musing

On Year Two & Beyond

It was my birthday this past Monday (well into my thirties now!), which means that we also had our 2 year anniversary. Oh how I love sharing my birthday with my biz, it really does make things a lot easier to remember.

Starting as a sanity project to fuel my creative outlet while I was at my 9-5 corporate job, to a way to escape that said 9-5 job, to a full time business...Fiber & Dye has molded, changed, and grown into what it is today, and is about to go through yet another transformation this year. As we welcome our first baby into the family, it's not just a solopreneur business, but a mompreneur one for a working-at-home mom. How crazy is it that time goes by so fast and so much could change in what feels like an instant?

From the 16 greeting cards we started out with, the card line has grown to SKUs of well over 80, and 10 new ones that launched on our site this week. Not only that, but Fiber & Dye grew into a full-blown design studio with client offering for wedding invitations and business branding, which has allowed me to work with the most creative couples and visionary entrepreneurs that I'd ever met.

The struggle is real, and the name of the game is always the imposter syndrome. One thing I'd been working on this year was getting used to talk about what I do as a REAL thing. That no, I'm not just in between jobs or pursuing a hobby while I'm taking it easy and baking a baby—this was a business, MY business, that I own and control and run and grow. No one else was going to do that for me, I had to. And while I thought that maybe the way I talked about it could be different from the way I worked it, that wasn't true. It wasn't until I could say those words out loud that I really believed it and actioned on it. So that was a great learning experience.

Something that helped this transition was meeting other business owners. Whether as clients or partners on a project or colleagues discussing biz topics, both the internet and my community in the South Bay are filled with entrepreneurs that I admire. Lucky for me, many have been doing this for a lot longer than I have so I was inspired by how far they've come, and was fortunate to have people who were open to sharing their journey with me. Even luckier, I've also met folks who are right where I am—just starting out, or ready to pivot and grow their business in a way that's in that weird, awkward, teenage Simba phase. So thank you to my muses and my fellow warriors for pushing me and fighting alongside me.

We have some exciting things in the works for this year (like the super secret one I might sneak peek this week) and can't wait to see how the third year is going to shape up. I can't thank you enough for letting me go on this crazy venture, because without the support of the folks like you who do things like, I don't know, read my little blog posts like this one here, I would've given up a long time ago like I'd always done before (it's my MO, not that I'm proud of it, but it's true). It's nothing short of a miracle that the lights are still on, the gears are still grinding, and the passion is still well and alive.

So let's fucking do this dye-hards.

No one said no, just you

Wow, another month. This one though, is pretty special because this marks the year anniversary of this crazy fun journey I set out on to celebrate my 30th birthday. Now, it's a design studio that allows me to work with creative entrepreneurs to work on their branding, brides-to-bes to set the tone for their special day, and everyone in between with my stationery products.

If you told me a year ago that I'd eventually leave my job I would say "yeah right." Not because I hadn't fantasized about it, but rather for that very reason—it just sounds like a fantasy, not real life. Only social-media-fake people get to live that life, or rich housewives, or people on TV. Not me. But it turns out, it's possible. Not without support I couldn't have ever, but I did have the support, I just didn't know it because I'd never asked for it. No one said no. Just me.

I hope this serves as a reminder that the voice inside your head, the one that seems to say no about everything, isn't a real person. So instead of listening to them, look outward at the people who are crazy enough to live this life with you. They love you, don't ask me why, but they love you so much, and they won't say no.

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Free Wallpaper

All the past wallpapers are now available as zip files under Free Downloads including the free DIY calendar which is where the patterns come from. Check it out today!

Once you download the zip file, just save the image onto your iPhone and it's ready to be your new wallpaper. Use the calendar for the lock screen, and the quote for your background--or vice versa!

