It’s almost four years since I took two weeks’ annual leave from my former career as a journalist and devoted that time to seeing whether I could pull together a new career. A self-employed career.
I was on the other side of 40 (still am ). I was over all the politics of a workplace getting in the way of doing what I really loved – writing and putting together a weekly magazine.
After one particularly nasty 24 hours at the office, I remember sitting at home on the couch sobbing.
I told Mr Styling You that I wanted to leave. He said I should and then asked what I would do when I had left (damn men and their need to solve problems when you just want a wine and whine). I may have put on my best two-year-old tantrum voice and pouted, “I want to work in fashion”. ”But you don’t live in Sydney”, he may have been brave enough to utter. I said, “Pour me a wine. Now.” He did.
I didn’t realise it at the time but I was having a very big NOW or NEVER moment.
Have you ever had one of those?
Those moments that come with equal doses of excitement and scaredy pants-ness. (To be honest it was more like poop-in-your-pants-ness.)
In hindsight my plan was a pretty naive one. Might have had something to do with never having been in business before. Just. Saying.
But with blissful naivety on my side, I returned from leave and handed in my resignation letter. Best. Feeling. Ever.
The business of Styling You has certainly not been all la-dee-da, champagne and roses … thank-you GFC starting three months after I kicked off … but it has been a ride that I’ve been incredibly happy to take.
I’m grateful that part of that whole naive business plan included asking my web guy for a site I could update myself. He told me I needed a blog. I told him, sure I’ll have me one of those and promptly googled “blog” to find out what one was.
So, I had my blog and I was writing content fairly regularly on it. I was building up my personal styling client base as well as doing PR for a number of small clients but about a year and a half into this blogging caper, I realised that there were other blogs out there. There were bloggers writing about all sorts of things. Funny bloggers, food bloggers, interior design bloggers, fashion bloggers, beauty bloggers, blogging bloggers.
A whole Blogosphere of bloggers.
And people left these things called “comments” on other people’s blogs. And not just those spammy ones that offer you a cheap Louis Vuitton handbag or some “help” in the bedroom.
I started hanging around the Blogosphere like the new kid on the bloggie block wanting and hoping that someone would come and say hi, “I like what you’re wearing”. And then a funny thing happened … lots of someones did.
For the first time in my life I felt like I was part of something. A community. A place where you write something and you are given feedback from the very people for whom you are writing. (This was all very new and refreshing to me, having come from an industry where the only feedback came in the form of shouting and expletives … and not in a good way.)
My writing style changed. I had people to “talk” to. So I talked back to them.
It felt like coming home.
Fast forward four years and there are up to 180,000 views of my blog every month. Two years ago there were 12,000.
Not a day goes by that I’m not humbled by a lovely comment, Tweet or Facebook post from readers (thank-you SO much).
The past 12 months have been huge for me – and Styling You. I’m still blogging from a corner of our lounge room but I’ve actually been able to secure some amazing sponsorships and partnerships with big and small companies in between the school runs.
Today, I’m excited to announce that organising those partnerships and sponsorships will now be handled by my agent, Lorraine Murphy at The Remarkables Group. And that I’ll have these other amazing Australian bloggers in my corner.
That leaves me to get on with what I like best to do. Write. About something I love. About something you seem to love too.
… this just in yesterday. This is what gets me out of bed every day and on to to the computer.
I want to thank you, as I have been following your fashion/beauty advice. At first I thought it would not be for me, as with a new business and child, I’m on a budget, like a lot of people. But your advice is fantastic! I now shop at Big W and have a great selection of work clothes by Emerson and I love your make up and beauty reviews. It gives me the confidence to buy something and know I won’t be wasting my money. Rachelle
Four years on, I AM working in fashion and my blog IS my business. That’s definitely not something I could have written on my first business plan or predicted in The Spectacular Couch Tantrum of 2008.
There’s definitely an element of scaredy pants-ness about this next step but mostly it’s the …
PS. Would love to know. How long have you been hanging around here reading Styling You? Has anyone been reading for more than two years? Was anyone here at the start?