I’ll start by saying, it’s never too late to follow your dreams. I normally don’t share personal posts… but this one is going to get real personal, so turn away if you don’t want to go deep with me. This week I am “retiring” (to blog full-time) from an almost 13 year career that has been incredibly good to me – but it wasn’t my passion. I cannot put into words how unfulfilled I was working at something that wasn’t my true calling. It was painful and that pain ached deep within my bones. So much so that I’ve been trying for about 10 years now to change my job situation – and by this time next week I will actually be living my dream come true. Which is a really big deal for me! When I started this blog I hoped that one day it would afford me the luxury of sharing my passion with the world while being able to earn a fair living from home and I’m thrilled that day is finally here. My heart is overflowing with gratitude and appreciation for all that God has blessed me with, including all of you. I wish I could bottle this feeling and give everyone a little taste of it. What is your dream? What can you do to reach it? Below is my story of trial and error and how I made it to this day…
If I really start at the beginning – I have to tell you that I’ve been crafty since I was born. Both of my parents are incredibly creative and are both artists in their own rite. My entire life they encouraged learning, experimenting and creativity. From baking and all types of crafting to building things with wood and working on cars – simply put, they taught me how to “make” things. Let’s just say that I got my first sewing machine when I was three; I was allowed to use a legit hot glue gun when I was like 6 and years later in high school I made at least 10 prom dresses, including my own. Which by the way was made from a wedding dress pattern because I was crazy about the boy who was taking me to prom. Good thing he was ok with how crazy I was about him… lucky me that boy is now my amazing husband and the talented photographer that shoots everything for this blog. This blog literally wouldn’t exist without his talent.
So… jump to high school graduation – I’m like barely 18 and the thought of college and a 9-5 job makes me want to barf, literally. I love being creative, crafting is my life and all I want to do is make things with my hands. So what comes to mind? My hair dresser. She is super cool and has such a stylish job that is far from boring and it’s totally creative – so a month or so after graduation I’m signed up. I’m going to be a hair dresser. While in beauty school I started working for a caterer serving food at weddings – that’s where my wedding obsession took root. On some weekends I saw 3-4 different weddings… what the bride wore, the escort cards, the centerpieces, the favors, the food, the cake – I saw everything. Even the things I didn’t want to see – either way, I was obsessed. I remember walking by the wedding coordinators room and thinking ‘I want to do that!’. But it’s too late, I’m already in school for something else. Before I know it I’m working in a huge salon and I’m only 19! Since I’m so young (and nobody wants me to color their hair) the receptionists keep booking me up-do’s – which I’m really good at. Again, the wedding obsession grows. I quickly become the go-to gal for wedding hair styles and then I start traveling to wedding venues to do hair on site. Most hair dressers I knew hated that pressure… the “wedding day” pressure – not me – I loved it. I craved it. It’s like a drug that I can’t get enough of. Time passes and now I have a full blown hair dressing career and I’m bored as can be.
On a trip to Vegas my cousin asks me, “What would you do if money or education wasn’t an issue – so basically if you won the lottery – what would you do?” I immediately say “I’d be a crafter, or a wedding planner, or a marine biologist”. 1, 2, 3, easy – no question. But, I’m a hair dresser – wait – that doesn’t make sense. As soon as I heard the answers to that question rolling off my tongue – I knew deep inside that I had to make a change. So “crafter” it was – I was just going to shoot for #1 because why not. I won’t bore you with the details of my many, many crafting failures, but I’ve basically done and tried it all and more. And it was sad. I even quit doing hair once to follow a crafting dream and when it didn’t work out I had to begrudgingly go back. Which was beyond painful. But still through all the defeats – my need to follow my passion was still burning inside me, it was always in the back of my mind and I just kept thinking ‘one day’.
Enter mid 20’s – or in other terms, wedding season. I get married – I plan the entire thing by myself and I’m on fire to say the least… the best time of my life so far. Then all my friends get married and I help them with everything – from hair to invitations – I did it all and I was happy to. Then one day I hear about wedding blogs – what is that? Ohh, only the best thing ever. When all the weddings in my life were over and I was still waking up and drinking my coffee while reading like 10 wedding blogs instead of watching tv – I realized I had a problem. Still sad at my life decisions and aching to follow my passion I wonder, is wedding blogging my answer? Then I saw a DIY tutorial on a wedding blog… OMG – worlds collide. What!?!? Sharing how to make crafts for weddings? Could I do that? It was like the heavens opened up and said “This is it sister, here’s your chance!”. And so my process began.