The 5 double-sided truths about leaving a "real" job

It's now been over 6 months since I left my cushy, corporate, 9-5 (though more like 9-9) job. It was demanding but rewarding, and infuriating but fulfilling. Since then my bank account hasn't seen a direct deposit in weeks, and the other day, for the first time, I had to tap into the family checking account to pay off my personal credit card (no worries, I keep my business accounts separate as not to muddy it). Ouch. 

My co-worker sent an article to me about the lessons learned going full-hustle, and while I was yelling "YAP" and "PREACH" I also realized that all of these were sort of double-sided to me, like most things are. For every AMAZING thing about going from side-hustle to full-hustle, there's an equally debilitating thing about it. 

So in true captain hindsight fashion, here are my honest, 5 double-sided truths about leaving a "real" job--and all the insecurities that come with it.


So. Much. Time. It's Awesome!

BUT: Shit still don't get done

First, the good stuff. The time that I gained is gangbusters. From the moment I wake up the world is my oyster, and I could fill it with whatever I want. And while I still have an endless to-do list (in freelance, it seems all projects happen at the same time... hurry up and wait, says the universe) but it feels like an opportunity vs. a chore. So there's that.

But the reality of it is, all the things that I thought I was now going to have time for (cooking for the hubs, working out all the time, keeping the house clean) STILL doesn't get done. Because, surprise surprise, you never have time for shit you don't want to do. So it doesn't get done.

So yeah, while I have more time to fill, it doesn't mean then that I filled it will all productive things. It's still a process of having to MAKE time, full-time job or not.


Titles never reflected the ACTUAL job, and it was horrible

BUT: "Entrepreneur" is an overwhelming title

The shitty truth about most corporate jobs is that your title is always less than your actual workload. Because no, there is no good title for "I-do-mostly-online-marketing-but-also-partnership-and-sometimes-budgets-and-help-with-miscellaneous-tasks." So more often than not, you struggle with this under-titling whether it's rank or range of work. 

You know what's a worse title though? Entrepreneur.

Depending on who I see and what mood I'm in, when folks ask me what I do I give one of three answers. I'm doing freelance design. I have my own business. And then the worst one, I'm unemployed.

I've felt undervalued by my title, but I've never felt like I was being crushed, and like I could never live up to it as I do when I try to say that I'm an entrepreneur. But the old cliché goes, fake it til you make it, right? So I'm trying to use that more often. Work in progress.


Not having office politics is so liberating!

BUT: It's lonely not having someone to bitch to

Look, even in the most functional of workplaces, there's always that one office politics that drive you crazy. Whether it's a meeting you're not "supposed" to speak at, or that person you have to wait for approval from, or whatever, in any autonomy there's still a red tape. When you're solo you're your only speed bump so it's lovely. 

But at the same time, because you're solo you've got no comrade. In thinking back, some of the ways I'd bonded the most with people were those tough times, when there was a fire needing to be put out or a person causing a ruckus. There's nothing like a crisis to build trust and see what people are made of. I do miss that.

The point is, you gotta embrace those shitty office politics and know that without that, how would you meet your work BFF? And if you're now a solopreneur, find someone to bitch to, and stat. Which brings me to my next truth.


Meetings are time drainers, fuck them

BUT: Everyone needs them

So get this: in entrepreneurland (which is pretty close to lalaland) there are still meetings. I think as social creatures, we just can't get enough of it. I can't tell you how many meetups and brainstorms and work sessions and coffee chats there are out there, and I'm NOT social. So social people probably go to a bunch more.

So really, the solution isn't to get rid of meetings, no matter how pointless they seem, and are, sometimes. You have to know that they are crucial, but you have to try and make the most of it. Take great notes and hone your fast-typing skills if you're not an active participant. Use it as training wheels for public speaking and work on that automatic flush in your cheeks (ANYONE ELSE HAVE THAT? IT FUCKING SUCKS). 


I get to make my own task list!

BUT: Shit I don't want to do still make it onto that list

This one kind of circles back to the time thing. Because the thing is, you'll always feel like there isn't TIME to do something, but the reality is, there are no time drainers. It's just shit you want to do and don't want to do.

