One Year Later

Posted April 09 2012

So exactly one year ago today I wrote this post about taking the leap into self-employment. Has it been a YEAR already!? Well I am happy to be writing a follow up post to commemorate the day I jumped off of a sinking ship and onto a smaller, less stable but promising little boat. And by boat I am referring to sass&peril and that makes today a milestone, folks! One year ago I left the comfort and stability of my fulltime job to pursue a freelance career and focus more on my business. It has been a most wonderful year full of amazing experiences and rewarding moments. It has also been a year of lessons learned and while it has had many highs, there were inevitably a few lows. Let’s focus first on the highs, shall we?

I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to thank everyone who has purchased something from my shop or at a show. I would also like to thank the shops that I work with and blogs, sites, (and TV shows!) that’ve featured my products for believing in what I do enough to support my work. Without everyone’s encouragement my success would not be possible. So thank you! I would consider this past year to be a huge success because I now head up a creative business where I get to make things I love. What’s even better is that you guys seem to like it too. Looking back to the very first Etsy sale I made, I was creating little felt items like keychains and pincushions and now three years later I have a growing line of screenprinted paper + textile goods. It's proven important to have a cohesive line of goods with a clear focus and to let those products develop organically. What’s also been important is that I’ve taken the time to educate myself on the business side of things in addition to honing my skills as a maker. This has proven vital to me in more ways than just getting organized for tax season. I’ve saturated myself with books on small businesses, read blog articles on staying organized, had conversations with small business owners about future growth and set some pretty great goals. I think I could honestly spend full days just working on the business side of things so it is important to strike a balance so that I can also get products designed and made! Not easy, let me tell you. On top of all this I am still working as a freelance Graphic Designer. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on a range of projects such as logos, patterns for apparel and décor, graphics for tee shirts, and even some blog and website work. I’m thankful for a great client base and for the opportunity to work with some wonderful companies and people. Of course as time goes on and the business grows I won’t be able to take on as many of these types of design jobs without help, but this was all part of my “master plan” when I left my fulltime job. It was crucial to have other stream of revenue available as I invested in and grew the business.

I made some mistakes, too, and have had to deal with the repercussions of them. I have done some not so great retail shows, have participated in promotions that were not good for my business, and made the unfortunate error of not copyrighting my work and having it infringed upon. But as with any experience good or bad you take something away from it and prevent the unsavory incidents from occurring again. It may seem like things are all rainbows and unicorns in the life of a business owner, but trust me there are periods of rejection and disappointment, feelings of inadequacy, creative blocks, financial concerns, and general feelings of unease. But you suck it up and move on because you want to succeed and you love what you do!

I have some amazing things planned for the rest of the year and on into 2013. I’m working on a new website and shop. I am also working on some new designs and different products to screenprint on. I am visiting a trade show in May with the hope of exhibiting at it  and other wholesale events the in the 2013 year. I’ve been in touch with some great media outlets and am also toying with the idea of opening a second division within sass&peril where I can take on more design projects as well as possibly hiring some help! While I still have many more things to learn and mistakes to make (and to thus grow from) I am delighted to be where I am at today. I’m not saying that I have it all figured out but I feel like I am on a great path and am excited to revisit this post this time next year. I'd love to share the knowledge I have in order to help others along their paths as well. If you have any questions for me please leave them in the comments section and I will try and answer them for you.

Thank you for reading and for taking part in this journey with me!

*edit*- There will be a new monthly series discussing business topics on this blog. I've even added a link icon over there in the sidebar so I am committed :)