Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Q&A with JA, Part 3: Self Employment

Today I'm sharing Part 3 of my Q&A series. I'll be answering your questions on the leap into self-employment! Here we go:

When Julie Ann Art became your full-time job did you notice an increase in sales?

What made me feel confident in quitting my day job was that sales were already increasing. I was seeing consistent growth over a long period of time. Of course, the goal of any new business is to increase sales, and that is what I have been able to put more focus on since going full-time.

One thing I did strategically was plan when I quit. I went full-time in September. Rather than quitting in the summer, when sales are generally slower for my product, I knew that in the Fall the holiday sales would pick up and that Valentine’s Day was right around the corner after that.
What types of things did you do to assure that it was enough to maintain yourself financially?

I made a list of all my monthly bills….rent, phone, car insurance, student loans, etc. I knew that health insurance was an additional expense I’d have since I’m not married so I researched for an estimated price on that. And you know, it’s scary. It’s scary to total up that amount, the bare minimum of what you have to pay per month, without including any “luxuries” like clothes or entertainment.

It’s also scary to then look at your monthly income. I repeatedly (obsessively) checked my monthly income for the year of 2012. I use Outright.com to link all my accounts and easily track my income through Etsy, my blog, and wholesale accounts.

Thinking back, I remember that in March 2012, I didn’t make that bare minimum amount I would’ve needed for bills. I remember thinking “I wouldn’t have even made rent that month.” And it scared me. Maybe I wasn’t ready. Maybe I wouldn’t be able to cut it on my own during slow months like March.

But now I feel so fortunate that I can say, here I am in March 2013, doing fine, kicking March 2012’s little ass. It’s such a hard gamble you know? You want to be prepared so you calculate and crunch numbers to try to foresee and plan out your self-employed future. But really, I think a lot of it you just have to feel in your heart. (Sap!) I knew my business was ready.
Have you had to adjust any of your spending habits now that you are doing JAA full time?

I would definitely say I’m more “money conscious” but in general I have never been a huge spender. Maybe I’m a dork, but I like saving. I guess I’d have to thank my parents for teaching me how to be responsible with money. I have always been this way, even before I worked for myself. I think that helped me build the savings that made me feel more comfortable with quitting my job.

I have definitely unsubscribed from a lot of e-mails from clothing sites that could possibly tempt me into purchasing something I don’t really need (just want!). I got a French press to make my morning coffee instead of buying $4.00 lattes from Starbucks (now they’re just treats for special occasions). I started taking the extra trip to the Farmer’s Market to get better prices on my produce. So I guess I’m just taking little disciplined steps that in the long run can make a bigger effect on my expenses.


Phew, we are getting personal aren't we?! Not the easiest thing to talk about money and sales on here! Hope I did ok. :]

Next up, the last segment of the Q&A series: Schedule. Be sure to check out Part 1: Personal + Technical, and Part 2: The Business, as well!

9 comments:

  1. Stephanie9:13 AM

    You did great Julie. Don't forget when you do go to the retail stores for food and hair care look for coupons. That has helped me a ton, especially when I pair them up with Target coupons.

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  2. Thank you for the break down, Julie! It's reassuring to see it, and realize we all can do it if we plan carefully. Very inspiring, and so happy that you are thriving in your own business. Kudos!! xoxo

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  3. I'm going full time next month so I totally understand everything you are talking about! I'm so excited!

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  4. I think this is the most important thing to think about!! At least a year in expenses...I've noticed other people taking the leap of faith with less overall picture and it just seems so scary. It's refreshing to hear that you really sat down and thought all this through! Good for you!

    Ergo - Blog

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  5. you did great :). I went through all these same steps before I quit my day job.....the spending part was hard for me. I used to make decent money and was miserable, so I would just online shop and buy whatever. The first year I was self-employed, I could not do that AT ALL. I was worried about the lack of money for fun shopping and in actuality, I never missed it. I think when you are satisfied in your day-today life/work, then you don't need to feed yourself by attempting to buy happiness.

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  6. Appreciate and love your honesty! I would like to call myself a saver over a spender, generally I am, but I don't know what it is about being unemployed and spending money like you're making a lot -- haha! I guess it's because I get bored sometimes and think, well we need this or I think I need that. Changing need to want, like you mentioned is key!

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  7. i love these posts of yours! thanks so much for sharing your story!

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  8. Your story is so inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing. You did ok. ;)

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  9. I realize that you hear this regularly, but you are an inspiration. I very recently opened an Etsy shop and my long-term goal is to be a full-time artist, but I am far from able to quit my day job. Did you write a business plan? If so, at what point did you do it and how detailed was it? I feel like there are a million things to do, not enough time, and I don't know where to start! Basically, I want to be like you! Keep up the good work!

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Thanks for the comment! I read them all and reply when I can. Please be sure your blogger account is linked to your e-mail so I can do so! (Tutorial on how to do that here: http://tinyurl.com/c6gh9fk) xo JA