IN THE BEGINNING
As far back as my school days, I thought I had my career pretty sussed out. I knew early on that I wanted to train as an Interior Designer, and had my heart set on winning contracts to design the most stylish and luxurious hotels, bars and restaurants on the planet. I was pretty lucky to be brought up by parents who encouraged my dreams and gave me a healthy sense of reality; so as soon as I turned 16 I started working in a local furniture store to get as much experience as possible.
When I finally graduated, I managed to step straight into a well-paid job, although designing corporate offices in London rather than the incredible hotels I dreamed of. While my salary allowed me to do the grown-up things I dreamed of, my disenchantment with the corporate world began to grow.
It took me 7 days to launch my first blog! Yup, after just 7 days (and nights!) of WordPress coding, I launched B.LOVED blog in March 2011. With no real dreams, goals or ideas other than creating a place to share some of the inspirations and products I came across in my day job, all of a sudden I was catapulted into a new world. My eyes were opening, not just to a world of pretty weddings, but a world beyond the corporate life. Where bloggers and small business owners could really use their creativity, take charge of their working hours, and finally achieve that illusive work-life balance. Being a newly-wed, considering a future family, and knowing my chosen career wasn’t particularly suited to family life, an idea was starting to form…
MAKING THE LEAP
After three long, and stressful, years balancing a 50+ hour working week with running a full-time blog, oh and having a life, something had to give. I was constantly tired, stressed and unhealthy. After the third chest infection in as many months, and with the realisation that my business would never make a profit unless I dedicated myself to it, I made the decision to take the leap to being a full-time blogger in April 2014 with the full support of my husband.
Getting divorced wasn’t part of the plan. For two years my husband had been working as an expat in the Middle East; a choice that allowed me to follow my dream of self-employed life while travelling between two cities. It was a decision that ultimately destroyed our marriage. In one day my world fell apart, and I sunk into a cycle of depression and anxiety which made it impossible to even get out of bed every day – let alone run a wedding blog filled with loved-up couples and romance. Without financial support or security, I realised that I would have to return to work. Get a ‘real job’. The thought filled me with dread.
YOU’RE NOT THE ONLY ONE
When I finally managed to get myself together and meet up with some of the industry friends I had confided in, I realised that I wasn’t the only one struggling with finances, security and all the challenges we face when running our own businesses. I wasn’t the only one who lay in bed at night worrying what on earth to do next.
And I realised that despite every part of my being telling me I was alone, that I was far, far from it. You’re not alone in feeling like you’re struggling, that there’s always more you can do, that you’re not reaching the right clients or making enough money, or working enough hours even though your head has been buried in your laptop for the past I don’t know how many days, and you haven’t seen your family or friends in weeks or even months. We all face the same struggles and challenges in this crazy self-employed wedding world, and if talking to my talented, creative and successful friends helped me come up with a better way to run my business, then couldn’t it help us all?
IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU
So a far fetched dream I’d had long ago, about creating a place for the wedding industry to come together, suddenly became a realistic goal. An idea that grew into something I could never have imagined all those years when I pressed publish on that very first blog post. The B.LOVED Hive isn’t just a co-working space, it’s not just a place to host workshops and events, hell, it’s not really even about the space (although of course that’s what makes it extra-specially cool!) It’s about the people, the community, the industry.
The B.LOVED Hive is all about supporting our members as they grow their businesses with advice, coaching and mentoring on the nitty gritty of running a business like finances, taxes and contracts. It’s about building a community where like-minded wedding pros can celebrate their successes and vent their frustrations. It’s both online and offline. It’s a physical community AND virtual network. But mostly, it’s all about helping YOU.
You won’t find me talking about “How I made £50 bazillion in 24 hours”, or posting reams and reams of inspirational waffle. Here you’ll find real-life, practical and motivational tips, advice and ideas for actually doing business, created by wedding pros, for wedding pros.
Think of it as your one-stop resource for all things wedding industry.
BEING A #GIRLBOSS
As for being #girlboss, well, what does that even mean?! To me, it’s always being the best you can be, constantly looking for the next big adventure, and remembering that supporting others is as important as reaching for your own dreams.
It’s taken a lot of hard work, long hours, and the most amazing support network (more on them next time), but even as I celebrate five years in the industry (how does that even happen?!) I still feel like my journey is only just beginning.