My creativepreneur journey, why I'm not super special and how you can work for yourself too
Brace yourselves - this is lengthy :)
I was a new grad, living in NYC with no family or friends and deciding between a job as a fashion assistant (hi Ralph Lauren, just call me Rachel Green) or a project manager for an advertising tech company.
But I just couldn't see myself in fashion even though I love it.
And so began my 9 years and 28 days in the tech industry.
Yeah - I calculated it. And yeah - I had a countdown to freedom (literally - my Excel file with my counter was called "Countdown to Freedom") during the last 6 months of my last job.
I tried MLM (shout out to my friends who supported my jewelry biz). I guess the appeal there was "owning" a business that was pretty set up from the beginning. Except I bought all the samples and probably just broke even.
I also tried to blog. Multiple times in fact. There was an NYC blog. I think a nutrition/healthy living one.
I also tried to do all the crafty, arty, creating things. Knitting. Photography. Baking macarons. Sooo many cooking classes. Sewing... twice. Nothing really stuck and I started to believe I wasn't creative.
I just couldn't do another Nor'easter (I had no clue what they were before moving to NYC btw).
In the span of 30 days I decided it was time to move back west. I packed all the boxes to ship across country. I donated my long winter coats that hit your ankles and make you look like you're wearing a sleeping bag.
I came back home to the land of mild weather, excellent tacos and regular sized grocery stores.
More classes and workshops. More of these outlets being really cool - but just not sparking anything in me. Oh and insert my last attempt at blogging, crafting with my dogs. I made Pancake a bow tie and we did a sewing tutorial. WTH Joyce.
I was also still in tech. Facepalm. Great benefits, cold brew on tap is nice. But the environment people! It wasn't for me. And spending all day in a fraternity like office will kill your spirit.
THEN - Thank God I found modern calligraphy. For a few weeks or months I just watched #creepy. Watched women (and a few men) use markers and pointed pens to write on their Instagram videos. Now I don't have nice handwriting and initially believed you needed nice handwriting to do calligraphy. Wrong.
I tried pointed pen first. Had no idea what I was doing after I bought a kit and didn't try again for 7 months. 7 months! It was scary to try something new!
After more IG stalking, I figured I'd try brush pens. That had to be easier right? Wrong. But I stuck to it this time. Because the job hate was real.
Then I was laid off. Not totally out of the norm in tech or advertising, and it ended up only being for about 4 weeks. Fun fact, I had an interview for another company the day I was let go - so I think my manager was wondering why I wasn't like, devastated. Shrug.
BUT that really lit a fire under me. Why was I working for companies that I wasn't happy at and didn't really care about me? At that point I saw others starting calligraphy businesses and thought - ok, let's give it a go.
Etsy - oh man, sooo many weeks working on an Etsy shop launch. I put my everything into those sassy mugs and totes. Then wedding invites and signs and feeling like my hand would fall off. Etsy was going well and generating some nice pocket change, but I wasn't at the level of making thousands of dollars a month. Which is what I needed to do if I was really going to leave my job.
A few custom orders later, I decided to try logos (which I enjoy actually). Then teaching workshops (which terrified me! Shout out to my first workshop at Handcraft Studio and it's amazing owner). Game changer #1.
Then online courses. Game changer #2.
I also worked with my first business coach. GAME CHANGER #3.
2017 | 2018
Decided I wasn't going to hit my next birthday still working for someone else in an industry I wasn't in love with. While tech is cool and all, working with advertising agencies was not my jam and I knew I was one angry email away from snapping (even more than I had).
And by angry email I mean typing so hard on the keyboard - but on the screen would be the happiest, most accommodating email ever. It's not good for your soul. To sell things to people they don't really need.
To get your clients to spend more with your company so consumers can spend more in the App Store on coins, tokens, IDK - chickens for their virtual farm. I was done working with managers who would say "Tell them to f*ck themselves Joyce" and then I'd have to spin that into a nice (but firm no) message #ToxicWorkEnvironment (although shoutout to my 1st and last companies - I was lucky to start and end on high notes).
So 2017 was the year.
I had a group of badass creative biz ladies behind me and a coach who made me charge more than I was initially comfortable with LOL. But it worked. And I found what I was really happy doing - educating online and in person.
And surprisingly I love it. I say surprisingly because I'm not a patient person. But seeing my calligraphy students excited to learn or understand something they were confused about has been rewarding.
Seeing students enjoy learning about watercolor in Watercolor Bootcamp makes me take all the screenshots of their comments. And answering my peeps questions on IG about starting a creative business really feels like I've found my calling. MAN I know, I went there. It's deep, but true.
I'm all about helping others find their creative outlet and turn that outlet into a biz (if they choose). It's my focus and my passion now.
And yeah, some biz ownership days are harder than others. There's quarterly taxes and constant backend things to do - but I can't bring myself to NOT continue this journey.
Anyhoo - that's the path so far. I know it will change and I'll continue to grow personally as well as a creative business owner. I'm happy you're following along for the ride :)
If you have any questions about calligraphy, watercolor or creative biz things, I'd love to chat. Always feel free to contact me. I can't wait to connect.