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One year full-time!

A year ago I left my 9-5 office job to become a full-time creative. It had been a dream of mine since my teenage years to be an entrepreneur and to run my own business. Of course, growing up, I never ever would have thought that I'd be running an art business! Discovering calligraphy made art accessible to me and I loved the idea of running a business based on something that I was truly passionate about.

It has now been a year since I went full-time and I can't believe how this year has flown by. I feel as though I haven't achieved much because I tend to get tunnel vision in my business about what's ahead but I've actually done a lot in the last year since being full-time.

Some milestones are small and some are big but all of them should be celebrated. Here's what I've achieved in the year since becoming full-time:

  • Updated my workshop workbook to be better quality

  • I reignited my relationship with a local venue for workshops

  • I connected with two new venues for workshops

  • I relaunched my workshops and had several sell out!

  • Worked on SEO and now rank 1st locally

  • 1st organic enquiry due to SEO

  • Multiple commission requests via organic traffic

  • Most expensive commission yet

  • Charged my 1st rush fee

  • Received 1st referral from other local calligrapher

  • Relaunched my YouTube channel

  • Recorded 1st YouTube collab video

  • Recorded my 1st Instagram reel

  • Started weekly email newsletters

  • Created 1st calligraphy course

  • Sold multiple course tickets for £175

  • Professional photoshoot

  • Attended local networking events

  • Connected with other calligraphers around the world

  • Made a biz bestie

  • Sold workbook and pen sets

  • Created 7 different workbooks (plus updated old ones)

  • First 5 star review on Google

  • Ran coaching calls for other calligraphers

  • Received referrals from previous students

  • Replaced my full-time income in some months

  • Started creating my 1st passive course for intermediate calligraphy

  • 30+ blog posts about calligraphy and creative biz ownership

  • Created 3 freebies for calligraphers / creative biz owners

  • Ran a private workshop

  • Set up and ran a new Facebook group and Instagram account

  • Started using Pinterest for my business

It was really interesting creating this list as I'd forgotten I'd done a lot of it. What this list doesn't showcase though is that there was a lot of imposter syndrome and a bunch of tears and fears to work through.

What I also want to talk about is how the experience itself was.


I remember the feeling of leaving my 9-5, feeling completely burntout from working my notice period as I was so keen to start working on my biz.

It took me a couple of weeks to recover before I started working out what I actually wanted to do. I knew that I wanted to get back to teaching workshops so this was my starting point but that I only took up so much time in the day. I can't actually remember much of what I did in the first couple of months, I just know that I felt like I could take a breath for the first time in years.

There was definitely a honeymoon period where I felt very relaxed and like the world was my oyster.

Something that I noticed is that I have a "now what?" attitude. I always think about the next project that will challenge me. I think this impacts my motivation as I'm driven by the next challenge but I forget to celebrate the wins that I've made.

What I've found is that there's always going to be stuff that you enjoy and stuff that you don't enjoy, even when working for yourself BUT because you work for yourself you can work towards cutting out the stuff you dislike as much as possible. For example, I realised that I loved sharing my knowledge with other people and used to create YouTube videos to do this but I disliked the recording and the editing. The part that I really loved was the writing. So I shifted my focus to blogging as now absolute love creating content.

Working for yourself is much more flexible in this regard that a full-time job where it's likely that you'll have the same responsibilities day-in, day-out for years potentially.

Changing a hobby to a business does change your relationship with it. The stress of having to earn from it to pay bills has tainted my experience. I have to admit that I had a grass is greener view but I still absolutely working for another business. I believe that the financial stress element will ease with time as I settle into my business. Despite the stress at times, I do still get moments where I feel really proud of myself such as when I see an envelope job completed, after I've taught a workshop or receive a glowing review.


Am I a millionaire yet? Sadly not (yet).

Is it a salary replacement yet? Not consistently but there have been several months where I’ve made the equivalent of my salary so that’s good progress.

I believe that it’s easy to overestimate what you can achieve when you first go full-time but when you take a step back and stop to realise what you’ve actually achieved it’s really not so bad.

I was initially hyper focused on month by month earnings and felt sad when I had a really bad month. For example, in October I had one of my best months, replacing my salary and then in November I made less than £100!! Guess which month I dwelled on?

When I looked at the last year though, my income has improved with each quarter which I think is more important. It's important to look at the overall trend rather than looking at things on a month by month basis.

