When I first began my journey into becoming a “creative” and “side hustler,” I looked to women and influencers for inspiration, support, and leadership. These bloggers, authors, mentors, and gurus have helped me through some dark days, long nights, joyous mornings, and times of success. Today I am proud to say that, while still a minnow in a large pond of amazing women, I consider myself to be my single greatest source of inspiration. This is a reflection of a kind of strength and gratitude that I have developed over the years but had not truly absorbed it until this summer.
Many of you know that I started a small website and organization called SheWerksIt – a movement and (future) business empowering college women to take ownership of their education and professional experiences – back in June 2015. (You can see an article about it from Boston University here.) SheWerksIt was a lightbulb idea I thought of in a New York City subway. I envisioned an online space where college women could learn about their peers, connect with mentors, get professional advice, and eventually be paired with a personal guide who would give them the REAL college counseling they needed, extending into personal growth and life skills. It would start as a forum and then turn into a personal development venture. College women desperately need this support and leadership, and many schools cannot offer this due to size, programming, and other factors.
This week I received my final GoDaddy notice that SheWerksIt would be officially taken off the web. The domain and WordPress hosting expired and I didn’t renew. I didn’t even save the documents (I already regret that, shame on me). I ran that on the side for a solid year and a half before I had to really take the time to respect my law school preparation and journey. I could write an entire novel on what I learned, what I did wrong, and how tough it is to start an online publication and organization. I had an amazing idea, which STILL ceases to exist in the market, but not enough time in the day to truly make it come to its full potential. Despite my decision, I will never see SheWerksIt as a failure, and if anything, I am simply keeping it in my back pocket. I wholeheartedly believe that it’s something I could do if I had more time and money, but I know that this is not my moment.
I knew it was time to take if off the web when I realized that I had not (officially) worked on it in just over a year. And this is when I started to see a transformation. In the past, something like this would have caused me to call myself a hopeless effort. A copy. A failure. Instead, I sought the opportunity to change direction with peace and to close its doors with acceptance. I reflected on my life today, how far I’ve come, and the kind of person who I aspire to be, and I saw that SheWerksIt had a major impact on my life as a work in progress. Today, I am still hustling and grinding in even more ways than I could possibly imagine.
So what’s my summer been like? I work part-time at a café and run my own web design and marketing business on the side, Once Upon a Code Design Co. I started this venture this year when friends started paying me for website help. I had been running the Interactive department of BU’s student-run advertising agency and working hands-on with clients of small businesses. I felt like I was already managing my own projects and team members in a professional space – so why couldn’t I do it on my own? Fast forward just a few months, and I’m turning down potential clients because I’m too booked and need to give time to myself.
I am far from perfect and hundreds of miles away from professional, but I am fulfilling a little dream I have always wanted to live. And no, I did not “manifest” it, or whatever people are calling it these days. I believed in my strength and dug deep. I saw what I had done and understood that I could do more. I said “yes” to opportunities that felt out of my comfort zone. I pushed myself to RESPECT my hustle and to HONOR who I am and the woman I need to become. I have also decided to do some more personal development and spiritual work along the way to get grounded for law school and life’s upcoming events. For once in my life, I am taking myself seriously and truly believing it. I struggle with confidence and I can easily stretch myself thin and to exhaustion, but every day I am feeling myself become stronger because I have seen how far I come. If you told me a year ago that I would be waking up at 6am to work out and drink my coffee and then tackling a day full of website clients and projects, I would probably wonder where in the world I got it from. Now I do.
It was always there; I just had to grow, fall, and get back up ten more times first.