So yeah, that to-do list is going to have amazing things where I feel like, is this forreal? (like, painting a crest is really on the list today?? Awesome!) and stuff that's like, ugh why can't someone else do this for me? (one word: TAXES). A job is a job and not a hobby because it's not all honky dory. I hate talking on the phone, but it's necessary to build relationships. I've been meaning to clean up the tagging on the blog posts (oops) and the products (double oops). I need to design a catalog. I need to make an online portfolio of my custom design. It goes on.

It felt like that at the corporate job, and I was convinced that it was because I didn't get to design my own strategy and priorities that the tasks involved shit that didn't excite me. Nope. Even if it's my own business, there are things that I need to do, want to do, and have to be prioritized with the limited time I'm able to make for it. Jeez. So yeah, that never ends.

 
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An Artist and Entrepreneur? Come again?

When I got the phone call to do this project with LUNA and Unique Markets, I thought for sure they had the wrong person. They were looking for an entrepreneur to profile, an artist to collaborate with. I felt like neither of those things, but instead, an imposter.

I'm just a girl who doodles. On the wall as a kid, didn’t care that I’d get in trouble. Tracing Sailor Moon. Drawing little cartoons in class, even had a stint (of one issue) as a cartoonist at my college paper. My claim to fame is that my high school still uses my doodle for their annual quiz bowl competition tee-shirt. But in the end, I was just a girl who was turning 30 and maybe had a bit of a crisis about it and decided to pay money to get her doodles printed onto paper in hopes of selling it to other people.

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I didn’t study art, I don’t have a BFA, I took one watercolor class and a few calligraphy classes. I had always loved art and design, it had always made me happy, and of course I’ve dreamed about making a career out of it. But I never thought I was any good—no matter how many times my friends and family told me with every party decoration I’d help with or wedding invitation I’d make or a logo I’d design, and even during my time as a graphic designer. To me, I was just oh-kay. Dime-a-dozen. I just loved the shit out of art, but I thought it didn’t necessarily love me back.

I'm just a doodler. Just a girl who was kind of good at drawing, and wanted to do it a bit more as a way to balance myself from a demanding career. So I really had to hold myself back from crying out "I'm so sorry I totally lied, you're looking for someone else, you've made a mistake!" and "Ohmigod this is so amazing, I need to just keep tricking them into thinking I'm the real deal!" all at the same time during this whole process. It was like a dream I didn’t want to wake from.

They wanted to see a studio space, but I paint on my dining table, usually in my PJs with my hair in a gross bun, sometimes in the dark because it's so late after I get home from work.

They wanted to talk about my process, but I just write notes everywhere, in my phone/planner/random scrap papers, until I could carve out enough time to crank out paintings and calligraphy then scan them like a madwoman in one sitting.

See, a hot mess, right? Not very glamourous.

But the thing is, that's the truth. And this is true too.

I started Fiber & Dye because I wanted to make honest cards. Cards that felt like you could hear it out loud in someone's voice. You could see yourself and your loved ones in. And in rejecting my own story or trying to embellish it, I would essentially be turning my back on anyone out there that's hearing that same insecure voice, saying that they're not good enough, not this or that enough, just...not enough.

So I knew that I had to be honest about myself too, if I wanted to keep doing honest work, as an artist (AH!) for my company (AHH!)—and it was the best decision of my life. I am so proud of my story, for being honest with it, and I hope that a little bit of it resonates with some one out there.

I can't thank LUNA and Unique Markets enough for allowing me to tell my story honestly, for laughing at my cards (nothing beats that, really), and for finding the entrepreneur and artist in me (AHHHHH!). Okay, it still tickles to say it. But it feels good.


Check out the post from LUNA here, they make me sound super cool which is amazing.

Also, come join me this Saturday and Sunday at Unique LA Holiday Market. Get your tickets online.