Before starting Chancey Charm, I was working with a large company in Denver doing marketing and events. It was a mentally and physically draining job and I knew it wasn’t something I wanted to keep up with, from a time standpoint, when I started a family. I craved flexibility and control in my schedule as family plans came into focus. One snowy February afternoon, I scheduled a meeting to give my boss a heads up that I would be leaving that summer. I had perfectly rehearsed what I would say, but as emotions built up in a meeting that was more intense than I anticipated, I burst into tears and blurted, “I’m not fulfilled in this job! This isn’t what I was trained to do or wanted in my career.”
Immediately, regret filled my heart as I knew my boss wouldn’t understand or take this omission with grace. But, there it was – honesty. Honesty about my dreams. Honesty about my reality. Honesty I had hidden for years. I felt foolish and selfish for letting that honesty escape. After all, that job was an answered prayer for a newlywed couple who had moved across the country with barely a dollar to their name. That job had taught me so much about business and the “real world”. And, though it was painful to omit, I think I even surprised myself in that moment with the deep rooted and HONEST creative yearning of my heart. A desire to create, to give and to serve.
The first year of Chancey Charm was marked by a constant struggle between my full-time job and new venture. I think it’s a place most small business owners find themselves in at some point. Your duty and your love battle for your attention daily and it can be exhausting. I remember staying up until 4 a.m. working on my site for weeks at a time, only to have it crash and have to start again. Leaving a steady job that I was successful at was scary financially and emotionally. But, the reality was that it was no longer a fit for my maturing needs and dreams. For me, I had to step out, to break free from the nine to five, to see the dreams for my future and my creative desires fulfilled. There was no place to go but out!
My first year in Atlanta, working on Chancey Charm full-time was a whirlwind of joy and struggle. Struggle being the common emotion. I felt lost in a sea of wedding planners, designers and stylists who all seemed to be way more valuable and successful that I ever dreamed. I felt like there was nothing special about me and came so very close to quitting several times. My husband’s support was all that kept me going. Chris believed in me and my dream more than I did and never let me linger in my self pity too long.
About halfway through that first year, I scheduled a quick coffee date with a local photographer. That meeting changed my perspective and sent me in a direction that launched our success and defines us still today. After an eloquent ten-minute presentation on why she loved film and her art, my new photographer friend Odalys Mendez, asked me point blank what made my services unique, and I stuttered. I made up something about our packages and quickly excused myself. I remember walking home, inspired by her story and embarrassed by mine. Why wasn’t I more prepared? What made me unique in this sea of planners? That’s when it hit me!
From there, I decided my design background, boards and sketches would be my calling card. I sought the advice of a professional branding expert and built the Chancey Charm brand you see today. The response was overwhelming, and I still can’t believe how God has taken my little dream and creative passion and turned it into a national brand. As I noted in the first part of my post, my desire to build more flexibility and time for my family has always been a BIG part of the dream of Chancey Charm for me. Last March, I read Lara Casey’s book “Make it Happen” and established a vision statement:
“To help women have a creative career that they love with the freedom and flexibility to focus on their family.”
Today, I’m blessed to share my dream with our growing team of wedding planners across the country. It’s my prayer that Chancey Charm can give them the flexibility and freedom I was pursuing in launching my own business.
My saving grace in years of running a wedding planning and design business has been delegation and letting go of control. I learned early on that I would be more successful and save myself a lot of time if I could delegate things I was not great at to those that were. Yes, I have lost some of the “control” along the way, but the freedom is well worth the cost. Letting others participate and take ownership in Chancey Charm has propelled it much further than I could have alone, and it’s given me valuable family time with my husband and son, Boaz. I encourage you to think about one thing you could let go of today to gain back valuable family time.
I have also always made it a point to take time away from email and phone calls every couple of months to spend dedicated time with family and friends. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to do this several times each year over the past five years, and it’s in those moments that I’ve seen a vision for my life, family and company most clearly. It’s always a sweet time of reconnection and direction.
Cheers to stepping out and diving in!