“I make a perfectly adequate living at my day job, it's at an income level that I have a hard time imagining I could bring in as a full-time artist.”

Last week a passionate and smart reader  emailed this.
It's a question I get a lot (in fact, it's one of the first question I got in the last free Q+A), so I thought I'd share my answer here.

The question is really asking, “How can I ever replace my current income with my crafty business? Is this even possible?”

My answer: Yes. But let's be realistic:

You current income is the result of lots of hard work.
Right now, you're a professional. Something that took years and years of work to accomplish. Years of education and skill-building.
You put in the hours before your reached your present income level.

This is true of ANY career, including self-employment
It took learning + time + practice + ladder-climbing to get where you are, it will take the same in a new business.

You poured hours of time into studying and learning and interning into your current career, you will need to do the same for a career in handmade work.

Yes, you can start selling your crafts quickly.
But NO, you can't replace your professional-level salary quickly.

But it's not the same.
Because the kind of work and studying that got you into your current income level isn't the same kind of work that will help you grow your business.

And this is good news!

Succeeding in your business does NOT require an MBA.
Learning about growing your crafty business does NOT necessitate formal school or lots of classes or an endless unpaid internship.

It will require curiosity, passion and a pile of self-directed researching.
Unlike a “traditional” career, self-employment does not have one clear path from newbie to professional.

The trick (and the delight) is that you make your own path.
You discover what works for you, what doesn't.
What your customers want, what they don't.
And you can do this as quickly or as slowly (perhaps while you're still in that dayjob) as you want!

But! Do you really need to replace your salary?
The original question assumes that you HAVE to replace your salary before you quit your dayjob and I want to throw some doubt on that.
Do you really have to?
Could you reduce your expenses?
Could you have several smaller streams of income?
Would you be willing to trade some of your luxuries in order to live your passion?

This is just the jumping off point of thinking about it, I haven't even gotten into the HOW of making it all work!  If  you are delighted at the idea of quitting your dajob, join me on a free Q+A call this Thursday. July 1st is my anniversary of quitting and to celebrate, I'm answering your questions. Just sign up here to get the details.

9 Comments on Enough Money to Quit the Dayjob

  1. Allyson
    June 29, 2010 at 11:48 pm (12 years ago)

    The best decision I ever made was quitting my day job. I reduced my expenses and got a part time job for a reliable pay check. I've got a ton more time to work on my crafty business and as a result business is booming! Well, relatively booming 🙂

    This is great info! I know a lot of people who have no idea how much they need to make to quit their jobs. It's important to figure it out and work toward that goal!

  2. Liz (Made in Lowell)
    June 30, 2010 at 1:13 am (12 years ago)

    I think this is excellent info and well said. I never know what to say to people who look longingly at me when they find out I run my own business full time.

    I quit my last day job by accident in that I was fired, heh. After a few jobless months I realized I had been spending a lot on my day job; gas money, clothing, car repairs, and the unnoticed dollars flying out of my bank account as retail therapy to assuage the pain my soul experienced when working for someone else.

    I had already been running this business as a sideline for over a decade when Etsy made it possible for me to expand worldwide. Meanwhile, I noticed my husband was paying the bills without my help. DING! So now I craft full time, it's early years and I am bringing in a part time salary, we economize like everyone, but oh the joy I experience! And no more retail therapy.

  3. knitgrrl
    June 30, 2010 at 2:45 pm (12 years ago)

    Brilliant as ever, Tara!

  4. TaraSwiger
    June 30, 2010 at 5:22 pm (12 years ago)

    Thanks Shannon!

  5. TaraSwiger
    June 30, 2010 at 5:24 pm (12 years ago)

    It's amazing how much dayjobs can cost us without realizing it!
    I've given up all sorts of things that I used to need to dull the pain after
    a hard day at work.
    So glad you've also found happiness in self-employment!
    How long have you been doing your own thing?

  6. TaraSwiger
    June 30, 2010 at 5:26 pm (12 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing Allyson! It's great to hear that other people have made
    it work!
    Your business (and gorgeous) website is one I really admire…how long have
    you been at it?

  7. Joe
    June 30, 2010 at 8:08 pm (12 years ago)

    That was a great article and although I don't do the kind of crafts you do, it is still apropos to my situation as a performer and artist.

  8. Liz (Made in Lowell)
    July 1, 2010 at 12:49 am (12 years ago)

    Srsly, it was nothing to drop $50 at CVS weekly. Also, since I know how many things I need to make and sell to buy something, money has more value to me, which also keeps me from spending so much. And now I'm spending mostly on handmade goods when I do!

    I've always made and sold things, always had a side business, but full time since 2007.