“Sometimes life is like this dark tunnel. You can’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you just keep moving…you will come to a better place.” – Uncle Iroh, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Season 2 Ep 9
Almost two years ago, at a college house party, I met Nate Norell. A vivacious guy who was always ready to laugh and took life as it came. Not much has changed there. He’s still the guy whose laugh invites others to join him. The guy that’s always ready to dance or play a game or create a video about ghosts at an amusement park. And he’s the guy who can stand still and have a quiet and deep conversation with you about life, love, and God.
Two years ago I had the privilege of talking with Nate as he was just starting his journey as a Tik Tok influencer – something that he, to this day, says he doesn’t think of himself as. He just knew how to read trends and discovered he was good at it. Not bad for a guy who currently has 2.9 million followers.
Nate’s take on life is a unique one that I’ve always admired for someone who, whether he likes it or not, is filled with fans.
He’s real. He doesn’t sugar coat things.
Nate came through a dark period in his life, a time that as he tells it:
N: “For a long time I gave and gave. Then all the pillars of my life fell down and I didn’t have anything. Then I started building myself back up – I went to counseling, you name it. You really have no one else. Who do you have that’s there for you 24/7? Yourself.”
He walked through that tunnel that Uncle Iroh talks about. And by doing so, he’s come out stronger. He’s found a community that shares in the same passions that he has and has the same same mindset.
N: “I discovered what life should be about – finding like minded people, trust in the process, try to find a new community, keep pushing – and that gave me more hope for life and the future. More understanding that I have to keep moving forward. And location is key with friendships. Friends that do the same things you do.”
Over these past two years Nate has been finding his footing in Tik Tok. He knows more about what he wants and where he’s going.
N: “I feel great and I’m pretty good at what I do. I know my niche, I know how to study. I don’t know what you’d define me as since my content is so sporadic. Mainly I’m following ideas that I’m passionate about and juicing it more.”
When asked what advice he’d give to anyone wanting to get into this industry, this is what he had to say:
N: “Do what you enjoy. Have fun. It’s with a camera and that’s capturing emotion. Experiment to see if you enjoy it – don’t force yourself to do something you don’t like. Don’t look at others and say it works for them so I’m going to do it. Hundreds of other will enjoy the same thing you do. Do you know how big the scrapbooking community is? Then there’s the basic, create content frequently, engage with the community, and keep an eye out for the apps that are blowing up. I was thankful I found Tik Tok as it was getting big. And a big one – if you’re afraid there’s enough content out there – that’s not true. The market is not oversaturated. If you want to do it, do it. Don’t let fear keep you back.”
Nate’s career is still on the rise and not slowing down. He’s got plans to start an LLC in the near future selling rings.
I’m thankful to call him my friend, and as he and I joked as we were ending our phone call, but lowkey, it’ll be fun to talk with him in another two years to see where his life is at.