A hub about me - My story so far - Part 1
Why write a hub about me?
Ok so I've never been very good at talking about myself, not really, I tend to find it a little awkward unless I'm simply telling someone about my day or what I do, if I have to talk about me as a person, etc I usually can't think of the right words and get a bit tongue tied - Personal statements and profiles are awful! But that being said I thought I should write a hub about my story so far - not purely my story on hub pages (although that will be included) but a story about me. I'm being a little presumptuous with the fact that any of you would actually like to know about me or will actually bother reading this hub, but I have found there are so many lovely people here on hub pages and most seem genuinely interested in what others have to say and making friends through our shared experiences and little hub stories.
I'm also being presumptuous by putting Part 1 in that title - assuming I will in fact write a Part 2 at some point! Fingers crossed I have presumed right on both parts and this will possibly be the start of my own personal little series.
So on with the story...
Once upon a time...
Lol I'm kidding I'm not going to give you a whole life story as that would be just silly (and I need to keep some stuff back for that autobiography! lol)
Ok so the basics: I'm Chantele, I'm currently 25 and I'm from Wales - it's in the UK incase you don't know, it is attached to England but is not part of England, we are a country in our own right (you can tell I have answered that question one too many times!). I have lived here all my life and am pretty sure I will continue to live here for a while longer yet. Born in a little village called Bryncoch but now living in the big Capitol City, Cardiff. I came here for Uni and have yet to leave.
I'm married to a wonderful man called Jonathan (Jon) and have been since May 2010. We were college sweethearts and lived together throughout university and eventually wed when I graduated. We were both only 22 so still quite young but I really think you know when you have found your perfect match and soul mate and I really believe I have. Don't worry I'm not gonna get all mushy! That's really not my thing. I'll just say I am happiest when I am with him, and can't imagine life without him, and we work as a perfect pair in pretty much anything and everything we do - which now includes hubpages but I'll get to that a little later.
So...I went to Uni with the dreams of becoming a fashion magazine editor or features writer but sadly came out at precisely the wrong time in the British job climate and economy! And decided I didn't want to move to London anyway! Jon was settled in a job here - on the career path to becoming a Bar manager with a large UK company so I didn't really want to go anywhere else.
As with most of the people I graduated with the main concern at that point in time was simply getting a job to pay the rent! Even if it wasn't doing what I wanted to do. Luckily I had been casually working in the pub where Jon works so I just upped my hours and settled into a work routine.
Deciding to make a change
I can't really say I liked working in a pub, especially ours. We were always very busy, worked insanely long hours, never had a weekend off and as with all bar staff had to deal with a lot of crap. But that being said I (not to blow my own trumpet) am a bloody good bar maid! I can out serve any guy on that bar, and often ranked top served to their annoyance! hehe! So a year ticked away, me and Jon working side by side, that part I enjoyed what I hated was the fact I had lost all my creative output! Working in a bar doesn't really require much intellectual thought or creativeness! And I missed it sorely. I eventually got promoted to Duty Manager though so could run the bar on weekday evenings - but it still wasn't what I wanted to be doing with my life!
Thats when I started my fashion blog - Daisy Dayz - it gave me back my little creative side, allowed me to follow my passion of fashion and writing again. I poured every spare minutes into it and spent hours networking with other bloggers and getting my blog name out there. I enjoyed it so much - and still do, I'm still highly active after 3 and a half years and don't think I will ever stop blogging! My blog was never started as a means to make money it was simple an outlet and literally saved me from going stir crazy for many months. I still don't make much money from it, just a little from advertising revenue now and then.
But what writing again did was show me that I was good at something else, so should at least try to find something else to do with my life to get out of the cycle I was in. I spent so many afternoons and evenings upset and depressed about being stuck in a job I hated and having no way out of it before I discovered blogging. I was driving Jon insane with my little mood swings and pouting in work (I was a child! I'll admit it) But I felt I could do so much more. I had a degree, I was intelligent and yet I spent my time serving rude, arrogant customers and cleaning up - I hated it with a passion.
I tried getting writing work but no one was hiring - and without previous experience most places wouldn't even consider you for freelance work. I eventually got a little internship with a production company for a few months, then an actors management company - neither of which came to much but all the time I was working on my blog (and still pulling full time hours in the pub!) Then a trip to my doctors, with a back problem caused from lifting things in work, got me into a conversation with my doctor - I had only met her a few times as I didn't often get sick luckily! She asked what it was I had my degree in and what work I wanted to be doing, as I clearly didn't want to keep working the bar. So I explained that fashion writing was my thing, but any form of writing would do -- then she almost made my heart stop and my dreams finally look like a reality!
"Oh my husband is the editor of a local magazine, it's only little but he is actually looking for a womens writer at the moment, here's his email address" I could have kissed her - oh and she wrote me off work for a month due to my chronic back pain!
Ok so it was just a tiny local magazine, but it was what I needed - an outlet, some experience, my name actually finally being properly in print! And amazingly even without a tiny bit of proper experience he gave me a freelancing job! It was the start! I'm hugely underpaid and its only a monthly piece but it made my year! And I still write for him monthly 2 years on!
So I still had to work the pub, but it was something, it was a start. After 6 months and 6 published articles I decided to try my hand at finding some more freelancing work. Armed with my 6 published pieces I sent letter after letter to every other local magazine and newspaper in the area. And although I wasn't flooded with responses, I got one! And Lesley was the one who really pushed me to be more creative and really focus on my fashion writing! Again I am still with her at The Bay Magazine and I love writing for her. So that was 2 under my belt and 4 months later I scored another local mag. Again the pay is tiny but it is something at least!
The big(ish) break came when I decided a few weeks later to send out another batch of freelance letters and emails and I received an offer of an internship, sith job possabilities at the end.
