I originally wrote this post back in November 2011. With the recent Quit Your Day Job article and all the conversations I've been receiving, I thought I'd bump it up in my blog timeline as I think it relates quite nicely. Hope you enjoy.
Almost exactly three years ago I quit my day job and started selling my handbags full-time on etsy. I opened my online shop mid-November 2008 and I can't believe it's already been three full years. It's crazy to reflect once you've gotten to a certain point, even to reflect on what I was doing a year ago with my business, it's unbelievable how much it has changed. I can't say that my first year was easy, actually, my first year and a half were incredibly hard and incredibly stressful. I was living on my own and paying my own bills and supporting myself through my etsy shop. Bills became number one priority and food and fun became something that was a luxury of sorts. I would describe myself as a pretty driven person and have always had a really strong work ethic. When I have a goal, I will strive to achieve it. I tend not to be afraid of the "what if" scenario. Sometimes I wonder looking back on things if this was naive of me to not worry about the what-if's, it doesn't really matter at this point, I'm glad that I did it.
Now, looking back I can say that I've learned soooo much in such a short time. More than I've ever learned in my 30 years on this earth. They have been bittersweet years and a huge reshaping of who I am, what I stand for, and what I want out of life. In some ways I think the seriousness of these three years taught me not to take life too seriously. I am eternally grateful for this. I was out with a friend for coffee this past week, she is also self-employed in a creative field, and we were talking about being self-employed and following your passion. She told me that she tries to promote everyone pursuing their own small business in whatever passion that may be. If they love coffee, maybe they should open a coffee shop. If they love baking, perhaps a catering company or small bakery. If they love to knit, what about an etsy shop selling your passion to others that appreciate it. This is the true question, and something I get a lot of people asking me about. Should you take the plunge? And if so, how do you become successful?
Here's my thoughts and it's pretty simple. You never know until you try. There are different ways to go about this if you are not able to financially start off pursing your passion right away. Ease in to it. Whether it's selling your passion at a local arts/crafts/baked goods fair and also online. Setting up an etsy shop is so incredibly easy with very little overhead and a great way to get your feet wet. I will warn you, success does not come overnight. I am still not quite at the point I'd like to be financially but I've come a long long way since my first year! I make a very healthy income and am able to support myself. There was a lot of behind the scenes hard work that it took to get me here. If you are hoping that after 2 weeks of being on etsy you sell out of your shop, chances are pretty slim. You may not even sell very much in the first 6 months. Very few get lucky overnight. Most are patient and learn from the first years. If you are willing to put in the work, you will see the results. I did it and you can too.
With all the struggles I've gone through and stresses that self-employment brings, I wouldn't change a single thing. Those things make me a strong business woman able to achieve goals and know that anything and absolutely everything is possible if you have the belief in yourself and have the determination.