Some of you may have already read it on my Instagram : I officially quit my job on March 24th 2016 and I'm in the process of creating my own business, yay !
My Mum wasn't shocked about it and actually, I can't remember anybody disagreeing with my choice. I'm not a hot-headed person to begin with and my decision had matured long ago already, so I wouldn't have retreated even if they tried anyway. So now, I'll try and answer the questions I've been asked the most.
Why would you take the step NOW ?
Many things piled up and it became too much in September 2015.
1. Personally, I've been very depressed for a couple of years and my Mum and friend being far away didn't really help me crawl my way up. I did try to feed my blog and deviantArt regularly but I couldn't keep the distance.
2. Financially, I lost spending power for 4 years. I got a pay raise last year but I would have had to work till 2017 to make up for the cumulated loss and to start actually being "positive". My earnings are comfortable but for some reason, saving money became impossible. I've been taking cello lessons since 2012 so of course, my spendings increased BUT a month worth of private lessons + instrument rental + insurance is only HALF of what I used to save each month. Then how come I can't save anymore AND that I even have to draw from my saving books ? Aren't I supposed to earn more for working more ??? I finally found a purpose for it and I was supposed to have a cello crafted. Each time I draw from it, it feels like dying a little inside. This is not enough to buy an instrument anymore -I can buy a bow still- but it is still enough a buffer for a whole year of unemployment, without tightening my belt too much.
Moreover, although my earnings are comfortable, I can't move out because I can't get an other rental. In France, it is not who you are, who you become that matters, it is where you are from and who your parents are. Earning 3.5 times the rent is not enough, you need someone to act as a guarantor. And this person is expected to earn 2.5 times as much as yourself. Usually, both of your parents would do the job. Firstly, I only got my Mum. Secondly, I AM the one earning twice her income. My Mum is a labourer, she took so many loans to raise my sister and I, there was no way I'd walk that path too. I got my degrees with the anxiety not being able to afford them knotting my stomach for 4 years. I chose business and narrowed down to accountancy because this field is very dynamic and that you can find a job rather easily -which happens to be true given that I haven't been unemployed in 11 years.
Monarchy was overturned back in 1789, but the mentalities haven't changed much. Climbing the social ladder is NOT rewarding in my country ; your social background is either an entry ticket or a burden for your whole life.
To sum up : I make a living, I earn enough to pay income taxes but too much to get financial assistance -which is fair- and at the same time, I don't earn enough to get a new rental. On top of that, I can't save money anymore and I'm even using my savings to get through.
Which leads to the conclusion : If whatever I do I barely make a living, I'd rather do a job that REALLY pays little. Entrepreneur is one. And while launching my activity, I'll be considered unemployed which allows my application for council estate.
3. Professionally, 2015 was a TERRIBLE year.
My 4-year colleague quit in a rush during the last quarter of 2014, two accountants succeeded each other but didn't have the skills so I ran my department solo most of the time. I'm known for being detail-oriented and each time I'd do the work for the sake of it being done, my heart would shrink. This is not how I want to do my work. It's Ok if it's not super duper clean once in a while, you can be in a hurry and it's normal, but when you have to cut corners ALL THE TIME, it becomes disheartening.
If you add colleagues' toxicity to legal pressure, it ends up in a burnout. In September 2015, this was the third one within this company and this is what triggered it all. I informed my boss a few weeks later and gave him my resignation letter : my contract would end on March 24th 2016, after the year end operations are done, after the balance sheet is finalised. This also left him 6 months to care about my replacement and task handover. I was supposed to get no unemployment allowance and no severance pay afterwards, however, my boss came back to me a few days later, asking for clarifications. He then told me I shouldn't quit "with nothing", "after all that was done for the company" and offered that we settled it amicably.
They threw a "farewell party" for me the last day, I cried so much ! I'll detail this in a separate entry, I have some photos that still need editing ;)
So, you're finally freelancing ?
Nope and I've never ever thought of it. What I do is called self-publishing, i.e. on top of creating the content, I take care of printing and distributing myself. While a freelancer lives off royalties, I retain all rights on my work. The financial investment sure is bigger, but the freedom is too.
I'm open to edited work, however that would require me to register at Maison des artistes and that part of the paperwork is out of my comfort zone. Companies and entrepreneurs are my thing, I've been doing that stuff for a decade and calculating my margin is no sweat. Royalties are a whole new world.
Oh, that's cool, are you going to publish your own comic books/mangas ?
