Eeek! I still can't believe I'm actually writing this blog post! I am currently sat curled up in a blanket, brew in hand with a cat either side of me on the sofa feeling completely and utterly overwhelmed and incredibly lucky... not to mention feeling so happy that I keep letting out random squeaks of excitement!
I'm going to try and pull myself together long enough to write a bit about how I came to leave my day job at Boots and finally make my dream of full time Sunshine a reality. I'll try to keep it short but I'm prone to waffling so can't promise anything... but I will make sure there are pictures!
I guess it all began last year when I took an amazing opportunity to reduce my hours and still stay part of the Christmas team at Boots for three days a week. It meant that I could stay in my awesome day job and help out a colleague who was returning from maternity leave as well as helping my family each week and also focussing a bit more on Hello Sunshine to help cover the bills.
I am super proud and happy to say that the extra time I invested each week since going part time has indeed helped the business grow and you lovely lot have been incredible with your constant support and enthusiasm towards Hello Sunshine too. However, as I highlighted in my 'New Year' blog post in January, unfortunately it wasn't all fun and sunshine as the new pressures I was putting on myself gradually wore me down and I made me ill. It was a BIG wake up call and I had to ask myself some serious questions about what was important because being ill was changing me and how I was coping with life. I didn't like it and I was pretty scared.
I'm not saying that I left my job because it made me ill but the time off from everything last year made me realise just how much stress I was putting myself under and that something had to give. I figured out (with a lot of help!) that I was trying to be too many different things to too many people and inevitably not focussing on anything properly and becoming more ill as time went on.
For me, what it comes down to is that I want to be the best I can be at whatever I put my mind too. Not in a competitive way at all but if I do a job I want to do it right, I want to do it really well and I want to feel happy and proud about what I've done. As it turns out though, with everything I wanted to do last year there weren't enough hours in the day for me to be able to do it all and do it to a high enough standard (no matter how hard I tried!) and it took a pretty scary warning from my body last year to make me realise that I had to take a step back and reassess things.
In the end I found myself having to make a choice about where my focus should be. After realising that I couldn't cope with doing both jobs at the level I wanted to, I ended up considering the possibility of going back to full time hours at Boots vs. leaving altogether to focus on my real passion, my Hello Sunshine business. Just running over the simplified scenarios and recognising my gut reaction to each was enough of a kick up the bum for me- if I couldn't do both jobs equally as well AND maintain a healthy lifestyle, then I had to take the leap and follow my heart and dreams (CHEESY but true!) even if it did mean risking a helluvalot.
I am a little sad that being ill encouraged me to make the jump but here I am with the full support of my family and friends, in a complete daze of excitement and nervousness telling you that I did it. I took a MASSIVE risk, handed in my notice pretty much on impulse and gut feeling and took this huge leap into the unknown! I may not have a solid plan of how I'm going to pay the bills each month but I do know that I am going to enjoy every hour of every working day that I put in to making my business a success.
I am so grateful for the opportunities Boots gave me, from merchandising and brand assistant roles through to junior designer and assistant manager, I learnt so much and gained a great deal from my time there. Not to mention meeting some bloody brilliant people along the way, I mean having a team who all wear yellow on your last day in the office and give you presents so nice that they reduce you to tears is a hard team to walk away from! I will miss them all greatly - the kitties have a lot to live up to now it's just me and them!
The thing I am most grateful for though is you guys, and by 'you guys' I mean everyone who has shown me the love, support and encouragement that I've needed and cherished along the way on my Sunshine journey. From people I've met through school, college, university and all of my jobs to those at craft fairs, pop up events, shops and galleries who have supported my creative adventures... I couldn't do it without you all!
Your kind words, feedback, likes, sharing, purchases and commissions have helped make my dream become a reality and I feel like the luckiest, happiest person in the world! You all make it possible and I can't actually thank you enough! I hope you realise how much customers and fans of sunshine mean to me!
I won't waffle on much more but I will just say that I have lots of special offers, giveaways and plans coming over the coming months to show my appreciation so please do watch this space! I plan on filling it with plenty more sunshine and adventures... but in the mean time THANK YOU again and I hope you enjoyed the read!
I thought I would start my first official day as being self employed (eeeep!) by sharing a recent commission with you all.
You may remember gorgeous little George and Tilly (and their awesome wardrobe!) from a previous Sunshine back in January. Here, they are joined by their lovely Mum Sarah and their cool Aunty Catherine to create an extra special birthday gift for their Grandad's 70th birthday!
Thank you Sarah & Catherine for such a wonderful commission! I absolutely LOVE creating such special Sunshines!