Chance and Mackenzie Edwards packed a lot of life into a short time period: They got married, went on a honeymoon; he got laid off and they started a business — all during a pandemic.
But for the College of Information and Communications graduates, the struggles led to something they’re now thankful for.
Chance Edwards graduated from USC in May 2014 with a degree in public relations. Mackenzie graduated in December 2015 with a degree in broadcast journalism.
Chance worked as a digital content creator in the music industry in Nashville, Tennessee, and MacKenzie was a freelancer when they got engaged at Christmas 2019.
Then came the pandemic and Chance's layoff. So they poured themselves into their business homebodyHQ.
“I was like, ‘Well, let's put our whole hearts into it now,’ ” Chance says. “I don't know if we would have jumped if we didn’t have to make a decision right then. So it all worked out.”
The social-media-based business started in the couple’s backyard when they couldn't find a venue for their wedding. They decided to turn their lawn into their dream venue and post their progress on TikTok. Their story went viral.
“We realized we could make a business out of it,” Mackenzie says. “It was a small side hustle that just kind of kept growing and growing. Now we're to the point where we can call it our full-time job.”
While their work isn't exactly what they studied at Carolina, the couple says they use what they learned in the journalism school every day.
He uses marketing and PR strategies for their business’s social media accounts and freelance branding clients. She uses her experience from the journalism school’s senior semester program.
“I definitely learned how to write quickly, how to write for an audience, marketing and storytelling skills — we use that every single day,” Mackenzie says.
Clients can hire them on their website and their TikTok account focuses on “DIY” project content, which they consider to be the “meat” of homebodyHQ.
Mackenzie says they’re a resource for homeowners who might be overwhelmed by maintenance and upgrade tasks that come with a house.
In the future, they want to work with people one-on-one, designing projects and creating virtual courses or eBooks to offer additional resources.
“I think both of us are still getting used to the ‘influencer’ title because we have always been creating content for other people, but now we're doing it for ourselves and an audience we specifically want to create content for,” Mackenzie says.
A typical day for them involves writing scripts, answering emails, engaging on social media, filming projects and working on branding for clients. They joke about keeping their sanity with their favorite rotation of “comfort shows” always playing in the background — Friends, That 70’s Show and The Office.
“Every single day is different, which is why we like it,” Mackenzie says. “We both are very neurodivergent, so we have to find that perfect balance between structure and leaving room for creativity."
They say the hardest part of their career together is money management. TikTok views and freelance work don’t guarantee a set amount of money every month. They don’t know whether they’ll make double or half of what they did last month, but they make it work together.
Mackenzie says her parents call her and Chance the “dynamic duo” because they complement each other so well. Chance is the organized, detail-oriented teammate, while Mackenzie is behind big-picture ideas and keeps track of trends on social media.
As business partners and a couple, they know when to take a backseat and when to take the reins.
“We’ve learned a lot from each other,” Mackenzie says. “He definitely makes sure that when I jump, if I fall, everything's not going to break.”
Their takeaway advice for students and new graduates is to broaden their skillset — whether they want to make it in traditional media or on their own.
“Learn how to do things yourself,” Chance says. “Use your resources and build the bridge to wherever you want to be.”
Mackenzie agreed saying they never thought they’d be influencers on social media and doing creative freelance work, but they became well-versed in those areas.
"Had we been more resistant to the way social media has changed the industries we both graduated into, we wouldn’t be doing what we love,” Mackenzie says. “We evolved with it and have found our place. I think that the key is to always look ahead.”