The First Year …

A little over a year ago, Jimmy was still in grad school. We were balancing trying to sell our house, running our photography business, getting the design business off the ground, and I was waiting tables. In one moment, I realized I couldn’t gain the momentum needed if I was still waiting tables 4 days a week … so, with J’s support, I typed up my two weeks notice & turned it in.

With much hesitation & fear, I jumped in with both feet. Last month, I celebrated 1 full year of being an independent business owner. I couldn’t be more grateful for Jimmy being so supportive & my amazing clients for trusting me during the process.

Now that the first year is under my belt, I am confident that I made the right decision. There were months that we literally had $300 or less in the bank, and couldn’t spend money at all … there were times where I didn’t have an inquiry for a month … and there were times where I took too much on and didn’t think I could deliver. Right now, we’re good. Really comfortable. Since moving to Portland, Three Fifteen Design (my business) and Jim & Ravyn (our photography business)  have grown. We’re able to sustain ourselves with the income, and that’s really all we ever wanted.

At times, it felt like we’d never not struggle … that sending the mortgage (or rent) payment would basically clear out our account, or having to turn down dinner with friends, because we simply didn’t have it in the budget. We had so many conversations about how hard we had been trying since graduating college and if trying to grow independently was worth it. <- I seriously considered going back into the workforce & working for someone else … working for yourself is really hard at times.

At first, it felt weird to even write this post … like, why would I need to celebrate our growth over the past year? Isn’t it taboo to talk about money? I guess I’m realizing that if it bothers someone, they don’t have to read this. It’s a really odd/awesome realization to recognize that you’re starting to live the life you dreamed of.

We’re at the point now where we can establish a decent savings account. That’s something we’ve always wanted to do, but never could. We’re thinking about ways to pay off our student loans in a smart way, so we can get out of that un-healthy debt as soon as possible. We’re planning on starting a family next year, and now it feels like we can really start planning for that … knowing that we can afford private health insurance means the prospect of a baby (and medical expenses) isn’t too crazy.

With all of that said, we’re still really new to this. We still feel uneasy about going out to dinner, or buying ourselves new things. We made a promise when we moved that we would try to always live like we had been (on very little … or like we had very little). While a trip to Europe sounds AMAZING, paying off the student loans is way more responsible. And, with this growth means we’re learning to balance life & work. I say ‘learning’ because it’s not ‘learned’ yet. I’ve been working long days to keep up … eventually it’ll balance itself.

So that’s where we’re at. I started this as a “HOORAY! I’ve made it being self-employed for a whole year!!”, so that’s where I’ll leave it. Feeling happy & blessed that I can do what I love, and I have a partner who supports it 120%.


9 responses to “The First Year …

  1. Oh boy, thank you for this post. It’s just what I needed. Hooray for you guys!!

  2. Congrats and you deserve it! You’ve jumped into the unknown and it’s working out – enjoy. I do have to say even though I work for someone and it is comforting to know that at the end of the day money is coming in -we also have a tight budget – it’s expensive to have a mortgage, raise two boys. We can’t do the dinner thing either! At the end of the day I feel blessed like you – I never take anything for granted. Wishing you success and never stop dreaming,

  3. Congrats… It sounds like such a brave thing to do, and I’m so happy for you that it’s all working out!

  4. I’m so proud of y’all. You are doing great!

  5. Congratulations girl! :) 1 year is a big deal and you absolutely need to celebrate milestones like that. I look forward to seeing what your growth looks like in one year from now! xoxo

  6. Congratulations Sweetie….I am so proud of you and your determination. You and Jimmy are a wonderful team, and a Mother couldn’t ask for a better partner for her daughter than that awesome son in-law of mine. Seeing you grow into an independent, intelligent, successful young woman is amazing for me to experience. …Starting a family next year….Woo Hoo…I am anticpiated lots of frequent flyer miles in my future. Love you much! Mom

  7. Congratulations! Sounds like you are making the right moves to a healthy balanced life. Good luck on the student loans, I’m working hard at that one right now too!

  8. HOORAY!!! Keep working and you will be where you want in no time. Making your dreams come true through hard work makes them even sweeter when they are realized.

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