2016 Realness & Reflection – Post Unemployed Aftermath

December 3, 2016

    This year was definitely not one I could have planned for whatsoever. Processed with Snapseed.

    I started off 2016 getting fired from my job in December (ouch). Then sulking for about a month after right through the holidays into 2016. I pretty much didn’t leave my apartment or see anyone for weeks.

    I lost my job on December 3, 2015, right before the holiday season began. AKA when no one is trying to hire anyone and all people think about is eating cookies, getting presents and sitting on their asses watching Home Alone 2. Meanwhile I was at home, thinking the world was ending and could only see the smallest little spec of light that may be at the end of this long, dark and scary tunnel I was entering.

    Looking back it was a complete blessing in disguise the day I lost my job, but I obviously didn’t know that at the time. I walked out on to 7th avenue in midtown after sitting in very long 2016 planning meeting to a completely new life. I immediately called my dad when I began walking home after hearing the “news” and the waterworks quickly started from there. I couldn’t stop crying. I had no idea what to do and was completely blindsided by losing my job.

    In retrospect, I should have seen it coming, but who actually wants to believe they are getting fired? Especially when you are “comfortable” and want to think things are going great.

    What was I going to do? Who was going to hire me? Sure I blogged on the side and posted pictures of my recipes on Instagram, but could I make a living off of that? At the time, I sure didn’t think so. I was making $50 a post to live in NYC and that could maybe cover the subway fare for a week.

    But how was I supposed to find a new job when my real passion lied in building my own brand? Or at least trying to create a brand.

    I was sitting at pizza place with Jord and my parents a couple weeks after getting fired, and they each pushed me to go out on my own. I spent days reaching out to every single person I knew who I think could help me find a new full time job somewhere (like hi if you’re reading this). But my family said, “Give yourself 3 to 6 months and see what happens”.  They urged me to grow my Instagram and see what can come about. They pushed me to follow my passion and do what I love. Sounds cheesy but that is exactly what I did.

    And I did it good (intentional grammar error). In the most unexpected way possible.

    After crying at every family holiday, having panic attacks of going broke, and not getting a manicure for a month (if you know me well, you know that was huge), I went into 2016 in full throttle beast mode.

    I was determined to make something of myself. I was determined to grow my brand through my Instagram and blog. I was determined to make a difference and grow a community. I was determined to inspire others to make deliciously clean recipes. I was determined to engage with other likeminded people who thrive off eating too much paleo banana bread and live to go to barre class. I was determined to find my place in this community and by doing so cultivate the most amazing friendships via INSTAGRAM from all over the country (like how insane?). I was determined to find my place in this scary ass world and finally not have to hide that I thrive off kombucha and eating organic apples and dark chocolate peanut butter cups. I was determined to finally not be embarrassed of who I was and what I believe in.

    Processed with Snapseed.
    flywheel sports event with one of my favorite humans EVER @thebalancedblonde
    Processed with Snapseed.
    the amazing chef at Cafe Clover for our September S’mores Ice Box Cake
    barre3 west village family!
    barre3 west village class I hosted in April!

    By April I had built my own consulting business, grown my Instagram account to 70k followers from 20k in January, doubled my page views in that period of time, and I felt I was moving in a pretty solid rhythm after just 3 months. And no that is not a brag, but seriously showing what hard effing work looks like. And it’s showing you that there really can be light at the end of the tunnel.

    After endless calls, emails and pretty much “slutting myself out” as I was calling it, I built myself a pretty solid foundation to feel comfortable with. And I this is the foundation I am still working off of today.

    I am running an Influencer Marketing “agency” aka an agency of one. I work with some of the most amazing brands in the space on my blog and Instagram, and I am waking up every day to do what I love. Not what someone is telling me to love.

    Granted I work about average 12 hours a day, 7 days a week but who cares? When you do what you love and love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like what you are meant to be doing everyday. And that is confidently something I can say. For once, I am finally doing what I am meant to be doing.

    Sure I get really overwhelmed, cranky and stressed now and again, but then I think about where my brand was in December ’15. I put my big girl pants on and move on. I remember that what I am doing is something so rare and special, and I need to soak in every moment while I can.

    I pretty much cringe when people tell me I have an easy job because they couldn’t be more wrong. When you run your own business (especially being a solo-prenuer), it is non-stop. I am the CEO, Accountant, Creative Director, Admin, CFO, etc. A “one woman circus” I like to say.

