Let me preface this by saying this post is a doozy. If you take the time to read it, thank you. I have written about my journey to owning my business, how I became an entrepreneur and just overall sharing my story. Enjoy! :)
In the months leading up to my college graduation in 2015, I was dead set on having a job offer before I got my diploma. I felt like I would have failed at college if I didn’t have a career to show for it. I had to get a job that related to my degree. As a print journalism and public relations major, PR seemed like a more accessible route since print was “dying.” I disagree with that statement, but since others believed it, it made finding a job in the print field a little bit more difficult.
I searched high and low on Linkedin, business websites and postings that circled around the school. I applied for a PR position on a whim through Linkedin while sitting in the campus food court. I didn’t think twice about it, but a few days later I had a job interview. I was excited about the opportunity and had the resume to back me up. I had worked my butt off throughout my years in school to lead up to this moment. Late nights in the student government office, all-nighters in the journalism department and other accolades stacked my resume.
My First Career Mistake
I completed the interview, sent the follow up thank you note and waited. A few days later - I got an offer. I didn’t think twice and accepted.
That was my first major mistake. My first interview, my first offer - I accepted. I should have listened to my professors telling me to give it a bit of time, but I didn’t care. I needed that job. I wanted that job. I needed the recognition and validation that all of that time spent on extracurriculars was worth it.
I graduated on a Saturday and the following Wednesday, I started. No summer break. Barely any time to settle into my first “on my own” apartment. I put on my professional attire and got to my new desk. I don’t remember a lot about the first day, but I remember the miserable months that followed.
I can tell you this; the agency life is not for me. It’s a little hard to pinpoint exactly why it wasn’t for me, but more a combination of a LOT of stuff. It was way more than just a 9-5. I was on edge every time my phone dinged or even just walking into the office each morning gave me severe anxiety. All in all, it just wasn’t the best situation for me.
The First Time I Actually Quit Something
When I got engaged in March 2016, I gained a new perspective. With the job that I had, there was no way I could plan a wedding and prepare for my next season of life. My lease was about to be up, and I didn’t want to renew with my current place. I had an out. I used my sweet fiancé as the perfect excuse to quit my job.
During the weeks gaining the courage to quit, my freelance side-hustle had gained some traction. I had potential client calls in my car during lunch breaks and spent my Saturdays in coffee shops. I enjoyed every minute of it. I would get to my favorite spots early in the morning and stay until close working on creative tasks that set my soul on fire.
LIFE TIP - If you are voluntarily working super late at night on something, you should probably try to make a living out of that.
I had never quit anything in my life. Well, I quit girl scouts, but that was for my sanity. Kind of like leaving my PR job. I did that for my sanity. It was terrifying, but as soon as I said, “So...I’m quitting,” it felt AWESOME.
Looking back I initially thought quitting meant admitting defeat, but that’s not true. I was looking out for me. I was looking out for my mental health, my quality time with loved ones and my realization that I was made for MORE.
The Part-Time Predicament
In May 2016, I moved back into my parents’ house and started building my business. While I had clients and determination, I still needed some extra cash. I began searching for a part-time job that could help supplement my income. Some of the posts I looked at were paying minimum wage and that was a total no-go. I had to find something that I liked but also paid a fair wage.
Here’s where Warby Parker comes in. I loved the brand and was already a customer for years. They were hiring at their Atlanta store and I thankfully had a connection (shoutout to Drew Hall) that got me an interview. A few weeks later, I got the job. Granted, it was a retail job, but it wasn’t like I was folding jeans every day. It provided me with the flexible schedule I wanted along with the cash I needed.
I worked at the Buckhead location for a few months, wedding planning and building my business along the way. After I got married in December 2016, it was time for me to move back to Birmingham and start my new life with my husband.
When I moved back, Warby Parker didn’t have a store in Birmingham. A new store was in the works, and I was super excited. The Atlanta team hinted that they wanted me to be a part of it, but I had to wait a few months for the store to be built.
During my time of waiting, I was full time with Keeping the Creativity. I had a coworking space, business cards, and a schedule. Thanks to a few wedding card checks and Keith’s excellent job, we were able to be still supported while I tried out this whole entrepreneurship thing.
A few months later, the Birmingham store opened, and I started a management position on the team. It was fun and being a part of a new team was exciting. Plus, the free glasses were always an awesome perk.
During the first few months at the Birmingham store, my business continued to evolve and grow. I met new clients. I gained new connections. During that season, I was able to manage time for both jobs, making it all work with my schedule.
Cut to April 2018. My schedule was packed to the brim. I struggled to keep up. My anxiety came back. I lost sleep. I stayed up late to work for clients, but I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. Something had to change. I contemplated giving up my business and sticking with Warby Parker, developing a real career.
I toyed with the idea for a few weeks, but I knew it wasn’t for me. I wasn’t cut out for a career. I wanted to make my path. I had big ideas, and I started gaining a full client roster that was encouraging me to work for those big ideas.
I decided it was time to test out the waters with this new chapter. I turned in my notice.
The Latest Installment
August 2018. Here we are. A few weeks before I go FULL TIME with Keeping the Creativity. September is going to be a good one. I can already feel it.
The journey has taken a few years, but each phase has been full of blessings. I would not be here without the encouragement from my husband. As cliché as it might be, I would not be here without him. He has motivated me towards more and has not let me settle for anything less.
I have a tremendous support system and I am so grateful for every contributor. Friends, family, current and past clients - all of them. Thank you. You mean the world to me.
So if you are thinking about taking a step in faith into a world of entrepreneurship, I had a bit of advice for you. It will never be a perfect time, but you have to trust in the perfect process. I have my faith on my side and that helps me with everything. God has revealed a lot to me in this journey and I am sure He has more in store for this next phase as well.
Thanks for reading. Means a lot.