Natalie Barbu: Engineer, Entrepreneur, and YouTube’s Moral Compass
Written by: Leah Cioco | 9 months ago
The first time Natalie Barbu found herself on YouTube was when she was in 6th grade, back in 2008. She wanted to be an actress so she did something about her little dream. She wrote a short skit, acted and recorded herself, and shared the whole thing online. Fast forward to today, she has reached over 30 million viewers on YouTube, with a combined following of almost 400,000 on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
“As a child, I’ve always tended to be impulsive to try new things,” she says. And she did try them all, from writing her first book in elementary to creating her first YouTube video that launched her successful career as a social media influencer, and now as a startup founder and CEO of what could be the next big thing: Rella—an all-in-one tool for social media influencers. On the side, she’s also a private consultant, a podcast host for the Real Reel Podcast, and a full-time fur-mom to Bambino, her adorable beagle.
She may seem to have it all, but Barbu admits that she is still fighting the status quo and getting to know herself more. But if there’s one thing she’s sure about, it’s her purpose, and it’s this: To provide value to her community and to the world at large. And if there’s one thing that she’s really good at, it’s being openly candid, especially when it comes to pointing out the wrongs: Like how college sometimes puts students in boxes or perhaps how some people over idolize people to the point that they’d either be super intimidated or they'd turn a blind eye to their errors. And boy does she get her message across.
On her latest interview with us, she shares the importance of her long term vision to get up every day, get moving and get things done. She also credits her model figure, Beverly Grace, a social media influencer and founder of the direct-to-consumer fitness brands TALA and Shreddy. She’s also a big fan Meg Jay’s The Defining Decade, a book she recommends everybody reads. **For the curious, it’s a self-help book that emphasizes the importance of self-awareness to find your place under the sun in your twenties. And at one point, her place was New York. There, she hustled hard to balance her full-time job as an influencer and a potential startup founder while working full-time at Accenture.
It wasn’t until last year when she moved to Miami, Florida, that she tries to go out to the beach every day, have full 8-hour sleep and spend the whole year in a ‘hello sunshine’ state of mind.
It’s not that she isn’t a ray of sunshine herself. Because she is. And she’ll always be. An unbroken optimist, and a skeptical one at that, she envisions her life as an entrepreneur as one that would help other entrepreneurs succeed. In fact, a crucial step to this route, she shares, is to get Rella acquired. Five to ten years from now, she plans to have a successful exit while still being a member of the board.
When asked what her biggest advice is to our audience and to you, dear reader, it’s this: Just start. Start that side hustle. Start your 4 AM morning routine. Start doing your homework—right after reading this maybe. You don’t have to get it perfectly well on the first try, which is better than not getting it done at all. Take it from her, an all-around hustler and a successful one at that, at only 24.