The Ultimate DIY Project: Becoming an Entrepreneur
I grew up with parents that told me I could do anything I set my mind to, but we were also part of a fairly conservative community where atypical career paths were not the norm. So, I chose a very traditional English Education major and became a teacher. A few years later, my friend and I found ourselves in the same boat – working full-time, caring for our young kids, and trying to make our houses feel like homes on a budget. Neither of us had prior DIY experience, but we shared a passion for creativity and unbridled confidence in learning home improvement skills, so we started a blog to chronicle our projects.
Within three months of launching the blog, we got a call from a producer at the Nate Berkus Show, asking us to come on for a DIY segment. At first, we thought it was a friend playing a practical joke, but the show liked our quirky nature and lighthearted approach to DIY. One segment turned into four guest appearances. We found something that came naturally to us and we loved every minute of it!
After those appearances, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in TV. I was a complete rookie but used my cell phone to make a sizzle reel and networked with any industry veteran I could find. With a little luck and a whole lot of hustle, six months later a major network approved our own DIY home renovation show!
For the first year, I worked Monday-Friday as a teacher (yes, I had kept my “day job”) and shot episodes on weekends, balancing both jobs while raising my four kids – I wasn’t sure if this dream career would last. When I was offered a vice principal position at my school, it was time to decide. Did I believe in my dream enough to go all-in? I kindly thanked my boss, declined the position and quit teaching to pursue my new career full time.
After two successful seasons, our show ended and I needed to decide what was next. I partnered with various production companies and shot pilots for top networks, but ultimately I didn’t want to put anyone else in charge of my dream and my work. So, I founded my own company – East Coast Creative Productions – my biggest DIY project yet!
Between then and now, I’ve been a part of several successful TV series, frequently contributed to daytime and morning TV, and pitched the country’s top streaming service. I’m proud of where I started and believe that every experience – from the classroom to the boardroom – contributed to where I am today: successfully running a multimillion-dollar production company.
I think back on those early days of choosing a career path as my oldest daughter heads off to college this fall. When we talk about what she wants to study, I tell her to trust her gut and never think a dream is too big. The most successful people put their doubts aside and go after whatever they want, no matter how winding the road is to get there.