July 1 marks four years of this blog. Four. Four years.
It shares a birthday with Pamela Anderson, Princess Diana, and Deborah Harry, lead singer of Blondie. So that’s it — hot blondes and my blog.
Had I known how
hot and blond spiritually fulfilling this blog would be, I would have started it much sooner. It has brought be joy, catharsis, new friends, business opportunities, and now it’s brought me a new job…
Back in March I wrote a post about being at a crossroads. My day job was getting heavy, my freelance work was picking up, my time for blogging was limited. I had this pipe dream of making it as a full-time blogger, but everyone I know living that dream had some other source of household income. Also, I’m not really sure blogs are going to be around in five years, ten years, so yeah. It would not be smart of me to put all my eggs in that basket. Likewise, it would also not be smart to remain in a day job that I enjoyed, but would never allow for upward mobility.
So I quit my job.
I hussled up all the freelance clients I could take, just to a point where I would be confident in leaving. It had been coming to a head for a while, but last week I stuck a fork in it. To my utter amazement, not only were my bosses okay with my departure, they are keeping me on as a part-time independent contractor (!!!!) In other words, I get to have my cake and eat it too. Which is crazy. I feel so fortunate to work with people that would ever allow this sort of thing to happen. What is this? Who are these people? How did I get here? Am I stupid to leave something this good?
To give you some background, when I was 19 and needed to quit my hostess job at a restaurant, I waited until the end of the shift to give the manager a week’s notice, and then he threw a pot at my head. A pot. At my head. Thank God it was empty, but yeah, that sort of set the precedent for my expectations from my employers. In this more recent scenario, I feared the worst but emerged with the best. I could not ask for a better set-up to start the next chapter. Part of me wants to pinch myself, the other part is like WHOA. CALM DOWN. THE HARD PART HASN’T EVEN BEGUN.
So, did I quit my job to be a full-time blogger?
No. I quit my job to be a freelance graphic designer — something I have been doing as a side job since I was 19, right about the time that guy threw the pot at my head. It’s what I went to art school for, it’s what I do best, and it’s always been a part of my “real job” but I never wanted to risk it as a full time career because the money comes in batches, feast or famine, and my own personal history makes me value stability over anything else. But anyway. In the back of my mind I thought a freelance design career would be a great ‘Someday’ job when I became a married stay at home mom…but that ship isn’t sailing anytime soon, and I’ll be damned if I put my dreams on the back-burner because I don’t have a spouse to lean on. I have two feet to stand on, two hands to work with; why on Earth would I wait around just to depend on someone else? Can I not do this? Can’t I do this? I can do this? I can do this. I’m doing this. I’m doing it. I’m doing it!
That said, there have been a couple of significant changes in the year that have made this shift to self-employment possible;
1. The Affordable Healthcare Act, aka Obamacare. Is it perfect? No. Is it going to allow me to purchase reasonable health insurance for under $500 a month? Yes. That’s not something I could say in 2008, the last time I was faced with this problem (and went without, which, trust me, is a terrifying way to live). I have engaged in enough political arguments on the interwebs this week, so I’m not starting one here, but I will tell you, if you are one of the thousands of Americans who wants to quit their job but think you can’t because of the insurance factor…it’s worth looking into. That’s all I’ll say. Do your homework and look into it.
2. You. You guys! If you read this site on a regular basis (on the site, not in your email or blog reader) you probably notice a couple of ads running along the edges. Those ads have slowly built a baseline of income every month, along with the sort of audience numbers that allow me sponsor opportunities, and monthly contributor slots with Michael’s and ILoveToCreate.com. Is it enough to pay all the bills? No. Is it enough to reassure me that I can count on a minimal amount of revenue each month? Yes. Does that stability give me the confidence to go out and take some risks on other ventures? Absolutely. Does it make me want to create more content? You bet it does.
And while It would be lovely to say that being my own boss will allow me tons of time to do stuff I want to do like blog, travel, chill out with cats and stuff…I suspect this first year is going to be rough. Real rough. I need to aim to take on a new client every week just to cover my butt. The statistics surrounding start-up businesses are scary. Four out of ten new businesses fail in the first year. Around 80% fail in the first five years. Let be honest; the odds are not in my favor, I don’t have a safety net, the cost of living is going up, and I will never again be as young as I am today. If this is going to work, NOW is the time to sink or swim.
So I am going to swim my ass off.
Part of that work is going to be this blog. I’m not leaving my job until the end of next month, which gives me a couple of months to get my ducks in a row. Part of me says I should turn this into a nice and vanilla craft blog and just make a new spangled doo-dah everyday, and pray I can roll up some new audience and sponsors. The other part of me says there are already hundreds of blogs like that, and really good ones too, and you guys don’t really need one more. Interestingly, my stats tell me every time I put up a new craft tutorial, my numbers double, but every time I post a long and rambly writing piece (not unlike this one), my stats quadruple. That right there defies every “expert” opinion on blogging habits I have ever read, but facts are facts, and I’m not going to fight it. I’m going to start publishing my writing more, even if that means I get occasionally ranty and y’all have to put me in my place. I’m also not going to stop making things with my hands or decorating my apartment or finding weird stuff on the internet, that’ll be here too, just perhaps, more often and maybe a little less filtered. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, but I’m also going to pump up the jam.
Anyway. That’s still a few weeks off. Right now I have to close up my job and switch this here website over to WordPress (the dinosaur days at Blogger are over!). You probably won’t see any changes for a while, and when you do they’ll be subtle, but I want to let you know they are happening because that’s the sort of relationship we have. I’m going to start letting you know what is going on with my end, even if that means it occasionally gets ugly. I hope you will do the same. You would be surprised how closely I pay attention to what you have to say in comments, emails, and social media, even if I don’t always get to say much in return. I am listening more than you will ever know.
So, My Sweetums, that is the state of the union. And by union I mean my blog, but whatever, you get it. This is probably the part where I’m supposed to say something about a giveaway or a survey (and maybe there will be down the road), but really I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for following. Thank you for lending me your thoughts. Thank you for putting up with my weirdness and my typos and rambles and my never ending quest for flamingos and Benedict Cumberbatch. There are elevtyseven different other places to spend your time on the internet and I am so grateful you chose to spend a minute on this patch of sparkly strangeness called Aunt Peaches. At this moment, I can tell you without a whiff of exaggeration, I do not know what I where I would be without you.
Happy Birthday to us.