Try new things — Similarly to reaching out for help, it’s imperative for me to be brave enough to experiment as I move forward. Just because something is unfamiliar or uneasy doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying, and in fact, my best project so far (my nightstand) is a product of trying something I originally thought to be impossible.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Daralyn Kelleher.
Daralyn Kelleher is a Los Angeles based YouTuber, feline enthusiast, and amateur woodworker. Over the course of the pandemic, Daralyn launched a humorous DIY woodworking YouTube series called “All By Myself”, which has since garnered 22K views. Prior to the pandemic, you could find Daralyn volunteering at a cat rescue renamed Luxe Paws, with a primary goal of trapping stray cats throughout the city in order to get them the care they need. A self-described “cat lover,” when she isn’t making videos or cuddling up to her own feline companion, Jerry, she can be found trying to tame the feral felines walking the streets of LA.https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/ae15ec74658f9ab992402f6062219837
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I grew up the youngest in a moderately large family with three other children. I often found myself in a position of need, having to ask for help to accomplish tasks simply because I was the smallest. As I grew up, my tendency to be dependent remained a part of my personality. By starting my latest YouTube series “All By Myself”, a show where I build DIY furniture from scratch, I’m able to empower myself into a level of independence I’ve never achieved before.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Honestly, my favorite quote is from the film “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, but I think Brad Pitt is actually quoting F Scott Fitzgerald when he says: “I hope you live a life you’re proud of. And if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” There have been times in my life where I have questioned if I’m on the right path. Anytime I’m feeling a bit lost or unsure, I simply need to repeat that quote to myself, and I know I can regain my direction and purpose.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
My favorite book is ‘Running With Scissors’ by Augusten Burroughs. It’s an autobiography about a young man who grows up in absurd circumstances that both define his eccentricities and strengthen his character. In life, I’ve come to realize that things happen for a reason, and often when you’re dealt a hand that you feel is unfair or doesn’t make sense, you’re able to find peace later on when you can find the good in the situation. Time always makes that easier to do.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
Prior to the pandemic, I was working a steady job but unfortunately, I was let go as a result of the pandemic. I soon found myself feeling scared and unsure of what to do with my time as a newly unemployed person.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
As a result of my new found unemployed status, I found myself with an excess of time, so as a result, I started making YouTube videos. At first, I started a series called “Productivity Tuesday”, where I attempted to make my apartment as clean as humanly possible. The problem with that was, I eventually reached a level of clean that couldn’t be surpassed. It sparkled! So, in an attempt to challenge myself and continue to improve my apartment, I then started a DIY furniture-making series.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
The specific moment was when I realized I had made my apartment as clean as it was going to get. I looked around, saw organized perfection, and knew the only way to continue the improvement was to create and build.
How are things going with this new initiative?
Things are currently going well. Since I put a lot of work into learning how to design the furniture I’m going to make, as well as learning the ins and outs of woodworking, my videos have become much more time consuming than before. It has slowed down my upload schedule a bit, but I’m leading with a quality over quantity mentality.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I’m grateful to my cat Jerry, who has served as an incredibly enthusiastic assistant through all of my endeavors.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
Since I’ve started this series, I’ve gotten the chance to go to a professional woodworking studio in downtown Los Angeles, and learn technical skills on different saws, sanders, and machinery. It’s been completely eye opening, and opened doors to a world I never knew existed.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1) Time… I wish I knew how time consuming each project would be. I vastly underestimated the amount of time that was required to take on the skill of DIY furniture making. I thought I could simply follow DIY tutorials, and that would be it, but I didn’t account for all the snafus that would come up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve already had to completely start over on projects.
2) Have a system — Knowledge is power, and since I’ve been making these videos, I’ve done my best to work as efficiently as possible. However, due to my inexperience, there’s been a bit of a learning curve, and I’ve inadvertently wasted a lot of time by not being armed with action plans for problems as they come up.
3) Be organized — Even if I design and implement a system to maximize my efficiency, I still am going to face challenges in terms of maintenance. I’m consistently striving to grow my channel, and the number one way to sabotage myself is to fall behind on my upload schedule.
4) Reach out for help — Despite the name of my series being “All By Myself”, I’ve learned that I can’t literally do every single thing by myself. I have to be willing to collaborate with peers and get feedback from viewers. The easiest way for me to stagnate would be to isolate.
5) Try new things — Similarly to reaching out for help, it’s imperative for me to be brave enough to experiment as I move forward. Just because something is unfamiliar or uneasy doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying, and in fact, my best project so far (my nightstand) is a product of trying something I originally thought to be impossible.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
Basically, the YouTube series’ that I’ve described in these answers are what have helped me keep it together. It might not be much, but they have allowed me to control my space in an unpredictable world where I currently feel I control little else. So basically, I just do the best with what I have.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Thank you so much. I’d one day love to host a creativity collective to help young artists channel their thoughts, feelings, and energy into tangible projects. I struggled for years with knowing how to manage my creative output, and to perhaps one day help others with theirs would mean a lot.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
I’d love to have lunch with Casey Neistat. He’s an incredibly impactful YouTuber doing fantastic things, and showcasing it through a lens saturated with style. He inspires me.
How can our readers follow you online?
Please follow “Daralyn Kelleher” on YouTube to check out my series “All By Myself”. My twitter handle is @deekizzle and my Instagram handle is @daralynthegreat.