I’ve been a fan of Danrochelle’s Meet the (818) for quite some time now. I first became aware of the Meet the (818) Instagram account last year and eagerly followed and read each post because it introduced me to a Valley-based event or person of interest.
Then when Danrochelle reached out to interview me for her website, I was thrilled and honored! Since that time, we’ve meet several times in person, usually at Valley-based events.
Meet the (818) was started in January 2019 and I was interested in learning more about how the website came together. Please meet the latest Real Mom of the SFV – Danrochelle D. Yumul!
How/why did you begin your business?
Danrochelle: Can you believe I actually got stumped by this question? *insert laugh here*
Meet The (818) is the happy intersection of my passion for writing, love of hearing other people’s stories, and having adventures in the community. Before starting Meet The (818), I was a freelance writer for several websites and publications, featuring the San Fernando Valley from the local restaurants, businesses, and local communities. I had to put my freelancing on hold with the arrival of our daughter, switching gears and navigating through motherhood and parenting. By the time I was ready to incorporate freelance writing back into the mix, a lot of the websites and publications I wrote for either shut down or were no longer in circulation. So, after going back and forth (for several months) with starting a website, I finally took the plunge in January 2019 and launched Meet The (818). As an 818 local, a Burbank kid, and a Cal State University, Northridge alumni, I’ve been all over the San Fernando Valley. (I don’t even think I’ve worked outside the 818.) It made sense to highlight and feature the (818). I wanted to take the Mr. Rogers approach of getting to know the people in your neighborhood and forging connections in that manner. It’s easy to write about the best sushi place in town or the newly opened Italian restaurant on Ventura Blvd or even reviewing a coffee spot but it’s the story and the people behind those businesses that draw people in. It’s those stories that forge connections and build community.
To be honest, the catalyst for starting the website was the passing of my father. He lost his battle against cancer in early 2018. The two things he always said to me was “You need to give the people and things you love your time.” and “When, if not now? We’re only given a limited time here. Make the most of it.” Of course, this was in Tagalog and that’s the best translation I can come up with. Meet the (818) is both my passion project and my way of honoring my dad’s memory by doing what I love, and hopefully, being able to do some good in the process.
As a working mother, what is one tip or piece of advice that you would give to other female entrepreneurs?
Danrochelle: Self-care is essential. As moms it is so easy to keep on going, even when you’re running on fumes. I’ve always been guilty of that; always prioritizing my family, my friends, the website, and my 9-5. It’s okay to take a break from everything every once in a while and just have “you” time. It could be reading for an hour or two or even unplugging from social media and just taking a nap. Make sure you take care of yourself because what’s the use of expending all this energy and time if it costs you your health and well-being (and, yes, sometimes your sanity)? Take those breaks in whatever form they come. The other piece of advice is never hesitate to reach out and ask for help. It goes hand in hand with self-care. There’s always this stigma that moms are either superwomen or wonder women (it’s not wrong…) but it is absolutely okay to hang up the cape every now and then. Find the tribe that will help you out and be there for you when you need them (and even when you don’t need them and they force you to take a break). 😊
What do you like best about having a business in the San Fernando Valley?
Danrochelle: The people and the community are the best things about having a business in the San Fernando Valley. I love witnessing people persevere and hustle hard to have their dreams take flight. I love seeing established businesses continue to thrive. I love meeting and collaborating with people who feature and highlight the phenomenal folks, communities, and organizations in the (818). I love making those connections and having conversations. The San Fernando Valley is my home and my community. It’s where my family set up their roots, and it is where we continue to build our community.
If there was one thing you wish you knew before you began your business, what would that be?
Danrochelle: There is a huge difference between a passion project and a business. If you want to turn your passion project into a business, you need to sit down and really plan it out. The creative stuff comes easy but, as always, the devil is in the details. Establish your credibility, but you definitely have to have a solid plan to back everything up.
Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received for this post. The image shown in this post is used with permission. As always, my opinions are 100% my own.