Financially we worked out I could drop my hours a little in the pub and really work at the writing. It was slow to start but has really picked up and now I have produced a number of fashion trend spreads for them and am a copy writer for the business ads we produce. I have gained so much experience that I was missing! I worked as an intern for 14 months, then sadly things didn't work out and I have had to leave. But the experience I got from working for a real magazine has helped me greatly
For a little while I dropped my pub hours further to take on some casual work for the council tourist board in cardiff as it pays better, and a few months ago was offered a temporary contract with them, so finally got to quit my pub job after 3.5years! The tourist board work is far nicer than the pub and I get to work normal hours! But the hope is one day soon I will finally be able to make the switch completely and just write for a living.
To anyone wanting a different career - especially something creative or in the arts - all I can say is persevere! Get some experience! Work for free if you have too (but be carefull that you are not taken for a ride)! Build up that portfolio, jump at every job opportunity you can, and make connections (network) with everyone as you never know when it may come in useful!
Finding Hub Pages
Well finding HubPages came from me searching for places to write online where I could potentially make a little money from them. I read lots of peoples stories on HubPages, tutorials and information Hubs on what HubPages was like, and how it works. I eventually decided to take the plunge! So here I am! Sharing my story with you and others, sharing the little knowledge I have of things, and my recipes! That seems to be my favourite topic right now!
And as I said I would come back to Jon's involvement a bit later - he is now helping me write on HubPages too. We have always tried to work together no matter what we do. Many couples don't get on working in the same environment all the time, but me and Jon have just always liked working closely and people think its strange how husband and wife function so well in the work place and don't get on each others nerves (since leaving the pub, we have found it hard and miss each other a lot, but we are adapting) even though we were around each other 24/7.
So when I started explaining HubPages to him he thought it may be useful for him to write some technology posts about the stuff he enjoys - computers and cameras mostly. That's why this week you will have noticed 4 technology hubs popping up in-between my recipe posts! Lol I will have to change my profile now I suppose to include Jon.
So that brings me to now!
So where does the story go from here?
Well Jon finally got made Assistant Manager of the pub where he works (we worked) which means he can complete his management training for our company and in 6-9 months time he will be looking for his own pub to manage. This means we could be on the move - anywhere really - although we hope to stay in South Wales or West England at least. I will still be able to write for all my amazing editors as I work from home anyway, and will hopefully be able to expand my freelance base too. Jon actually wants to be a part time freelance photographer too so we are also working on building his portfolio of work - we work together on shoots too! He is the technical brains and I am the creative visionary, see our blog and work on Cross-Jones Photography - its his dream, but pub management is the reality until we either win the lotto or get some major photography gig!
We hope to be able to grow our HubPages too, maybe one day we will be one of the 'Success Stories' you can read! Although so far we have only made a few dollars, we have only been hubbing 3 months and so far every month I have seen a little increase in our earnings. I started in April making just 60 odd cents. May came in at $1.63 and so far in June we have made $2.22. Its just a little now, but we are only just getting started!
I don't ever think we will be able to live off the money we make on HubPages but I kinda hope one day we will at least be able to pay one bill a month with the earnings! For now though every penny (or cent) is going into a house fund! We hope one day soon we will be able to buy our own home and stop renting!
We started a little savings plan that all money I make online through my blog, HubPages and now Fiverr (See my review of Fiverr here) and any other sites will go into a savings account to start saving for a deposit. Sadly with the way the British economy is at the moment first time buyers are being pushed out of the market unless you have a great whack of cash to put down as a deposit! Neither of us earn a lot yet, even though we both work hard and work a lot, but we will get there! Wish us luck!
If you have managed to make it all the way to the end I applaud you and 'Thank You' for listening to my story! I hope you will enjoy reading my other hubs and can get to know each other a little.
HubPages has been such a great place for me already, even after only 3 months I feel I have support and people encouraging me to carry on writing, who seem to enjoy reading what I write and genuinely seem interested in getting to know me - so this hub is for all of you! This is the real me! Thanks for listening!
October 2012: Well my internship didn't exactly work out as planned, but I still got some great experience and a big boost for my CV. So I will say don't turn down oppurtunities like internships because you think they wont get you a job at the end, the experience is often more valuable. The big news is that my little blog got me a big award last month - Welsh Lifestyle Blog of the Year 2012 and that helped give me a little boost, and i am now talking to a few companies about blogging for them more professionally which is amazing. I am also taking on a fair few editing and copywriting gigs through varius sites, which is great too.
Jon on the other hand has stepped up his photography work, and gotten a fair few paying gigs in te last few weeks and we even booked our first wedding job! Next we have to get the website up and running, but we are both getting there. He is still going to be looking for his first Pub management appointment but is spending more of his spare time building a photography company. Wish us luck!
February 2013: Jon is now a holding manager (temporary manager) for a local pub for a few weeks, which is giving him great experience in running his own place. It will be a great boost on his CV when he eventually applies to take over a new pub properly. I am still doing the same as before although 2 of my local magazines actually decided to fold in the New Year, so I just have my 1 Magazine Job with The Bay Magazine in Swansea, but I am very lucky to be doing some freelance work for a Marketing Company in America and an Author in the UK. These are the kinds of jobs I want to be doing all the time, so having a taste of them now has just shown me how much I really want to be working for myself as a freelancer. We made the decision recently that if we get a pub (that is live in, meaning living onsite with no rent or bills) further than 40mins drive away from my current day job in the Tourist Office then I can leave my day job and try to make it with my writing, having no overhead costs is the perfect time for me to break away from the 9 to 5 and try to build the dream, it's hard to do it whilst still working a day job.