I read this quote recently and it totally summed up the last year for me:
"You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change." e.buddhism.com
Life is all about choices, you may feel you can't do this or that because of x, y and z. I felt the exact same thing this time last year—how could I leave my full time job and start a small business, where would the money come from to pay my bills on a monthly basis? Would I get enough work? Was I good enough? Was I ready? Was I mad to leave a well paid job after 20 years that had a pension and medical insurance? Maybe I was, but I also had the daily dread of going to a job that left me unfulfilled, frustrated and unhappy.
2018 was going to be the year that I changed my work-life balance for the better. After working for the same design company for the last 22 years it was pretty fair to say I was stuck in a rut. My 13hr working day was spent getting up at 05:50 with a two and half hour daily commute ahead of me. By the time I got to my desk I was already exhausted from the groundhog trek, knowing I wouldn't be getting home til after 8pm. Graphic design should be exciting, challenging and creative. My design job wasn't—I'd been pigeonholed for a while, with the same mundane tasks and very little satisfaction—I could see it wasn't going to change. On the plus side, it was a secure job, it paid well, allowed me to buy nice things, buy a house, go on holidays, but did I really want to stay for another year treading water? I'd mull it over every now and then but couldn't see a way out. How could I financially survive working for myself? I had bills to pay like everyone else and needed the guaranteed income.
I set up LyndaLoves as a sideline business when I got married in 2011. Something to give me a creative outlet whilst I carried on with full time work. The first couple of years were slow, I guess it was more like a hobby where I would do a bit here and there in my spare time. It was a huge learning curve for me, I made some terrible financial errors, learnt what worked and what didn't. Investing in some PR work helped me 'get out there', gradually gaining more coverage in magazines, online editorials and across social media. The following 3 years slowly gained momentum and I received more orders from clients. My weekends were spent cramming wedding work in before going back to my day job. I was glad of the bookings and the client testimonials left me feeling super happy but it wasn't sustainable. I was tired, grumpy and struggled to focus on any one thing at a time—I was frazzled.
I'd been following Faye Cornhill Coaching on social media for a while and joined her Facebook group to see what it was all about. Her positivity and enthusiasm were something else. Faye actually made you feel anything was possible if you really wanted it. There was always a way out, a solution to a problem and being in the group it was reassuring to see there were like minded people all with similar feelings. I joined her Booked in 90 class in May, it was an online coaching programme that lasted 12 weeks, covering various modules on how to run your own business. It really made me focus on what my goals were and more importantly how I was going to achieve them. Mid way through the course I actually started to think I could leave work, it was possible. I could ditch my horrendous commute, spend more time at home, work freelance, focus on my business to attract more of my ideal client, see friends when I wanted to and have a better work-life balance.
By the time the course had finished I'd made up my mind. I was handing in my resignation. I felt weirdly excited, but nervous with the slight worry of was I really doing the right thing? It was a big chance for me to take, a risk I was unsure of. But the thought of staying in the same job any longer filled me with more fear than going it alone. It was the right decision.
Three months in to my new freelance life I've not looked back since, only to reflect on the fact I'm glad I'm not doing that anymore. It's brought new changes and challenges to my daily work, a variety and satisfaction that was defunct in my old job. A happier and healthier me, which is always a bonus! It doesn't come without its sacrifices—I have less income now but to me that's temporary—Rome wasn't built in a day. I've been fortunate to have client bookings and I'm working hard to maintain that. Goals are important to set, something to keep you focussed, even if it means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. I'd love to teach a calligraphy class for beginners this year, the mere thought of it scares me witless, but I'm going to give it a go.
This is the beginning of anything you want.
Big thank you to the lovely Lucy for all the imagery and making me laugh as always! https://lucyjtomsphotography.com/
Faye’s details and course information can be found here: https://www.fayecornhillcoaching.co.uk/programmes/group-coaching