t much joy in the household growing up in Palo Alto, California. I definitely didn’t come from too much of a loving environment. I mean things weren’t terrible and things were okay before my mom started working full time and my dad faced a bout of unemployment. I would go out to the park with my brother, but middle school to high school until I left for college were just some of the toughest years I faced. The environment I grew up in was extremely strict and my parents were always stressed out to the point where my own emotional health and needs were somewhat neglected. I ended up doing a lot of things that I was forced to do that I didn’t want to because it’s what they believed society wanted out of me.
I worked really hard to get really good grades in school. With the typical Asian parent mindset, it left me so focused on getting good grades so I could get into an amazing college and make a lot of money afterwards. We never really did anything as a family; no vacations, family trips or any sense of love in the household.
Finding Small Moments of Joy Within Music, Singing and Guitar — While Catering to Societal Norms
I would spend a lot of my time growing up singing to myself, but my mom used to do daycare work, so there were always around 10 kids crying at once and home was extremely loud and a stressful place to be. I also wasn’t let out of my house much so I would spend a lot of time blasting music to the tunes of the Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees and soon country music, which I still love to this day, or trying to play the guitar, but things were so distracting.
I don’t really have many memories from elementary school. I feel I just grew up as a kid who didn’t know much better, but once middle school hit, the pressure started coming in. Growing up in Palo Alto, I was in a really competitive city when it came to academics. I felt my worth growing up was based on my grades because that’s how every other student treated school.
Trying to Break Out of My Introverted, Quiet and Closed Off Shell
I definitely wasn’t the popular kid in school. It was more of the opposite, where I was a super nerdy with no sense of fashion who had maybe five close friends in school. My parents had absolutely no idea how to dress me up or what clothes to buy for me. There were many moments where I would just wear my brother’s clothes. My parents were always scared that I was going to get distracted from studying, so I didn’t go out much and spent most of my time hanging out at school, hanging out for about 30 minutes after class was all wrapped up, but rushing to get home before my dad came back from work.
My parents pushed me to get into a good college because they felt I would be guaranteed a good job afterwards, but that didn’t work out as planned. My first year at the University of California, San Diego, it was as if I was on a different planet. I had a hard time socializing and talking to other people and was very introverted, quiet and closed off. Even though I had this whole musician thing going on, others didn’t have any interest in music at the time and I just felt out of place.
I began to learn a lot about myself and started to find who I am after the first year in college. find myself after the first year. My best friend at the time lived in Los Angeles, so we would take the bus or train every other week to see each other. We would go to Pacific Beach, shop in the downtown district or check out the city. I’d also meet friends in the dorms, start going to frat parties and all the other normal things a college student does.
Graduating College Early and Taking My Stab at Law
Because I studied so much in high school, I had a ton of credits going into college, so I was able to graduate from UCSD in two and a half years. I felt I had a head start on all my friends and had a spark of ambition and thought I could find a job much earlier than them. I don’t know if it was the pressure from my parents or the community I was raised in, but it was really hard for me to find a good job after I graduated from college. I put landing a good job on such a high pedestal that it just pushed it further and further out of my reach.
I moved to the Westwood Village in Los Angeles and lived in a locked down shoddy apartment with two other girls, then began looking for work. I had a low paying job helping this one guy doing SEO web design, where I first learned digital marketing, but this was way before Facebook was even around. I thought I could go to law school to further my education and studied for my LSAT, but I interned at a law firm for a month and got fired, then realized that I couldn’t become a lawyer and just stress out about cases all day. On top of that, I had so much social anxiety and didn’t even know how to talk to people. I was even scared of my phone whenever it would ring.
Facing Social Anxiety Head on and Discovering the Hollywood High Life
While living in Los Angeles, I began breaking out of my shell. My first roommate, Anastasia, was a beautiful blonde girl who went to UCLA. She let me borrow her fancy clothes and that’s when I started getting into fashion. But prior to that, I was a tomboy my entire life; I never thought I was pretty, didn’t know what defined pretty and had such a low perception of who I was. We started going out to Hollywood and I got to experience that whole high lifestyle with my friends. It was one of the best years of my life because it was filled with so much transformation, freedom and fun. I went from being a complete and total nerd to someone who was fun and enjoyed life and being around others.
