{Quit Your Day Job, a story of bravery & uncertainty}

Editors note:
It has been 8 months since I quit my day job to work on Gussy Sews full time — and to help celebrate the anniversary of this little dream of mine, I’ve put together a {Quit Your Day Job} mini-series. Please take some time and read through the features — each feature is unique to the next, which I love. Everyone has a different story to tell ♥.

This post is particularly meaningful as it’s Jennifer’s story of bravery & uncertainty. To protect Jennifer’s job, aside from sharing her name, this is an anonymous story. She may not be a full-time handmade business owner yet, but she is determined, intentional and so, so excited! I am so very proud of her — Jennifer has real fears and real plans to overcome them, and we invite you to read her story below.

*

[photo credit]


Jennifer’s Story // The Interview:

1. Give us a little glimpse of who you are and what your handmade business is.
My handmade business — which is in its infancy, or maybe even pregnancy! — is home decor made with digital art. The first products I am offering are canvases to hang on the wall and refrigerator magnets. I have stock items and will also take custom orders. Other products that could come later include coasters, party banners, posters and personalized cookbooks. I would eventually like to add designing scrapbooks for people (as an offshoot of my work as a consultant for Heritage Makers) but this is a much more expensive product than the home decor items so it’s a much more limited market.

2. What are some ways you are preparing to become a handmade biz owner?
I am working to pay down my credit card debts and create a budget that will allow me to quit my full-time job. I’m also looking for part-time jobs so I can ease into trying to make enough money on my business instead of going straight to no-guaranteed income. My real struggle is finding time to get my business set up while still working full time and taking care of children. My husband and I work opposite shifts so when I’m home, the child care is all up to me. So things have been moving slowly. I had hoped to have my Etsy shop open by January 1st, but it still isn’t. I think the time and scheduling is actually a bigger roadblock than the financial aspect.

3. What kind of progress have you made? — and how much longer do you have to go?
I have some products made, and some partially made, but have none photographed for the Etsy shop. I have a blog for the business but am not posting on it regularly yet. I have established customers for my consultant job who I hope will help me spread the word once the home decor business is launched. As for how long I have to go … I really would like to have the shop open by the end of the month. But when it will become a full-time business, I truly don’t know.

4. What kind of steps are you taking so you can give your 2-week notice?
Step 1: Get initial products finished
Step 2: Get products photographed and descriptions written
Step 3: Get products into Etsy shop
Step 4: Publicize shop
Step 5: Find a part-time job. I had been looking for one in my professional field but as I write this, I think something like retail would suffice
Step 6: Set up a schedule with my family to balance business work, family time and the part-time job

5. What are you most afraid of (with putting in your notice)?
I am most afraid of failing. Although the loss of guarantee income will be scary, I’m far more scared of telling people that I am quitting a good-paying stable job for this venture and even more scared of the possibility of telling them a year later that I couldn’t make it work.

6. Share with us what excites you most the most about being a self-employed biz owner.
I’m most excited about making money to be creative and do something enjoyable and to share my work with others. I also like that I can work from anywhere and set my own hours, so when my husband (a teacher) is off and wants to go on a trip, I can do that without being tied to a specific shift or location.

7. Based on your experience so far, what are three tips you could to pass along to someone that’s ready to make the leap?
1. Easier said than done, but don’t let fear rule you
2. Think through your business name, domain name, twitter account and anything else that might have your name on it before you start setting them all up
3. Network, network, network

[photo credit]


*A true thank you to each woman who allowed me to feature her.
Thank you so very much to: Kyla, Katie, Lisa Rungren, Kim, Lauren, Lisa Leonard, Sarah, Natalie and Jennifer.

May you all be inspired.


Comments

  1. 1

    says

    It sounds like Jennifer and I are in the same place right now! Trying to get all of our ducks in a row before we venture forth full time :)

    Gussy~ Thanks for all the encouraging stories! this series has been awesome!

  2. 2

    says

    Oh, I can’t wait to see what the world has in store for her! It’s so scary and thrilling all at the same time!

    Thanks for letting me be a part of this series. :) It meant so much to me.

