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Big news! This week I'm working my very last few shifts in my day job which I've been juggling for the past year alongside Paper Picnic. I've been working as a sales assistant in Paperchase in Belfast, which has been really great and a much needed regular income while I've been working on building up Paper Picnic.

I always knew that I was working up to this point - it was always my goal to work part-time just until I got my business feet off the ground, and then take the plunge into full-time self-employment, but when it actually came down to writing that notice and handing it in, it started to get scary. I'd started to get used to getting a regular pay cheque every month, and it was nice to know that even on months that Paper Picnic hadn't done particularly well, that there was still money coming in! 

So what made me do it?

Around Christmas last year (2014) things started to get really good for my wee business. I was getting accepted into some pretty awesome fairs (Crafty Fox & Renegade) and my markets at home (The Fine & Dandy mainly) were going from strength to strength. Then notonthehighstreet.com took off! Sales absolutely rocketed, and I really struggled to keep up, whilst working the day job along side it. I'd finish a shift at 6, rush home and work through until 3am, only to get up at 7am and do it all over again. When the Christmas rush ended I was exhausted, but beeming from ear to ear! Christmas is also the busiest time for retail, and Paperchase was MANIC! I kind of promised myself then that I wouldn't do another Christmas like that again - something had to change. 

2015 started flipping brilliantly! Valentine's exceeded Christmas, which I really didn't expect! I had actually went on holiday and left my mum to process orders - so she had to take over just when my business was at its busiest yet! But we (she) got through it! Mother's Day quickly followed and yet again, things went SO well! I introduced some personalised card options and they were so well received! At this point I had pretty much made up my mind - I couldn't juggle two jobs, and if I wanted my business to grow I'd have to take the leap.

I read countless blogs and books and anything I could find that would validate this decision in my mind! As soon as I'd made up my mind, it became the scariest thing, and I put off writing my notice for a few weeks. It's pretty easy to find blog posts saying it was the best decision they'd ever made, but I kept reading and tried to find as many opinions as possible and gather as much advice as I could. Here's some of the best articles and first-hand experiences I found - 

- OH NO Rachio - One Year On - Rachel from OH NO Rachio celebrated one year of full-time self-employment recently, and blogged about the year as a whole and what she's learnt so far!

- LH Design - One Girl Band - Lola's blog is bursting with tips for self-employment and running your own business!

- Kim Lawler - You Probably Shouldn't Quit Your Day Job - Is it such a good idea? Do you have all of these things in order before you make the leap?

- Design Sponge - Life & Business - Design Sponge have countless articles on independent businesses who have taken the leap, and why they felt it was the right time. 

- The Private Life of a Girl - Just as I handed in my notice and started working my last two weeks of my day job, this great series of blog posts have come out! Sophie is running a series every Monday for the next few weeks titled "how I quit my day job" - perfect timing, and so informative! :)

So I finally plucked up the courage and handed in my notice, and now here I am working my last few shifts! I'm counting down the minutes now - I love working for myself and making a real go of running my own business. It is really scary to not have that regular wage coming in, but I know that if I hadn't taken the leap my business would have stayed in this static point that its currently in, waiting for me to invest more time in it, to grow into other areas! I've big plans for moving into wholesale and expanding my range further, and I just couldn't have done that on a part-time basis! 

I definitely wouldn't be taking this leap if it wasn't for how well the last year has gone. I know things could easily change, but after several 'occasions', Christmas, Valentine's etc, going so well, I know I can count on some potentially busy periods. I've also just building a studio space at the back of my house, so I'm now fully equipped to run this wee business and produce new products! I'll be sharing some photos of the new studio later this week! :)

So here's to the scariest (but most exciting) thing I've done yet! I can't wait to dive in and see where this takes me! :D

 

April 13, 2015 by Emma Jackson

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