A year ago this February, I was driving back from the Grand Canyon with Doug. Somewhere in the middle of this drive, pretty much right where the picture above was taken, I had a thought for the very first time: if I worked really hard, maybe I could quit my job.
Rare Specimens was pretty new at the time, and during this drive I was anxiously wondering how consignment sales were doing at the first handful of stores I had sent my earrings off too. They had been selling at White Elephant since Christmas, but just before we left for our Arizona trip I mailed 3 or 4 boxes of goods out to other stores around the country. It was a new hobby I was pretty excited about, but on this trip I realized I might be able to turn it into a job.
I remember thinking it so clearly, and rolling the idea around in my head a few times before I even said it out loud to Doug, because it sounded a little silly to me. When I finally said it, I was excited.
The next day, we had a family meeting with ALL of Doug's family (it's big!) and we each had to say a goal for the new year. I had just met a lot of the people in the room for the first time that week, so a family meeting was a little nerve wracking for me. I wasn't really sure what to say for my goal, but when it finally came around to me I decided what I wanted to accomplish: I wanted to make Rare Specimens my job.
So that's what I've been doing. I've been striving towards it all year, working hard at my three jobs and making sure every spare penny went to paying down my existing debts. I knew developing my business would be important, but I also wanted to help set myself up financially for this sort of step. There were so many times when I wanted to impulsively up and quit, but I promised myself I would do this as smart as I could.
Just before Christmas, my hours at my job got cut down from 20 per week, to only 5 hours most weeks. While I panicked at first, I quickly realized this was a chance to make sure I could make it on my own, without actually taking the leap. It was basically the water-wings version of quitting your job. After two months of waking up every day and saying "should I quit my job today???" I decided it was finally time.
Having photographer friends who can take amazing pictures for you that you will use again and again really helps. Thanks Hollie!
The thing about writing this post is it tends to sound very charmed. I'm nervous people reading it are going to think I had it so easy to be able to accomplish this so quickly. First off, it was quick. Incredibly quick and I'm so so grateful. Secondly, I am still have White Elephant as my full time time job, so I'm not jet-setting around the world quite yet. And most importantly, this is a goal that has actually been five years in the making. When Hollie and I started White Elephant, we each took other part-time jobs with the idea that one day the store could support us. It can't do that on it's own yet, but day by day we're getting closer. And day by day, our decision to open a business together is opening up these other avenues for us to pursue our goals. We're meeting new people, making new connections, and trying new things every day that we probably wouldn't have on our own. I would have never started Rare Specimens without the shop, and even if I had, I doubt it would be where it is without the connections I've made from the shop, the amazing supporters we have, and the things I have learned along the way. This isn't a goal that was accomplished in one year: it's one we've been working towards for 5 years.
So, that's that I guess? One year later I gave my two weeks notice, and I'm just finishing up my last few shifts. I'm so thankful that I've been able to do this, and feel so incredibly lucky. I'm not sure I will be able to work for myself forever, but I plan to do this for as long as I can manage it. From now on, I'm using that extra time to create new things for Rare Specimens and focus on my etsy shop which I've never really had time to concentrate on.
I also plan to be making goals. I've never been a big goal setter. I make plans and lists but generally like to take each day as it comes. This past year has got me excited about goals. I loved having something to work towards, and I want to continue to do it for this upcoming year. I just need to think about what those goals are going to be.
We're also working harder at the store, striving towards store goals that Hollie and I are both really excited about. 2013 is going to be good all around.
I took this picture immediately after giving my notice. Thumbs up to quitting.