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Running a business

Taking a break from my day-job (again)

Yes, it’s time for another installation of my business chronicles where I share both my struggles and triumphs as a budding sewing entrepreneur. 

If you have followed me for a while, you probably already know that I run a growing sewing business while also relying on a regular day-job for a much needed financial security.

There is however one big problem with this seemingly sensible set-up; it’s completely exhausting. And the more my business grows and the more products I create, the more tired and overwhelmed I get. So doing this day-job+side gig combo is pretty much like asking for a burnout to happen.

Something had to give

This year I finally reached my breaking point, which was caused by a combination of being completely overworked while also dealing with a lot of Covid-related stressors. 

I basically woke up one day in August, heart racing and with an overwhelming feeling that I just can’t live like this anymore. As in, I really cannot live like this anymore. Which was scary, especially as I was in the throes of finishing my latest book and was also about to go full time again at my day-job after working four days a week for six months. 

Meaning that I would need to work even more when I was already burning my candle at both ends and at a total breaking point.

So something had to give. And while I had this crisis, there were also changes happening at my day-job, due to Covid and some other stuff. Not great, but the silver lining was that it presented a small opportunity to take another hiatus. And while it would have been awesome to keep my monthly salary, I knew I had to make some sacrifices in order to regain my sanity and also have the time and mental space to properly launch my book.

To sum it up, I’m now off from my day-job until the end of the year. Apart from launching the book, I’m also working on a new garment pattern, getting back to producing weekly sewing videos again and just trying to fix all the back end stuff that comes with running a business. 

And of course, make sure that I get more rest. While I still work pretty much full time, it’s doable since I no longer have to work 60-70 hours a week, juggling both my business and my day-job. So just a few weeks in, I’m already feeling so much better about my life, even though running a business is, of course, challenging too. But it’s also very fun and energizing!

I still don’t have a long term solution

Now the tricky bit, which remains unsolved, is how do I navigate returning to the day-job after the Holidays? I don’t have a clear plan for that, but I will likely have to scale back on my business work for the foreseeable future. 

Which kinda causes me grief to be honest, since I’m in such a growth phase right now, where I’m finally having the kind of momentum and success that make me feel like I have a solid business model with great long term potential.

So yes, I’m in a bit of pickle, where I don’t have any clear answers to what the future holds. But if there is one thing that 2020 has taught us, it is that we cannot take anything for granted and whatever situation we find ourselves in, we have to adapt and adjust and hopefully there will be a better outcome eventually.

I also recently did a video about the mental toll and the struggles I’ve faced this year, where I expand on a lot of stuff that I talk about in this post since I think it’s super important to also address this side of life.

Because I don’t ever want to be that person who only shares her triumphs and thus paints a very rosy, and completely unrealistic, picture of what life really is like. 

7 Comments

  • Sandra King
    October 26, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    I received a copy of your book SEWING Jeans today. You definitely deserve a break. The book is awesome. I’m excited about digging into all the information and trying my first pair of jeans.

    Thanks again for all your hard work and best of luck with your business,
    Sandy
    Houston, TX

    Reply
    • Johanna Lundström
      October 27, 2020 at 9:24 am

      Thank you so much Sandra for your kind words and support!So happy to hear that you like my book, it’s what keeps me going, knowing that what I do resonates with others and is helpful!

      Reply
  • Sheila Munro
    October 27, 2020 at 8:18 am

    Waiting for my copy of the book and can you go back part time at work, so do 3 days there and have 2 on your business? They might like that if they are struggling with pressures from Covid -19? I was a patreon member and would be more than happy to help that way if you restart it also. In the meantime it is so important to take care of your health, so if you do end up back at full time work try and set schedules for the business to allow you much needed breaks.
    Take care, Sheila x

    Reply
    • Johanna Lundström
      October 27, 2020 at 9:30 am

      The part-time set-up that you suggest would be ideal for me, though my current job is a kinda all or nothing situation normally (sans Covid) and fairly mentally demanding so it would be tricky to cut more hours I think. And thank you for being a Patreon supporter <3 I've had several people suggesting it lately, and I'm not ruling it out, but since things are so hectic already with my two jobs, I feel a little bit hesitant to start it up again when I still have a day-job. We'll see!

      Reply
  • MultiVroon
    October 27, 2020 at 9:08 am

    One thing entrepreneurs rationally should do is hire someone for all the things someone else can do better/ cheaper. Compare to your salary at the day job if those are (probably) your highest paid hours.

    Think closely of all your tasks. Maybe keep track of hours spent and review if you feel you should do it or if you could train someone to. Maybe now is the time 🙂 Growing a business means hiring or outsourcing in most cases anyways. Then think of a student/intern for example, who could use the experience.

    Another thing is trying to estimate which hours you spend on your business and which income they generate, for now or the future. After the time you have spent you may find it easier to drop certain activities and do more of other ones.

    You probably have considered this, my comment may help you cross that line? Now may be the time (before starting your job again).

    Reply
    • Johanna Lundström
      October 27, 2020 at 9:37 am

      Thank you for all your excellent suggestions. I do work with contractors now, because as you say, we business owners can’t (and shouldn’t) do everything ourselves. The tricky bit for me is that I’m still mostly relying on my day-job for my personal income and then reinvesting the business revenue into things like book printing, contractors, distribution costs etc. Things that will help my business to grow and become more profitable, but it takes a lot of time for that to kick in.

      As for making smart decisions regarding where my time is spent, I so agree with you, this is key, and I’m still working on figuring out! I think because I kinda went into this not thinking big or strategic (having a side-gig mentality basically), it has taken me a few years to actually hone in on where my core focus should be. I so appreciate your advice and will keep on tweaking things!

      Reply
      • MultiVroon
        October 27, 2020 at 12:09 pm

        Great process! Glad I could share my thoughts 🙂

        Another option, if you see the money coming but it isn’t here yet, is seriously cutting personal costs for a set time… asking investors for an income temporarily.. etc.

        It may sound odd, but a business that drives on your time, is a tricky thing, lol. How can you change that?

        I think you already juggle with these thoughts as well. I for one didn’t know the book was your own investment completely, respect!

        Reply

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