Here we go!!
Ahhhh, I just need to sit in my bed right now and do some storytelling, you guys. I want to document this wild couple of months and share my thought process as to how all of this came to be!
Did you catch on social media yesterday (either on my personal Facebook page or my Whimsical September IG account) that I’m launching a new website?
AHHHHHH. I just keep screaming about it! On May 1st, I am officially launching a local-resource website for our suburban city; Madison, Alabama. I have many things I want to tell you about this website/business and I’m not even sure where to start! Shoot. I guess I’ll just start with a story from a few years ago…
Several years ago I read a headline that was along the lines of “The most successful blog you’ve never heard of”, or something like that. As a blogger who had started making a tiny income (we’re talking maybe $200/month at the time), I was on the prowl to learn as much as I could to earn more. So I clicked the article, and it was all about a Spokane-based wedding blog.
In a nutshell, this blogger had completely captivated the Spokane, Washington area wedding industry and was the #1 resource for all things wedding-related. So like the headline implied, most of us had never heard of her since her website was region-specific, but she was still making a killin’ income-wise since she was the go-to resource for that area.
This made SO MUCH sense to me, and I never forgot it.
Fast forward a couple of years to being accepted to Mediavine, my beloved ad agency. I fell in love with the concept that I could write about whatever I wanted to on Whimsical September and still make money based off of clicks to my website. I didn’t have to write sponsored posts and sell products on Amazon to make money. I could relish in my love of authentic storytelling, entertain others who were looking for a good read, and I could contribute to our household financially. WHAT A LIFE!
Fast forward again to the fall of 2019. I received a DM on Instagram from someone moving to the area whose spouse is going to be working for the MASSIVE new Mazda-Toyota plant around the corner. She needed recommendations for things like preschools, a hairdresser, and a church.
Then I received a Facebook message saying nearly the same thing from someone else. And then an email from someone else. And then someone else! OH MY GOSH, all of these people are moving to Madison (because they’d heard through the grapevine that it’s awesome, and IT IS!) but they can’t find many resources.
So after doing some research on my own, I realized that it’s true. While there are a good chunk of INCREDIBLE, RESOURCEFUL guides out there for Huntsville, there is next to nothing online for Madison.
And anyone who lives in Madison or knows anything about it knows that this city is absolutely, positively bursting with growth, and it’s not slowly down ANY time soon.
So around Christmastime, the idea hit me that this hole needed to be filled, and gosh darn it, maybe I should be the one to do it.
So I prayed and talked and researched and listened and everything was pointing to YES. Everything and everyone was saying yes yes yes without any hesitancy – this was a great idea and I needed to go for it.
So one night in January, Jamie and I went out on a date and had a business meeting. We ironed out things with his graduate school scheduling starting this fall, we ironed out things with some outsourcing I had started doing for Whimsical September, and then finally we threw back a glass of wine and talked about the biggest elephant in the room: my idea for a Madison-based local resource website.
And we decided that I needed to do it, and that I was going to start the very next day. We took this quick selfie and cheered to making the first step of something that will surely change our day-to-day lives in ways that are still blurry. 😉
The next day I decided on a name, secured a domain, claimed all of my social media channels, and emailed a logo designer.
And we have been rockin’ and a-freakin’ rollin’ every single day since then! (And I do mean nearly EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s been a lot of work. Yeehaw.) The to-do list has been absolutely ENDLESS, but it’s been so much fun to work on! Seeing it all come together has been the coolest thing, and progress is still happening daily for the next two months until we launch May 1st. I’ve tried to keep the perspective of “I don’t have to do this, and I don’t have a boss, so if this is affecting my quality of life or the quality of life of my loved ones, I need to scale back or slow down. This should be enjoyable because I am choosing to do it.’
I will be running this business as a full-fledged job and not anything like the once-hobby that Whimsical September was. We are putting Jillian in some level of childcare this fall and I will be committing to working 20-30 hours per week (at least).
