This week I’m celebrating the launching into my new life by sharing the path that led me here. Follow along all week!

The crafty-ness started at home, then  I went to college and learned to knit. and I ran a business. Yesterday I moved into cubicle-land but today I leave it behind.

Yesterday we left off at January 2009, when I made my Escape Plan.
The plan was simple. I needed 3 of the following 4 things to happen:

  1. My sales to reach $XX/week for 3 out of 4 weeks, for 3 months in a row. (This would show consistency.)
  2. My savings account to grow to $XX (to cover those weeks when my sales weren't as high).
  3. Open 2 wholesale/consignment accounts (I thought this would provide me with another stream of income, other than Etsy, but I soon realized that wholesale sales wouldn't help my bottom line as much as just selling the yarn full price in different venues).
  4. Some press for Blonde Chicken Boutique (that happened in March!)

This plan both gave me a goal (sell enough yarn, save enough money) and a metric to measure my progress.

No longer could I just complain about my dayjob; I knew what I had to do to quit!

I talked the plan over with my husband and he was comfortable with it, except he wanted to add something. He wanted me to not just keep up my books, but to print off a little report explaining sales and expenses. Although he didn't know it was called this, it's essentially a Profit & Loss Report (I used to have to do these for the pottery studio).

The report isn't for him, he doesn't even see it (unless something super exciting or weird happened), but he knew that if I assess it monthly, I'll be more diligent & responsible in my bookkeeping. (I'm the one that tracks the bills/household expenses and he knows I'm a tyrant when I really commit to something!)

My dayjob income was our family's primary income. Without it, or something replacing it, we can't pay 75% of our bills. So quitting my job was not taken lightly by either of us.

But Jay didn't want that to stand in my way, either. So we got out all the bills. We made up a budget (we've done this before, but we wanted to refresh it). We brainstormed ways to cut the cut-able bills (cable, for example) and ways to get rid of the things we could pay off (our car's nearly paid off!) Once we could do those things, and our monthly expenses lined up with my monthly yarn-income (for 3 months in a row), he'd feel completely comfortable with my quitting. I agreed.

(Side note: I hesitate to share all this, because I'm intensely private and this seems nearly too much. But SO many people have asked me how I made the decision and I want to be as honest as possible. We thought and prayed and planned HARD before it happened. We made concessions. We argued. We made up. This decision doesn't just affect me, but the whole family and without Jay's support, I would have been frozen by fear and uncertainty a long time ago.)

So January began with these goals in place. During both January and February, I made my sales goals! Yay!

In March, I learned that due to the state budget “crisis”, the University (my dayjob) was offering a buyout. 3 months pay + 6 months of what the state paid for my health insurance + some other bonuses.

I was overjoyed. Jay and I sat down and did more math, more planning. We asked ourselves, Will the buyout help us reach the goals in the Escape Plan? Or will it happen too soon?

We agreed that the buyout money would go to pay off the car and go into savings. My business would become the primary income in August (I got my last regular paycheck at the end of June). We knew we couldn't coddle the business, it needed to start supporting us as soon possible, so that if this crazy idea wasn't going to work, we'll know sooner, rather than later.

We decided it would work. I applied in April, but had to wait until May to find out if I was accepted. During this excruciating 2 months, we stuck with the Plan. My sales continued to be where we needed them, I started to look at health insurance plans.

I found that I was approved for the buyout, but I still needed to work until June 30th (and I won't get the buyout money until months later). That last month in the dayjob was so hard, so depressing. Coworkers stopped talking to me. No one acknowledged my birthday. People kept saying, “Oh, how cute”, about my business. Oh, and because my apartment was being renovated (and made more expensive) we had to move by July 12th.

But it happened! My last day rolled around and here I am, writing about the path that led me here!

If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below!

Thanks for coming along on this path with me, it's been to remember what exactly brought me here!

PS. Don’t forget: I’m answering any and all questions on Twitter, today at 4 pm EST. Just put #AskTheChicken in your tweet (at any time) and I’ll answer! You can follow along and see all the questions and answers here.

PPS. The sale! Don’t forget there’s a yarn sale with discounts for both new and returning customers! Grab your yarn right here: http://blondechicken.etsy.com

12 Comments on Path to Yarn – Out of the Cubicle Forest

  1. tricia mckellar
    July 24, 2009 at 10:33 am (9 years ago)

    Thanks for your candor Tara! I have loved this series! May I ask how old you are? In your 20's, 30's?

    🙂 –Tricia, 40-something and thinking it's time to make solid goals toward being a full-time artist

  2. blondechicken
    July 24, 2009 at 10:52 am (9 years ago)

    Tricia, I turned 27 in June. And age totally had something to do with this, as I wanted to have some time self-employed before we started a family!
    As always, I say Go for it!

    ________________________________

  3. Pace
    July 24, 2009 at 1:20 pm (9 years ago)

    Yay! A happy ending… or beginning! (: (: (:

    May I ask how you made time for growing your business while still working full time at your day job?

  4. blondechicken
    July 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm (9 years ago)

    Evenings and weekends. I answered emails & did research stuff in between dayjob work, but all the actual making, photographing, packaging, sending came on evenings and weekends. It helps that I don't have kids and that Jay works on Saturdays 🙂

    ________________________________

  5. maya | springtree road
    July 24, 2009 at 4:44 pm (9 years ago)

    tara, this is awesome! i hope reality greatly exceed your plans! 🙂

  6. Sharon
    July 24, 2009 at 9:47 pm (9 years ago)

    Thank you for posting this series / process about how you “quit your day job”.

    I am a relatively new massage therapist and am building my business in the afternoon / evenings while still working a full-time job during the day. While my “plan” is to eventually go part-time, I had no idea what the next step was.

    There is a lot of logic to your path and I appreciate you putting it out here for the rest of us who have dreams of leaving cube city.

  7. Cami
    July 29, 2009 at 3:52 pm (9 years ago)

    Good for you. I was saddened to hear that your coworkers treated you that way but… office politics. At least you're your own boss now!!!

  8. holly_cottagecopy
    April 16, 2010 at 4:43 pm (9 years ago)

    Really interesting to hear your story (although several months late!). I went through a similar process, except my job lost all funding and moved the plan up. Interestingly enough, I had a similar reaction from my co-workers. “Oh, that's so cute, you want to be a writer.”

    I'm not a vindictive person, but I know for a fact I'm now making four times as much as they are and that's awesome. 🙂

  9. holly_cottagecopy
    April 16, 2010 at 8:43 pm (9 years ago)

    Really interesting to hear your story (although several months late!). I went through a similar process, except my job lost all funding and moved the plan up. Interestingly enough, I had a similar reaction from my co-workers. “Oh, that's so cute, you want to be a writer.”

    I'm not a vindictive person, but I know for a fact I'm now making four times as much as they are and that's awesome. 🙂