I sat in my chair quietly observing the group I had walked in late to. There were about a dozen of us creatives. I even recall one of the bloggers being an American Idol finalist.
I think we were all a little unsettled about what we were going to talk about.
It was Alt Summit 2013 and I had signed up for a breakout session "Things I'm Afraid To Tell You." The premise being, what things are you afraid to tell your blogging audience or how can you go about sharing the more real and not-so-perfect side to your audience?
When my turn came to share, I explained to a group of strangers how I felt torn. For years, I had successfully grown my creative business. I had wonderful clients, my work was being published nationally, and I was reaching goals right and left. Yet, at the end of the day I still didn't feel like it was enough.
You see, I still had a full-time job.
And of course, I was afraid to tell the world about it.
Partly out of respect for my employer...
(a really big marketing firm where I worked on programs for many products you see on store shelves, hotels you vacation at, and stores you shop in)
...and partly because I held onto the now widely-spread belief that you hadn't made it until you 'went full-time' with your business.
(photo from Making Things Happen 2011 after which I spent years dedicated to the pursuit of quitting my day job.)
"Your dream job doesn't exist! You must create it!" the Pinterest boards all scream.
Yesterday, I posted an Instagram of the view of the building containing the work I've done for 8+ years, and people were giving high-fives and cheers.
"You did it!" everyone seemed to yell in the comments.
I'm happy to report that yes, I did.
In a whirlwind of the last few weeks I did put in my notice…
…and then I happily accepted a job offer with an amazing creative company, Studio Calico.
::Insert Record Player Screech::
Let's rewind to a little over a week ago...
I sat in the kitchen of a dear friend's home sipping on coffee. I shared my fears about making this change and decision and what it meant to my family and frankly, my ego and heart.
I recalled the years of proclaiming this was the year I was leaving! The tears in frustration in how far I'd come and how far I still had to go on some goal line that never seemed quite concrete.
She looked at me and simply stated, "Maybe you've defined this version of success in metrics that maybe don't fit anymore. Maybe you need to redefine your version of success."
That was it. I had held my standard to what the creative world deemed as successful. The idea that you had to make some exciting cinematic story giving notice to leave the big bad corporate world behind.
For years, friends would ask me when I was going to quit my 'day-job.' I always had a half-dozen responses on timing, on money, on anything else that troubled me at the moment. In time, I even helped others in finding peace by making the best where they could in the situation (i.e. day-job) they were in.
But the reality is, I could have quit by now. I simply chose to ignore it.
The even further truth is there is a whole lot of me who still finds fulfillment in the marketing world outside of my own business. One that contributes significantly to my family and to a part of my heart.
Marrying my marketing skills with a growing creative company? The opportunity for this position was something I simply could not pass up.
(photo of Samantha by Nancy Ray Photography at Inspired 2014)
The 48 women in attendance at Inspired 2014 had the treat of getting to know (my new boss!) Samantha Shepard and the Studio Calico company. You can read her blog post recap here. Studio Calico is the industry leader in worldwide delivery of paper crafting kits to over 79 countries. They have an incredible and enthusiastic customer base and doing really BIG things in the creative and craft industries.
In my new role, I'll be leading up the digital marketing programs and managing marketing operations for the main SC brand. In addition, I have the amazing opportunity to work with some super talented creatives and designers like Ali Edwards and the gals at A Beautiful Mess.
As a girl who created her first scrapbook in 1995, was published in the some of the very first scrapbooking magazines, who even had her own product line for a short while, and then 'retired' from the hobby in 2007….
(scrapbook page from 2005)
Quite simply, this is a dream job.
If you had told my 13 year-old self that one day I'd work at a major scrapbooking company, I would have squealed. Scrapbooking has been part of a lot of my life for decades. It's what led me to the suburb we live in now (when my husband's job moved us to Nashville, I hopped on the Two Peas In A Bucket message board to ask what neighborhood we should move to), and friendships with other creatives that I still keep to this day. Scrapbooking was even one of my first dabbles in entrepreneurship - I had a digital scrapbooking site called Citrus Blossoms where I designed downloaded scrapbooking products.
After we were married, and I devoted more time to growing Sweet Life Designs/Amber Housley, scrapbooking fell to the wayside. I've really missed it.
It's amazing to come full circle!
So, you're wondering, can I have my cake and eat it, too? Can I have the dream job and run the Amber Housley brand?
(photo by Nancy Ray Photography at Inspired 2014)
Well, for years I've lived double-if-not-triple lives. I've put on my hat as a wife, mom, career-woman, friend and entrepreneur daily. (My husband is amazing by the way to have such patience and encouragement!)
Most days, I do pretty good, but there are some days when I want to hide under the covers.
I sometimes proclaim, "I just want to be a normal mom!"
But, I'm not normal. I'm somehow programmed to work at this higher level and I'm embracing it with care.
As I mentioned earlier this week and alluded on social media, I've realized in order to be successful, I need to edit. In the pursuit of my empire-expansion (seriously, I've referred to it as an empire at times) I had a gut-check these last couple of weeks. Slow and steady has been my mantra, but this last year we've been more fast and furious as I've rolled out a mile-long implementation plan of projects that were entirely unreasonable.
This was also after I gave birth to our second child. One of the biggest blessings with her joining our family is her ability to make me realize how short this time we all have is. That we can spend it doing something we're just okay with...or we can spend it really fired up and making what matters happen (that last part is something Making Things Happen really dives into - so grateful to be a part of it again in a few weeks!).
So, for the time being, at AH we are going to be focusing on two things that we do really well around here and bring me joy: Weddings & Inspired. I'm excited about expanding the small but mighty team very soon (stay tuned this week!) and for the most part, it will be business as usual around here. We're thrilled about our 2015 wedding clients and already firming up details for a fabulous Inspired 2015.
This next chapter feels like a fresh new canvas to me. To work on a dream job daily and continue with my own dream work in my business seems like the best possible scenario.
Of course, it also feels really, really freeing in sharing this part of my life with you.
I hope this long-winded story brings encouragement to some of you. You could say I'm leading the charge in a new breed of entrepreneurs who find their passions lie in more than one pretty little creative bucket.