It’s New Years Eve 2011 and I’m putting on my mascara before we go out for a night of celebration – I remember it like it was yesterday. While staring at myself in the mirror my blog name just came to me – something turquoise. Because my ‘something blue’ wasn’t blue it was turquoise – because that’s my favorite color. It was the perfect name. I run to the computer – mid-makeup application to check and see if the url is available. IT IS – and I click buy. The entire night I’m on a major high, dreaming of what could be… there’s also plenty of fear mixed in there but that’s ok, I’ll work through it. And I did. 3.5 years later here I am – my long time dream is now my new reality and I almost can’t believe it. The amazing thing is that I am no longer sad about all those ‘failures’ from before – now I can clearly see that they were merely stepping stones. I’m now truly grateful for every experience I’ve had because now it’s my success story. Every single experience in my life has lead to to this point, to something better – to Something Turquoise. I didn’t arrive here by accident. I have always followed my heart. I have always listened to my passion. Even when it hurt. Your heart will never lead you astray, the hardest part is learning how to listen to it. My success in this space is not just my own… if you want to hear about the people behind my success – check out this post.
How did I do it? There are 3 things that were critical to my success:
- Consistency. I post every single day (minus Sundays) and have never missed one day. Perfect attendance, lol. I do take a couple weeks off a year but other than that you will always find something new here on ST and I know that my readers enjoy that. I thought of myself as the mailman, rain or shine that post has to be there in the morning. I have always treated this blog as a legitimate business – even when I didn’t make any money and no one was watching. To help keep myself organized and inspired I came up with a simple posting schedule for myself and I always stuck to it, and actually still do. With blogging, consistency it key – not only for your readers but for Google analytics.
- Sacrifice. I have sacrificed sleep, workouts, dinners, new clothes (because I spend all my money on crafts) and many other ‘fun times’ for this blog – and it’s been sooooo… worth it. I compared the time I spent building my blog to someone going back to school to earn a degree. Late nights and lots of coffee. Want to go out for a drink after work? No, I’m sorry – I have more work waiting for me at home. Sunday funday? Yeah, right. I was willing to sacrifice everything (minus my marriage) to make my dream a reality. I am not joking about this either, ask my friends and family. There have been many late nights sitting at my computer trying to get the next days post out, tears flowing because I’m so tired – but I had to fight through it. Breaking my posting schedule or missing a days post wasn’t an option. Like I said before, I have always treated ST as a legitimate business – even when I didn’t make any money and no one was watching. Hobbies cost money and businesses make money, which I knew would happen one day.
So I’ll end the way I started, it’s never too late to follow your dreams. I hope that in sharing my story I will have inspired you in someway to listen and follow your heart.
I’m taking this week off to close down my salon, say goodbye to clients that have touched my life and to take a teeny bit of time for myself. So I’m leaving you with 5 awesome links to fabulous things I found on the internet recently…
- Have you ever wondered what a wedding bloggers ‘wedding’ might look like? Our friend Jessica who writes Storyboard Wedding just blogged her’s and it’s a rustic dream come true!
- Peach and teal anyone? This inspiration board from Burnett’s Boards is the perfect reflection of my current mood.
- Managing your money after marriage is important! Here are some terrific tips from Jean Chatzky via The Budget Savvy Bride – great read!
- Totally obsessed with this gorgeous botanical wedding inspiration shoot on Green Wedding Shoes from our favorite wedding planner Carly Rae Weddings – and that gorgeous new venue is only like 10 minutes from my house!
- Don’t worry, we’ve also got a crafty fix for you from The Crafted Life – how to press flowers. Soooo… many great uses for these beautiful flattened blooms throughout your wedding!
I will see you all back here on Monday, September 9th… I thank you from the bottom of my crafty heart for reading this post and visiting my blog. I am eternally grateful for each and every one of you.