The longer answer of how this company came to exist is a combination of events, connections, health issues, and a handsome rescue swimmer.
I’ve always worked in marketing. And most would say I am a ‘people person‘, and I was taught by my folks to always be yourself and to never burn bridges. The world of social media launched my senior year of college at the University of Florida. I was fascinated by it. The beginnings were more like an interactive chat room on steroids. Once Facebook opened it up to the public it changed the game entirely. A business could create spaces to communicate with their community and customers in REAL-TIME.
I started doing social media for businesses I worked for, learning what works, what doesn’t, testing different strategies. Before long, I started getting inquiries on training from other businesses. The company I worked for was NOT a marketing agency. But apparently I was making a mark. So quietly, I started building relationships and trust by helping people with their social media for free.
In 2012 I started having a lot of health issues. Weird symptoms not common for a relatively healthy woman in her early 30s. I got some clarification when I was diagnosed with ulcerative
colitis. It’s an autoimmune disease that impacts the function of my digestive system. I will have it for life as there is no cure. This changed everything for me. I started thinking about ways to make money even if I was too sick to leave the house…which happened often. It was a confusing time. I spent a lot of time self-reflecting and trying to figure out who the ‘new me’ was that didn’t involve all the bad food, booze and night life. Eventually I found my way. Stopped drinking completely – which for most isn’t a big deal, but for me it really was. My entire network shifted a bit….for the better. Put more time and energy in whole foods and a healthy balance of fitness and rest.
Now for some good news – in 2013 I met my now-husband. He is a rescue swimmer with the US Coast Guard. Although I don’t believe in love at first sight, we both knew pretty early this was it. What you may not know is if I was going to marry this man, I would have to uproot my world every 4 years whenever the coast guard transfers us to somewhere else in the country. I was happy in Tampa Bay. I had roots down. A strong network of friends who were like family. But this new man….worth it.
Mid to late 2013 comes around and my health is getting worse. I’m missing a lot of work. I’m able to do all my digital marketing efforts from home, which I really enjoyed. My boss at the time expressed interest in putting me on medical leave. After a long, honest conversation I told him I’m thinking of doing something different. I’m considering starting my own company. The marketing genius that he is, he asked me to put together a plan for my new business with all the details. So I did. I took a few days and put it all together and presented it to him and patiently waited for his response. He fired me. Not because I was a bad employee, but because he knows I am loyal to default. I needed the push to take this leap. And that’s what I did and he was my first client. I’m so thankful for my upbringing – I was taught to treat people with respect and to never, ever burn a bridge if you can help it.
So that is how my company started. The combination of perfect timing, encouragement from peers and a whole lot of faith and trust, Bright Light Solutions was born. I launched in January of 2014 in Clearwater, Florida. I grew my business through relationships I built in the Tampa Bay Area and networking in chamber groups, BNI chapters, etc. It wasn’t easy and it was absolutely terrifying, but I am so thankful I took that step.
Fast forward to the summer of 2016, when a second location of Bright Light Solutions was born when my family and I moved to Sequim, Washington. Yes, from sunny Clearwater, FL to the great Pacific Northwest to a place I’d never been nor did I know a soul in this corner of the country. The icing on the top was we had a brand new baby boy in tow. This was the real test to see if I could REALLY do this.
Starting over in a brand new place I couldn’t rely on decade-old relationships, I had to really put myself out there. And I did, even though I was navigating yet another ‘new normal’ of motherhood. Since we arrived I’ve helped close to 100 local businesses and entrepreneurs in some capacity. This area is truly a gem filled with some unique people. I’ve succeeded. I’ve failed. I’ve learned. And I’ve gotten better. I believe in the importance of being a student forever and thankful for the lessons I learned in Washington.
Four years have passed and now it’s 2020. Time to get relocated again. The next stop is Jacksonville, FL. A very familiar area to me as I grew up in Northeast Florida. I plan on flying back up to Sequim on a regular basis to maintain the business that I’ve built as well as work on building a third hub of Bright Light Solutions.