I cannot believe that today is actually here. It is a day that I have been dreaming about for what seems like years. And, this is the sentence that I have been waiting to write on my blog: today, I am making Simply Jessica Marie my full-time career!
Since I graduated in May 2013, I have always juggled multiple jobs. At one point, I had five jobs: I was the Owner and Creative designer of SJM, the Lead Planner and Client Services Coordinator for Amber Housley, I was the Assistant Wedding Planner for another Nashville wedding planner, I was writing monthly creative DIY posts for a popular blog, and I was an independent contractor assisting another creative designer with blogging and graphic design. Just writing that sentence makes my head hurt, and I knew at that point that changes had to be made for me to be able to reach my fullest creative potential and live every day how I wanted.
I didn't write all of that just to boast or complain about how many different roles I was juggling at once. I wrote that for those of you who might be in the same position now as I was then. For those of you who might be working a full-time corporate job while working on your own creative projects between 7pm and midnight (or later) every night. For those of you who are so excited about the possibility of owning your own business, but don't know how much longer you can take balancing all of those responsibilities.
Let me tell you one thing: it takes time. Being at the point where you can grow your business to become your full-time career does not happen overnight. You will need to put in those long hours and late nights to build your shop, portfolio and a loyal client/customer base who will be there to support you and cheer you on when you do take the leap to become full-time. For me, that meant slowly adding new products to my shop so that I got to the point where I felt comfortable with my income, and could begin making the transition away from the other part-time positions.
Let me tell you another thing: there is not a magic formula for knowing when the right time comes; it's not going to be obvious, but rather, it's just something you know deep down in your heart. It is based on what you are comfortable with, both income-wise and creativity-wise. One of the most important things, whether you are supporting yourself or supporting a family, is that you do need to feel confident in the flow of income you bring in each month, so that you can pay your bills and pay for groceries.
Want to know a secret? While I am so incredibly excited about becoming full-time, I am also scared out of my mind. There is no longer a consistent paycheck coming in each month. Everything is based on how many custom clients I am blessed to work with each month, and how many people find my greeting cards, art prints and other shop products too darn cute to pass up. It can be a very scary time, but I have such a peace about me this morning as I am writing this, knowing that this is where God wants me to be right now. That there are others whose lives I can impact by taking this leap to grow.
So, what does becoming full-time mean for Simply Jessica Marie? A handful of amazingly wonderful things that I am beaming with joy to share with you!
Something that has been on my heart recently is my desire to share the art of watercolor with others. There is room for absolutely everyone in this creative industry, and I want to teach as many people as possible how to paint with my all-time favorite medium. It brings such joy to me to see students who were hesitant to paint with watercolor at the beginning of a class having fun creating unique marks and painting gorgeous blooms by the end of our session. To hear them giggle when I show them what a drop of paint does to a wet piece of paper, and marvel at the fact that they can create something so beautiful from a blank sheet.
The details for my classes are still in the works, and I am hoping to have my first workshops begin this Spring! I will be starting locally in Nashville and other surrounding cities in TN, but if there is a city that you would love for my workshops to travel to, please leave a comment below! And, if you are a shop or venue owner who would love to host a workshop, also leave a comment or email me here and we can chat!
Another part of my business that I will be expanding is my wedding collection. While I will no longer be a wedding planner, I adore the industry and want to remain a part of it for my entire career. I have fallen in love with paper and custom design, and am excited to announce that I am now taking custom clients for wedding invitation suites! I can create just about anything your heart desires, from your save the dates to escort cards to your full invitation suite with accompanying custom envelope liners and hand lettered envelopes. If you are getting married (hello fellow bride!), and are interested in working together to create something unique and special, please send me a message today and we can chat!
I also realize that not everyone has the desire for a completely custom wedding invitation suite, but simply wants something that is beautiful and still represents their style and personality. So, I will also be releasing a pre-designed wedding collection to my shop this Spring! There will be a handful of styles to choose from, all that feature my watercolor art and either a mix of my hand lettering and/or gorgeous typography.
Additionally, I will be introducing THE cutest line of wedding goodies, from "will you be my bridesmaid" cards to "our love story" journals to phone cases and tote bags and more. Be on the look out for those early this Spring as well!
I am most excited about becoming full-time because it will allow me to spend more quality time focusing on my custom clients and creating new lovely ideas for my shop. I want each and every one of my clients to know how much I appreciate the opportunity they have given me to design something beautiful and unique for them. I want them to feel like they are the only client I have, and that my creativity is solely devoted to them. Having more hours in the day to work on each custom project will allow me to do so, and I'm so ecstatic!
The biggest message that I want to leave you with that I have learned throughout this process is to stop the glorification of busy. There are people who will tell you that you have to balance multiple jobs to be successful, and that solely having a career in the creative industry isn't a "real" job and won't allow you to live the life you desire. I'm here to tell you that it is possible, that while it will take time to get to where you want to be with your creative career, it can happen, and a creative job IS a real job. Find what makes you happy, make a list of things that you feel you need to achieve in order to get there (X amount of clients per month or X amount of sales made per month) and strive for that goal until you achieve it!
There will always be something that I want to do to learn and to grow. I am constantly striving to better myself as a business woman and artist, and cannot wait to see where this road takes me and SJM!