After working eight awesome years as a senior product designer and spokesperson for iLoveToCreate and Duncan Ceramics, I quit! It was not an easy decision, this company has been very kind and supportive of me and my endeavors. They brought my dream of a Crafty Chica product line to fruition, I was able to leave the newspaper with a new 401K, a salary and benefits. I had so many memorable opportunities and adventures during my tenure. But you know what happened?
I got a little too comfy. In these past couple of years, I forgot the feeling of what it is like to really push beyond my comfort zone. I became buried in deadlines (deadlines for super fun projects, albeit!) and didn’t pursue my personal passions. Last spring, I realized how quickly the calendar pages fell away. I thought long and hard at where I directed my time and energy, and it wasn’t a direct line to my desired destiny. I yearned to write more novels, and design new items in my style, without any constraints or guidelines or quotas or trends. But as much as I loved my day job, I just couldn’t juggle everything.
I had this tugging at my spirit I couldn’t deny anymore. I knew I had to make a change to travel a new road, to tap into new areas of my creativity. While I hadn’t made any firm, outward decisions, my subconscious knew and prepared. I saved money, paid off all my bills, raised my credit score, lost weight (I’m down 40 pounds now!), organized and purged my home, upgraded my office tools, scored a speaking agent, launched a second site, and put business and branding plans into place.
By August, I knew I had to JUMP. As fabulous as a career as a spokesperson for one the largest American craft manufacturers was, my chapter had to end. I fulfilled every goal on my list – I wanted to represent the contemporary Latina market in the crafts industry, connect other creatives to the craft world, and expose the craft world to new people, too. And the fact that my line had an endcap position at Michaels for so many years? What more could I ask for.The topper? My Crafty Chica mugs FLEW off the shelves at Michaels this past September (THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!).
So I figured I’d better exit on a successful and happy note!
But that was nothing compared to what my co-workers did for me on my last day.
They sent me a GALLON of glitter, and buried inside were dozens of rolled up handwritten notes from each person. Oh man, I was a blubbering, sobbing MESS by the time I finished reading them all. This has to be one of the sweetest things anyone has ever done for me. I still tear up thinking about it and all the wonderful friendships I made at that company. My time at iLoveToCreate was an amazing experience I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. And I’ll still be working with them on a freelance basis, so stayed tuned…
So what’s next?
I have two new craft product lines coming out in 2016! More on those soon! And well, taking Crafty Chica on a new journey of writing and creativity. My kids are grown and doing their own thing, I’m in a really good place for “focus and follow-through.” First up, getting through the holiday season art shows, then finishing my book manuscript. And in between all that, writing more articles for this site. I have a couple interns starting in January, and am even working on new a logo design. Next year I’ll also add in e-courses, local workshops and a lot more YouTube video tutorials! Oh! And setting up a woodshop and ceramics area in my garage/workshop! I am ready to ROCK this full-time artist & writer gig!
All of this adds up to being a bigger and better media entrepreneur, to reach new and larger markets with a message of positivity via creativity!
NOTE: Scroll down this post to see my 10 tips if you are thinking about leaving your day job!
So, enough about that! We just finished a big show this weekend and I thought I’d share some of the new things I made. We had a space for the first time at Phx-Flea, it’s a local show that celebrates handmade goods.
A big theme was the Arizona logo.
These are ornaments I made, the cactus is hand cut clay.
Ugly Sweater ornaments.
Stenciled glitter art.
More Arizona ornaments. These are all sold out now, I hope to make more!
Ginormous rose rings!
Frida mugs in production.
Pics from the event!
I went shopping too! I bought this bracelet from Corona Couture!
Here are my tips of you are considering leaving your day job in order to pursue a full-time creative career.
- Prepare finances. Even if you don’t know what you want to do, you can prepare by saving money and paying off bills. Once you do make the leap, you want to start off on a solid footing! Add up how much you need to bring in to survive, then triple it. THAT should be your goal for income.
- Make a plan for multiple revenue streams. It’s impossible and heartbreaking to only rely on one or two revenue streams. three-four is good, five to six is even better.
- Embrace social media. Stop whining about this, get with the program. These are pretty much FREE outlets to join awesome communities, network, build your brand, connect and help others, build a following – all of which can lead to revenue for your business.
- Be specific with your goals. Don’t just quit on a whim, relying on karma or the universe. Pinpoint what you your business will be, make a priority action list, know your end goal. Be smart about it or you’ll flop. Don’t wing it, trust me.
- Get a running start. Take time before you leave to set up a house that is ready to be lived in. You don’t want to quit and have to start at level zero.
- Educate yourself. Take time to research your market for your business, work smarter!
- Dump excess baggage. Clean your house and work area, get organized.
- Risk factors + challenges. Know these ahead of time, and write our three solutions for each, just in case any of these happen, you’ll be ready!
- Keep an open mind. Be open for changes, unexpected opportunities that are outside of your plan. See if there is a way to make them work in your favor.
- Connect with local entrepreneurs. That way you won’t feel like you are all alone!
What if you can’t quit? Then I say, look for a job that is in an area that you love! For example, I’ve always had full-time jobs that gave me extra skills and education for my own business. I’ve always loved my full-time jobs! You don’t have to have a daytime job that you hate! Strive to build a life that brings value in almost every way, shape and form!
Remember how I taught a painting class last week? Here is a picture from that!
The other day I was talking with my mom, catching her up on everything. My mom, like any mom, wants nothing more than for me to be secure in my life, to make sure everything is taken care of. My dad was always the “work full-time for a company and do your hobby on nights and weekends” kind of person. But…I worked really hard to show that I could it my way. My mom appreciates this and I know she is proud of me.
But still, I noticed the look of worry wash over her face. She kinda sighed and asked, “Is it really worth it? Working so hard on all that?”
“Yes.” I replied. “It’s worth it because it makes me happy!”