I’ve been holding a secret in for a few weeks now, so today’s the big release. I’ve rehearsed ways to say it out loud, written down at least five different stale analogies, and have woken up truly forgetting that this is a reality. The longer I’ve kept in this small tidbit of information, the more it’s felt less like real-life and more like a hiatus. For you to understand how big of a deal this is, I need to give you a lay of my land.
On and off for roughly four years, I’ve worked a full-time career in the PR and social media field, pursued freelance journalism and started this blog. If you can’t tell, these are all three things I’m wildly passionate about. As you might ALSO be able to tell, these are all three time-consuming endeavors.
For four years, my little corner of the internet has been occupied with curated photos and detailed blog posts capturing my adventures, passions, and style. While flashy bylines and Instagram filters give my readers a peek into my life, I do my best to keep things truly authentic and share what goes on behind the scenes. When you see a post or new photo, there’s more than what an image lets on. There’s strategy, production, editing, writing, and promotion – all skills I honed while working at one of Houston’s best marketing agencies. Did I mention there is also stress?
My schedule on an average day as a full-time marketer and part-time blogger:
• Wake up 4 a.m. to a blaring siren alarm
• Snooze at least five times (to my boyfriend’s chagrin)
• Brew a cup of coffee with my eyes closed
• Work on writing deadlines and blog posts
• Nearly forget to get dressed in time to head to my job… you know, the job that I went to college to do
• Work at my creative marketing agency managing social media (and eventually leading the communications efforts)
• Come home to work on pitches and writing assignments (as well as work left over from my day job)
• Argue about leaving my dishes in the sink with my loving and patient boyfriend
• Ignore calls from my parents because I am “busy.”
• Get 5 hours of sleep and start it all over again
If you’re a fellow creative entrepreneur reading this, I’m positive you can relate to the dangerous balance of juggling what you want with what’s expected of you. I wanted to be the best in my industry – all three of them. After 1-2 years of the grind, I continued to climb the ladder in my role at my day job and adopted unhealthy habits to “be a boss” outside of work. Soon I was drinking more caffeine than I’d like to admit, getting insomnia, panicking at the sound of my email alert because I was drowning and eventually abandoning my blogger status for months on end to pursue a dream role of becoming an Account Director at my agency.
When I started this blog in my bedroom four years ago as a way to sharpen my writing, I never could have anticipated this website taking off. As I tried to maneuver the “dream” of working at a fast-paced and growth-driven marketing agency, I soon realized that my creation was slipping from my fingertips and out of my control. The window of possibility I manifested in my childhood bedroom at my parent’s house at 23 years old was fading into the background of how I identified myself. I began to call the creation that I used to spend sleepless nights and early mornings building a footnote in my life.
So, I quit.
You read correctly, I quit my full-time job. I quit the one job where I was appreciated for my talents, considered a leader and celebrated for my efforts to contribute to the company. I quit the industry I spent four years studying in college. I quit the environment where I truly looked up to the owner of my company, a young female business leader who started with a simple vision of her own and was given a chance to learn from her. I quit handling the five clients who I spent all of my energy focusing on. I quit it all to focus on this wild vision.
I left financial security, fully-paid benefits, 30 colleagues, opportunities for promotions and the structure of a 9-to-5 to invest into this hint of a dream that started in my parent’s house as I grappled with finding an identity at 23. If you aren’t feeling the anxiety of this moment, I sure am! Cup of Charisma means more to me than a sponsored campaign or follower counts. This blog was the beginning of discovering my identity after life’s circumstances left me feeling like I had been stripped of myself completely.
At 21, I shutdown my very first blog because my abusive boyfriend didn’t want me to put images of myself or share my words online in a fit of possessiveness. At 22, I was battling a horrific court case, barely making enough to move out of my childhood home, grappling with the limitations of a long-distance relationship, and striving to determine who I was as both a writer and a human being. At 23, I finally started THIS as a way to share my thoughts, expand my writing, and ultimately create writing samples to get jobs like the one I had. It achieved that and so much more. When I started this blog, I had no idea that it would not only help me find my way in the world, but it would give me the independence I never had.
Cup of Charisma was an accident that has turned into a job that I never knew I wanted or could build. As nuanced as “influencers” and “bloggers” are, many of us put our heart and soul into our words and online relationships. In this job, I am the creative director, photographer, writer, editor, CFO, CEO and chief dreamer. I am in charge of the space you trust me with and give a little piece of your time to, which is a complete honor. I can’t thank you enough for reading this blog and letting me share this sacred space and piece of my heart with you.
It took a full year for me to decide to make this leap… it even took multiple times of trying to have that tough exit conversation with my coworkers until I finally knew it was time. There were tears (from me, of course), hugs, and a lot of mixed emotions as I went through the process of leaving the only job I’ve ever TRULY felt at home in. When I arrived home to my apartment on my last day of work, I walked through the door and stepped into my future office. Brian, my entrepreneurial boyfriend, took me to a celebratory dinner and we toasted to the possibilities – to taking a risk that’s padded by love.
When deciding to quit my job, I listened to one particular episode of the Millennial podcast on repeat. There’s one quote from Millennial creator Megan Tan that I saved on my phone that I continually look back on. Her articulation sums up my feelings entirely:
“Ever since I was little, I’ve been taught to plug into the system and follow these rules. Get good grades to go to the best college. Check. Do well in college to get the best internships. Check. Have the best internships to get the best job.
When I finally reached the dream, I realized my definition of it had changed. What the rules don’t tell you is that there’s a trap door where timing and opportunities come together. If you sense them, you’ll wiggle out of the system and find a lot of freedom.”
At the pace I was going, I knew my blog would fall off the radar and cease to keep up with the many other talents emerging in this industry. Cup of Charisma won’t be relevant forever, and I recognize that. I could have stayed at my safe, salaried job, avoiding the pitfalls and undeniable stressors of being self-employed but at what cost? My trap door would have closed, and I’d be dazing off into the space of the break room wondering what could have been if I applied myself to the calling in my heart.
As Megan Tan also shared in the episode, she took a “risk padded by love.” So here I am, taking my big leap padded with the love of my family, friends, and readers. And if all of this fails, it will still be a win in my book because I knew I could get out of my mental prison of doubts and try. In the end, that love is there to catch me.
Photos by Banavenue Photography