2017 is over in a few days, and it’s been one heck of a year. You wouldn’t know it by looking at this blog, though. I wanted to take a look back on the past couple of years as a “blogger”, which I don’t use as my job title, by the way, but it is one of the many hats I wear.
I started this blog, the one you’re currently reading, in 2010 under the name “One Tough Mother”, sharing glimpses of my family’s life, craft projects I created with my daughter (who was only 8 at the time), and a few home decor projects here and there.
I won’t spend too much time waxing poetic about the evolution of this space on the interwebs. You can read about my literal come-to-Jesus and subsequent transformation to Sweet Tea & Saving Grace IN THIS POST.
Fast forward to 2015. At that point, I was working with a few bloggers as clients to help them manage their MailChimp accounts and send regular newsletters to their subscribers and had successfully published a big, fat ebook about the MailChimp platform. I was at a stage in my business where I knew I needed to make a decision: either quit my full-time job and take a leap of faith that “this blog thing” would turn into a legit business, or quit my side hustle (“this blog thing”) and remain behind the desk at the job I had despised for 9 years.
I chose the former. Actually, the decision was made for me. It went like this:
- Hubs and I have a serious conversation about my business. He agrees that I should try to cut back on my hours to focus on my business, but how?
- I find a job posting with an influencer marketing company. They were looking for a Blog Coordinator to work 15-25 hours each week remotely.
- I applied, and a few weeks later, was offered the job. Hooray!
- I prepare to quit my full-time job, but the day I was to give my notice (literally, the same day), my boss comes to tell me that they are making cut-backs and my hours are being cut to only 2 days/week.
How’s that for divine intervention and answer to prayer? I had been praying and praying for years for a way out of the job I detested, the mind-numbing accounting tasks, and most importantly, the 3+ hour round-trip commute.
Within one week, I had a remote job working from home 3 days/week and still had the steady income of my day job, but I only had to go into work 1 day/week, and work from home the other day.
I had income while I built my business. How crazy is that?!
In October 2015, I started my new routine of working from home part-time and was able to focus on my growing business. I would get up early, beginning my work day at 6:30 am, then working for either of my other two employers for the majority of the normal workday, then working on my own business again in the late afternoon and early evening.
TURNING A BLOG INTO A BUSINESS
In December 2015, I launched Sweet Tea, LLC, and the majority of my time spent blogging was dedicated to that website, writing articles that showcased my expertise. I fine-tuned my services and continued to grow my client base, as well as my exposure.
My business continued to grow and evolve. I was building a community online, a loyal fanbase. I was teaching courses, hosting webinars, speaking at conferences…it was quite epic and exciting!
In June 2016, I created my first big offering. I remember sitting on the couch next to my husband the day I opened the cart for registration, and after several minutes, my husband asked, “Why is your phone beeping so much?”
I smiled, and told him, “Every time it beeps, that’s another person registering for my membership site.”
He was impressed, and I was hopeful.
On the morning of June 30, 2016, I woke up to a bank account with actual dollars in it – enough dollars to tell both my husband and myself that it was time…
I walked into my office at my now part-time day job, typed up a resignation letter, and handed it in. My boss asked me what I was planning to do, so I told her about my business. She was so excited for me that she told me if I wanted that day to be my last day, she would support it.
And I left.
AFTER THE DAY JOB
Since June 30, 2016, I have been working from home full-time. I was finally able to dedicate the vast majority of my time to my business, Sweet Tea, LLC, while still working part-time for the influencer marketing company.
Over the past 18 months, I’ve tried having monthly contributors here on Sweet Tea & Saving Grace, and I have tried regularly posting here myself, but it’s tough to manage a team of writers and run a business and work a part-time job and be a devoted wife and mom. Particularly over the past several months, this blog has been mostly ignored, but it’s all good.
Also over the past 18 months, I’ve launched a podcast, fine-tuned my services once more, created several courses, grown a larger community online, spoken at even more conferences, hosted a virtual summit…the list goes on and on.
A few months ago, my podcast co-host and best friend, Erin Shebish, and I decided to merge our businesses. She is a success & mindset coach, and I focus on content strategy and SEO. Our new business, Wit + Wisdom, officially launches next week, and we are beyond thrilled about it.
And with growth comes change…or is it the other way around? Either way, it’s happening. I gave my notice to the influencer marketing company last week. December 31, 2017, will be the final day of my contract.
So what happens next?
I’ve decided to use this space on Sweet Tea & Saving Grace as my online journal, which, funny enough, is what blogs were originally created to be. I won’t be posting on any particular schedule, but I want to document my journey, and I want to share it authentically with anyone who happens to read it.
Because here’s the thing: the internet is both an incredible tool and a harmful weapon. I’ve been able to build a business on the internet and give myself and my family freedom, and I work hard in my business to help other women do the same.
But at the same time, the internet opens up the door for a lot of comparisons, and a lot of not-so-genuine people to spew their “advice”, income reports, and “roadmaps”, leading people astray.
I’ve always sought to be a voice of authenticity and honesty. I’ve taken my readers on my journey and shared the good, the bad, and the ugly along the way. Because no path is without speedbumps and roadblocks.
Sweet Tea & Saving Grace will be my personal journey of an online business owner, and you’re invited to come along with me.