Welcome welcome to the Shop Talk Interview Series!!
I’m so excited + honored to be able to share your stories and provide a place where we can learn from everyone in the community.
If you missed it on my Instagram Stories, I’ll be asking questions there and if you want to participate, just DM me back! I’ll include your response with links to your shop + Instagram.
The purpose of this series is to enable real conversations between other creatives and open up some of those messy behind the scenes aspects of running a business.
Shop Talk | 01: When Did You Feel Ready To Go Full Time in Your Business?
The conversations here were so so good! Below we hear from 14 shop owners and their experiences + thoughts on going full time – whether they already have or are hoping to!
The best part for me was the big joke behind “being ready”. We’re all drawn to this question and want to ask it, but often it’s not about the answer – we’re just looking for someone to say “yes, okay do this and then you’re ready!”
And if I took anything away, it’s this….
Moral of the story: SCREW BEING “READY”
It’s doesn’t exist.
Everyone has their own “comfort metrics”.
It’s more about acknowledging what you need, then a magical “ready” feeling.
Katie at Sweet Lou Designs
When I couldn’t stand another day in my cubicle! I’d been miserable for a year and several months, before I went full time I had a really tragic experience. It was horrible returning to my cube day after day, so with the holidays around the corner giving me a boost of confidence, I felt ready to take it on full time!
Still learning and questioning and figuring out how to do this entrepreneur thing, but I’ve never felt so fortunate. ☺
Moriah at Sea Baby Clothing
Honestly I am “full time” but I have tried to always have a second job to have the creative freedom in my business and not have to depend on it so much for my income.
I love Moriah’s approach to this! While it’s not for everyone, some people are more “jump all in”; but I feel creative freedom is so important! Her story really resonated with me as it mirrors what my friend said about having financial freedom when she went full time being one of the biggest reasons for her success.
Karen at Fashion Step by Step
Always! I’ve never had a 9-to-5, and before graduating college I began freelancing 😜 It’s been quite a journey, but I definitely don’t regret a day of it.
Vivian at The Handletter Shop
Feeling ready is a funny thing. I think we never really feel “ready”. Someone asked me the other day, “how long did you practice calligraphy before you mastered it?” (I’m a calligrapher by trade) and I just giggled. Mastered it? No way! You see, the more we dive into something, the more questions open up, the less we realize that we know about it.
I’m not full time with my business yet financially, but I sure am full time passionate about serving people through beautiful calligraphy.
I’m full time excited about the idea of working in the wedding industry and chasing my dreams. I’d say that if you’re on the fence about your business, just know that you’re never going to feel like you’re “ready”. If you can find a way to financially make it work with a part time job, while you pursue your dream, then heck yes go for it!
Tiffany at Coach House Lifestyle
Not yet, that’s the dream!
Tiffany works full time, but always wanted to start her own business. She opened her store out of her love for unique home and lifestyle goods, and supports a wonderful group of makers you can find here.
Lauren at The Studio Ease
I love this question because for me, it was much more of ‘it’s now or never’. I was working full time and I love my job, but in the back of my mind I always wanted to be a creative entrepreneur.
One day, the conversation came up to move to a new city. I was unsure what type of I would find and how I would like something as much as my current position. Then I had someone suggest I start my business, I was terrified! A new city and an entirely new career actually following my dreams?
But the push was what I needed. I felt if I didn’t do what I wanted now, when would I ever actually feel ready.
So I went for it! And couldn’t be happier! 😊
I love how Lauren took the big changes in her life as an opportunity to keep pushing further. I’ve heard a lot of people say they’re waiting for “that push”, but even then, we’re sometimes too scared to take it!
As a follow up from Lauren in our chat, she said, “Yes, it’s so true. I think so often we look for that ‘sign’ or ‘push’ and most of the time it’s always there, we just have to be brave enough to take it! This was last April. So I’m almost at my one year business mark!”
Pri at London Wedding Stationery
Still toying with the idea! I’m in a really well paid job where I get to learn everything that is happening in digital and I feel like the knowledge is what gives me the extra edge over my competitors.
Colleen at Personal Paper Hugs
When I went on vacation a couple years ago close to Valentine’s Day and ended up getting a ton of orders… the hubs and I realized that maybe I should start taking things seriously.
However, I was not working anywhere else. I was a stay at home mom and was just doing this at first for a creative outlet and “me” time.
I really loved what Colleen brought to the conversation here as I think we sometimes think going full time has to start with “leaving another job”. And it doesn’t!
Michelle at Michelle Starbuck Designs
I had a full time job for 9 of the 13 years that I’ve run my business. Somewhere around year 7, I started tracking my profits to compare them to my income from my day job to make sure I could live off of just my business.
I made 3 goals that I had to accomplish before I quit my job:
- Have consistent online sales
- Pay off all debts including student loans
- Have $20,000 in my savings account
Michelle and I are super alike in how she made her decision. I’m pretty financially conservative, so I too have a few metrics I’d need to tick off first before making the leap.
Alex at Signs of Our Lives
Not ready yet! But I will be once I have most of the foundation pieces in place (website, book keeping, taxes, contracts, CRM, all the things lol) and enough in savings to last me a few months.
So while Alex said she’s not ready yet… I called her out and said she’s ready! At least mentally, which is often more than half the battle. Instead she just has a few more ducks to get in a row, which hopefully gives a less stressful roadmap to walk through and check off!
Soraya at My Bebe Cadum
I am not yet! At the moment, I am still enjoying my corporate job 3 days a week. But to be honest, sometimes I wish to be home working on my shop instead. I think I am scared, not financially, but emotionally.
It takes a lot of courage to do it and I hope someday I will become a full time business owner.
Omgoshhh did anyone else just breathe a sigh of relief from this?! I often think it’s the financial part that worries me most. And I think that’s the case for a lot of creatives – from the outside.
But in those moments where I really dig in and ask myself or others what they’re feeling… it really often comes back to that emotional toil running a business can take. It’s hard, stressful, beautifully rewarding work.
And while financials can be easier to point to for “why we’re not ready”, it’s also worth giving real consideration to how we’re feeling about being a full time business owner too.
Jo-Elle at Head of House
I don’t think I ever really felt ready. I followed my boyfriend who came to study for his masters, to the Netherlands and I was very excited about al the changes in my career and personal life that I just dove into it head first.
I really love how she embraced all the crazy change in her life as positive momentum to shift her life in other ways too! I don’t know about you, but I’m someone who gets really panicky over change. I like the idea of trying to embrace it and use it for more!
Katie at KT’s Canvases
I started my business in high school and by the time I was graduating, it was growing and pretty successful (successful enough I guess 😉 ). Because of that and my disinterest in the whole college scene and going off, I stayed home and went to community college in my town. After a year, I looked at my mom as I was registering for classes and just threw out the idea of me not going and quitting school.
Thankfully, my parents were so supportive and understood my situation and I realized that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life and I could.
Getting a degree in business management was a waste of my time and money, and I’m a firm believer that college isn’t for everyone (sorry not sorry). I was going to college because it was just what you did and what people expected, but when I finally let go of that, I realized I was already doing what I wanted to do which is such a blessing.
The way my art is able to move with the trends, the numerous routes I could go if something changed, the numbers (of course), and the faith and trust I have in Jesus gave me the courage to go full time with my business.
Idalia at Perfect Stylish Cuts
I felt ready when I was making the amount of money we needed me to make consistently for 3 months. I had also built up my inventory and developed a solid business plan.
I want to hear YOUR story?
Have you gone full time in your business, or plan to soon?
Send me a message on Instagram @theshopfiles!