Two Jobs. The reality of being an entrepreneur. May 24 2019
I have been in business for almost eight years. The first four I saw fantastic growth, beyond what I could have imagined. The last four I saw a marked decline in business, accumulation of debt, and struggled to maintain a level of livable income. So, last January I decided to get a job that would provide me with a stable income and make jewelry in my off time. Would you have guessed? I wouldn’t have guessed my path would have evolved as such either. I thought my business was going to continue to grow at the rate that I saw the first four years. It didn’t. I made mistakes. I invested in many avenues of advertising and product development which did not pay off. The past two years have been a reality check. I have accepted money from my mom and from my boyfriend for living expenses. I have learned how to use every single part of a chicken to economize food expenses. I considered moving in with my sister. I finally came to terms with the fact that I needed another stream of income. And that’s ok, it actually is better than ok. You know why? Because it took the financial burden off my business and allowed me to enjoy the making, development, and reflection with so much less stress. There was no incessant voice telling me all the things I think I “should” be doing to grow the business. I was able to listen to the only voice that matters, the creative voice. The one that tells me to try something new, to give jewelry making classes, to talk to people about how to best utilize Etsy as a selling platform. I could spend money on new stamps and supplies with no remorse. I could participate in markets because I wanted to and expected nothing with the potential to make EXTRA money to use as I wish. I got back to enjoying my business. And even better, I actually enjoyed my other job too. I taught as a “tutor” at an elementary school where they needed good educators to help kids find their success. Was it demanding? Yes. Did I have a lot of spare time? No. I got up at 5:30 every day to start my morning routine, work out, get ready, tutored until 2:40, then got home and started work on my business. I knew it wasn’t forever, so I enjoyed it while it lasted because gave me more purpose, more money, alleviated stress and made me feel completely empowered. I had found my confidence and sense of purpose again.
I had the last day of employment at the elementary school last week and it was a tearful goodbye. But these past few days of full commitment back to Thought Blossoms have been thrilling. So over the past few months I didn’t answer your question right away, or if I didn’t post to Instagram every day you know why. I had two jobs and I was doing my best. I got orders out, creating each one with care and love, and still helped my clients in any way I could.
And for all of you wondering what self-employment looks like, sometimes it looks like this, two jobs. And for those of you doing what I am did to get or keep your business going, more power to you.