Every so often, we set new goals. These new goals are sometimes total successes or abject failures, or maybe a happy medium that leaves us with new skills or a new appreciation for ourselves. Many times, we set goals and carry them on in ways that aren’t necessarily sustainable, and that is where the difference lies. That’s where Tori Kinley comes in for her followers and listeners.
On Dec. 26, 2020, Tori posted a TikTok that now has over 1.2 million views, telling her (at the time) few followers to join her on this journey to self-improvement or just waking up earlier. The day she quit her corporate job, she sat in a Walmart parking lot and recorded the now-viral video. Tori said, “I saved it and hesitated to post because I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to put myself out there. I convinced myself a few days later and said to myself ‘it’s ok—you’re not going to go viral but at least you might be able to help a few people along the way.’”
Now, less than a month later, it’s clear that her initial hesitation was wrong, in less than 30 days, she has gained over 134,000 followers on the platform and a community of ‘Sunrise Seekers’ that are following her in this new journey. Becoming a viral TikTok persona overnight isn’t an easy feat, and Tori was in grateful disbelief for her new community. Tori explained, “I felt like I needed to pinch myself. For the first few days, my body was in shock. I couldn’t sleep or do anything. All I did was sit and watch the numbers rise.”
With this new following, however, came new challenges. Aside from being a new TikTok persona, Tori runs her own marketing company, something she is very gifted in. Tori explained, “My intention after I quit my job was to focus on my marketing company, Kinley Inc, which provides full digital marketing services and consulting to businesses. Because I went viral, both businesses are now booming. It’s great, but just making the TikToks is very time-consuming.” In the spirit of self-improvement, Tori has her own new goals that go hand-in-hand with these new challenges. I asked her how she manages her time between being a businesswoman/TikTok persona/GRE prep, and she simply said, “I don’t. That’s something I’m finally starting to get better at.”
As a total night owl, I was extremely curious as to why Tori chose 5:00 a.m. and she stated, “I had an ex-boyfriend who would wake up early in the morning when he needed to get work done. I, a night owl, thought he was psycho.” Aside from this, Tori was also struggling to complete GRE prep in an efficient way that stuck in her long-term memory. Tori noted, “I started working at a human trafficking shelter and I had to stay over at the safe house. My shift was from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. so I had no time to study. Another caregiver recommended that I wake up early for some ‘me time’ for a mental health break. I started doing that and studying and it was great. I was so surprised that even with my tired 5:00 a.m. brain, my brain was absorbing more info than it would during the day or at night. Formulas and strategies that just wouldn’t absorb were coming easily to me in the early morning.”
Aside from this, Tori notes that she saw a remarkable change in procrastination and anxiety. “If you get things done in the morning then you don’t have to worry about them later in the day. You get a relaxed day without a dark cloud over your head,” Tori stated.
On a more personal note, Tori’s own sleep schedule isn’t always the same and may fluctuate as needed. Tori explained, “One of my favorite things to do is go to the beach late at night with one of my friends and have deep philosophical conversations about the world. That’s why I know I’ll never get to a point where I will sacrifice every night for a 5:00 a.m. wakeup. I’ll do it most days, but I’ll give myself the gift of a fun beach night here and there.” Even with her beloved beach nights, she still maintains that waking up so early has been an overall positive experience for her and her life. Tori stated, “When you start doing it, you’ll notice a huge change in your mental health. I think just the accomplishment of waking up that early, when you didn’t think you could, is enough to boost your serotonin levels for the day.” In keeping with her brand of sustainable change, Tori has one major tip for everyone, regardless of your intended goal: “Just do it. Realize you won’t be perfect so have the humility be ok with starting slow and failing. Once you get past that and celebrate little accomplishments, you’ll be able to do anything.”
Looking toward the future, Tori has many goals for her personal brand and the ToriTalks brand. Tori said, “I’m known as the 5:00 a.m. girl on TikTok, but I have so much more to offer my new friends than just 5:00 a.m. I’d love to talk about books and mindset and anxiety. I go back and forth between knowing my niche and sticking to only 5:00 a.m. talks or to expand into more topics.”
Tori’s podcast covers a more diverse range of topics, and they’re all very relatable and authentic. She credits many things for contributing to her unique voice and mindset. Tori explained, “I spent two years reading books, having a quarter-life crisis, having a mixed relationship with religion, building diverse communities, learning humility and surrounding myself with all different types of people. My inspiration comes from all of that put together in my brain.”
Currently, Tori has a lot in the works for her audience. She noted, “Like I talked about, I want to branch into total mindset strategies, not just the 5:00 a.m. talk. I’m currently working on merchandise and I’m developing a manifesting/mindset journal that uses the same techniques I’ve been doing that have made my life so amazing. On top of that, there will be shirts and stickers and all that jazz. I’m looking forward to growing Tori Talks Podcast, while also helping other people grow the same way I did through Kinley Inc.”