    I am sure you other food bloggers and solo business owners get me when I vent about this. I recently was with someone for coffee and they said to me “I wish I had your job as an Influencer, it is so easy”. I had to have so much self control in this situation. Easy? Oh okay. Everything always appears greener on the other side my friends. And while the job of being a food blogger looks “easy” it’s probably just because they are working for themselves and are genuinely just happy people, and don’t complain about their annoying boss or coworker who sits next to them in the office.

    Processed with Snapseed.

    Now I don’t necessarily blame others for thinking my job is easy because you don’t really ever understand what someone is going through, or how they feel until you are in their shoes.

    I also don’t believe that absolutely everyone can work for themselves and start a brand. I definitely used to think that you can do anything you put your mind to. And while in some aspects of life, that may be true, it certainly has limitations. It takes a shit ton of time, effort, proactivity and compassion to work for yourself. This is something I truly didn’t realize until last spring. I don’t have a boss (although I have found some amazing mentors along the way) and I don’t have an assistant to remind me to do things. Half the time I don’t know what I am doing and I say this industry is “the blind leading the blind”. I don’t have a bi-weekly pay check coming in or a coworker to eat lunch with everyday. It can be seriously lonely at times working alone and really really scary. If you don’t push yourself, you won’t make it.

    I do have my amazing husband, parents and in-law’s who 100% chip in whenever I need advice, an extra hand and someone to eat the shittiest tasting brownies until I perfect them. Without them, I wouldn’t have made it passed January 1 this year (kidding…but not really).

    I do believe though that some of the best entrepreneurship is built out of necessity. Something I heard from Farnoosh Torabi’s So Money Podcast. This quote has been my motivation for months.

    I do believe that when you have a passion that you need to follow it and see where it takes you.

    I do believe that women are entitled to be their own girl boss and not have to rely on a man to support them (not going into a feminist rant don’t worry).

    I do believe that you need to follow your gut because no one knows you better than you know yourself. If someone tells you that you aren’t “worth” that amount of money but you think you are, don’t back down. Don’t let someone make you feel invaluable and sure as hell don’t be under compensated. I never thought I’d quadruple my income from my job last year. Especially after being told I didn’t deserve more than what I was making. YOU ARE WORTH MORE! Follow your gut. Listen to what it tells you because there’s a 99% chance, it is right.

    And I do believe that I wouldn’t have been writing this blog post without the support of YOU. I cannot thank each of you enough for supporting my brand and helping me make my dreams come true. I type this with tears in my eyes and I truly mean it when I say, I love you all and I cannot wait to see what is in store for 2017. My gut tells me it’s going to be a good one.

    If you ever want to chat/vent/anything don’t hesitate to reach out. I believe in paying it forward. Because if it wasn’t for my support system and asking for advice, I would still in stuck in the tunnel in pajamas with the ugliest nails you can imagine 😉

    xx, Rach

    I love seeing you what you make my recipes!
    Don’t forget to use the hashtag @rachLmansfield and #rachLeats on instagram!

    81 Responses

    1. Rachl,
      Reading your post has left me with tears in my eyes as well. I just recently quit my job as a English teacher to learners of a second language. I often feel like it would make things easier (aka me being kinder to myself) if I would have just been fired. That way it doesn’t really require me to own up to the crazy decision I made. But everything about the job, minus hugging my students and listening to them talk about their lives, was parasitic. Strong word choice right? I only use that word because the environment that surrounded me, began to silence the few good qualities that I think I have going for me. The work space, coworkers, the planning was suffocating. I just wanted to have someone take the extra step that when asked how I was doing and I’d reply I could be doing better that there was another response other than, “oh…well that sucks”.

      It’s embarssing, yet liberating to speak about this reality I’m experiencing, feeling deep down inside of me that I’m called to be doing something different. Thank you for your honesty in your post and. For sharing the inner termoils you experienced. I think I’m in the”holy shit I just quit my job phase”/ there’s no work for me to pursue or provide”. So thank you, again. For sharing, for inspiring, and for being honest.

      1. thank you so much for sharing your story! it takes a lot of courage to do what you did and leave your job! it’s so important to follow your gut and do what’s best for you. all works out in the end! xx

    2. This post is AMAZING! Thank you so much for sharing your story! I’ve been following your journey for a while now and you are such an inspiration to me! I find myself in a very similar situation right now. I just got laid off from my nursing job less than a week ago, but was never happy with it in the first place. I want to pursue my blog but sometimes feel like I’m not good enough. I’d love to reach out to you for some advice, is that is okay with you!