    {p.s. I’m actually a Brady; Paypal won’t let me change my maiden name. Haha!}

  3. 3

    Virginia says

    Thanks to everyone for sharing and Gussy for putting this all together! I just had my first 2 weeks officially off of work. I’ve been working on my business plan and in a similar state as Jennifer as far as my shop goes. Just have to find my little corner of the crafting world, my niche, eh!? ;-)

  4. 5

    says

    Thank you so much for posting this series Gussy! I have truly loved each post, especially today’s because I needed to hear what other women who are just starting are going through since I’m in a similar boat. I’m not as far along as Jennifer, but I want to get there one day! I have an idea, I just have no clue how to bring it to fruition. One step at a time!

  5. 6

    says

    Thanks so much for sharing. I quit my day job to become a Professional Organizer, because I was more afraid of standing still, than of failing. Nonetheless, it’s scary… very scary. I am assuming the first year will be really tough… after that, who knows?
    Wishing you the VERY best of luck.

  6. 7

    Lisa says

    Hi Gussy! I just wanted to say thank you for putting together such an inspiring series. I related to Jennifer’s story the most because I’m in the same place in my journey. Slowly but surely, I’ll make it!

  7. 8

    Jennifer says

    I’m so glad some of you related to my story and happy that Gussy allowed me to share it. Her questions motivated me and helped me learn some things. I encourage those of you in my place to try to answer the questions too.

    I’m wondering if any of you in my situation would be interested in forming a loose group to help encourage each other, share ideas, etc. Obviously I can’t put my contact info here :) but if you are interested in that, would you either leave your contact info here or e-mail it to Gussy? I’m willing to kind of coordinate/facilitate getting a group going if you’re interested.

  8. 14

    says

    Gussy, thank you for this series! I could read this and be inspired every single day. Please do this again. In some way, I was able to relate to each guest, on one level or the next. My “hobby” is running and it’s debt free & I only pay cash from my money that I make. But at what point does a “hobby” become a business? When do you get all technical? What is the $ figure.

    I have weekly goal that I want to sell in products each week. I’ve met that amount each week.

    It’s awesome. It’s fun. I enjoy doing what I love.

    I’m determined more than ever to make it a success!

    Thanks.

    • 15

      says

      I think you and your family need to decide what you need to make each week/month to make this work ~ and then once you prepare the best you can {which won’t be perfect but will be “the best” you can do} you need to take the leap. Everyone has different needs for what they need to make financially ~ once you decide this you should make it happen.

  9. 17

    says

    wow… I really needed to hear this. I am very far off of starting an Etsy shop or anything of the sort, but I would love to soon. She’s got a great idea with the part time job too… Oh I have a lot to think about…

  10. 18

    cindy says

    my name is cindy and i am newly unemployed….

    i would like to join as well. the post from my blog below explains my story.

    http://camerasandchaos.blogspot.com/2011/01/every-new-beginning-comes-from-some.html

    i am almost paralyzed with fear. i know i can take great pictures but the thought of starting a “for real” business with it scares the hell out of me. my husband is my biggest cheerleader but i could use a great support group of people who are doing what i am doing….

    my email is on my blog or here cindosha at comcast dot net (sorry, i’ve been getting some crap on my blog and some really rank emails…..)

    hoping to meet some new people. :)

  11. 19

    says

    Thanks for sharing these inspirational stories. It is my dream someday to start my own sewing business. The fear and uncertainty that plagues the mind can be intimidating. But to dream of doing something that brings you such joy keeps those ideas coming to the forethought. It’s so encouraging to read others struggles and successes.

  12. 20

    Heather says

    I definitely feel for Jennifer! I just had the radical idea to start my own business (for real this time) about six months ago. I’ve been doing R&D to perfect my products/techniques but feel most bogged down with actually getting things out there. It’s nice to dream about what it’s going to be like and then I come home from a crappy day at work and just want to go to bed! Also, I’m very into branding and want to make sure I do everything right, and sometimes this part holds me back from just getting something online so that I can get started. I’m hoping to start selling at craft fairs by the summer/fall and once I know how that goes and make any adjustments I’ll be able to realistically set a goal for when to switch this to a full-time venture. The hardest thing for me through this whole process is knowing that it all rests on me and just not thinking I’m good enough, or smart enough, or strong enough to handle the whole business on my own – that’s probably what I need to work on before anything else.

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