I recently decided to take a break on the company I have spent the last 11 years building from the ground up. It was a company I started after being laid off from my young career as a teacher. I had gone to be a teacher and spent a couple years teaching before being let go. I thought that I would someday go back to teaching and was extremely upset at the time to have been out of the job that I thought was everything I ever wanted. However, I decided to pivot. It felt temporary but turned out to be a lifelong pivot.
I was pregnant with my first child and substituting was just not going to bring in the money we needed as a family, or make me happy. Out of some desperation and a little bit of creative boredom I set up my old sewing machine in the extra bedroom of our home and started staying up nights playing around with it. I found that I loved sewing purses and started showing family and friends what I was creating. Soon, I had orders coming in from everyone I knew. I will never know if they pitied me or truly loved those early bags I made (they honestly were not great), but it took off. I started an Etsy shop and soon was able to make a decent side income while staying home with my daughter.
Over the years I was able to build a business that truly helped support my family. At the beginning of 2020 my side hustle had turned to full time hours for me and I needed to get an office and some help. I spent the next two years of the pandemic hustling HARD to keep up with Lana Rae and my family while growing the business. To be honest, the business has done nothing but grow. I increased the business ten fold in those two years since the pandemic hit. The pitfall was that I was spending more and more time away from my family and the larger my business grew and the more people I had working for me, the more I had on my plate. Along with this, 2021 came with higher costs, supply chain issues, and for me - much lower profit margin and more time cost. As much as I love working, I am a person who greatly values free and family time.
I came to a point that although the business was thriving, it wasn't where I wanted to be anymore. I have homeschooled my children the whole way through (for 7 years now) and found that I was splitting my time between Lana Rae, Homeschool, and my family, and not feeling like I was mindful in any of it.
A lot of thought went into stepping away from my small business baby of 11 years. It is especially hard to step away from a company with such amazing customers that feel like a community and a profit. Lana Rae had been my passion for over a decade but I just didn't have my heart in it anymore. I decided to make a change for my family and I.
I am now at the beginning of a new stage. I feel excited to share our life, and while my plan isn't 100% complete, I am feeling awake again after a long time. I am focusing on homeschool, my family and fueling my passion for writing. My husband also has a business and has recently asked for my help to manage it. It all came around the same time and I believe that when life lines up like that you should take a deep breath and jump in.
As I was sharing the news with my friend, Carla Marie, I told her that the hardest part was to feel like I was quitting something. Her reply was "We cannot be expected to do the same thing our entire life!" This really got me thinking about my mindset when it came to careers and life. My husband often says I think in extremes and when I set my mind to something that is typically what I will commit to forever. This can work to my benefit sometimes, I believe sticking to things and a hard work ethic can lead to the opportunity to grow something. But, the belief that once you choose something you must stick with it forever can be really limiting.
When it comes to careers, there are many people who have found great success sticking to their first choice. Sticking with it through good and bad times makes them wildly successful and happy. But, sometimes you have to look at a career as a stepping stone. There is no one way.
When you own your own business it can be hard to view it as a stepping stone. It feels like you are giving up on something. In reality, the 11 years I spent growing Lana Rae taught me more than I could imagine and introduced me to so many great forever friends.
I truly believe that as we grow and change we are allowed to also change our minds and careers. Sometimes the best path is one that you accept with flexibility and an open heart and this may mean throwing out the old way of thinking about careers being a life long choice and looking at them as stepping stones to a better life.
I would love to know your thoughts on this.
Do you think that people are meant for a single career or multiple one lifetime?
Is it hard for you to switch gears in big decisions?
Have you ever had a change that was scary but ended up being the right move for you?