The thing is, after blogging to this extent for six years, ignorance IS NOT BLISS. I KNOW what goes into this business. I know what I have to do. I have slowly taught myself an entire new industry and have a pretty good idea of the many things I can and should do to make this successful. It’s overwhelming at times thinking about taking something like this on, but I know (I know I know I know) that this is a good thing that I am capable of doing. HOLY COW I AM SO EXCITED!!!! I am elated really.
All of this just makes so much sense to me. I love to write. I studied journalism in high school and college (I DREAMED of a career in this field!), and only changed my major to secondary education and English because I knew in my gut that Jamie was my future husband (isn’t that crazy? I just knew and so did he.) He was going to do an Army career for 20+ years, and I would never be able to have a journalism career. So I switching to teaching writing, but I have known for years that I would never teach high school English again. I have had a peace about that for years, but I have fought that peace. I WANTED to want to go back to being a teacher. Like, maybe I shouldn’t have peace about this and I should go back to the classroom? But I know that’s not in the cards for me.
But the scary thing was, I didn’t know what I would do instead. I felt like a teenager who was saying that I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but the difference is that I’m 32 and not a teen. 😉 But I knew that blogging would lead to something. It sounds very ignorant to say I had peace about that, but I truly, truly did. I knew (hoped?!) that one day the puzzle pieces would begin to fit and that my blogging experience would lend itself to “the next thing”.
So, I love writing and creating for sure, but I also love my community of Madison. I love this city. Love, love, love it. Maybe it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s definitely mine. My family loves it here and thinks it has the best of everything we could ever want. So this website will allow me to get out and explore our city on an even deeper level, and I cannot wait!
As a mother of three young children, this website will also allow me to have flexibility and be there for my kids. I have struggled with “working” from home while also technically being a stay-at-home mom, because having one foot in working AND another in staying home has proven to be too much. I feel very much at peace with enrolling Jillian in a new program and know she will enjoy some time with other kiddos to play and learn!
I have had a handful of people the last few years tell me that I’m “so lucky” to have my cake and eat it too (i.e. work from home, make money, but also be home with the kids). I can see how it would appear that way, but there have been times that I WISHED to either be one or the other: either a full-time working mom with kids in childcare or a full-time stay-at-home mom without the distraction of my computer and a business to run. Don’t get me wrong… I do feel sooooo fortunate to provide extra income while staying home, but it HAS come with the massive price tag of feeling like I’ve only been sub-par at being a writer and as a mom some days. Oy. I am my own worst critic.
But really, today, I’m just feeling high as a kite and so excited and optimistic about making this choice and just GOING FOR IT. This website/business just makes so much sense to me. It allows me to practice journalism, create without limits, take control of my own income, make my own schedule, be directly involved in the community I’m in love with, and still be a present wife to Jamie and involved mom to Hadley, Sadie, and Jillian.
I know that this will be hard at times. Thinking about the adjustment our family will have to make has brought on a few evenings of tears, stress, and worrying for sure. Change scares me, but I feel proud that I’m pushing back against that fear and doing something that I feel passionate and excited about. I know this is a good opportunity and I can’t wait to have a hand in keeping our fantastic city more connected. I think about myself 10 years down the road, and I picture my future self being grateful that I did this.
I’m so glad to have this off my chest and share it with you! As for Whimsical September, I could never give this baby up. I mean, this website definitely feels like another child that I’ve raised. 😉 To be honest, I don’t know exactly what this space will look like, but I’m pretty confident it will remain somewhat the same: a place where I come to dump life happenings, things that I’m loving and want to share with others, and more. Thanks for hanging on! (It’s the weirdest thing to experience the roller coaster of life via a blog and so publicly but hey, that’s what you sign up for when you put your life on the internet. LOL.)
I love you guys!!! Thanks for being some of the best supporters and readers in the world! xo
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother in today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to two little girls (ages 5 and 2) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo