When I started knitting 12-ish years ago, I never thought that one day I would have a full-time job that looks like this:
I'm so thankful for having a job where the main component is knitting all day. It truly is a dream come true. Here's a little more detail about how I made the dream happen....
When I was working in my lab job, it was pretty ok. I was actually really interested in wastewater treatment (as weird as that sounds), but I felt very unfulfilled at that job. I was never going to get promoted beyond where I already was. The thought of doing the same job for the next 30 years, honestly, was suffocating. I knew I had to make a change.
It was 2012, and my first book, Sock-Yarn Shawls, was about to come out. While I knew that knitting book money is not quit-your-full-time-job money, it was going to make my super part-time income of knit design a little better. I talked it over with my husband and we made a plan - that in 2 years, I would quit my job.
Uhhhhh, 2 years?
As much as I wanted to walk in and quit the day after Alex and I talked it over, I knew I had to give it time. I worked really hard and built up my business. It was very difficult to come home from my full-time job and work on Jen Lucas Designs. The last six months or so leading up to quitting my lab job, it often felt like I was working two full-time jobs. But we wanted to save up some money. I wanted to be vested in my pension. I wanted to be able to transition into working in my business full-time and not feel like I still had a huge mountain to climb to get it up and running.
Almost three years later, the lab is becoming a distant memory. I have a job I'm deeply passionate about. It's the hardest job I've ever had. Having to motivate yourself every single day is hard. Some days are better than others. This job can be very lonely too. But, I've found ways to be a little more social (I go to group workout classes in the morning and I also text all day long with some of my designer friends).
You can make it work as full-time designer. It's all about diverfiying the income stream, being flexible and listening to your customers.
So, if you're a part-time designer thinking about how to transition to a full-time designer, I'm here to tell you that you absolutely can do it. It just takes time and work. If you want it to be your job, you have to, well, treat it like it's your job. Send out that book proposal you've been thinking about (seriously, no one knew who I was when I got my contract for Sock-Yarn Shawls). Submit to that magazine you love. Make a plan. Don't be afraid to go for you want!
I wake up every single day thankful for my job. I'd definitely call that living the dream.