You might have seen on my Instagram that I’ve made quite a few professional changes over the last few months. I’ve been scared shitless, doubted myself, but ultimately decided to take some big leaps and make some big professional changes.
I’m sharing how and why I left my comfy corporate design career for freelance, and why it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.
Yep, I’m just a girl who decided to go for it.
I’m sharing my little story in case it might inspire just one person out there to go for it. Stop doubting yourself!
**Oh, I’m also sharing lots of (phone + desktop wallpapers + printable) freebies, so make sure you scroll all the way down for the download link.**
A little back story…
A few months ago I left a decently cushy creative director-type of job that I had held for about five years. I loved the company and the co-workers that came with it, but I just burnt out and felt uninspired (and the one-hour each way commute didn’t help much).
I took a new design job doing something very similar, but for an even smaller company that was very close to my house. The short commute, fun co-workers, and new subject matter were nice little changes to keep me feeling inspired, but like many creatives and side hustlers, I always had that nagging feeling that I just had to someday soon take the CHANCE on myself. I knew I wouldn’t be truly happy until I did.
I was working 40 hour weeks and then going home to do the nightly mommy routine. Once Viv went to bed, I would get to work on my side hustle, which includes this blog, a graphic design and photography business, and monthly live TV segments. Not to mention, we’re living in a fixer upper that we’re flipping whenever we find time (like never, ha).
I was always SO TIRED, and never had much down time.
I knew I couldn’t keep going at this pace. I’ve always wanted to work from home, to set my own hours, and to have more flexibility in my career. I knew that in order for me to achieve those things I’d have to leave the safety net of my 15-year stint in the corporate world. But with combined household salaries that aren’t super impressive, a mortgage, and daycare costs. I was just too scared to take the risk.
One day over my lunch break I was scrolling Instagram, and saw a post that has changed my path, and one I am EVER so grateful for.
A local Kansas City company, Hello Big Idea was hiring for a part-time creative position that seemed so far up my alley it wasn’t even funny. I had been following HBI for awhile and had always been impressed by their work. I applied immediately.
I figured that this could be the answer I was looking for. Work part-time from home (30-40 hours a week) for Ashley, a badass female creative entrepreneur, designing killer branding and Squarespace websites for amazing clients. Dream job!
I heard back pretty quickly, and had an interview within a week or so. The interview (over a beer) went amazingly well. I felt like I’d known Ashley forever. It was easy and fun. Just what I was hoping for. She was headed out on a week-long vacation, and had some other interviews lined up afterward, so I patiently waited a couple of weeks until I got the call from her at 4:00 pm on a Friday.
I got the job!
I was over the moon happy, but feeling guilty because that meant that I had to put my notice in at the job I had only been at for a little over 90 days. Yikes.
The following Monday I put my notice in, and felt terrible to be leaving them without a designer right before their big convention and a complete rebrand, so I offered to stay on as a contract designer. I wasn’t sure what they’d say, but I wanted to offer it as an option.
I wrote up a proposal and they accepted. I was so relieved that I wasn’t leaving them completely hanging, and could keep them as a client. Sigh of relief.
Jump ahead two weeks…
I started the new gig at HBI and have been absolutely LOVING it! It’s so fun it doesn’t even feel like work. That’s huge for me.
I’ll be honest, it’s been a little tricky balancing everything some days. Lots of dings from email notifications going on around here, haha! Things are a little crazier now than I expect them to be in the near future (due to the upcoming convention for my previous employer). I’ve also added a couple more clients on top of my usuals. It’s been nuts, but I’m not complaining one bit. 🙂
We still send Vivi to her Montessori school, so that really helps me concentrate and GSD throughout the day. I’m settling into a routine now. I love that I can go outside and take a quick walk at 10 am if I’m feeling like I need a creative break. And as I write this at 3:30 on a Friday, I’m actually getting ready to head out the door for a 90 minute massage (an amazing birthday gift from the hubby).
The freedom and flexibility is absolutely wonderful. My favorite part.
So I’m still a little crazy and tired some days, but I’m just so happy that I took the leap. It’s a really good feeling, and less scary than I was imaging it to be. What a relief!
The best news: I’m actually making double the income of what I was making before (so far). We’ll see how that ebbs and flows over the year, but so far so good.
I’m honestly just really proud of myself for taking the leap. It’s not always easy, but so far it’s everything I had hoped for. Sometimes I have to pinch myself because I can’t believe this is my life.
I’ll be sharing more as more time goes by. Anyone else out there wanting so badly to take the leap? Or have you just recently taken the leap yourself? I would so love to hear from you!
**Oh, and about those freebies. You can download the printables, phone, and desktop wallpapers here. Lots of options to choose from!**
I hope you like them!
6 thoughts on “MY STORY // HOW + WHY I LEFT MY CORPORATE DESIGN CAREER FOR FREELANCE”
Audrey can I just say, GO YOU! There is something very ‘fate’ like as I came across your post. First of all, I work in corporate design job myself (technical apparel design) and I am that creative girl just hustling away at all hours at something I know will one day be bigger than me. (Or so I hope and so my husband says!) Currently rebranding/redesigning my site as well as my overall mission here in internet land! 😉 I love hearing your story and I am so proud of you, even if we don’t know one another! You took a chance at the unknown and it worked out and for that you should be dancing for joy. I hope the new lifestyle works out well for you and your family and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for you. HBI is lucky to have you!
Wow, Taryn! This is the best message I’ve ever received. Thank you so much!! This means so much to me. I already love your blog, and can’t wait to go through it tonight. 🙂
Thanks again, and best of luck to you in your hustle, lady!
CONGRATULATIONS! I’m new to your blog but it looks like you do an amazing job – keep up the great work!
Thank you very much, D!!
I am so happy for you! When you feel burnt out you should ALWAYS change something. I know, that as an 18 year old giving this advice, no one really takes it seriously because with change always comes some instability. You are a great example that we do not have to live the stereotype life but can take chances and create the life that fits our needs, talents, family …
Love to read more about your career! Greetings from Germany! xx Ana http://www.disasterdiary.de
Ana, thank you so very much for your kind words. I really appreciate it! xo
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