I remember this day clear as anything. I walked into my boss's office and interrupted a meeting she was having with all of the partners of this big NYC architecture firm. I proceeded to tell her (in front of the partners) that I do not deserve to be treated the way I had been and that I won’t take it anymore. I then said in the most dramatic way…I QUIT!
Ok, so I will back up a little. This fearless, no filter, brave girl was me at age 21 (Oh how I wish some of that carried into my 30s). This was one month after I found out I would be graduating early from college. After crying in the dean's office at the thought that I would now have to go home, leave my house with my three best friends and start “real life” I realized this was actually pretty awesome. I would stay in college, with my friends while also pretending to be a grown up and commute to the city to this new fancy job I got. It was my dream, I thought. A chic, city architecture firm on Madison Avenue! I could dress up, stop at Starbucks and be a designer in NYC. As you can assume based on the first story I shared, turned out this was definitely not my dream. Not only was I not “a NYC designer,” but I was a slave to the architects. I would stay at this office until all hours of the night. I spent my days filling templates in the least creative way, having meetings about meetings about things that I would never have time to do because of all of the meetings and then going to sleep and waking up to come back and do EXACTLY THE SAME THING. OVER AND OVER again.
It was the day I walked into the office and said “I QUIT” that I knew, I could not forever work for someone else. I couldn’t complete someone else’s to do list and I needed to be on my own schedule. My whole life, I watched my dad run his own business. Of course this meant late hours and some crazy times, but it also meant he was able to stop in the middle of his work day to play guitar, take me to lunch or bring my mom coffee at school (where she was a teacher). I wanted that!
I realized I needed to do the whole corporate thing for a few more years and gain the experience and maturity necessary. I don’t regret that at all. I met amazing people, learned how to be a better designer and how to conduct myself in a business setting.
So, fast forward seven years after the moment I said “I quit”, another corporate job in a NYC law firm and another job where I worked under the creative genius that wrote “Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man” and learned so much.
And then began, 360 Creative Approach, my own business, the creative approach to life. I have always taken this approach in everything I do, so the name made sense. A world where it is acceptable to work in my pjs, in the dark, at 3AM, in my bed. But also acceptable to get dressed up, go into the city and sit in a Starbucks all day working and people watching. A world where one day I spend the entire day rebranding a tired old company and making it fresh and modern and spend the next day fully planning and designing a super excited 16 year old’s dream party! The best part is that I can choose to fill my hours with whatever I want. Of course, when my almost 2- year-old allows. I have even been able to work part-time for my sorority as their social media communications coordinator. And… not sure if you heard, I write a blog too ;). The options are endless.
Today more than ever, women are successfully transforming industries and markets to fit our needs. While some people love the corporate world and have more patience to climb that ladder, some, like me, enjoy being our own boss. The question is, how do we take the leap, gain the courage and find the right business that will keep us passionate, excited and bring in an income?
In our latest series at “Where the Eff Is My Handbook,” we are going to be exploring all of these questions and more. We’re so inspired by these women who have taken their dreams and successfully turned them into a reality; the mom-preuneurs, the network marketers, the life coaches, the inventors, fitness gurus, shop owners and so much more. In the spirit of supporting and encouraging each other, we will share secrets, insights, and tactics to launching whatever ideas each of us might have on the back burner.
So many of us have dreams and aspirations of starting our own businesses. If it’s something that appeals to you, it’s never too late to change careers or get started in one if you have been home taking care of your family. We all deserve the chance to work in a manner that brings happiness and fulfillment, and not just for a paycheck. According to Forbes, in the next five years, 79 million Americans will have home-based business. There are no limits…bc there is no effing handbook, and we have the power to reinvent ourselves and the workplace.
To be fair, I have allowed my awesome blog-mate to interview me. Read below and then keep checking out the many impressive women we will be featuring!
Danielle: What steps did you take to start your own business? How long would you say it took from the time you decided to do it, to when you actually launched?
Farrah: I kind of starting building my business on the side while I was still working in the corporate world. Little invitation and logo jobs. This helped to build my confidence to do it on my own while also building a little clientele. Since I think I decided to have my own business the second I got my first job, I guess you can say it took me about seven years to launch.
