If you’re just joining us, make sure you read Part One first.
To be honest, the reason this story is in two parts is because writing these posts, these honest from the heart letters to my readers, is extremely emotionally draining. When I type, I re-live those moments. I re-live the pain, the happiness, the struggles, and everything in between.
This isn’t easy for me, opening up like this and sharing my most personal vulnerable feelings with the world. But it’s necessary. Being honest is necessary. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Cause we all go through it.
And this story, how ChicpeaJC was born, is a tough one to tell.
Ok so where were we?
I launched the blog. I was ready. May 8th, 2014. I remember I was on a really important client job, I was stationed at an office in Rockefeller Center, in a conference room looking over Central Park and NYC. The blog was published on my lunch break.
I remember looking out the window and feeling alive for the first time in years. And for a second, I thought that this would solve everything. That this new “hobby” would fix my problems.
Maybe I can have it all after all.
The blog would be my escape. Instead of trying to fix the issues within myself and my relationship, I would focus my energy on this new endeavor.
When we published ChicpeaJC.com that day, I hit the ground running. I started adding people on Facebook and Instagram and looking for new people to network with and interview. Every free second I had was dedicated to building content, building relationships.
I remember seeing someone share my blog on Facebook, and they made fun of it. Calling the blog corny, calling me corny. At the time, I was very sensitive to public perception so you would think that would be a deterrent from continuing the blog, but for some reason it didn’t. It actually motivated me. I remember thinking, “People are sharing, they are talking about it, this is good.” I kept it moving.
Within a month, it was full force ahead. I was working full time at my job, I would come home, take care of my mommy and wife duties, and as soon as the house was asleep, I went to work. I would sleep an average of 3/4 hours a night, maximum. On my lunch breaks, I would post on social media and work on the next story. It was intense and consumed me. I was obsessed.
Every blog post, every interview was like a drug. I was addicted. Every time I clicked “publish,” a sensation would rush over me. Every time I got new followers and comments on social media, I would be over the moon. I found it. Whatever it is I wanted to do, it was here and I was doing it.
But was I happy? Fulfilled yes, but not happy. Because it was just a bandaid. A mask covering the real issues I was dealing with at the time.
I was depressed and the blog was the only thing that I wanted to think about. It was my escape. And became my escape for a few years until most recently.
Two months after the launch, the blog started interfering with my work life. I wasn’t as passionate at my job as I have been in the last 7 years there. My bosses started noticing that I just wasn’t really “there”.
I had to make a hard decision: do I stay and do both? Or do I take a risk and jump head first to being my own boss?
Now just so you guys now, I grew up in an entrepreneurial family, all my life was about hustle. From a young age, my parent instilled in me this spirit of finding opportunities and going above and beyond to make it happen. But my life was very unstable as a result (maybe I will write about this another time).
My father once said to me “Lynn, you’re too smart, creative, and talented to be making money for someone else. Open your own business.”
“No,” I screamed. “I don’t want your life. I want stability, a 401K, a regular paycheck.”
But he was right. It was time to do it. I told myself if it doesn’t work out, I can always go back to corporate. I had money set aside, came up with a 6 month plan, and told my husband my plans. He was supportive but not thrilled, but I didn’t give him much of a choice either….
The day after, I walked into my boss’ office. He was a man I really looked up to and thought me so much. I told him, “Ron, thank you for everything and the last 7 years, but it’s my time to pursue this.” He was incredibly supportive and told me that I am a rockstar and would crush it.
Two weeks later. I was on my own.
It was like an episode of Naked and Afraid. I felt like I was naked in a jungle learning to survive on my own. But now it was do or die, with no security blanket like a regular paycheck. I had to make it. There was no choice.
Just so you guys all know, I had absolutely no connections in Jersey City whatsoever. I knew NO ONE when I started. I really had to put myself out there and be stubborn to develop relationships with people in the community. It took time, it took effort. I was working around the clock. I started ChicpeaJC from literally nothing.
But I did it. I fucking did it. 5 years later and I’m still standing.
You know why? Because I believe in myself. Because I never EVER gave up no matter what happened. Every single day the negative voice in my head would be like “Lynn, just give up. It’s just not worth it.” But I would never listen. I would get right back up and keep pushing.
And I am still pushing. This life is still challenging, but the difference now to then is that after a lot of self work and making big changes in my life (you can read more about that here), I am in a really great place. The blog and my business is no longer an escape, it’s my job, it’s my passion. But it isn’t my whole life anymore…
When people ask me what my goals are with ChicpeaJC, I don’t really know what to answer. To me, reaching a goal means you’re done…I am living this now and I love every minute. To me this is an every changing journey and I am so ready for the ride.
I’m extremely thankful to have a platform to talk my shit and spread positive vibes to a community I adore – a community that has taken me in. I am thankful to be doing what I love and what I am good at every single day.