It takes a lot of courage to create your own path in life. Oftentimes the people most closest to us will be the first to call you crazy, "You want to do what? You can't make money doing that! How are you going to support your family?" But that's the thing... Sometimes it's not about the money, sometimes it's about what makes you happy! And when you are happy, money CAN follow! Here is what we learned (and are still learning) as we dove into Handbrewed Soaps.
- MAKE A PLAN
- FIND A NETWORK
- WORK YOUR BUTT OFF
PLAN: I was a classroom teacher in Oakland for 8 years. Then I became a teacher's coach for 4 years before I left my 9-5 job a year ago. Why did I leave a stable, ten-yeared position? Because I was anxious, overwhelmed, and depressed. If the words, "No Child Left Behind," "Common Core," "Rubrics," or "Assessment" came up in conversation, my blood pressure would rise to unhealthy levels. I argued with my husband and yelled at my kids all the time. With the pressures of work, I couldn't think, I was drained. I had nothing to give to my family, let alone myself. A change had to happen.
I didn't just quit all of a sudden. I saw this move coming two years earlier, and slowly decreased my hours as an educator in order to increase hours in a more creative endeavor of starting my own soap business. My soap business infused hope into my life. I felt sane while designing and creating soap. I enjoyed hearing instant feedback from customers because I new immediately the impact my soap had on others. (In my old profession, I never knew the impact on a child's life unless they told me years later.) Eventually, I started to feel motivated when I got up in the mornings, and the relationships with my family improved dramatically.
NETWORK: In some regards owning my own business is harder than teaching. I don't always know where my next check is coming from. I was not formally trained to own a business like I was becoming a teacher, so I've had to learn about sales tax, city codes, marketing etc. on my own. Finding supports like the Indie Business Network (IBN) have been instrumental in my learning. Most importantly, I am blessed with the support of my husband as he is the main bread winner while I get Handbrewed Soaps up and running.
WORK HARD: I am not 100% soaping, I still dabble in education by consulting for a music education non profit. I'm working at a level that doesn't give me a heart attack. I am doing what I love both in the soap and educational world, I spend time with my family. The interesting part is that I am working the same hours as I was as a full time teacher, but I’m lovin’ it. I’m am able to make my own rules, lead the life I want to lead, choosing my own path. Yes I have times where I think all the odds are against me in this crazy world of entrepreneurship! What I've learned so far on this journey, is that if you are truly passionate about it, if you work hard for it, you'll figure it out. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I'd be owning my own soap company!