Reflecting on 1 year of Self Employment

Facebook reminded me a few days ago (I seriously love those “1 year ago today” flashbacks!) that it has been over a year now since I quit my job and went full time doing this crazy online food thing. Half of my family still doesn’t understand exactly what it is that I’m doing and I too often get the question “wait, so people pay you for that!?”.

If you don’t know my background, I worked in state politics before this year. I had wanted to work in politics since I was about 12 and went to college in Washington, DC to get myself on the right track. I loved the excitement of working (interning) in the US Capitol, but at the end of the day, I hated it all. That’s all I’m really going to say about it. I hated it and wanted out. But working in politics was all I had ever done.

Out of boredom and desperation, I started this little food blog. I quickly fell in love and knew that I wanted to find a way to make food media my full time gig. It took me a couple years to figure it out. I had originally hoped to grow my blog big enough to become my full time income. While I had no doubt that I could eventually do that, it was taking a bit longer than I originally hoped.

And then I discovered VIDEO. I went to a food conference in Cancun (take me back PLEASE!) where one of the sessions was all about food videos. I was HOOKED and knew instantly that I wanted to get into the video game early. At the time, only a few blogs were really creating recipe videos on a regular basis. It was all new and I wanted IN. But I was also terrified of getting started. I set aside a WHOLE DAY to shoot my first video and I picked a super easy recipe.

As with many things, getting started was the biggest battle for me. And boy am I glad that I got started when I did!

Here’s that first video:

I had no anticipation that I would make a full time job out of creating food recipe videos. It wasn’t really a thing 2 years ago unless you were working in a big studio making food videos for large corporate companies.  I was simply hoping that it would jump start my own blogs growth. 

Fast forward about 6 months and food videos were popping up ALL over social media. And I saw a demand for them from larger bloggers who simply don’t have the time to create their own. Not only are these videos very time consuming to make (about 4-6 hours to film and edit one video) but it’s also technically difficult. It took me about 6 months to get comfortable with the editing software and the whole setup of filming the video.

Long story short, I reached out to a larger blogger who referred me to a couple people she knew looking for videographers. The rest is history. I’ve been very fortunate that pretty much all of my clients have come from word of mouth.

I actually did an interview last year on the Food Blogger Pro Podcast all about how I started working for myself. Listen HERE.

Okay so that was how I came to quit my job and start working for myself. But, how has it worked out for me!? SO AMAZING! I was seriously terrified (AND also 8 weeks pregnant) when I put in my 2 weeks notice at work. I had a really good job with great benefits and I was walking away from it. I didn’t talk about it much as the time but I was so very scared that I was making a mistake.

Fast forward 1 year and I’m happy to say that I would make that decision a million times again.

This time last year, I had 2 regular clients and a few random clients I worked with here and there. Between that and my blog, I made just enough money to replace my old salary. But as the demand for good quality videos grew last year, I kept getting referral after referral until I got to the point where I was completely booked up with a growing wait list. I hired a kitchen assistant and later in the year hired my brother in law to help out with some of the editing.

I work with some TRULY amazing women who inspire me daily. I’m seriously so grateful to be able to work with all of these bloggers who genuinely appreciate what I do as art.

Okay, so the not so great part about being self-employed: I REALLY struggle with my work/ life balance. Since I work from home and live in the place where I work, it’s very difficult to pivot between those 2 things. While I wouldn’t change it for the world, I do miss leaving work at work and not thinking about it on nights and weekends. I’m pretty much always on. I find myself answering emails and editing videos first thing in the morning as well as right before going to bed. My hope for 2018 is to find a better balance and learn to turn work off during certain times.

Another downside to the video work is that it has really taken away from my own blog. Again, I love what I do, making videos for bloggers and brands BUT I do really miss creating my own content. That’s another thing that I’m hoping to get back to in 2018.

Overall, self employment has been AMAZING! I love that I can wear yoga pants every single day and get away with only washing my hair every 5 days. I love that I can go shopping during the day while everyone else is at work and that I NEVER have to deal with rush hour! I love that I can wake up when I want and spend extra time with Jemma in the mornings without having to rush out the door to be at work on time. My morning with her are my favorite. I love that I get to constantly try amazing new recipes and that eating is quite literally my job!

So, self employment has been good to me. I’m super excited about a new year and focusing a bit more on creating new things for myself and for my own blog. I have lots of things planned for this year and I’m excited to see it all come together!

Thank you for constantly supporting me and for following along on the journey with me!!

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8 comments on “Reflecting on 1 year of Self Employment”

  1. Congrats on your first year, I always love to hear others experiences with working for themselves! I can definitely relate to the struggle with balance from working at home but at least it's working more for something we love!
  2. Congrats on so much this year!!! It's been so awesome to watch your journey since we met in Cancun! And I totally agree about how motivating that conference was. I started video shortly after that too, but not committing to regular videos until about a year after. It's made a HUGE difference in my own growth. I totally get you about balance!!! I've been trying to figure that one out since I started working for myself years ago, shortly after having my kids. I still struggle, but that's now mostly about balancing freelance work and my own blog. One of my goals is to cut down on freelance writing work and focus on my own blog. We shall see what 2018 brings :) I'm so happy we met and are able to follow each other along this wild ride!!! Cheers, Mary
  3. Great Job! Cancun Runion 2020? Anyways so proud of you and we really appreciate the referrals, working for yourself is tough!
  4. This is so awesome, working for myself is something I have always wanted to try! xx Kelly Sparkles and Shoes
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  6. You had taken a good decision. Working for own make us think bigger. Thank you for sharing this amazing story.
  7. Woo hoo! Congrats! 🎉 I just hit 2 years of full time self-emplyement, and I had a half year before that where i did some contract work in my previous profession. I got laid off, though, from my full-time it was more of a decision after-the-fact to go after blogging full-time. And I agree about the challenges of working from home too.
  8. I read this the other night on my phone and had to come back to leave a comment. It's been amazing to be apart of your journey & to see how far you've come in just a year. Keep on being awesome and CONGRATS on the hubby joining the team xoxo