Happy New Year!!
Yesterday I sat down with a cup of coffee and a charged-up laptop to do some 2020 business goal-setting and planning.
But you see, just that word “business” stirs up a variety of emotions for me. Is this really a business? I actually feel somewhat insecure in this area because I feel like what I do pales in comparison to the “real” businesses that others do serving others and meeting a need. This is just my little hobby/passion that I do on the side when I feel like it that happens to bring in a little bit of money, right?
Well… no. This little hobby of mine has turned into a true passion that is super high up on my life’s priority list, and putting other things before it leaves me feeling all out of whack. I love this space. I’ve also always said that this blog just affords “the extras” and that we could totally live without it, but that’s not really true anymore either. My main source of income (ads) is consistent and has been for a while, so at this point pulling back from my blog would be like scaling back hours at work. We would feel it.
Okay, so I love being a writer, I make an income, but is it really a business?
This is what I always go back to in my head. Like, is this my job? I’ve shared some of these thoughts and insecurities with a few people close to me throughout the last year, and they’ve helped me realize that it absolutely is. It’s non-traditional, but employment doesn’t just look one way anymore. With social media and the internet, people are working and making a living doing all kinds of things, all kinds of ways. And that is GREAT!
And what is a job anyway? One definition from Webster’s defines it as “a task or piece of work, especially one that is paid”. I think I’ve personally always thought of a job as something one does that contributes to society and makes our world go around, and that a website like this “where I write about everything and nothing” (something I say aloud to friends and family a lot) doesn’t really “contribute”.
I think something I’ve realized lately though is that we all consider those who work in the media as persons who work, who have a job. Many of them strictly provide entertainment via books, magazines, radio, television, movies, comedy, music, etc.
And in today’s day and age, the internet and social media are also major forms of media and entertainment. In this space, I strive to provide entertainment via writings about our everyday lives, I provide meal ideas, fitness fails and wins, travel tips, beauty recommendations, parenting and marriage ideas, and more. Though I’m far from an expert at any of these things, I do provide resources for the taking completely for free to whomever is ready to consume.
So, I guess this is my job! WHATTT! And that FIRES ME UP and feels like a dream because creating content is really, really enjoyable.
What’s NOT a dream is figuring out how to do all of this from home while also being a stay-at-home mom. I’ve always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but after six years of being home, I am feeling gratefully fulfilled in this area. I have been ready for a while to think about working again, but then when I really start to think about pursuing things outside of the home, I get ice-cold feet about not only the big changes this will mean for our family, but also how I will likely have to pull back almost entirely from this site. AND I JUST CAN’T DO THAT!
Bottom line: Nothing in my world feels right if my family is off, so parenting my daughters well and having a healthy marriage has to be #1. I determined long ago that anything that would hinder those things would be off the table. But does this mean that I can’t work hard on my passions and also foster healthy relationships with those I love? ABSOLUTELY not!
I was word-vomiting with my aunt about all of this a few weeks ago, and she really encouraged me to keep it up and keep making this site a thing. She explained that it would be really great to keep working hard and learning new things to apply to my business NOW (eeek!) and that by the time Jillian is in kindergarten and I’m feeling like I should get a job, I can sit back and look at how I already have one that is providing well. And if this thing flops, I will go back to work like I planned on anyway. 🙂
I also saw something on Facebook that struck a nerve with me. Our MOPS mentor in Kansas has been with Mary Kay for over 30 years, and she’s been phenomenally successful. She shared in a recent post that despite her wild success, the only thing she’s done differently from others is that she simply never quit. This hit me like a train. She NEVER QUIT. She also has three adult kids, and she just kept at it through all of life’s journeys. WOW.
So I told Jamie, “What if I never quit? What if I stopped wondering about the future of blogging and just kept on doing what I love? What if I finally hired some help, invested way more of my income back into this site, and just really did this thing?” He was all about it. He knows this is working.
Admittedly we are both trying to learn as fast as we can about next steps with paying to outsource various aspects of this blog that aren’t my strengths or interests (i.e. photography and Pinterest), but we are researching and talking and trying to do things right in anticipation of making this something that brings in an income that matched my teaching salary by January of next year.
Doing all of this will require not putting other things ahead of my blog anymore and treating this way, way more like my job, but I am SO EXCITED about that! I am excited about the confidence I am finally growing about not being timid/shy/sometimes embarrassed about being a “blogger”. There is a lot that goes into this website of mine, and I’m proud of the knowledge I’ve taught myself the last six years about this brand new industry. I feel good that this is the right year to put my head down, be confident in what I’ve grown, and just ride this wave because WHY NOT! I’ve never wanted to run my own business before, but it would be silly to not try and seek out the possibilities.
Finally, I’ve been in prayer about this a lot. I was folding laundry mid-December and was feeling really inspired and fired up about 2020 and my blog when it hit me that I hadn’t done much chatting with the Lord about MY plans. Are they His for me as well? Because if they’re not, this will never work. I felt really convicted in that moment, and ever since then I’ve been in prayer more often asking very specifically for doors to be opened or closed, for the right people to be put in my life that I may hire, and for confidence when taking risks.
I’ve always believed that there can often be much truth behind the idea of “more money, more problems”, so I don’t necessarily want to measure my success by finances. Jamie (who is much more interested in long-term finance than I am) will tell you that my motivation with all of this lies far beyond our own family’s money. I am asking God to use me and use this site as a tool to do whatever He pleases, both now in the hearts and minds of my readers who consume my content as well as my own life years from now. What will all of this link me to in the future? I can’t wait to see.
Oh, one more thing. Every post needs a picture, so here is one of me right now. No makeup on, t-shirt and sweats, sitting in bed with my dog and a pile of laundry (that I’m ignoring for the moment because I’m prioritizing THIS!) while my baby girl snoozes in her crib and my big girls make art creations at the kitchen table. It’s dumping rain, we have four more days of Christmas break, and it is a-okay to have a solid pajama day at home! Mom guilt, BE GONE!
So what does this mean for you?
Honestly, absolutely nothing. 🙂
Some blog posts will feature photos taken by a professional, but everything else that I am looking at doing will be behind the scenes.
This site will still feature 90% photos taken with my iPhone (looking to upgrade to the 11… good idea???), will still have my occasional typos (sorry!), and will still feature 1-3 new posts per week (though I sure would love to do more!)
My behind-the-scenes changes primarily revolve around time. As of 2019, I had no set time to do anything related to blogging. I would just tackle the things that needed to get done when I had a free moment. But not anymore. I am striving to create more of a schedule for my family that carves out very intentional work time for me so that I can shut it down in the afternoons and be present with my family in the same way Jamie is when he comes home from work. This is all a work in progress, but taking teeny nibbles feels like huge leaps in the necessary direction!
Do you run your own business? What kind is it? Do you have any pieces of advice?
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 three little girls (ages 7, 4, and 1) 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