I made a conscious decision to not over-share my personal life on this blog. After two years of blogging, I felt like this had turned into an online diary and not a place where you could find anecdotes intertwined with stories that would inspire your next recipe, travel destination, outfit, or home design. However, today I wanted to share something a bit personal and an exciting change that will surprise you.
Photo by Dasha Crawford Photography
I left my full-time job and am now focusing all of my energy on building Darling Down South as well as my digital marketing company, Darling Digital Strategy, and a couple of other fun projects like the Darling Eats YouTube channel (I’d love it if you subscribed here), and two more secret projects that I can’t talk about yet but I know you’ll be delighted when they release!
The first thing to address, leaving my job. A lot of you may not have realized that I had a full-time job. I got my undergrad in Finance and have worked at a couple of amazing companies during my corporate career, most recently at Cox in Atlanta in their Executive Compensation department. I had a fantastically supportive team, but even they didn’t realize that I had a second career outside of work. Needless to say, after two and a half years of burning the candle at both ends (creatively here on Darling Down South and analytically at Cox) I got to a point where I was no longer enjoying either job.
So I quit-but not out of the blue- it was a very strategic leap of faith that kept me in the corporate world for about six months longer than I had anticipated.
Up until the point when I left my corporate job, I listened to a lot of podcasts of women who left their job to pursue their creative passions and how happy they were to have taken that leap. The only thing that stopped me from following in their footsteps was the fact that they all had one thing in common: a second reliable income from their husband.
You see this equation a lot in the blogging world: girl gets married, girl starts a blog, girl quits job to pursue blogging full-time because she has another reliable income. If they can do it that nonchalantly, that’s great! They’ve figured out how to make their interests work for them and if their husband supports it-fantastic! More power to them. I’m glad they have that support system in place to be able to make that leap.
But this was not my reality.
My reality is that I have a lot of monthly expenses and only myself to rely on to make sure I cover those expenses. I have an amazing boyfriend who has truly been the MOST supportive aspect in my life to lift me up and encourage me to pursue Darling full time, and a part of who I am says that I need to earn my own living because it makes me feel good to do so.
So back in August of last year I started looking at my expenses: where can I trim the fat, should I sell my car (I did!), should I refinance some of my existing student loan debt, etc etc etc. It was a long and slow process of saving money here, skipping the excessive purchases, selling my car, buying a car in cash later, refinancing my debt so that I wasn’t spending so much money on interest payments and etc.
Finally, after almost a year, I had enough money saved to feel comfortable about leaving my job the next hurdle was the hardest one to get over: my own self-doubt.
The self-doubt ranged from “what if I don’t have enough work to do” to “will my peers/friends see this as a worthy career change” and “what if I don’t get enough work” and finally “what if I fail?”
Well, to be truthful the day after I had my first full-time darling workday I went to bed asking myself “WTF did I just do? Did I make the right decision? Is this career suicide?” The anxiety lingered all night as I tossed and turned trying to sleep the self-doubt away.
But that anxiety slowly diminished over the next two weeks. I don’t think most of the world and especially my circle of friends realize what my daily workday looks like. I’ve had multiple people ask me “so how’s it feel not to be working anymore?”
Just because my daily work life doesn’t revolve around sitting in an office doesn’t mean that I’m not working. I thought I would have more time to cook for every meal (wrong- I’m meal planning now) and I thought I would be able to see my friends in this industry for lunch more (wrong I am almost always having a standing lunch on a conference call now) and I thought I would have more time for working out and seeing my family (which is true, I now am no longer on a 4 day lag to respond to text messages).
But in response to the question “How does it feel to not be working anymore?” I typically say “It’s great! If by not working you mean I’m picking up new clients for my digital strategy consulting company, studying more for my graduate exam to go back for my MBA next year, building out a YouTube channel for Darling Eats, working on a product release and still creatively inclined to create content on Darling Down South, then not working is AMAZING.”
Needless to say, after almost 2 months into being full-time darling, I can confidently respond to myself and say “You made the absolute BEST decision, you are working incredibly hard day in and day out, and your career has never been more fulfilling.”
I absolutely adore creating content here on Darling Down South for you all. I’ve always wanted the opportunity to work at a magazine which is why I built Darling Down South, to potentially parlay it into some editorial work with different magazines. Which I have, and I am.
To say it was incredibly hard work to get to where I am would be the biggest understatement of my life. Blogging for a living isn’t easy, it is a risk, but one that I’m glad I take every day. I’m glad Darling Down South has opened me up to new opportunities for my career, like writing, editorial styling, and marketing consulting. Thankfully the opportunities I’m pursuing now are meeting and exceeding expectations and I wake up every morning truly grateful that I get to work in the capacity that I enjoy most.
Thank you all for your continued support. I love hearing from you, seeing your comments on my posts and my Instagram, and hope you continue enjoying the content I produce here day in and day out.
Congratulations on “not working anymore”! Haha, if only people knew how much went into blogging (much less your YouTube channel and other endeavors!) they would definitely see that you’re probably working more now or just as much as with your previous “real job”. That’s sort of like how people think stay-at-home mom’s don’t do anything either. You just keep trucking along, your success will be your noise!
Southern and Style
Thanks girl! I love that “your success will be your noise” going to be using that a lot more!
Fabulous!! I’m reminded of the quote….
“But what if I fail? Oh Darling, but what if you fly?”
You’ve worked hard, that due diligence and passion for what you do turned your dream to a beautiful reality. Not bad for a day job! : )
Ciao! Ginger Hartford
That’s what my momma told me too! Thank you for the support!