This is a reader submission for our Big Girl Badge week. Tell us how you evolved from woman-child to woman, and you could win hundreds of dollars of prizes! (Send your 800 word submissions to Jennifer [at] thegloss.com or Ashley [at] thegloss.com)
Big-Girl badges? Geez, well, we’re still growing up (even at 28!) but we do feel like we earned our badges over the past two years as we – Rachel & Emily – launched our own online community for women navigating their quarter-lives called Quarterlette.com.
Coming up with an idea is the easy part. Following through and committing completely to that idea is much more complicated, as proven to ourselves by
spending the past two years bringing Quarterlette to life. Let’s start from the beginning.
The two of us met around 6.5 years ago a few weeks after graduating from college. We worked side-by-side at our first job. We became friends and work buddies, venting about our jobs, applauding each other in our individual successes, gossiping about the guys we were dating, supporting each other during heartbreak and personal challenges and brainstorming really awesome ideas that would allow us to work for ourselves in the future.
However, being the young, naïve and inexperienced girls that we were, we never followed through on any of those ideas…although we did go on an awesome adventure trip to Puerto Rico where we climbed waterfalls and kayaked at midnight in a bioluminescent lagoon. But we digress.
Anyway, eventually after working together for three years, Rachel left NYC to attend graduate school. After Rachel finished her degree, however, she found herself sitting on her parents’ couch with her two dogs during a 5-month unemployment stint, feeling a bit lost to say the least.
During this time, she started hearing from many friends that they too were feeling a little “lost” in their lives. After some initial research, she realized that there were very few platforms designed specifically to provide a little support, guidance and inspiration to women who were navigating the tricky quarter-life years.
Right away, she knew that she had to connect with Emily…an idea was starting to bloom.
Eventually Rachel got a job back in NYC and immediately upon returning called up Emily for drinks and a little creative brainstorming.
The two of us realized that in a world where women are settling down later, launching their own companies, moving back in with their parents to save money, dating through the Internet, and traveling the world, there is no shortage of endless opportunities. However, with all of these new changes and opportunities come challenges as well. We wanted to address those issues.
Our idea was to design a community where women could share stories about those challenges and opportunities, allowing “Quarterlettes” (women currently in their quarter-lives) to connect with one-another in a positive way.
You know that good feeling you get when you’re having drinks or coffee with close girl-friends, spilling the dirt on all aspects of your life – the good and the bad? We wanted to replicate that feeling online.
So we had an idea. Awesome! But then came the hard part. As we said earlier, coming up with the idea is easy. Executing that idea is another story.
For over a year, we both worked in full-time jobs and developed our website at night and on the weekends. We had to come up with a name (Quarterlette), we had to work with a web designer and developer, recruit writers and think through the details of our brand from start-to-finish.
Eventually, Rachel left her full-time job to become a nanny to families around NYC and a freelance marketing consultant so that she could spend more time getting Quarterlette.com launched. Emily was still very hard at work balancing at her demanding advertising job and the launch.
Finally, after lots of hard work, Quarterlette.com launched about 3 months ago and the response has been fantastic. But our commitment was just beginning.
Gaining a strong readership in the digital world is extremely hard. We have super exciting, powerful, yay-we-did- this, moments. And then we have letdowns. But, you know, that’s just like anything in life. It takes time and patience. And we’re honest about that with our readers. We don’t pretend to have all of the answers, or be superstar entrepreneurs (we didn’t go to Ivy league schools, we haven’t received funding, and we don’t have well-connected parents). We don’t have our own personal quarter-lives all figured out either but that’s what makes it so special. We’re creating a brand that we personally crave.
Within the past few weeks, Rachel accepted a new full time job now that the site is launched and running smoothly and steadily. At the end of the day, being a big girl means – like we discussed – following through on your ideas. But it also means creating financial stability and being a nanny/ occasional marketing consultant was not allowing that to happen to the extend that she wanted.
Perhaps one day Quarterlette.com will become profitable (at least enough to pay our bills!). But in the meantime, we won’t abandon our idea or our readers because we believe in what we’re doing. Like big-girls, we’re continuing to follow through, no matter how challenging the tasks are or how many jobs we need to hold simultaneously. We find so much enjoyment in Quarterlette that it really doesn’t feel like work at all.
You know, as we’re writing this, we realized something. Initially, we thought that our “big-girl badges” arrived by turning Quarterlette.com into something bigger than just a simple idea. But that’s not really true.
Following through on this concept was undoubtedly a growing experience, but what really makes us feel like big-girls is accepting the fact that no matter what happens with Quarterlette – whether we have a 1 million readers or we fail miserably – we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished. Not all successes have to be monumental.
Hey – having someone other than our moms read the stories on a regular basis or having more than 3 people show up at our happy hours feels pretty damn good.