Millennial Minds: Tailored Ink’s Han-Gwon Lung On Why Corporate Life Isn’t For Everyone

Cara Kovacs
Cara Kovacs is a writer, blogger, and stylist who's work has been published across most mediums on topics ranging from fashion and beauty to sex and relationships as well as travel and food. An expert on being 20-something, she enjoyed Soul Cycle, kale salads, and corgis.

The Millennial Minds series casts a spotlight on those among us who have been creative and courageous enough to make money doing what they love. In this article, we feature an entrepreneur whose business acumen is just as important as his creative capability.

Han-Gwon Lung started his entrepreneurial journey like most millennials — being frustrated and downtrodden by the lack of passion and purpose to be found in his full-time work. Before starting his writing agency, Tailored Ink, Lung spent the years post-college frantically searching for freelance gigs while oscillating between unsatisfying corporate jobs and unemployment. He soon realized he was able to make more money doing what he loved as a freelancer over full-time work.

Lung was playfully self-effacing when asked about his inspiration for Tailored Ink.

“Desperation. Only half-kidding. I’d been freelancing for some time when I was fired, and that’s when I realized I’d had enough of ‘the system.’ Since I’d been able to get my own freelance clients in the past and had already worked at some great agencies, I figured I knew enough to start my own shop. I was right.”

In starting his own agency, Lung matched his roster of writers to a growing list of clientele. He had the freedom to make his own schedule and get paid to do what he loved. Lung swiftly became an example of millennial entrepreneurialism to which any writer would aspire.

When working in creative industries, often times the missing piece is finagling how to monetize your work on a self-sustaining basis. Lung circumvented this by becoming a master salesman, something he talks about in his piece for Entrepreneur about the fears you have to face before starting your own business. His advice?

“Don’t think that corporate life will get better. If you don’t like it at entry level, you won’t like it in a managerial role, either. If you want true flexibility and the satisfaction of ‘eating what you kill’ (and not relying on the whims of managers for raises and bonuses), learn how to do sales. Then start your own business.”

Being your best sales person is a trend we have seen in most of our Millennial Minds features, and Lung really drives this point home. Learning how to sell your brand, work, and essentially self, is the first step to getting your business up and running.

Lung also notes that being a millennial provides a unique perspective with which to start, run, and grow a business.

“I’m less interested in stability and niching into a particular vertical, and I’m sure it’s because of my “Millennial” attitude,” Lung said.

Coming from a generation that has both strived, and in some cases, been forced to think outside of the box with their professional endeavors helped Lung take his creative passion and make it a living.

“I think all entrepreneurs are goal-oriented and get bored very quickly. That’s why I like being able to both do something I enjoy and choose what I want to work on. There’s nothing more empowering than getting paid to do something you love, and doing it well.”

It is that mentality that has been the catalyst for the Millenial Minds project, and this column has been a continual effort to celebrate those who have recognized that calling for themselves and risen to the occasion of achieving it. Han has certainly epitomized this, which is why he has managed to sustain a profitable business from something that he loves.

If you or someone you know has mastered a similar endeavor, please contact [email protected] to be featured. You can also check out past editions here.