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Three years as a full-time calligrapher

Three years ago I left my 9-5 office job to become a full-time calligrapher. Back in 2022, I got a part-time job to supplement my income. I still consider calligraphy my full-time position as I primarily work on my business, with the intention of it permanently becoming my sole focus.

A full-time calligrapher working on a greeting card

Some milestones are small and some are big but all of them should be celebrated. 

Here's what I've achieved in the last year since becoming full-time:

  • Pitched myself and Interviewed on BBC Radio Gloucestershire

  • I booked 2 private calligraphy classes with universities

  • Launched workshops in Bristol

  • I hit 1000 IG followers

  • I took over a networking group for women in business

  • I booked a private class with a networking member

  • I took 2 weeks annual leave

  • Came back for season 2 of the Hobby to Hustle podcast

  • Completed core content for both my memberships

  • Booked 5 students onto my Christmas course

  • Launched my own course platform

  • First live calligraphy event in a massive shopping centre

  • I gained more members in my C2C membership

  • Hosted my first solo networking meeting

  • I hit 1000 email subscribers

  • Left my part-time job

  • Sold my first calligraphy bundle

  • Launched my first Facebook ad funnel and made a sale

  • First SmarterQueue affiliate sale

  • Sold my first ticket on the ClassBento site

  • Created and hosted The Workbook Workshop

  • Booked 4 people onto my Spring Calligraphy Course

  • A university rebooked me for a private class

  • Created materials and ran Boost Your Bookings

  • Applied for my first bundle

  • My memberships felt more like a community

  • Created a new calligraphy workbook (summer practice workbook)

  • Created two year's worth of pins on SmarterQueue

  • Took over a local Facebook group with 10,000 members

  • My YouTube accrued more views despite not uploading much

  • My workbook sales were at a high

  • My blog views have accrued over 1 million impressions

  • Hit 500 YouTube subscribers

It was really interesting creating this list as I'd forgotten I'd done a lot of it and had to refer to my journals to remind me. 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.


2023 I was busy creating modules for both The Creative Biz Success Society and The Class to Course Method. I was working towards a module per membership per month, and honestly I found myself getting a bit burnt out with it but I was so happy when I had two completed memberships!

Throughout half of 2023 I had a part-time position. I found that this position was taking up a lot of my brain space and I had more difficulty working on my calligraphy business so I handed in my notice so that I could work on my calligraphy business five days a week again. I was excited about what I would do with all that free time again.

Mid way through 2023 I launched Facebook ads for a calligraphy freebie and I seen my mailing list shoot up in numbers. This was a really exciting time as I seen my audience grow. You can noticeably see below when I launched these Facebook ads.

Growing my mailing list

Because I wanted to utilise Facebook ads and funnels more, in combination with wanting a more affordable option than Teachable who was hiking up the price on me, I switched to Conversion Blueprint Funnels. This meant creating a second site (which I called Pens to Profit) but on Wordpress, and manually uploading all my content to the new platform.

This was a stressful experience as I was working towards a deadline of my annual Teachable subscription ending. Despite having access to tutorials, Wordpress was not intuitive like Wix or Teachable and took a lot of time. I got there in the end though and breathed a sigh of relief once it was done. Yes, it wasn't user-friendly on the backend like Teachable, but it did look prettier and in the long-term my investment in the platform will pay off.

Also happening later in 2023 was my first live calligraphy gig. I'd been approached by an agency about doing work at a shopping centre an hour away from me. The travel wasn't so much the issue as the imposter syndrome I felt. Being from a non-wealthy family background I've never felt I belonged in "branded" shops and receiving a guide saying that if I wasn't well presented enough I'd be turned away just kicked up my level of anxiety. I did it though, and I'm so pleased I was able to tick this item off my calligraphy bucket list.

A live event calligrapher experience

After a busy couple of years creating content in both 2022 for my Calligraphy Confidence Course, and then in 2023 with my two memberships, I was feeling a bit fried when it came to content creation. At the same time, I know that I love thinking up new ideas which can often lead me to overcommitting my capacity to do things without burnout.

All my attention went to content creation, rather than marketing which meant that all this wonderful content I had wasn't being seen. On the Hobby to Hustle podcast I therefore set myself a goal in 2024 to not launch any new courses. Instead, I was going to focus on improving and marketing what I already had and it paid off!

For example, my memberships which I had spent a YEAR making finally gained some more members as I talked about it. Who would have thought making people aware of something would make them more likely to buy it?

Having more members increased my fulfilment of running the memberships. Previously, they had been running at a loss as I'd hoped they'd eventually grow. At one point I only had two members (who I'm grateful for) but I love having more members as there is more of a flourishing community (excuse the pun!).

