Pivoting, Not Failing
As I close down my small agency, say goodbye to my team + clients, and embark on dedicating 100% of my attention on Everyday Pursuits I can’t help but feel I’ve failed. A little over 3 yrs. ago I left my 9 -5 job with two main goals: 1) to help small businesses with their social media and digital strategies and 2) to have more time to focus on my personal brand: Everyday Pursuits.
I was going to start a boutique digital agency (Pursuit Digital) and provide my years of expertise in social + digital marketing to brands who needed all the interworkings of a robust marketing team but really couldn’t afford to hire them (e-mail strategy, content creation, digital strategy, social media advertising, social media management - all the things). I would be a traveling CMO of sorts and could do it all remotely from my home or wherever in the world I wanted.
This was also going to provide much more flexibility to continue to grow Everyday Pursuits; participate in brand trips, attend mid-day PR events, weekday photoshoots vs. giving up my weekends, writing blog post during daylight hours vs. groggy 2am sessions.
The funny part? I DID all those things.
I really did it. At one point I was managing over 10 clients, growing one from basically nothing to over 1MM in e-comm revenue in less than 2 years. I tripled EDP revenue in the first year out on my own. And as of the last two years, both business were making well over 6 figures. I also traveled to 10 different countries, got married, and had a ton of really incredible experience. And throughout it all, well really in the last 1.5 yrs, there was something nagging at me inside to give up the client work and make a full-time commitment to Everyday Pursuits. But I kept making excuses - “I can’t put all my eggs in this blogger basket, there’s so many unknowns.” “I’m not tall enough, I’m not pretty enough, and I’ll never have enough money to compete with the ‘BIG’ girls!” “My partner isn’t a photographer and has absolutely zero interest in being one. He has his own career and can’t be involved in the day to day of mine. How could we ever make this work?” “Do I want be 50 yrs. old taking bikini photos on the beach or rushing to shoot a hair tutorial when we have little ones running around?”
On top of all those excuses I was also becoming disheartened by the catty-ness of the industry, the popularity contest it was becoming (or rather I was getting caught up in). At 32 I’ve built a close group of friends and yes, 97% of them are NOT “bloggers” or “influencers” or “industry people” and I am totally okay with that. At 32 I am also realizing that I am no longer 24 yrs. old, running around LA seven nights a week pretending I’m hot shit. And there’s no part of me that wants to. I am happy with my nights cooking Home Chef, watching Narcos, cuddled up on the couch with my new husband. I also feel a strong desire to talk about more substantial topics (case in point here) than just daily outfits or lipstick trends. But would everyone else be okay with that?
Here’s the thing: in this industry it’s all about perception.
And I don’t do bullshit. If I’m home with a pimple on my face I’m going to tell you (the EDP IG story fam knows it!). If I don’t have baby fever and am sick of people asking, I’m going to write about it. I started my morning coffee talks with no specific intention except to just talk with you, daily, about whatever mundane and/or sometimes exciting things that were happening in my life and in our lives. It’s now something I look forward to every morning (and I think many of you do too!) TBH, it’s one of the things that helped me wrap my head around taking this leap. Doing EDP full-time means more of me, real, no-bullshit content and that’s scary. In ways, it’s a lot easier to create an online persona that’s perfectly manicured and always on the up + up.
I’ve finally squashed my excuses and overcome my fear of being an imperfect 32 yr. old, yet somehow I still feel like I’ve failed. The first time I read through Jen Sincero’s You’re a Badass book I did the exercise where you write out, in detail, what your future would look like. Mine included: “Everyday I work from my home office, primarily focused on my Pursuit Digital clients. I love being able to provide such a wide-breadth of digital marketing knowledge to these up + coming brands and also do it on my own time and schedule. This flexibility has been an integral part in growing our family and my personal brand: Everyday Pursuits.” I wrote that and re-read it for months before I quit my 9 -5 and continued to read it in the first year of working on my own.
Yet here I am changing paths.
We don’t own the house with the expansive backyard for entertaining yet nor do we have kids (also in that writing exercise), but fun fact: I also wrote “there’s a Starbucks around the corner that I walk to every morning. I’ve become friends with the baristas and I look forward to seeing them at the start of every day!” So there’s that. Small wins. But really, there have been so many big wins over the past 3 years. (Hello, marriage and successfully being self-employed!) It honestly took me writing this to see that. I’m reminded of the first time I changed paths, pivoted you could say, when I decided to quite accounting after spending 4 years studying it at USC. (You can read all about that here!) My step-dad said to me “you have to work for another 40+ yrs. of your life, so it’s okay to change course a few times and figure out what really makes you happy.” So here I am, changing paths at 32. Putting all my eggs in the basket, hoping you’ll come a long for the ride.