    3. congrats on your HARD WORK of building a way to do what you love! I’m at a little bit of a crossroads in my life with this as well and I know it’s super scary!
      So happy I stumbled across your instagram a few weeks ago. I’m now sharing it with all my Kansas friends:)

    4. This is so inspiring. I mean, you’ve been one of my inspirations ever since I “met” you, but this takes it to another level. Basically you’re doing what I want to be doing (and am trying to do) a year from now (or sooner)!
      I hope you’re serious about the reaching out part, because I could definitely use a mentor sometimes, one who really gets it!

    5. Rachel!!!! You are simply amazing and I admire your courage! I can totally relate as no one in my personal life knows about my instagram or blog (other than my family and 2 best friends) and I feel as though they wouldn’t understand the fact that I don’t want a 9-5, I want to be my own boss livig the life I love! My next big step is enrolling in culinary school in 2017!! Xx

      1. thank you SO much for reading sarah! you have to follow YOUR gut and don’t worry about anyone else. that is the most important lesson i learned this year. being yourself can be the most magical experience and just embrace it! xx

    6. An accomplishment that can be celebrated everyday is the most amazing feeling one can find. Keep pushing keep doing well keep being you.

      XOX love this post the most 🙂

    7. This is incredible. WAY TO GO! You are awesome.

      Loved reading this post! So pumped for you and all your hard work! (and always grateful for the work you created for me in the past) <3<3

      1. KYLIE! hi chica! you are amazing, thank you SO much for taking the time to read! and i am so happy to have connected with you!!!! still obsessed over your amazing blog and photos! xx

    8. Rachel! You make us so proud to be your parents! We love and support you in any adventure you take! The tears are flowing! Have to redo my makeup now even though I don’t wear any! LOL
      Love Always Mom and Dad

    9. Thank you so much Rachel for sharing your story. I have been following you this past year and I am truly inspired. I just quit my job with no money, savings, or ability to pay rent this month because I know I belong in the health/wellness industry and not working for someone else to build their dreams. I am so scared and don’t know what lies ahead but I am so excited and can’t wait to see where 2017 takes me…and you!

      1. Thank you for reading, Leslie! Your support and kind words mean the world to me. And I am always hear if you need to talk or vent! it isn’t easy to do this on your own but it is SO magical and rewarding!! xx

    10. You are so inspiring Rach! I loved meeting you at soul cycle in LA and can genuinely tell you LOVE what you do and I hope to be able to support myself one day doing what I love as well. I appreciate you and wish you the BEST 2017.

      1. Thank you SO much, constance!! it was so amazing meeting you in LA.. i will be back in March for expo so we will have to get together again for a sweat! xx

    11. Yaaay Rach!! I’m so proud to call you a friend and mentor. I’ll never forget the first day we met chatting about blogs and being able to understand the true value of influencers – never stop doing you girl – xoxox

    12. I absolutely loved this post and the amazing honesty and realness you just shared with me. Reading this post just proves that hard work really does pay off. I am keeping your story in my back pocket for the days when my current job search gets too overwhelming and makes me doubt my value. Congrats on an incredibly successful year and looking forward to a kick ass 2017 filled with lots of great things for us both.

    13. I’ve said it before but you really are amazing! Seriously after listening to you and Farnoosh my husband and I are not only quitting our jobs but we’re moving from Europe to the USA (where my family is) to follow our dream of opening our own restaurant. It’s terrifying and just when I think WTF we have good jobs you’ll post or blog something and I’m all built up again. SO thank you for being real and honest and AWESOME x

      1. thank you so much, katie! that warms my heart. i hope you have the most amazing experience in Europe and if you do open a restaurant, let me know so i can eat at it 🙂 xx

    14. So much truth to this post and so much inspiration. Thanks for sharing your story – hard work pays off! And I still laugh that people don’t understand how much time, work and tears go into blogging and being an influencer!

    15. Rach. Reading this was like reading deep into the heart and soul of a sweet, hard working food blogger that we all really respect so much; you are blessed with such a sweet family that was 100% behind you. :o) And now I see your pins and recipes everywhere.

    16. Wow. This was just what I needed to read today. Very inspirational. I recently went through a 2 month hospital stay and a major surgery and once I was back to work I thought.. “what the hell am I doing with my life?? ” (I’m a CPA) I knew there had to be something more and after finally realizing that I spend all my free time (and a lot of work time.. oops) researching health food & ways to improve gut health (I am fighting Crohn’s Disease) I thought to myself, why not try to make a living out of it and help others who are looking for some guidance in this area? So I took a leap & enrolled in a program to become a Certified Health Coach. I am so excited but also scared. This post brought back the belief that it is possible to do something you love every day. Sorry for the long story?Anyway thank you for sharing & I am so happy I stumbled across your IG!