I haven't launched any new courses or memberships for the last 6 months and thought I would be desperate by now to launch a new one, but honestly it's the opposite. I actually feel like the 6 months has flown by and left me wanting to spend more time refining what I already have. Yes, I still do get shiny object syndrome but I work to quieten it down so that I can work on my existing business resources.

Now that the core content of my memberships is created, I've found myself better able to balance calligraphy and memberships which is something that I'd struggled with last year. Speaking of calligraphy, something I noticed is that a lot of my pictures of calligraphy that I use to promote are 2-3 years old and are in need of a refresh. This should be a fun project to work on though whilst I'm in my era of refreshing my business.

I had increased the number of workshops I offer in 2024 which meant tripling my workshop load. I'll get more into that later.


Part-time job:

I had a part-time job throughout half of 2022 and most of 2023. This was a great way to relieve stress financially but it also meant that I could invest in my business. I was able to pay for courses, new software and pay for multi-annual subscriptions. I was also able to cover my membership costs whilst I created the content.

For the first time in a while, I was able to contribute to my household finances consistently and that increased my self-esteem.

However, due to my part-time job taking up too much mental energy, I left it towards the tail end of 2023. This time I felt optimistic about what I could achieve to be met with one of the quietest years ever.

The quietest year ever:

Ok, so whilst it wasn't financially the worst year, workshops which have been my main source of income for years have been very quiet. Workshops which would normally have 6-8 people in were having 3 or having to be cancelled.

I had launched triple the number of workshops in 2024 but was still selling the same number of tickets. I essentially was doing triple the work for the same pay which as you can imagine was very disheartening.

A calligrapher teaching a calligraphy class

I was comforted by the fact I wasn't alone and my members, and business friends of varying industries said they had also been experiencing a downturn.

I also take comfort in knowing that I am trying my hardest, using the same methods as previous years and know that I am not to blame, and my goal now is to weather this storm.

I was also lucky in diversifying my business to coaching fellow creatives as this supplemented some of my income. They were by no means bringing in big money, but at least now they were covering the cost of running them.

This is getting expensive:

Ok, so whilst it wasn't financially the worst year, workshops which have been my main source of income have been very quiet. Workshops which would normally have 6-8 people in were having 3 or having to be cancelled.

My costs have increased A LOT. I have my membership costs which are an expense I didn't have in the early parts of my business, I was also investing in training for myself, and I was running Facebook ads which were a huge chunk of costs too.

Whilst I'm so happy to have growing my mailing list to over 1,000 this meant I went over their plan threshold and had to pay the 1-3K subscriber rate.

My revenue has increased:

So yes, whilst my costs have gone up, I'm really happy to see that my revenue has also increased. In fact, it's increased by 70% compared to last year which is a massive win!


Business and personal lives often intersect each other. I got engaged in early 2023 which meant wedding planning was ramping up throughout the year, which caused some stress. I ended up taking days out of my business to focus on wedding tasks that were stressing me out. Here are some other ways my personal life have been impacted the last year.

Social life:

I've taken over a networking group which has helped me to put myself out there a bit more. As someone that is a bit shy, this has been out of my comfort zone but good for me at the same time.

With family and friend events though, I struggled a bit more the last year. With increased anxiety and a busier schedule I found it tricky to prioritise friends and family when I felt the urge to work and try to reduce my anxiety.

The times I did prioritise social events though were well worth it and I'm happy to have freedom over my schedule.


When I was prepping to leave my part-time job I naively went back to thinking that I'd become this super duper organised person who loves getting up at 8am, which again, just isn't like me, and a mistake I made when I left my full-time job originally.

However, this time I have been more relaxed about having a set start time and just enjoying my freedom in schedule again.

Something I tried to do was relax a bit before starting my day. Whether this meant reading a book or playing on my Switch Lite. This led to happier mornings in general. I have also set time restrictions of apps to reduce the likelihood of doom scrolling for an hour in bed before starting my day and I've been able to cut down my phone time by an hour each day!

I try to not work in the evenings and do a better job of this unless I'm going through a period of high stress. I have also done a really great job of taking Saturdays off. This has done wonders for me and I feel like I can finally take a proper break each week to not think about the business.


I don't have much to say about this except I make the most of the chance to get a lie in most days! My mental health has also improved since working for myself again full-time.

Overall experience in my three years as a full-time calligrapher

This was a really interesting post to write. To be honest, I was worried that there wasn't going to be much to say.

I think as there are less "firsts" it can feel like there isn't as much to share, but on the other side of it, I've hit some cool milestone numbers such as finally hitting 1K email subscribers, 1K IG followers, 500 YouTuber subscribers and 1M blog impressions.

I'm interested going into the next year, I genuinely have no idea what to expect!


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