As I quickly started to hit roadblocks, I realized that the pricing for the studio room was competitive to what the active rates for a space with an engineer already cost. This left me with two choices: either work for pennies or overcharge my clients. In an attempt to find a solution, I devised package deals that bundled studio sessions with extensive marketing work. I believed that this would make sessions with Global Domination Productions appear more attractive to potential clients. With my new plan in place, I booked another hour at the studio, this time with the intention of filming a commercial that would be aired locally on YouTube. With only a few dollars left in my pocket, I hoped to flip the money by running ads and converting customers into clients. Upon completing the commercial, I uploaded it to YouTube and began running it as a targeted advertisement within designated zip codes. Days went by, and people I knew from my neighborhood began to approach me on the street, excitedly telling me that they had seen my commercial on YouTube. Despite their enthusiasm, no new clients came in, and my advertising budget was quickly depleting. This left me feeling more desperate and depressed than ever before. I found myself standing outside, my back pressed against the cold brick wall of my home, smoking a cigarette. The smoke filled my lungs, and for a brief moment, it helped numb the crushing weight of failure I felt on my shoulders. I exhaled a cloud of gray smoke, watching it dissipate into the air, just as my dreams seemed to be evaporating. As I took another drag from the cigarette, a familiar face approached me. An old acquaintance from the neighborhood grinned as he clapped me on the back. “Yo, Roach!” he exclaimed, “I saw your commercial on YouTube, bro! That’s amazing!” His words felt hollow, though. As much as he seemed to be impressed by my presence on YouTube, I couldn’t shake the gnawing feeling of desperation inside. I forced a smile, nodding in agreement. “Thanks, bro. I’m just trying to make something happen, you know?” He continued to rave about my commercial as a few more people from the neighborhood joined in. They praised my entrepreneurial spirit and congratulated me on my achievements. It was a strange sensation – being surrounded by people who saw me as successful when all I could feel was the pressure of my own unfulfilled expectations. As they continued talking, my cigarette burned down to the filter, and I dropped it to the ground, crushing it beneath my heel. The brief reprieve it had offered was gone, leaving me with the stark reality that I needed to find a way to turn things around – not just for myself, but for those who depend on me.

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