    17. Rachel! Thank you so much for being so open and honest about all of this! I just listened to your interview on the So Money podcast yesterday and I’m in awe of what you’ve been able to accomplish this past year. You’re so inspiring and it’s great to see your hard work paying off! I recently was fired from a job because they believed that my blog and instagram was taking away from my work with their company. needless to say it is a scary/stressful time in my life, but I’m taking it as a sign to go full force into building my own brand. any tips/mentorship/wise words you might have to offer would be so appreciated! xx Emily

      1. thank you so much for reading and listening to so money!! isn’t farnoosh the best? i am so sorry to hear you were fired as well! believe me there is light at the end of the tunnel. keep your head up and follow your passion!! xx

    18. Rachel! I absolutely loved this post. I feel it in my SOUL. I’m so proud of you for all of your hard work and I love seeing how much it’s paying off! I’m so excited to see what’s in store, and I’m definitely going to keep supporting you no matter what. Weird as it is, I feel a lil’ mini connection to you as a fellow Jew, I find that it’s so hard to find others in this little world. But I have you! All the best, and happy Hanukkah! 😉 xoxoxo

    19. This was such a great post Rachel! I have been following you since before I even started my own Instagram account and your blog is the first place I go when I want to make a new recipe. So amazing to see how far you have come in the past year! Hope to come to one of your events now that I am in the NYC area!

    20. Wow, what a great post. THere is a LOT Of work that goes into blogging. I get so annoyed when people think it’s easy. Takes a long time to build a brand. I was once laid off, but very very early in my career. The one thing I learned is to save money for rainy days… that was a very valuable lesson. Proud of you and love your work! I’m just wondering if any of your ex-co-workers read your blog. OMG!

    21. Rachel,
      Congratulations! I’m so happy to hear about all of your accomplishments!! Keep striving 🙂

    22. This is so inspiring! thank you for sharing. As someone who is trying to build a brand and genuinely wants to help women love them self through self care and eating real food, it does get lonely and so much self doubt can sink in especially when there are so many amazing people in this space. It’s nice to see the realness behind all the pretty yummy food. Thanks again!

    23. Thank you for this. As someone who is struggling with comparison right now, this was so encouraging. I LOVE food and health and life. Definitely feel inspired to chase that passion. You rock lady!

    24. Such an amazing story! Congrats on all your success! Would love a follow up post with more detail on how you’ve created your brand.

    25. So so so so so happy for you! I have been following you for 4 months or so and I didn’t realize that you haven’t always been a full time blogger! What a success! You are such an inspiration! I just started my own blog Small Town Roots. Looking forward to new recipes of yours!

    26. Such an inspiring situation!! We are so focused on looking at the closed door that we don’t see the open one. Good job Rachel ♥!!

    27. What an amazing story- you are an inspiration <3 I truly believe that everything happens for a reason.

    28. I absolutely love reading your story! I listened to your TBB podcast not too long ago and this just reminded me how authentic and truly brave you are! (Even if at times you don’t feel so brave.. which I get!) I have been working on building up a food Instagram (@dkohkoh) and am looking into beginning a blog and really GOING for it! It’s truly my passion and I say “looking into” because I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any advice for us newbies on how to really build a food Instagram that resonates and how to turn that into a business? (Okay.. loaded question! Any advice helps) xoxo

    29. Good morning! 🙂

      I’m in the sameboat you were in 2016!!
      I recently resigned and it was my first time EVER doing that! I was scared and i cried so much. Looking back, my only regret is not doing it sooner ha!

      Believe it or not, I’ve had a stir in my heart for 4 years to start a blog and showcase all the products i use to make my meals and help educate others on healthy living…. 4 years!! Where am i now?? Still sitting with that burning passion within because i DON’T KNOW how to start a blog (add design, color, pictures etc lol). Pretty ridiculous right? Now that i only have 2 weeks left at my job, i want to take time and focus on that!!!

      I would appreciate any tips, advice and guidance 🙂

      Thank you in advance! Just in case my email address is: [email protected] and my Instagram handle is: GingerstephanyM

    30. Rachel! This is so inspiring. I’m in love with making healthy recipes and truly believe the world would be a better place if more people cooked from scratch just 10% more. I didn’t lose my job, but my work requires me to travel every week. It’s not sustainable and not healthy and I really want to give this a go. I think I need to build s little first, but it’s so good to hear it’s possible.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Click to edit CSS
    Click to edit CSS