It was almost exactly 8 years ago that I began my career as a full-time artist. I started making and selling bags on Etsy in November of 2008 and continued on for 5 more years. What a wild ride that was for me. And a lot of hard work. Those five years were full of many lessons. One of which was balance… this was something I didn’t understand at the time. By balance, I mean a healthy work/life balance. Instead, I worked a lot. I got ahead pretty quick, and a made a very healthy income. But in the end I burnt myself out. By about year five I could barely look at my sewing machine without cringing. So I made the decision to close my shop and move on to something else. That’s when the Dream Job Shop was born.
Like my true nature, I dove in head first with The Dream Job Shop and gave it my all. I spent countless hours researching, writing content, teaching online classes, promoting and marketing this new business of mine. It was exciting because it got me out of my sewing rut – in fact, I packed up my machine in the basement so I didn’t have to look at it again. I learned all about online marketing for two years… website design, blogging, marketing strategies, social media, analytics, anything and everything that had to do with running a creative business. The Dream Job Shop quickly became a new challenge for me that I was prepared to conquer. I wanted to grow it big and grow it fast… traits that can be both a good thing and a bad thing.
I had a lot of ups and downs with my new business. A lot of frustrating moments to say the least. I questioned myself a lot… “did I make the right decision by starting this? Was I going to be able to support myself financially? And if so, HOW the heck would I be able to do that?” It was a career that was completely different from my last. First of all, I was selling digital products now versus physical. Learning the technology to produce this content was more than enough on its own! Next, would people in this industry be willing to invest in this type of product? Would they see digital products as less valuable, or the content as more valuable? Like anyone taking a big leap, these fears and doubts crept up in my head from time to time. Almost like clockwork. Every month or so I would have a mini crash where I would be seriously questioning my new business.
I stuck at it for two years. And it did pay off in many ways. Financially I was able to support myself and grow the Dream Job Shop following considerably. But just like with my first business, the money was not enough. I felt like my passion for the idea was fading, and therefore so was my motivation to work as hard on it as I was.
Fast forward to today… well actually 6 months ago from today… Curtis and I decided to make a big personal change in our lives and give small town living a try by moving to Nelson, B.C. A beautiful town surrounded by green hills and a large lake. For us it seemed like paradise. We had taken a summer camping trip out here the year before and fell in love. Plus we were both itching for something different.
I don’t think I realized how much my life was about to change in such a short time. First, we moved to a town not knowing anyone who lived there. Then, two days after we arrived, I found out I was pregnant. All of a sudden everything around me was completely different. My surroundings were very different from living in Calgary, my support system of friends and family were now far away, and I was forced to have a lot of time on my own to process everything that was going on. When you live in a big city, it can be easy to get caught up in the pace if it all. There’s nothing wrong with that. I quite like it actually. But being removed from it for longer than just a vacation really allows you to reassess your priorities. It allows you to cut out the noise. And through this journey of experiencing life differently I discovered that The Dream Job Shop really wasn’t a priority for me anymore. What a scarey thing to admit to yourself, hey? Something you take so much time building up and growing. Then realizing that it’s no longer something you want to do. That’s when all the emotions started to come… I felt relief for finally being able to admit it to myself. But I also felt a HUGE amount of fear and a big sense of failure. I felt like I had failed because I didn’t want to pursue it anymore. I would be letting so many people down. And the fear was not knowing what would happen next. It took some time to fully process this decision and make it a real one. In the meantime I just let it be what it needed to be and nothing more.
At the time time (this past summer), I didn’t know what the heck the future would look like just yet. So I decided to be okay with that. Instead I focused on the rest of my life. And with that something very exciting happened… At our second ultrasound appointment we found out we were going to have a baby girl. I remember tearing up as the technician showed us that it was a girl. We got to see all of her anatomy and the way she was lying in my belly. I remember I could barely see, so many tears were coming out of my eyes. I was just so overwhelmed with emotion. It was something I had never experienced before. And after that, all I wanted to do was pull out my sewing machine and make her things. All my skills I had learned through art school came rushing back. I wanted to make her a quilt, sew her toys, weave, knit, dye fabric. I had absolutely no urge to make any bags (and I still don’t even now), but I was excited to try new projects instead.
I started out by sewing her some fabric dolls. That’s when everything changed. Almost instantly the excitement and passion I used to have for textiles back in school came rushing back to me. I loved every minute of it and just wanted to make more. So I did. It excited me in ways I hadn’t thought about for a while. The ability to work with my hands again was just overwhelming. So, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past two months. Exploring, creating and dreaming up new ways to create my income. It’s funny, I’ve heard it so many times from other women with children that having a baby changes you. I never really thought about it before until now. And for me, it really has. I’ve had to slow down my life (because pregnancy doesn’t always allow you to move at a fast pace anymore) and take it all in differently. I feel truly grateful for it all. And excited for the future. Curtis has done nothing but support and encourage me through this process which has made it a much easier decision. I am excited for our baby girl to arrive in January, and I am excited to work with textiles again – something I’m quickly discovering is my one true creative passion.
Moving forward, the Dream Job Shop blog will stick around for now but will not be updated. I am aware that many people still use this as a resource for their business and I want to be able to continue to offer this information. There just won’t be anything new. For me, I plan on finding more of a work/life balance as I grow a bigger belly (I’m 31 weeks now), prepare for our new family addition, and explore my new business journey. From now on, you’ll be able to read a more personal story about me here! I also plan on sharing more about my new creative project with you very soon. So stay tuned as I work out a few final kinks before I begin. In the meantime, thanks for reading my story. I hope you understand and can support my decision and I look forward to sharing more of my journey with you very soon.
P.S. If you want to keep up to date with my new business journey, please sign up for the new Made By Andi newsletter!
LET’S KEEP IN TOUCH!