Let’s clear the air: you don’t have to go full-time in your creative biz to be considered a “real entrepreneur.” Today, our gal Brittany of Brittany Ivey Designs is coming on the show to give you your official permission slip to work your side-hustle long-term (if that’s what lights you up!). Listen in to hear about how she unapologetically embraces her own definition of success. Plus, catch her best tips for balancing a day job alongside a creative business!
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What do you do for your day job and when did you start your creative endeavor?
So like you said, I am a nonprofit technology consultant. So what that means in real life is that I help nonprofits with their CRM, and all things database-related. So most nonprofits have something where they manage their donor information, and like their fundraising, reporting, and you know, volunteer hours, and all of those different bits and pieces of information and analytics and reporting and such. So I help them with that. And I, you know, focus on business processes, and all of those types of fun things.
And creatively, I’ve been doing calligraphy for about five years. I did it mostly as a hobby, and then took it to more of a business level about three almost four years ago now. And then like you said, with 2020 with a little bit of a slowdown in pace, I was able to add stationery design last year, so I had the little bit of extra time to kind of get that built up the way I wanted to and kind of learn some of the ins and outs
Do you think social media glorifies the “full-time hustle”?
I do think it is a little bit glorified. You know, there are a lot of wonderful resources about how to go full time. And I mean, they especially blew up last year, I think people kind of realize, like, Oh, I want to pursue my dreams, and you know, maybe my day job, let me go or something like that. So I feel like or maybe I was just paying more attention last year, but I do feel like more came out last year. But you know, alternatively, there aren’t a lot of resources about how to balance, having creative is in a day job, it’s, I don’t think it’s just as exciting or as it doesn’t have that, you know, age-old glorification of, you know, you’re your own boss or anything like that. It’s not fun and sexy to have a guide on how to balance your daytime job, your creative business, being a mom or you know, a sister or whatever.
So you know, kind of my hope right now is that for anyone who listens to this is that, even if they’ve already gone full time, or if they’ve never worked a corporate job, or if they still do want to go full time that they can still listen to this and be like, Okay, that makes sense. Because really, it comes down to balance and priorities.
What messages did you start to hear that changed your mind and your mentality?
So I mean, it kind of starts with I feel like I need to acknowledge that part of it was I was unhappy with my full-time job. So I kind of looked at starting to go full time with my creative business. But it was almost mostly as an escape, which I don’t think is the right primary motivator for going full-time. I don’t think that necessarily bodes well.
So, you know, I was super unhappy, to the point that there was one day where I called my husband in the middle of the day, which like I never do, and I’m just sobbing and I’m booing because I’m so unhappy. and bless him. He’s amazing. He’s so sweet. He goes, Okay, stop. He’s like, grab a post-it now. And he’s like, write down Today’s a date to add two years to it. That’s like, okay, and he was like, we’re gonna try to get you full time by that date. And even though that ended up not panning out, like I kept the person out anyway, because just the thought was so sweet. And such a good, you know, motivator. So we start crunching the numbers and all of that, and the numbers are kind of there. I wasn’t fully confident though. Plus, like a year or two felt like a lifetime away. Like, it’s like, I don’t know, if I’m gonna make it that long. You know. So in the meantime, I was still applying to other full-time jobs, but really only if it was like exactly what I was looking for.
So I applied for the job that I have now, actually did the first interview that evening of my birthday of all things like we canceled our dinner plans. My husband ended up working late anyway like it all worked out. But that started a month-long interview process. So the big moment, the big, like, eye-opening empowering moment that came was in the middle of that interview process. I got an email from Joyce and Dianuh from Modern Creative Podcast and at the bottom of that email, the last sentence the closing sentence was “you are not any less of a creative entrepreneur for having a day job.” And Joyce, if you’re listening, reach out, because I need to give you a big old virtual hug like that literally impacted my life.
And I actually went back and looked at my phone, I screenshotted that email. And the date on my phone on the screenshot said November 10. I accepted my day job nine days later, and I was able to do so feeling so empowered and knowing that like, I can do this, I can do both. It just looks different. And I have to accept that and it’s still success. It just comes down to what does success look like to me?
How do you intend to create space for more conversations about doing what’s best for your life & own family?
