In 2017, I quit my office job, started a small craft-based business, and opened up an online shop. It was a decision that filled me with doubt, apprehension, nervousness, and most of all: excitement. With the launch of my new storefront and site, I want to share how I went from a 9-to-5 to working and sewing from home.
First off, I should admit that I am so very lucky to have the privilege of being able to leave full-time office work with benefits. That part of my experience might not be reflective of your life, but it is part of mine and I'll just have to address it truthfully. I had the financial means to walk away, and for that, I am very grateful.
After I returned to work from maternity leave in 2015, work was never the same. I spent a few months pumping milk in locked meeting rooms, and my awake time with my daughter each weekday was about 2.5 hours. I commuted to and from work by two buses and a shuttle, over an hour each way. Without going into detail, there were many parts of my work life that were making me unhappy and dissatisfied. A work-life balance didn't exist.
So when did I realize it was time to leave my job?
My husband encouraged me to think about it seriously many times, but I just wasn't ready, not until the following winter in 2016. One morning, I was excited about bringing my new fountain pen to work (the newly released Dark Lilac Lamy Safari, if you must know) to show my coworkers, my fellow stationery fiends. I couldn't find it anywhere and I had looked everywhere. I snapped at my husband because I was angry about this totally inconsequential thing, and I left the house in a huff and didn't calm down until after I arrived to work.
Over the next week, I couldn't stop thinking about how angry and upset I was, and how I had reacted. I realized it wasn't a standalone incident. I realized I was waking up everyday in a bad mood, leaving the house everyday in a bad mood, and coming home the same way. I was stressed out about trying to cook healthy meals for my family on little time and I dreaded my commute every morning and afternoon. Weekends did not rejuvenate me.
It was time to have a Real Conversation about leaving my job.
My husband and I evaluated our finances and made a game plan.
I was going to spend a few more months at work so we could plan for going from a double income to a single income family.
I had already started doing a few sewing commissions for friends, so I would plan to spend two years away from working for others and see if I could make it by turning my side hustle into my everyday work.
I would set work hours for myself and keep track of my business finances.
I would open an online shop and apply to craft shows.
My brain exploded. Suddenly I became passionate about planning and goal-setting. I wrote down ideas for product lines and set deadlines for myself. I was terrified of failing but so excited to try.
My business is still a work-in-progress. I have some long-term goals that have to go on hold because I'm currently at home with a 4-month-old baby. I'm not internet-famous. I'm making sales but I don't have cash rolling in.
And yet... I'm so much happier. I've achieved my short-term goals and now I'm looking ahead to the months when my baby is in daycare and I focus on my business again!