A Real Estate Job That Turned Into the Worst Romantic Relationship of My Life
After my job at the law firm for a month, I had an interview with a man who hired me as his real estate assistant. I went on trips to Vegas to look at development properties and did all this other stuff. Then after a while, he started hitting on me and preyed on who I was because I was so weak and helpless at that time. Two years down the line, I started dating him, but that turned out to be a huge mistake. I literally got trapped into a horrible, toxic relationship for the next six years of my life.
I started working in design and took on a lot of freelance projects, got my real estate license and helped my ex in the commercial real estate field, but just really became an unpaid slave to him. He would never let me get a job and made sure that I was dependent on him so I would never leave.
Living in a Sociopathic Fairy Tale That Slowly Unraveled and Crushed Me
It was as if I was living in this sociopathic Hollywood made up fairy tale. I had no idea what was going on. One time, he gave me $500 then booked a hotel for me overseas to get $8 million out of a Swiss bank, then told me the FBI was following two days behind me, which led to a four month goose chase. I ended up getting stuck in both Europe and Asia. He wouldn’t let me come home, so I started investing my money into whatever mission he had sent me on with all of my savings. It felt like I was on a wild goose chase, where every few days he would say that we were almost there, then he’d ask for more money. He’d tell me he would need $30,000 to pay people off in Germany so the Swedes would be interested, and I just had absolutely no idea what was going on.
He then sent me off to Japan and Taiwan, all on my own dime, to set up big accounts and none of them ever went through. I transferred him a lot of money out of my savings account, which I never saw again, then realized that there was no end to this chase, so I knew I just needed to go home.
One day I checked and my credit score was shot. My ex opened up a credit card under my name and he was just taking all of my money, digging me into a deeper and deeper hole. Those were the worst years of my life. He literally held me back from having my own free willpower to live out my life. It felt as if I was just controlled on every level.
Breaking Out of a Toxic Relationship and Standing on My Own Feet
Luckily around this time, I started trying to do my own startups and I eventually met people like my business partner Leonard Kim and a lot of other talented individuals in the startup and eCommerce industry. I got my start in digital advertising when I met Danilo Lee who took me under his wing and gave me a job at his digital agency firm, long before he passed away.
Since I started to surround myself with ambitious people who were full of energy, something began to switch inside of me. All of a sudden, I felt like I had a voice. I broke out of my shell and instead of being the scared little mouse that I always was, I was actually talking business with my peers and they were paying attention to what I was saying.
Mastering the Art of Digital Marketing and Media Buying
I also cut my losses and walked away from my ex and finally dumped him and escaped. I got my own apartment in the Arts District and worked at a digital marketing agency since inception for six years, mastering my craft at digital marketing, specifically in funnel building, media buying and conversions. I did everything from start to finish, from figuring out how to market something, write copy, set up campaigns, target the right audience, optimizing and making money for the companies we worked with. I worked personally with clients in fashion, supplements, food, housewares, beauty, apps and so much more. We grew from eight people to over 200 employees. One client I was personally handling, we were earning him $1.5 million a month just selling basic metal signs.
Even though my prior travels were based on weird missions that came out of my own expenses, they were still fun because I was able to meet so many amazing people and see so much of what the world has to offer. I continued to travel afterwards to Israel, London, back to Europe, to Colombia and Bali.
Reach Out and Connect With Ceryn Chen
Nowadays outside of building successful campaigns for the clients at Influence Tree, I spend a lot of time traveling, picking up the guitar and playing music, working on self improvement and looking to continually improve as a person. I’ve been on a deep self-learning journey and sharing a lot of my passions with others.
If you’d like to learn more about me, dive deep into spirituality or talk more about how we can help you grow your business at Influence Tree, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.