BEFORE THE BLOG: Flash back to spring 2013, I was finishing up my senior year of college at Penn State. I graduated with a degree in nursing but really had no clue what type of unit or patient population I wanted to work with. I just knew it was a good career path. Long story short, I ended up working in pediatrics for 3.5 years and loved it. I still do love helping and caring for people but something was missing at the time. While my creative side remained fairly dormant during my college years (not enough money, too much partying, no time), I was always interested in anything crafty and beauty-related. I was always the go-to room before a night out to help tease my roommates’ hair. I remember being in middle school and my mom would ask me to decorate the house for her. I also loved cooking at a very young age. Weird, I know. My sister’s friend told me she remembers me whipping up gourmet meals in the kitchen when she’d come to our parent’s house. I needed to find some sort of creative outlet to fill that void.
THE START OF IT ALL: Hopping forward to spring 2014, one year after I graduated college, the idea of starting a blog was planted in my brain. I remember my friend Lauren texting me telling me I should start a website because people would love to see all of the things I’m doing/wearing/making. Blogs existed but it was no where near as saturated as it is these days. There weren’t Facebook help groups and articles with tips and tricks like there are now — I was basically on my own to figure it out. I was hesitant but decided to give it a whirl. I cut out words and pictures in magazines and glued them into a spiral notebook. I also vividly remember my sister and I trying to come up with a blog name. We thought it would be catchy to have a 3 word blog name with words that staring with the same letter. Needless to say, my blog was originally called The Domestic Diva Diaries.
ABOUT A YEAR INTO BLOGGING: About 11 months after I launched The Domestic Diva Diaries, I re-branded and that is when Balance & Chaos was born. You can read all about my re-brand in this old post. As already mentioned above, I honestly had no clue what I was doing at first which is why a re-brand was ultimately necessary. I needed to brand myself in a way that was true to who I was and how I wanted to be viewed.
YEARS TWO AND THREE: I continued working as a full-time nurse and ended up taking a new job as an aesthetic/cosmetic nurse in December 2016. I made the switch for better hours and a more regular sleeping schedule. I used to rotate between two weeks of night shift and two weeks of the daylight shift. As you would imagine, this eventually got old and made blogging pretty tough. I also made the switch to pursue a realm of nursing in which I was definitely interested in learning (Botox, lasers, skincare, etc). At this point in my blogging career, I had landed a few paid sponsorships but mainly gifting opportunities. Something about that needed to change.
THE PAST YEAR: This is the time period when I really started to consider the idea of making the leap to pursue my blog full-time. I was pretty confident I could make it work at this point but I needed the time to completely submerge myself. I was frustrated because I felt like Balance & Chaos was always being put on the back burner but I was also scared to make a change. I was traveling a lot for work, sitting in rush-hour traffic to and from, trying to spend time with my family, boyfriend, and friends on my days off, and my creative juices were being sucked dry. I knew it was time to go all in or else I was going to lose momentum. So about 2 months and dozens of sleepless nights ago, I made the decision that I was going to quit my nursing job. I was sick of hearing myself talk about it. My anxiety was on FLEEK but I had made my mind up. I won’t bore you with the details of it, but my boss was extremely understanding of my situation. Being open and honest with where my heart was with him was the best thing I could have done. I was offered less hours with a flexible schedule that allowed me to really go after my blogging goals.
NOW: It sounds cheesy but I truly could not be happier with where I’m at in life right now. I am now able to dedicate the time that I needed so badly to Balance & Chaos while keeping my feet wet in nursing 2 days a week. I’m not going to lie, it has definitely been scary. There’s a lot that goes into making it work and it doesn’t help that blogging is somewhat of an “unknown world”. I really can’t slack off or else my “paycheck” will reflect that. A the end of the day, I truly love creating content and connecting with my readers. I am happiest and most excited when I hit “publish” or “post”. There is a lot to learn and I will never stop trying to better my blog but I am proud of my journey.
I hope you guys enjoyed reading about how Balance & Chaos has evolved over the last 4 years. If nothing else, I hope it inspires you to follow your dreams! I get a lot of questions about how to grow a brand, how to gain a following, and things along those lines. It sounds cliche but there isn’t a secret sauce. Everyone’s timeline is different and you could be where I’m at in 2 years or maybe it will take 10 years. What I do know is that success will not happen overnight. Consistency, hard work, and and patience are KEY.
Ok, enough about me! Please, please, please feel free to reach out to me with questions or advice. If I can do it, you can too!
Off to watch The Jersey Shore Family Vacation!
photos: Victoria Miller