It started on a really foundational level of like, I had to stop and have one of those like, gut-wrenching head aching, like evaluations of like, my core values, which sometimes people hear that and it feels a little woo-woo but I mean, legitimately I had to stop and think about like, what do I want to achieve in my life? short term and long term? And it can’t be like oh, you know, my family is important to me or Oh, you know, I want to be healthy like it needs to be. No, I sit down and I write down that I value ABC because of this. Like what are My non-negotiables for me like what that looked like was I value stability and consistency. Like I’ve always been that way. So there’s a big difference to me between like, oh, I’m gonna try this new paper I’m feeling, you know, risky today, versus like, Oh, I’m going to give up my steady salary.
What systems & boundaries have you implemented in your own life so you can balance both?
Yeah, so it started with the mindset that time is my most valuable resource like I have to protect it with every ounce of my being. And I try not to plan out like every minute of my day, because most people don’t want to live like that, like, I don’t want to live like that. So I’ve really focused lately on creating a schedule that kind of helps me achieve a flow state, which inherently kind of creates boundaries around my time. And it does take a little bit of like experimenting, you know, I’ve realized that I design better if I’m working on like a stationery suite, I do better working on that at 7:30 in the morning than I do at 8:30 at night, when I’m kind of tired of working a full day, I’m not feeling quite as creative and motivated. So I’ve really focused on like that flow state.
And even you know, in my day job to where sometimes I just need to put my phone on Do Not Disturb. So I’m not checking Instagram or coming up with those messages and stuff like you. You do have to create those boundaries of keeping them separate. It’s also funny, I have to consciously tell myself not to multitask. I need to be fully present. So I can’t be you know, checking Instagram messages while I’m doing a conference call for work like I just can’t do that. So I’m trying to be fully present when I am working on whichever aspect I’m working on. And I say that coming from the perspective of I’ve balanced my business while working in an office, pre-COVID. I have balanced it while traveling a lot for work. So in my prior position, you know, I was traveling for like a full workweek at a time and balancing my business with that, and then you know, currently working from home, which actually comes with more balance issues than most people would realize, because it’s so tempting to just go downstairs at lunch and start working on something, you know, it’s harder to step away. So I would say that’s also, you know, besides kind of the typical points of, you know, you guys have talked about automating and outsourcing and you know, making sure you’re investing in a CRM, and maybe taking the time to set it up correctly and all of that, but outside of those, you know, just making sure that I’m prioritizing my time.
What advice do you have for preventing burnout?
Yeah, so just finding the best times to do everything that fit kind of my personal flow. And also creating those specific times for rest, too, it’s very easy to get caught up in that actually made a joke to one of my co-workers the other day that like, Yeah, when I’m not working, I’m working. And that’s probably not the best mindset to have. So something I instituted pretty recently is like, for example, Friday nights, I sign off work at five or six o’clock, whatever it is, and I don’t do either a job for Friday night. And it has to be very intentional. And that’s probably I guess, my biggest like, takeaway there is that you have to be so intentional with not letting yourself get carried away with working either one or the other. There’ll be times where, you know, my day job picks up and is super busy. Because it’s project-based and projects ebb and flow just like weddings do. So I’m not saying you have to be, you know, very much a planner type to be successful. You don’t, but you do have to plan to be successful.
How has the BBB community and the A-Z Directory group helped you?
Of course, so it has helped me honestly, like going back to my point about time being my most valuable resource. It saved me so much time, you know, when I talked about, you know, I was just introduced to stationery design over the past year. And when you’re first learning it, it’s a lot to learn, you got to figure out not only how to design stuff, but like, where to get it printed. And that just seemed like such a bear, I was so scared of that aspect. But honestly, it was such a great resource, the directory, and the Facebook group, too.
What’s your favorite thing about the group? Have you found vendors you love?
My favorite thing about the director has got to be the Facebook group. I mean, there’s such a, there’s such a good rapport in there. And everyone is just so helpful. And I mean, there have been times where I’ve, you know, kind of held back on posting because I didn’t want to seem like a total newbie, or a total dum dum. But everyone is so welcoming, and so kind, and it’s really searchable, which I appreciate, you know, going back to the point of like, I got a lot of time, I want to be able to jump in there, use the search feature, find what I’m looking for, and move on. And it’s been really helpful with that.