When Julie Ann Art became your full-time job did you notice an increase in sales?
What made me feel confident in quitting my day job was that sales were already increasing. I was seeing consistent growth over a long period of time. Of course, the goal of any new business is to increase sales, and that is what I have been able to put more focus on since going full-time.
One thing I did strategically was plan when I quit. I went full-time in September. Rather than quitting in the summer, when sales are generally slower for my product, I knew that in the Fall the holiday sales would pick up and that Valentine’s Day was right around the corner after that.
What types of things did you do to assure that it was enough to maintain yourself financially?
I made a list of all my monthly bills….rent, phone, car insurance, student loans, etc. I knew that health insurance was an additional expense I’d have since I’m not married so I researched for an estimated price on that. And you know, it’s scary. It’s scary to total up that amount, the bare minimum of what you have to pay per month, without including any “luxuries” like clothes or entertainment.
It’s also scary to then look at your monthly income. I repeatedly (obsessively) checked my monthly income for the year of 2012. I use Outright.com to link all my accounts and easily track my income through Etsy, my blog, and wholesale accounts.
Thinking back, I remember that in March 2012, I didn’t make that bare minimum amount I would’ve needed for bills. I remember thinking “I wouldn’t have even made rent that month.” And it scared me. Maybe I wasn’t ready. Maybe I wouldn’t be able to cut it on my own during slow months like March.
But now I feel so fortunate that I can say, here I am in March 2013, doing fine, kicking March 2012’s little ass. It’s such a hard gamble you know? You want to be prepared so you calculate and crunch numbers to try to foresee and plan out your self-employed future. But really, I think a lot of it you just have to feel in your heart. (Sap!) I knew my business was ready.
Have you had to adjust any of your spending habits now that you are doing JAA full time?
I would definitely say I’m more “money conscious” but in general I have never been a huge spender. Maybe I’m a dork, but I like saving. I guess I’d have to thank my parents for teaching me how to be responsible with money. I have always been this way, even before I worked for myself. I think that helped me build the savings that made me feel more comfortable with quitting my job.
I have definitely unsubscribed from a lot of e-mails from clothing sites that could possibly tempt me into purchasing something I don’t really need (just want!). I got a French press to make my morning coffee instead of buying $4.00 lattes from Starbucks (now they’re just treats for special occasions). I started taking the extra trip to the Farmer’s Market to get better prices on my produce. So I guess I’m just taking little disciplined steps that in the long run can make a bigger effect on my expenses.
Phew, we are getting personal aren’t we?! Not the easiest thing to talk about money and sales on here! Hope I did ok. :]