Dayna Bolden was working in corporate communications when she started a blog as a creative outlet. Three years later, that blog became her full-time job, leading to a career as a creative entrepreneur — creating content, creative directing, and now producing a live women’s empowerment event, The Bold Experience. After a bit of time balancing corporate life and her creative calling, Dayna came to realize that betting on herself was the way to go. And it is one of the best decisions she has ever made.
Black Love: What was your previous business/career?
Dayna Bolden: I worked in Under Armour’s corporate office in Communications.
BL: Why did you want to leave and do something else?
DB: I started blogging as a hobby in 2014. I truly enjoyed sharing my love for all things fashion, beauty, and my lifestyle as a mom. As my community and influence started to grow, I began to get a significant amount of opportunities that created additional income for my family. I never in a million years thought I could do it full-time to where I could replace my full-time corporate salary, but sure enough, it happened. I got to a point in my blogging career where opportunities were coming in, and my blogging career income surpassed what I was making in my full-time job. Jobs began to conflict with my 9-5, and I had to make a decision. I certainly did not want to miss opportunities that would build my personal brand, so I ultimately decided I needed to go at this blogging thing full-time.
BL: What was your final “jumping point”? What was the urge that finally made you move forward and do it — pursue your passion?
DB: In March of 2017, I made the decision to make the leap. I was getting opportunities, growing extremely busy, making income and working hard. I worked a full-time 9-5 job, so I was at a point in my business where I was continually putting in PTO (Personal Time Off) days to fly out to different cities for events, photo shoots, and projects. I mentally felt like I was “checking out” of my full-time job and it showed. I had countless conversations with my managers, and I was actually put on an action plan — yikes.
I remember the day I decided I was going to quit like it was yesterday. It was a Wednesday, and I had just come back from shooting a national campaign in Atlanta where I had to request off Monday and Tuesday from my full-time. I came back into the office, and I was drained. I sat at my desk, and I asked, “Why am I doing this? I cannot do it anymore.” I got up from my desk, went to the bathroom and cried hysterically. I called my husband and told him how I felt, and he agreed that I needed to move on, and I did.
BL: What is your current business, your “passion” business?
DB: I am currently a full-time digital content creator and entrepreneur. I partner with brands that I love, and I share their brand story and products with my highly engaged audience. I also business consult and creative direct campaign shoots for brands. I am also the creator of a women’s empowerment event called The Bold Experience where I inspire, motivate, and uplift other women to go after their dreams and goals.
BL: How long have you had this passion?
DB: I have had this passion for about five years and have been doing it full-time for two.
BL: What gave you the idea you could turn it into a business?
DB: When I started to generate income that surpassed my full-time corporate salary.
BL: Did you have any fears around turning it into a business?
DB: I definitely had fear and doubts, but I did it anyway. I didn’t want to live my life on a “what if.” I knew that I had to go for it and see what happened. It was ultimately the best decision of my life, and I am so glad I decided to bet on myself.
BL: What is a typical day like for you in your business?
DB: There are no real typical days for me, because in entrepreneurship it can be up and down, super busy or a little slow. But for me, I start my days by meditating and praying. After that, I check my daily calendar to-do, provided by my manager, that outlines my day. A day can consist of conference calls, in-person meetings, photo shoots, emails, and content planning. It is different for each day, but that is what I enjoy most. No two days are the same.
BL: Is there anything that you wish you would have known about taking the step to turn your passion into your business that you would like to share with our readers?
DB: I wish I would have known how late these brands can pay. Net 60 or even Net 90 can be no joke (which means a brand can pay you 60 or 90 days AFTER the work is done). This can be hard for some freelancers if you do not have adequate savings, and/or budget for slow months. This can be major, because you never want to have to have to be waiting at the mailbox for a check. Ideally, the money should just flow and replace what is in the bank. So save, save, save!!!
BL: What are 3 pieces of advice you would give a reader who wants to turn their passion into their business?
DB: HAVE FAITH & BE WILLING TO BET ON YOURSELF
Stop waiting for everything to be perfect. Just go with it and perfect the process along the way. You have to be willing to BET on yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? I remember asking my parents for advice on quitting my job, and they initially said I needed to keep my job. But honestly, I didn’t let anyone’s opinion steer me away from my decision. Be willing to BET ON YOURSELF! Have faith and know that you can do it!!
SAVE YOUR MONEY
Again back to my previous point. Entrepreneurship can be hard. There is, of course, good and bad, but plan for the bad by saving your coins.
CONNECT WITH PEOPLE WHO CAN HELP YOU
Connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs or people in your industry who can support you along your journey is huge! Before I quit, I was networking, building connections, and telling people my goals. I got a business mentor that helped me and was able to be a source for me. Sometimes it is not about what you know, but who you know; so networking and building connections is a great way to build future opportunities.
Watch and learn more about Dayna in this video: