{How I quit my day job.}

Earlier this year I started dreaming of making Gussy my full-time job. I knew that one day I didn’t want to work two jobs anymore, I just wanted to be Gussy girl. It’s no wonder that people want to know, Gus, how did you do it? Because c’mon, it is a dream for so many of us to have our own business. And while there is no one simple answer, I do believe it is an overall simple process because it involves being who you are. And I know you probably hear that all the time, but that is because it’s true! Think about it, if you aren’t yourself then you have to be someone else. And how long can you act like someone else before your mask breaks {and how hard would it be…}?

So just be yourself :]

However, it may be a long process, or a short one. Every person’s story is unique. But I believe it can be a simple process, too.

So today I’d like to share with you a few things that helped me make my largest life dream to-date become a reality. Right now, as you read this, I am on Day 1 of being self-employed. I’m out shopping for fabric, sewing orders and new items, and reading my email. Zack surprised me with a truly amazing celebratory weekend so I was offline for 2.5 days — the first time in months. I’ll share all the details tomorrow :] So I hope you’ll be back to celebrate our fun weekend with me. Actually, all week I have fun things planned, so maybe you’ll stick around a bit longer?

The following are some things that helped me start a hobby, but also helped us to know when it was time for this to be my exclusive job. {For more blog/business posts, please read through my blog/biz 411 category.}


5 things that helped my business bloom:

1. Find a trade you want to learn and study it
  • It’s important to figure out your learning style and find tutorials/books that teach in that style
  • Whether you get stuck or just want to know more, never stop asking questions and learning

2. Transform your blog into a personal and professional tool
  • The sooner we realize we are not alone, the faster we can succeed in life {partnerships are priceless}
  • Find people and help them. Share your life with them. Teach them and be taught by them. Allow yourself to learn with them
  • Spend some serious time mapping out goals for your blog: What topics do you want to cover? Where do you want your blog to go? What can you do to make it a resource for others? How can your blog help you?
  • Find blogs that you can connect with as a person and a business

3. Try. Fail. Try. Mess up. Try. Fail. Try. Succeed!
  • If you give up you won’t ever know your maximum potential
  • Each time you “fail”, take it as an opportunity to make it better for the next time. And doesn’t practice make perfect? :]
  • Have faith in yourself and the talents you’ve been given

What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? -Robert Schuller

4. Set major goals: The Count Up / Family Goal:

One night, about 8 weeks ago, Zack and I sat down and talked about what we could do to make quitting my day job to pursue Gussy full-time a serious reality. Since Zack and I are both salaried we know exactly what our paychecks are going to be every month. We mapped out our bills in two week increments {we get paid every 2 weeks} and took ALL LEFTOVER MONIES AND PUT IT IN THE BANK. I had to put that in caps because that is how extreme we were in saving. Some times we slipped, I’ll be honest, but we were always moving forward.

Do you know why this is important? If you don’t tell your money where to go then it will disappear. Tell me you know that, too?

We wrote down what we could pull from our paychecks to save, along with what I could pull from Gussy income. I even set some serious goals once I realized I was able to save more Gussy income than originally planned. {Yeow!}

Roughly 8 weeks later we have saved nearly 3 months of my salary as emergency fund back-up funds for Gussy. That is our Family Goal. Right now we are at 89%. We are short 11% of our savings. Yeow! How’s THAT for an accomplishment?! We are so amazed over this goal. I am a big “security” girl — I like to know how things are going to work out before they even happen. Hah! So leaving a salaried job to pursue my passion was a leap of faith. But really, how could I not take that leap?!

The incredible part of this is that this Family Goal is going to just be sitting there, waving at us saying, Hello. I’m here looking pretty but you don’t need me at all.

And Zack and I are sitting over here, saying, Hello. Thanks for sitting pretty for us, but we don’t need you. {OK, fine, Zack is really saying, Thanks for being a security blanket for my wife.}

So please watch with us as we scrape to pull together the last 11 percent and thank you so much for helping us get this far :]

5. Find people that will encourage you.

Zack and I are oh-so blessed to have great families and friends. As soon as we told them our desires for Gussy and showed them our plans they were immediately on board. I remember one conversation specifically. My mom was visiting and we had asked her, What do you think about Gussy? Should I try and pursue it full-time? And she answered, I think if you don’t do it soon you’re going to miss your chance. That was just so huge for me to have affirmation from a very important person. I know this was God’s plan all along and recognizing that, coming up with a plan — it all fell right into place.

Zack is also a huge factor in all this. He helped me in 3 big ways: First, he literally helped me with the chores that were hard to find the time for. Secondly, Zack has always been positive and perfect with his endless encouragement. Lastly, he helped me to see what’s most important. Sigh… I’ll be honest: many nights Zack did the dishes after dinner, he did most of the chores, and some times our apartment didn’t get cleaned for 3 weeks in a row. Eww. I figured those were all little things, considering the big picture. Right? Zack helped me to see the the big picture.

What is the saying, No pain, no gain? {Like not doing housework was painful…} But the weeks where I worked until the wee hours of the morning definitely were.

I’m sure those days aren’t over for good, but it’s just a soul-bursting experience to be here today sharing with you in my first day as Gussy girl.

And I’m sew not looking back!

In addition to our families, I must thank those that played a key role. Much love to you all:
The Nester
Darcy {my blog designer}
Lindsay @ Paint Me a Pic
Lindsey @ The Pleated Poppy
Lisa Leonard
Leigh-Ann @ Freckled Nest and
thank you so much for coming back to my blog every day and leaving little bits of encouragement.

Please continue to pray for us as we begin this journey. This community I’ve been blessed with makes me weak at the knees. I am so excited to see where God brings this business and our lives. Let the celebration begin!

[photo credits: weheartit.com]

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{Psalm 118:24-29}

This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

O LORD, save us;
O LORD, grant us success.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless you.

The LORD is God,
and he has made his light shine upon us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

♥ Psalm 118:24, NIV

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{While Gus is away…}

While I’m away this weekend…
  • Please be sure to give yourself a BIG HUG for me, for all the encouragement & inspiration you’ve passed along my way
  • Make sure you’re signed up to receive my Gussy newsletter. I’ve got a few planned to mail out next week and you don’t want to miss them!
  • Enjoy this photo + be sure you find some time to relax, too

  • Leave me a little note sharing what you’ve got planned
  • Back by popular demand: Send me your Custom Gussy Order request :]
  • Remember I’m not answering emails or sewing or anything that requires anything but playing with my Hubbs, eating, snuggling, and going on many, many adventures
  • Enter the Featured Artist giveaway: Made Mary {closes Sunday @ 10 pm CST}

So I’ll see you soon — fully rested and oh-so excited for work Monday morning as an exclusive Gussy girl :]

PS. I’m so excited to show off my new blog header Monday. Yeow for celebrations!

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{Featured Artist: Made Mary}

This giveaway is now closed!

Here at Gussy has a lot to say {and sew} we love to look at all things beautiful. Beautiful projects, beautiful colors, beautiful stories about finding joy and inner creativity.

Today is week #22 of my series on Featured Artists, which is a bi-monthly event showcasing fun and sassy handmade shops! I love searching for new wares to show the Gussy community. You can read all back Featured Artist posts by clicking here.

Please join me in welcoming Mary at Made Mary.


What inspires you?

Combinations of colors and light — usually something outdoors gets me thinking, but it could be a picture in a gallery or a snippet of conversation!

Where do you call home? Are you from there originally?

We currently live in Lewisburg, PA but I grew up in southwestern Virginia originally — and I miss the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Share an interesting fact about yourself.

I have a collection of antique guidebooks to Venice, one of my favorite cities.

How did you come up with your shop name?

When I first joined Etsy, it was as a buyer and I never thought about what would make a good shop name. When I did open my shop, all the “made by Mary” variations were taken and I liked that “made mary” sounded like “made merry” — I love the thought that my items might make someone merry!

Share a little bit about yourself.

I am currently a stay-at-home mom, staying busy homeschooling and gardening. I used to be a college professor and it has taken me a few years to not get butterflies in my stomach when the end of the summer rolls around. I have been friends for over 20 years with Mary from New Hampshire — who is crafty in the most wonderful way and who suggested I make something for my shop for special celebrations. She inspired me to make garlands.

If you had to describe yourself in a word, what would that word be?

I hope one day I can say “resilient” — but I have some work to do to get there!

What made you decide to open up shop?

I needed to have some way to recover the costs of all the fabric and craft supplies I was buying! And I get such delight from the handmade things in my home that I wanted to have a larger part in the crafting community.

Name your favorite thing about selling handmade.

Selling handmade gives me a chance to play and be creative and, I hope, to bring some joy to other people.

Share with us a favorite Etsy purchase or shop.

It is very hard to choose, because there are so many lovely things in our home from Etsy. But we do especially love our wobbly plates and bowls from BB at atelierBB.

List a few of your most favorite pastimes.

Walking, gardening, reading, playing boardgames with my family, talking to my friends, making Etsy treasuries!

Read any good books lately?

Yes! I found “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” really gave me optimism about the future, and in regard to crafts, I have enjoyed looking through Jane Brocket’s “The Gentle Art of Domesticity.”

What is your most prized possession?

If I disregard the really important things, like baby pictures of my son… it’s my bed linens, especially the duvet — very silly but every night it feels like such a pleasure to curl up underneath its warm, but light-weight coziness. Even my son will often ask to sleep in our bed (even though he has his own comforter), just to enjoy it.

What are three of your favorite foods?

Beside chocolate, chocolate, and chocolate? I shouldn’t eat very many of these, but fleur de sel caramels are wonderful. And I love salads.

What would you like to learn to do?

I would like to learn how to play a stringed instrument — like a cello, or maybe guitar.

What are you listening to right now?

My husband saying goodnight to my son! We recently discovered a great guitarist named Lily Afshar – whose CD “A Jug of Wine and Thou” is great.


The Giveaway Goods:

Mary is giving away a Summer Garland
{If you’d like you may choose moss green or sepia brown thread instead of silver.}

To enter:

Leave a comment sharing how you’d use the garland in your home.

For extra entries {leave a comment for each}:

  • Tweet about this: Enter to win a felted garland for your home via @GussySews’ blog http://u.nu/4brs9
  • Blog about it {please share permalink}


  • The giveaway will close Sunday, May 16 at 10 pm CST, and the winner will be announced the following day
  • An email address must be listed on your blog profile or in the comment you leave


Please check back Thursday, May 27 for another Featured Artist post!
*note the one-time day change — Thursday instead of Friday…

Additional links for Made Mary:
Inspiration 1
Inspiration 2

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