Something that also needs to be taken into consideration is that my business has undergone a lot of changes in the last year as I work out what I want to do. Once I settle into a business activity, I imagine financial consistency will follow. For example, workshops have been my most consistent business activity and they have also been my most consistent and profitable income stream.

I'm going to be completely honest, running your own business is stressful from a financial perspective, at least from where I'm standing. What I do understand though is that my business is still in its infancy really. I'm confident that time will alleviate a chunk of the stress from the financial side of running a business.

One reason I’ve been working on a passive course this year is because I’d like to create a base income level that’s more consistent. It’s hard to create consistency with live courses which are launched every few months.


Running a business hasn't just impacted my working life, it's impacted my personal life in many ways too.

Social life:

I'm an extravert and I knew that leaving an office environment where I see familiar friendly faces 5 days out of the week would be something I would miss.

This adjustment was made easier though because I had been on furlough in a lockdown for the majority of 2020. It was a really difficult adjustment for me in 2020 and I suffered with bouts of loneliness but I eventually learnt to enjoy my company more. However, unlike last time, we were no longer in lockdown and I could be more proactive with socialisation!

I started attending monthly networking events for biz owners and then joined a group of biz owners that met more frequently. I also met with another creative biz owner online on a weekly basis which was a huge blessing from a social perspective.

I'd actually argue that I'm now more social than ever!


Something I got really caught up on at first was having a routine. I actually felt guilty that I didn't have a routine in place. I also felt incredibly lazy for not getting up for a 9am start, particularly as I used to get up at 5.30 for work previously. I just could not seem to motivate myself to get up and felt a big sense of guilt for not being "productive".

I then received a suggestion to simply shift to a later starting time. It seemed like such a simple suggestion I felt silly for not thinking of it. I just got so caught up in this idea of lie ins = laziness. Since shifting to a 10am start the guilt has been alleviated.

I still don't have a daily routine persay but I don't try to start at 10 and finish at 5pm.

Something that I really struggled with is work life balance. There were months where I’d work as soon as I woke up until I went to sleep. There was no downtime. There was no switching off.

When I’m stressed, I find myself wanting to work to get "on top of things" so the more stressed I was the more I’d work. But what happens when you’re stressed and overwork yourself is that you get burnt out. I’d then take time off to recover and have reduced income.

Something I’ve started to introduce is flex time so any overtime has to be taken off during that months working hours. That has helped massively. I feel less motivated to work in the evenings because I know it means I’ll have to take time off later so it’s not really getting on top of things. It’s helped me to actually switch off more and to start enjoying evening and weekends again.


One of the biggest misconceptions I had about working for myself is that I'd automatically become a new person, one that was motivated to exercise daily and to build better lifestyle habits.

The naivety is funny to me now. Despite the fact that I'm not a completely changed person (shocker!), I did actually start exercising more. I tried running for the first time ever (I genuinely thought I was going to have to have someone pick me up on that first run as I was on the verge of collapsing). I had no excuse to not try it out and I actually started to enjoy it from time to time. I’m still by no means an active person, but I'm more active than before.

A habit that I built into my life during 2020 when I was at home were daily walks. Looking back, I cannot believe that I spent years where I would only go outside for a walk at the weekends. Getting outside is such a help with mental health but when I worked in the office there was no-where locally that was safe to walk and by the time I got home, I was too exhausted to do anything. Daily walks are now something that are back in my routine and so important!

Now let's talk about sleep. I LOVE sleep. I know that everyone loves sleep but I genuinely struggle to focus on anything less than 8 hours. I suffer with insomnia fairly regularly and that lack of sleep impacts my mood and ability to be productive. There are still times where I'm so physical exhausted that I stuggle to think clearly and feel like crying. The difference now though? I can go for a nap when my body really needs it.

Same thing for headaches. I'm a headache and migraine sufferer and feeling as though I'd have to power through a full days work when I felt terrible was not a fun experience. Now though, I can step away from my desk and sleep it off if necessary.

Overall experience

Working for myself has been a rollercoaster with ups and downs and I have no regrets.

I feel as though I've grown the most that I ever have during this year. I've grown personally and professionally and it's been such a unique experience. I still feel as though I've only just started which is both scary and exciting.

I'm so grateful for the friends that I've made in the last year and for the students that have joined me in my workshops and courses or have engaged with my other content.

If going full-time is something that you'd like to do, I'm offering free 30 minute coaching calls where we can chat about what you can do to make it happen.

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