When my confidence in my own abilities is starting to flag, and I’m feeling a bit down on my achievements, there is nothing like a great success story to kick me right into inspiration mode and get my creative senses tingling.
Our success stories are enough to get me all excitable, but when these are paired with the ‘Quit Your Day Job‘ series on Etsy.com I am left busting with the need to do something creative, and aching to find the perfect idea to form the seedling of my very own business tree. Who would have thought a couple of stories on the internet could be so emotionally affecting?
As a generally arty character and frequent Etsy stalker, I find myself spending hours reading the Quit Your Day Job blog series. The series is made up of interviews with successful Etsy business owners, who have ditched their 9 til 5s and embraced craft nirvana on a full-time basis.
The Etsy users featured in the series range from illustrators like Ashley Percival and Nicola of MsSpanner, to the gloriously quirky Kimberly Hart, a trained chef turned steampunk polymer clay artist. Each interview features stories about what these freelancers used to do before, how they made the change, and how things developed, as well as some fantastic tips about areas like marketing they’ve found have helped them to succeed.
I just love reading about people who have managed to make hobbies, past times, and artistic talents into something lucrative; having the opportunity to share your work with others – and getting paid to do it – is every budding artist’s dream. Also, your average full-time crafter’s ‘office’ seems to be a haven for creativity, inspiration, and all things beautiful. Every picture makes me itch to make a mood board, grab my knitting needles, or crack out my sketch book.
Taking the plunge isn’t, of course, for everyone. By ‘quitting your day job’ and taking up freelance or self employed work, you’re not bagging yourself a holiday, but taking up a new type of day job that happens to be the one you’ve always dreamed off. It’s still a full-time commitment; in fact, when you’re first starting out, it’s likely that you’ll need to put in far more hours than your average 9-5, with a significantly lower financial reward.
Luckily, there is an increasing amount of support for creative entrepreneurs. The National Asssociation of College and University and Entrepreneurs, fondly known as NACUE, recently started up a whole website branch dedicated to freelancers.
NACUE Create has some brilliant tips for those that are self employed or working freelance, with this article containing some hugely helpful ideas about how to manage time, commissions or orders, as well as your every day working life.
Seeing a real life example in a success story of someone who has used tips like these, and made their passion work as a business, can help you to figure out how all this advice can actually help you to get going. I also find it encouraging to read about problems the featured entrepreneurs have faced; sometimes, it’s easy to feel completely defeated at the tiniest failure. It never hurts to be reminded that it’s normal to make a few wrong turns along the way, and that a mistake or two can actually help you to grow.
I’m obviously not suggesting everyone quits their jobs. I have a 9 to 5 myself, and I love it. It’s just worth having a read and being inspired.
The best thing about success stories is that they make you dream – and dreams are always the start of something big.