Waking up at 5am, I find myself sipping a cup of coffee and realizing that going into September amid an amazing and transformative year, it’s time I sat down to bring you all up to speed.
Almost six years into this thing called blogging, in June 2019 I made a very big decision. If I’m being honest, I have been dancing around the subject. Some say out of shame, others because I don’t care, but the truth is that in fact I’ve just been so busy that I haven’t had the time to gather my thoughts and give the announcement the time, effort and respect it deserved. But that all changes today – so… let’s talk about where the #$@&%*! I have been and what is happening with Do The Daniel.
In order to understand where I’m going, we should understand where I have been. Going back 346 pages on the blog, my first ever blog post was published in April 2013 a few months after launching the site and focusing on it after contributing for Julio over on FASHIONIGHTS.com.
When I got the idea to launch a blog after being introduced to it from my then boyfriend, I knew I loved writing about food and wine. I had in fact worked in the restaurant industry for over ten years amid my years as a student and as a young man. Food and wine made people happy and it unified us all, not to mention I loved talking about both! So onto GoDaddy I went with Amanda Hayden because she had experience building websites and we began the journey of birthing the brand.
Back in 2013 although GoDaddy was still very much the leader in website building and buying your domain, but you needed a SUBSTANTIAL amount more of knowledge and understanding of coding – neither of which were ever my strong suit. When you bought your domain and decided on the domain extensions you want, you then chose a theme to layer on top of it – a proverbial internet sandwich of fun. But it didn’t stop there! A working knowledge of html was needed to embed things into your post, and sometimes your themes (purchased or free) broke amid an update and you had to start all over again. It was fun, but sometimes your website crashed and it was challenging to fix it. Thank goodness for all those years with Amanda in the beginning to help!
That was blogging – it just was. So therein that was what it meant to have a blog and grow it’s traffic. Over the years, as Do The Daniel evolved and our team grew, I updated our hosting to adjust to our traffic and even added an email server for our team around the globe. All of this of course just a phone call away with a GoDaddy expert who made the process easy. A quick update from a food blog to a lifestyle blog, I knew I had something special here.
After getting incorporated, we became a thriving business. Catherine became COO and I CEO of Do The Daniel Inc. We had a lawyer, an accountant, a dozen staff around the world and an office. I had made my dreams come true and I couldn’t be more proud of myself and the site that I kept evolving and redesigning with GoDaddy Canada. That process slowly became easier as well, in tandem with the fact that having a website became for Canadians something to be proud of. Be it a personal blog or for your small business. GoDaddy Canada understood Canadians and they understood me – something to this day I am incredibly grateful for.
One more evolution of our logo and brand later, things started to change internally here at the blog…
The excitement of hiring new staff lead to our first resignation. While I understood that was bound to happen, it still got under my skin. I found myself taking things quite personally. BTS, the blog was now such a beast of a business that I was taking paid and sponsored work to keep up with the cost of running it and paying our teams, and not necessarily because I loved the subject. Though I can proudly say we have never taken a contract we didn’t believe in, there was a certain sense of it all becoming transactional. But I was successful so I chalked it up to being an entrepreneur.
In 2018 Catherine resigned to take the helm of CatherinesCabinet.com – something we had been planning for her for years – but I would only realize later how much of a hit that took on my ability to manage the business. I had to subsequently let people go, I was taking on more responsibility instead of allocating it onto others, and I started to lose my vigor for it all. My marriage took a turn for the worse, I didn’t see my friends often, and life in general just became cyclical. Land a contract, create the content, push it out into the well oiled machine I had made of my personal brand, repeat.
Sparsely throughout those moments I found myself writing because I loved writing. These glimpses of me amid a sea of sponsored posts I loved writing because it was my job, but also started to resent because they had taken over my life. The balance was shifted and in 2019 I realized I needed to make a decision or lose everything I had built for myself and my family.
Early in 2019 I was approached by a potential investor who was interested in buying the blog from me, staff and all, to take it and make it into something different under new leadership. My proverbial prayers had been answered. After filing my business taxes, I had a terrifying tax bill to pay, and on several occasions I scrambled to pay my staff and didn’t even pay myself. Success is a funny thing – it is sought after, but many of us who achieve a certain level of it are frowned upon for sharing the hardships associated with it. Everyone wants the happily ever after, but my friends… that’s just not life.
Without getting into the nitty gritty of it all, the acquisition saw me halting ALL income streams because I was valuating the business, and preparing to sell. That means I had a staff, overhead cost and taxes – all of which were costing us money. All of which were the same as they were when we were signing those who contracts…. but I stopped taking paid work. Looking back now, I should have known better when I turned down some of the biggest contracts we had ever been presented, but I thought I was doing the right thing.
This is where I made a very bad mistake as a business owner my friends. I paused all contributors and put my everything into what turned into a very bad business deal that we walked away from.
Facing a very challenging financial situation, working on my marriage, and living a more private life, I had to make a decision. Ramp it all back up (now jaded and angry with this potential investor who wasted so much of our time) and pretend to be happy, or change the business altogether and course correct my career.
To this day, months later, it is said about me that I “failed.” People can believe what they want. I know that I left the industry as a CEO running one of the most profitable and successful blogs in Canada. I left blogging full time at the height of my career, under the pressure of decisions I had made and the ones I still needed to make.
BUT… what to do with the blog? I’m not sure if you’ve seen the most recent GoDaddy Canada campaign, but it was my life all these years later.
It was time for me to shift as well – and that is what I did. I took a job with Chotto Matte Toronto as their Sales & Marketing Manager. Going back into the workforce, I brought with me my marketing and vast experience with me to a brand that I have come to love as equally as blogging.
And thank goodness now that I’m on my own again, with GoDaddy Website Builder, I can keep my business agile. You too can go to GoDaddy.ca to start your new site for free.
So as September gets off to a busy start, Do The Daniel is still here and going strong. But it’s just not my full time job anymore. So where have I been? I’ve been working at the restaurant, living my life off the internet, and being happy. And when I have the time – and because I love it – I blog. I’ve found my new balance and my new business model that I was able to adjust into easily thanks to GoDaddy Canada. And I couldn’t be more proud of my decisions, my mistakes, my lessons and my new direction.
So whether you want to start a blog, launch your small business, or need to switch things up to, I encourage you to do with the GoDaddy website builder and with their customer service team. All these years later, they are still the best in the business in my opinion and I’ve only ever had fantastic experiences with them.
From our first Instagram posts, to whatever the future of this blog and brand means, I trust that I can rely on GoDaddy Canada to help me evolve, switch and grow in the best ways possible. They’re family now and we wouldn’t be here without them!
To join in on the social media conversation, I encourage you to follow @GoDaddyCanada on Instagram and Twitter. Head to the GoDaddy website and know that nothing is set in stone. Whether it’s your first step or your ten thousandth, you can trust them to help you the whole way. I do!
For more behind the scenes of this and other amazing brands we are working with around the world, make sure to follow along with the #DoTheDaniel Instagram account. We would love to have you join on our adventures!
Don’t forget to be kind & laugh a little more this year
*Please note that this is a sponsored post – our disclosure can be found at all times by clicking here.