It felt SO GOOD to finally rip the Band-Aid off last Friday and wake up to see that “Coming Soon” countdown replaced with a full-functioning website on AllThingsMadison.com. It was the culmination of months of hard work and tons of time (at least 15 hours a week just on that site), so to see it all come to fruition was just so dang cool!
You may remember that I decided to really go for it and create this website back in early January. In early February I set the launch date for Friday, May 1st. I’d even looked into an event space at our new minor league baseball stadium to throw a launch party that night and was so bummed when I saw that they’d be playing away that evening.
May 1st was going to be my date, and once I set that date, I started to hustle to make it a reality.
Date Change Consideration
The reality of the pandemic and societal shutdown mid-March made me stop dead in my tracks and heavily consider pushing the date back to August 1st. I was just so in my head about all of it, trying to make sense of how to navigate this pandemic like the rest of us: I questioned if I would have content, if I was being “tone deaf” to the pandemic, and if I could realistically handle the creation and then the maintenance of having a new business with three kids suddenly home full time.
After heavy consideration, counsel, and prayer, I began to feel fully confident that May 1st was a great date to do so.
I would have content because my original business model never focused fully on events. My website was going to be so much more. It would be a storyteller, a place for businesses to get the word out, and a place to connect our community around various happenings. And when the events start popping back up, All Things Madison will be established enough to help them get back on their feet.
Was I being “tone deaf” to the pandemic? As a blogger, I have always (!) tried to be a mindreader to some extent and predict how my words and actions could affect others in negative ways. I will never be perfect but I really do try not to hurt anyone or be a poor example.
With this in mind, I wondered if launching a new business was insensitive in any way? This is where I sought counsel from other entrepreneurs. They all agreed that this was the opposite of tone-deaf: that it was inspirational. That it showed that life can still go on and that we can still fight for our families and our long-term dreams when everything around us feels scary and unpredictable. I heard from people that starting this would be a great way to encourage and entertain others in our community and that it will hopefully help businesses when they begin coming back to life and rebuilding when leadership says they can.
And then finally, how would I do this with my kids in tow? My mother-in-law comes over twice a week and gives me 3-4 hours each time to work in peace in my room. My mom is back to work three days a week but has selflessly offered to help me in any way she can on her days off as I try to get this off the ground. I also wake up at 5 a.m. every morning and work until between 7:00 – 7:30 while Jamie tends to the kids before he has to log on for work.
And then besides that, I just string together work time throughout the day, like what I’m doing right now: typing this while Jillian takes an afternoon nap and the big girls have quiet playtime in their rooms.
About building the site
Building the website felt like building a house. So much attention to detail, so many things to fine-tune, and tasks that just. kept. breeding. I feel like I have been self-taught in an entire industry the last decade running Whimsical September (and the other various names it was called prior to 2014 – haha!), so applying all of that knowledge to one website was super fun and super exhausting. Seeing it all come to life though via my ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL site designer Jacki was better than Christmas morning.
About the content
I am so happy to be writing, maintaining, and building All Things Madison. It has been SUCH A JOY. I love the journalistic style of writing. Reporting, sharing, connecting face-to-face, and storytelling has been the only career I’ve ever wanted to do career-wise with my life.
And I freaking love this community, so diving right in and telling stories has been just the very best thing. I think I’ve hung up the phone from every interview and squealed with Jamie about how much I enjoyed the conversation. Ugh. It’s just been great and I’m really, really happy.
I put a good chunk of money into the upfront costs, which included hiring my site builder, my logo and general branding, a formatted contract, stickers, window clings for businesses, business cards, launch giveaways, a PO box (necessary to have an email list), my email list via FloDesk, etc. It’s been a lot! But you know what… this little blog paid for the whole dang thing. And so for that, I am very grateful.
Thanks to those who have supported me with this new venture. I’m happy to share some of the launch details with you here, and don’t worry, Whimsical September isn’t going anywhere. I can’t promise to post a certain amount or anything else concrete, but this site is like another child of mine (haha). I’ve birthed it, refined it, watched it grow, and just love it. It tells my family’s story, so I want to continue to come here to keep on telling it. I hope you’ll pop in and catch up with us every so often. 🙂
Hope you’re doing well amidst all of our new normals. We are doing well here. 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 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