I'm a TERRIBLE storyteller. I don't have the natural skills and I've considered taking classes for this. But life is too short and there are so many things I'd like to be good at. I'm decent at drawing, paper folding, card making and if I push, I can get better at Latin calligraphy, book binding and painting. I take private cello lessons so I'll get there somehow too. As for sewing, paper cutting, wire jewelry, cardistry, quilling, nail art, I think I'll dabble till the end. However, I may change my mind later on, you never know.
Wait a minute, what are you publishing then ?
Sketchbooks and artbooks :D There won't be stories per se but they'll feature my original characters and tell about them through symbols and allegories.
I'll also be selling prints as well as paper crafts such as handmade books, among which origiami starbooks, greeting cards and so on.
Are you gonna make a living out of it ? Do you have any orders already ?
Nope and nope. If I succeed in getting a part-time income from it within a year, that would be great honestly. I start from scratch : I'm invisible on social networks, I don't publish content regularly, I don't have a consequent fanbase, so of course, I won't be making a living out of it at first. In the meantime, I have my buffer and if need be, I can find a part time job fairly easily. When headhunters contact you based on a 4-year-old resumé, it's obvious that skilled accountants who are fluent in English are an endangered species.
What are your plans now ?
Objective : Launching on July 1st 2016
Although my registration form is ready, I can't send it before I actually start business. Financial support runs for a limited time and I'd like to benefit from it as much as possible. Considering it goes by quarter, I chose July 1st to make the paperwork easier.
Till then, I'm going to :
0. Chill out and relax as much as possible until June.
I had paid days off throughout 2015 but that was just a couple of days at a time. Don't get me wrong, this is veeeeery nice and some countries don't even have paid days off. I just need an actual break, I haven't breathed since my colleague resigned and I totally deserve those 47 paid days off. To get an idea, 30 days = 5 weeks is what you acquire in a year.
1. Finalise my unemployment agency registration to apply for financial support for business creation.
2. Finish spring cleaning.
3. Create and build my portfolio.
On a side note, I'm job hunting for part-time jobs and I didn't expect the headhunters to QUESTION me about my activity. I mean, they're NOT asking casually, they're really intense about it. I thought I was applying for a position as an accountant, why do I feel like being interrogated about my skills as a crafter instead of my skills as an accountant ? I'll go with my portfolio to the next interviews but really, I don't understand why I'd justifiy myself to this extent...
4. Join the life drawing classes 4 streets away from home and also the next Sketchcrawl.
5. Post regular content on my blog, Instagram and deviantArt.
6. Purchase a domain name and move my website over there.
6. Set up my online store and start working on my SEO.
Technically, my store is up and running, however I don't wish to start getting traffic BEFORE purchasing the domain name, otherwise I'd have to do my SEO twice.
7. Open a professional bank account and get a professional mobile number.
8. Get an appointment to the dentist and to the ophtalmologist.
9. Save for a trip to my hometown to see my Mum in June.
For a moment, I thought of making a "Send me home" commission campaign in order to raise funds. As a bonus, I'd send an exclusive print with a handwritten message from both my Mum and I when I'd get there. She's got reaaaaaaally beautiful handwriting, traditional English cursive, learnt through the use of nibs and ink back in the day. But I'm not sure people would be interested in this, sending postcards and penpalling is so old fashioned. People are ALWAYS so shocked that I seldom call my Mum : we write letters and send cards to each other instead, duh !
10. Complete "21 pieces till redemption".
11. Invest in an HP scanner. And definitely equipment to make nice photos too (camera, tripod, lamps, reflectors...).
To be done later later :
12. Get a custom stamp with my logo and website address.
13. Do a hair mask.
14. Craft some more moisturizing cream.
What I've already done :
a. Organize nicely my pattern paper rolls.
b. Organize my entrance and sofa area.
c. Bind 3 drawers of old arts.
d. Roughly sort most of the paper piles scattered in my craft room into 3 big stacks : administrative, sketches, blank.
e. Join Convention INoubliable volunteering team for their event planned this autumn.
f. Plan my portfolio content and design. Because I do book binding, I'll make the covers and bind the pouches using coptic stitch. Now I just need to decide which pouches to calculate the exact measurements.
g. Recycle a box to sort my postal stamps and gather all of the used stamps I collected from work.
All that's left now is keep going and going through my to-do list.
If you're still here, thank you for reading, it really means a lot. And let's see how far I can go from now on c: