{Quit Your Day Job, featuring Kyla Roma}

Editors note:
It has been 8 lovely months since I quit my day job to work on Gussy Sews full time — and to help celebrate the anniversary of this little dream of mine, I’ve got a handful of artists lined up over the next week or so to share their “I quit my day job” story with you :] I’m pumped!

I’m the first to admit how important community is — I would not still be here if it weren’t for the help of community. So, let’s get started on our first feature :]

Stay tuned for many more stories of encouragement, inspiration and how-to with my {Quit Your Day Job} mini-series.

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Bio:

I’m Kyla Roma – a twenty something girl living in the Canadian Prairies under the biggest sky I’ve ever seen. I’m deeply silly and sarcastic, a bit of a homebody and love the simple things in life — especially staying up too late, good food, laughing with friends in coffee shops and cheesy sci-fi marathons. Handmade living, design and photography are my big passions in life — I love making things from scratch and learning as I work.

I have a daily blog, KylaRoma.com, where I blog about my life and journey as I try to cultivate a beautiful, intentional life. I run an etsy shop called A Little Thistle where I sell jewelry and knits, and I’m the full time project manager and designer for Freckled Nest Design where I’m helping to grow Freckled Nest’s business as well as create blogs and etsy shops for other bloggers and small business owners.

The Interview:

1. What were some ways you prepared to become a handmade biz owner {your day-to-day schedule, financially, emotionally, etc.}?
I knew that anyone who decides to work for themselves has to make some big trade offs, and my husband and I wanted to be as prepared as we could be. We worked out two budgets, one for while I was in transition and one when I was going to be a full time designer and blogger so we knew how to make it work on a day to day level. We switched our bedroom and my studio in the house so I could have a bigger working space, I got a “for now” job in retail that would be less demanding than my office job so I could give more time to building my business, and my husband and I put our plans to travel and buy a bigger house on hold. It was crazy and exciting, and it feels wonderful to be supported in my choice to the extent I am.

2. Share with us a positive “ah-hah” moment from this process.
I started doing blog design in the summer, opened my etsy shop in the fall, and was invited to join Freckled Nest full time in the early winter- so it’s been a whirlwind few months for me. My ah-hah moment happened in two ways, the first was when I realized that I could finally just be myself and work from my strengths instead of trying to fit into a corporate workplace. I was so excited to have the chance to focus on what I love instead of trying to cram it into the evenings and weekends! The second part came when I saw that between design and etsy I had a full time work load, and that the income was stable. That was a fist pumping, chair dancing moment :)

3. What was the time frame from when you decided you were going to quit to when you actually put in your notice/took some serious steps toward becoming self-employed?
I decided to become full time self-employed in the spring of last year, and at that time I had no blog design work and very little experience and no etsy shop, so I was starting from square zero. I registered in the indie business course online and got super motivated- I registered my business name and sourced suppliers for my shop, and started making a big effort into making my blog and my posts look beautiful. Leigh-Ann from Freckled Nest contacted me in the spring, a month after I focused my efforts on my blog and asked me to be a designer with her, and I quit my day job in December. From beginning to end, it took nine months. I feel very lucky, especially because my goal last spring was to become full time in two years.

4. What was your first day like as a handmade biz owner? Describe your feelings, were you really excited? did it seem soooo weird to be home/self-employed? Share this moment with us.
My first day was a relief! Between blog design, etsy, blogging, and my part time job I had been working at least 50 – 60 hour weeks for four months. When I finished working at my day job I was totally burned out, so being able to focus on the things I love was an amazing feeling. I felt like I was finally able to relax. I’m also lucky to work in a studio outside of my home, with other people, and that’s made a big difference in my life. I love being able to talk with friends who understand “the blog world” and bouncing ideas off them. It’s lovely to have a separation between work and home!

5. Do you write out a “schedule” for each day? How do you divide and organize your time?
I have a weekly schedule for the big things, like etsy shipments, design work and blogging. From there I break every day into To Do lists the night before, it lets me start focused and energized! Leigh-Ann and I have also made time for weekly field trips where we go do something really fun on Fridays- it ends the week on a fun note, and is a bit of a celebration of making our own schedule.

6. What is a current challenge are you facing, and how do you plan to overcome it?
My current challenge is a redesign and refocusing of my blog & business life. Every January I try to reassess the events of the past year, pick mentors to research and learn from for the new year, and choose some big goals for myself. I’m going through Promise Tangeman’s Creative Planning Retreat prompts to help direct my plans for 2011.

7. What are three tips you can to pass along to someone that’s ready to make the leap? :]
1. Be single minded. Once you make a decision to do be your own boss, try to pass every decision you make through the lens of “Does this take me closer to my ideal life?”. Asking that question helps to build in a compass into your decision making that will start actively leading you closer to your dreams.
2. Be discerning. Most of what doesn’t help you towards your goal is extra weight you have to carry on your way to your ideal life. Look honestly at what you need to be happy, and try to eliminate things that don’t fit the big picture.
3. Be heartfelt & goofy. Chasing down a dream is an amazing and scary process and while it’s hard, you have to keep in mind that it’s your choice. Don’t take yourself too seriously, make time for friends and family, eat well, be kind to yourself, share your journey, and sleep in on the weekend. You have to feed your soul to have the energy to grow your business :)

Connect with Kyla ~
Blog
Design
Etsy
Twitter

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Share with us: What does your dream job look like, and are you working that dream job?
[come back tomorrow for another feature post!]



Comments

  1. 1

    says

    OH MY WORD! What an AWESOME post and I am so in love with this series already! I am just goofy with excitement and feel the electricity through my bones! OH yea!

    :)gina

  2. 2

    says

    Gussy, this series is a wonderful idea. Not only does it show the leap is possible it will show the different time frames it requires for different people. I am sure you will feature people of all ages and doing different types of work. I would assume a person without another household income or someone with children or even an aging parent to care for would be on a different path.
    I would also be interested in seeing a team, whether husband and wife or sisters or best friends, and each of their viewpoints. Maybe you could do a follow-up series on that – as seen through different eyes.
    Kyla – congratulations and keep going! Thank you for some wonderful references and resources. I did appreciate your saying one has to find time to step back and relax and socialize. Without that it is all too easy to burn out before you’ve made progress.

  3. 4

    says

    hey gus,
    great series. i’d love to make that jump someday. or at least move to job sharing ( i’m a teacher). i’m absorbing everything. like a sponge. :)

  4. 5

    says

    lady…it is like you read my mind! totally needed this and i am looking forward to all your posts this week! great motivation for a motivated girl! kyla is such an inspiration! good first interview!
    maybe some day this will be me! i know it will :D
    xo,
    cb

  5. 6

    says

    what a great interview! i’ve actually been thinking about contacting freckled nest design so it was neat to learn more about one of the members of that business. favorite part of interview: be heartfelt and goofy. so very, very true in all that you do! love your blog and looking forward to reading more of this series!

  6. 7

    says

    this was so inspiring! kyla had some really helpful and well though-out responses. i loved this observation :: “I realized that I could finally just be myself and work from my strengths instead of trying to fit into a corporate workplace.” how i long for that freedom!! this definitely gave me further inspiration to work harder to get to that point!!

  7. 9

    says

    Thanks for this series! My husband and I are going to be adopting in the next couple of years, and I am trying to figure out just how to start up a handmade business in order to raise funds for this adoption. These posts have really encouraged me to just go for it, even if I don’t have a clue what I’m doing!

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