Danielle: What was the most intimidating thing about going out on your own and starting, and how did you overcome that and decide to do it anyway?
Farrah: The scariest thing was selling myself to people before having any “real experience.” I truly lived by and believe the slogan “Fake it til you make it”. If you truly believe in yourself, others will as well.
Danielle: What advice do you have for someone who is thinking of in some way, shape, or form becoming involved in a home-based business?
Farrah: I say do it! But make sure it is something that you truly love to do. Building a business takes a lot of time and patience so you have to make sure it’s something you will not get tired of. The other part of working from home is that you never truly leave work. So, it should be something that literally makes you so excited to think about that you want to work on it whenever you have a second.
Danielle: Honestly, one of the things about working from home that I find difficult is that there are so many distractions. Housework, television, bed, phone, snacks in the pantry...how do you not get sucked into that stuff and focus on what you need to get done business-wise?
Farrah: Short answer is that we are all human, so you will 100% get sucked into all of these things at some point. That being said, I have found that it is important to make a dedicated work area for those times you just can’t have any distractions. So while I spend a lot of time working from my kitchen counter while my kids are throwing food, or in the waiting room at gymnastics while everyone is talking to me, I also make sure that when I have to get something done with full focus that I make that happen even if it means locking myself in my bathroom. The best part of a “home” based business is that it can really be done anywhere. So….sometimes you actually have to leave your home.
Danielle: You really did “bite the bullet” when you were younger and that led to you starting your own business. So empowering! There are women out there right now I am sure who want to walk into an office and do that exact same thing. How can they find that same courage?
Farrah: Sometimes I wish I had that same courage I had at age 21 right now. When I try to channel my inner 21 year old and bring that out I just think of what is really important to me. When you are passionate about something, you really can’t let anyone or anything get in your way. We can’t waste time doing something that doesn’t contribute to your own goals and doesn’t fulfil you as a person. So take a deep breath, and just do it!!
Danielle: What are your long-term goals with your business? Do you worry about it all becoming boring or monotonous? How do you keep that from happening?
Farrah: My long term goal of 360 Creative Approach is exactly that...to make sure it is never boring! I keep building and adding on to what services I offer. That keeps me learning new things and branching out my network. The design world is constantly changing so just keeping up with the latest software and trends keeps me on my toes! And since I am a bit of a nerd, this also keeps me excited.
Danielle: Any mistakes you think you made in the beginning that in hindsight you would have done differently?
Farrah: OMG yes!! As a matter of fact, I sometimes look through my portfolio books and literally laugh at some of the things I designed. I think that is completely normal and expected in any business. I have learned some of my most important lessons in business through mistakes I have made. So I don’t expect to not make any more mistakes, but my goal is to at least make different ones so that I can learn new things.
Introducing bloggers Farrah & Danielle from wheretheeffismyhandbook.com.
Who are we?
Farrah: Simply put, I am a 30-something mom of two amazing children, ages one and five. I am a wife to an extremely supportive, wonderful husband. I am a full-time mom, a full-time business owner, a part-time employee, and a lover of all things creative. I sometimes obsess about and overanalyze the smaller details of life, because they are often easier to think about than the larger and more important issues. I have a love/hate relationship with people. I love my family, my friends and my coworkers. However, I equally crave time to be completely by myself. I am constantly amazed by how many incredible things that people can do, while equally horrified by how many terrible acts people commit. I love to talk but I hate to hear myself talk. I am full of useless, random knowledge, and always thrive on learning more. I look forward to this virtual conversation about all of it!
Danielle: I live in NJ with my husband, three kids, (ages 11, 9, and 5) and two rescue dogs. I'll admit that I always feel like I'm one bad decision away from being the mom version of Lindsay Lohan, I'm trying hard to keep life somewhat exciting and entertaining despite the monotony stay-at-home life can present. I love laughing at myself and at the expectations placed on us moms who are trying to play the role of 40 people in our one little body. I'm a legit OCD sufferer (the diagnosed kind, not the clean house kind), travel fanatic, and lover of all things vodka based. Please come join me and Farrah on this effed up, incredible journey of motherhood. We, too, have the daily battle of wanting to hug our kids to death while also wanting them to leave us the hell alone.