Going Back to Full-Time with a Side-Hustle is Not Failure

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I used to sit in my cubicle every single day for years, just watching my friends on Facebook and Instagram move into full-time entrepreneurs, mombosses, etc., and I would sit and dream about how I couldn’t wait to make that same descision someday and finally have the ability to leave the corporate life. The idea of being my own boss, having my own schedule, and making money while being at home was a dream but it felt so far away and almost impossible to achieve.

I’ve always had a job: as a barista, a bowling alley attendant, bookstore manager, retail assistant and manager, food and bevearge worker, you name it.

However, I worked the longest amount of time in the corporate world for almost 15 years between The Walt Disney Co., eBay, inc. and Nike. When you get to work with the big named companies your salary can be pretty sweet, and the idea of leaving that and all your company provided benefits behind can be so freaking scary. There are just so many “what if’s” that pop into your head and make you doubt leaving what is providing you a reliable income. Especially when you have a family.

While working for corporate, I had a side-hustle. I created wedding invitations, custom laser cut cake toppers and I created handlettered chalkboard art and more for couples all over the world. I even had my work featured in Italian Vogue magazine!

The idea of making that my career full-time seemed like a impossible dream. I’d dream of getting “brunch with my entrepreneur and mom friends”, being home with my girls, being the perfect “house-wife” (whatever the hell that even means). I didn’t know why but it’s what I wanted. I didn’t want to HAVE to go work every day. I wanted to make the choice of what each day would be like, and let my creative brain be free from the chains of the corporate world.

So…after almost 4.5 years of trying to find the right time (which by the way never REALLY came), I just made the choice to leave my job and be a stay-at-home mom right after our 2nd daughter was born.

I had signed up for a creative conference to help guide me. I attended Creative at Heart in 2016. What I learned at Creative at Heart was that this dream of having my own successful wedding business creating all these beautiful items for brides and grooms left me realizing one very important thing – I actually hated working with brides/grooms/MOB’s/etc. Ummm…that’s kind of a big deal when your business is in the wedding industry right?

What I did realize though – was that I loved the wedding vendors and other small businesses I had met over the years and been able to work with. So, I almost immediatley dropped the wedding business and switched to working for small businesses as a branding and website designer(which is what I’m still doing today with Nimbi Creative). Taking the corporate knowledge and experience I had as a graphic and user experience designer and bringing it to small businesses.

I spent the last 2 years doing just that.

I’ve grown so much, even created THIS community right here, Together. I’ve been published in magazines, lead masterminds, taught workshops, was a speaker at a couple online events, and became seen as a leader in UX Design. I held my first conference for entrepreneurs and have very recently – just felt a huge shift in my personal dreams and goals.

Now…I sit here alone. Me, my 2 dogs, 2 little girls (now 4.5 and 2). I literally reminice of the times when I had a steady paycheck. A time when I didn’t have to say “No.” to getting my hair done or going out with my friends. Money wasn’t such a stress before. Corporate life had it’s stresses, sure, but where and when money was coming in was never the question. On a day-to-day you knew what you were getting for the most part.

I am an entrepreneuer though. I’m a creative business owner, THAT will NEVER change.

What I’m notand it’s taken me these 2 years to realize it…is a business person. I don’t enjoy the business side of business. Plain and simple. I like to be creative. I enjoy working with people on their projects and designs. But the contracts, invoices, bookkeeping, marketing, finding my next clients, social media, etc…it’s just NOT my jam.

But you know what? That’s ok!

You don’t HAVE to be good at everything.

Some entrepreneurs are fortunate enough to have or find the right help in their businesses. Whether it’s a business partner, enough sales to afford to hire help or virtual assistant(s). Maybe people are banging on your door daily just dying to get you to do their next work.  But for me it wasn’t always like that. Sure I always have clients. I’m always busy and have lots of work to do. But that doesn’t mean that I have time for or can afford to hire/train help. I’ve tried. I also have realized and I’m admitting probably one of my biggest flaws as a human right here…I’m a perfectionist. I have a hard time delegating, because I have a strong vision and no matter how I show it or explain it – I can never get someone else to do it quite like what I want or need.

I spent a lot of time thinking and talking to my husband about how it’s funny that now I’m in my “dream world” of being a stay-at-home mompreneur, working with my dream clients, and accomplishing so many things I couldn’t have done if I had to work-full time too. I’ve realized how badly I miss having to go to work. Having a schedule/routine everyday that got me out of the house. Having a steady paycheck and income that I can expect. I miss working with other designers daily and collaborating and having lunch together. And – the part that sometimes makes me feel a little guilty inside…I miss alone time. Away from the kids, home, etc. It’s draining. I absolutely LOVE and ADORE my kids. More than life itself. Every minute and second I have with them is nothing but a blessing that I appreciate more thant I can even explain.

But…sometimes I feel alone…overly exhausted, incredibly behind and that the creativity in me gets distracted because of the lack of focus in any given day because of a dirty diaper, cheerios ending up all over the floor, or the girls arguing over a toy, feeding other humans and myself, cleaning, laundry, errands, trying to balance home-life with work/business…it’s THE busiest and hardest job on the planet.

So I started secretly looking for a job. Just to see what was out there. Not committing to anything, not telling anyone (even my husband)…just getting an idea. I started putting out applications here and there just to see if anyone would get back to me, and then I was getting noticed and being asked for my resume and to come in for interviews. 2 months later, I was offered a job to work with Nike (again). I took it.

I had this immediate sinking feeling.

Did I fail?

Am I not meant to be an entrepreneur?

Should I just stop everything and just work full-time?

Do I suck at this?

When I tell my entrepreneur friends they’ll think it’s because I can’t do it.

Literally all of these thoughts popped into my head. Along with about a million other ones. I recently spoke to one of my dear friends Dannie Fountain, who recently chose to go back to work because of an awesome opportunity with Google. We’ve talked hours on hours on how this is OK. I’m not a failure. I’ve done something most can’t or don’t have the nerve to (quit my job). I created a sustainable business for myself and built a community of entrepreneurs. I’ve found what works for me and what doesn’t work for me. And I NOW know what I’m going to be happiest doing.

Seriously though…what a gift.

So…what I’m here to tell you is. Go for what your gut is telling you to do. Don’t hesitate out of fear of the unknown. Don’t wait for the “right time”. Just plunge yourself straight into what you are dreaming of doing. You will learn so much from it, grow so much more than you can imagine, and become a better version of yourself through doing so. I’m now a self-employed business owner who moved to a full-time position as a corporate employee with a side-hustle(or two). FUCK YEAH I DID! I’m so proud of where I’ve come, and I know what I need to do and focus on that will make me the happiest and allow me to live my best happiest life.

So, go get that dream and stop questioning everything already!

Just do it. 😉 (<–see what I did there?)

 

 

Devan McCabe

Owner of Nimbi Creative Studios

Founder of Together: A Entrepreneur Community

Owner of Her Creative Freedom Co.

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