Why I Returned to My Day Job to Support My Art

 There was one hitch: leaving my day job wasn’t the dream I thought it’d be. Even though I felt like I was on top of the world those first few months, slowly, I began to resent working for myself.
 

*Article from a guest post I submitted to Create Lounge January 2017. Read the full post here >>>


AT THE END OF 2015, I THOUGHT I MADE THE BEST DECISION: LEAVING MY DAY JOB AND WORKING FOR MYSELF FULL TIME.

It was the “dream.” I had recently started a creative business and everyone was talking about making the break from their 9 to 5. I wanted to experience that same freedom.

At the time, I was teaching at a local college. Christmas break was coming up fast and I thought, “This is it. This is the perfect time.” The quarter was ending. I was sick of my administrators. I was high on Holiday Spirit. I was going to work for myself full time and it was going to amazing.

 

THERE WAS ONE HITCH: LEAVING MY DAY JOB WASN’T THE DREAM I THOUGHT IT’D BE.

Even though I felt like I was on top of the world those first few months, slowly, I began to resent working for myself. I was stressed. I hadn’t saved up enough money before quitting my job, and I felt sick every time a bill came due. Everyone else seemed to be talking about how they were making thousands of dollars a month after quitting their day jobs, why wasn’t I?

The stress over money seeped into every area of my creative business. I no longer had a passion for what I was doing, and was burning out almost on a weekly basis. I fell into a vicious rebrand cycle. Every other month or so, I would rebrand. I was sure all I needed was the right catch phrase, the right color scheme, the right message...then I would be set. That’s how I would get my passion back, right?

But even with a beautiful website, stellar copy, and a clear message my community connected with, I couldn’t get that passion to spark again. That’s when I turned to an old friend of mine: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. (p.s. If you haven’t read Big Magic yet, I insist you do. You can come back to this post when you’re done.) What did Liz Gilbert have to share with me? This quote:

“There’s no dishonor in having a job. What is dishonorable is scaring away your creativity by demanding that it pay for your entire existence.”

I think I stared at this message for a full minute reading it over and over again. I know Liz wrote this book for all creatives, but at that moment, I was sure she had written this sentence for me. This is why working for myself hadn’t been the dream I envisioned: I insisted my creativity support me instead of me supporting it. So I took on two part-time jobs.

 

AT FIRST, I FELT LIKE IT WAS A STEP BACK.

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