I started blogging in 2010, and on June 30, 2016, I quit my job and my blog become a business. A lot has happened since I started blogging, and in the time since I became a full-time blogger. This is my story.
*NOTE: This post was originally published on Dec. 27, 2017. It has been updated as of April 22, 2020.
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?!
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.
THE EVOLUTION OF A BLOG BUSINESS
I have been working for myself since July 1, 2016, and man what a journey! I still own and operate under the business name Sweet Tea, LLC, although I closed the website down at the end of 2017. (I’ll tell you why shortly!)
My business was about 70% client work and 30% online courses, and over the years, that shifted to eventually be 100% course-focused. Bottom line: I love teaching.
I was fortunate enough to teach at several blog conferences and workshops:
- Haven Conference in Atlanta in 2016 and 2017
- Blended Conference in Arizona 2016
- SoFabU on the Road in Chicago and Brooklyn in 2016
- Create & Grow in Atlanta in 2018
- Tuesdays Together in Atlanta in 2018
I was even blessed to be invited to Las Vegas with a group of 12 big-name food bloggers to train them on email marketing! It was quite a surreal experience.
I ran Sweet Tea, LLC on my own until January 2018. During that time, I hosted an in-person workshop at a beautiful winery in Alabama, and a retreat in North Georgia.
In January 2018, I merged with Erin Shebish and we created Wit & Wisdom. We ran Wit & Wisdom for a year together, hosting hundreds of podcast episodes, hosting online workshops and courses, and leading another retreat in the North Georgia mountains.
If I could hold retreats every weekend, I would. They are my absolute favorite way to connect with bloggers and teach in an intimate environment. It’s more conducive to learning than big blog conferences, in my opinion.
MY BLOG BUSINESS TODAY
I took 2019 off from running my online business. I have been working part-time as the Communications Director at my church, using all the knowledge I’ve gained from my years of blogging to help my church.
I honestly needed a break. I stepped down from Wit & Wisdom, and running an online business in general, at the end of 2018.
The truth is, the online business space can be a lot to mentally and emotionally process sometimes. There is a lot of pressure to constantly earn more and do more and grow bigger, and to be honest, that’s just not my style. I’ve never been one of these bloggers desperately seeking a 6- or 7-figure income business. If that were to happen, I’d be ecstatic, but I won’t sacrifice my faith or family to make it happen.
So what now?
I truly believe I needed a break because the Lord had to get me to a place of contentment before I could move forward in my business.
And now I’m ready (and excited) to get back to business! I’m back to blogging regularly and in June 2020, will open my online shop, Sweet Tea Apothecary, which offers gorgeous, handmade diffuser bracelets, as well as non-toxic essential oil products.
Life is a journey, and this blog business certainly has taken some interesting turns, but I’m excited for the next chapter!