Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I wanted to talk again about the taboo topic of money. I think it's so important to talk more about this topic because there's so much shame and fear around it, and it is for sure the number one reason why people (a) stay stuck in jobs they don't like and (b) refuse to pursue the career or business dreams in their hearts. I went to a goal setting networking event last week and the leader of the discussion mentioned that one of the top 3 fears that holds people back from going after their dreams and goals is the fear of losing their comforts. Our comforts include major things like our homes and our cars, but also more luxurious things like wine, online shopping, vacations, and the latest and greatest running shoes. I think we should protect the major comforts we are fortunate to have like our homes and cars, but are we holding ourselves back from going after our goals and dreams for fear of losing the minor comforts of life for a little while? And I stress, "for a little while"? This was something I had to ask myself before I quit my lawyer job in 2017 to start grace + hudson. I was a lawyer for 11 years and became used to a six-figure income. I had to decide whether to prioritize (a) the comfort of a nice paycheck and all that brought with it or (b) my dream of owning a jewelry business which would require me to forgo some of my comforts for a little while. I obviously chose (b) but it definitely took some courage, faith, and trust.
Let's talk about the big comforts of life first - my apartment, my car, that sorta thing. At the end of the day, I knew that I wouldn't end up homeless, broke, at rock bottom. I trusted myself enough to know that I WOULD NEVER LET THAT HAPPEN. And I have a feeling that's true for you, too. Worst come to worst, I knew that if my ability to pay my rent or make my car payment was threatened, I could get a side hustle or even go back to being a lawyer full-time. Truth be told, the first time I tried to quit my lawyer job in 2010 to start a jewelry business, I did in fact have to go back to being a lawyer full-time. Yep that's right - about 6 months into running my brick + mortar jewelry store, I ran out of money (starting a store is expensive!) so I took a full-time lawyer position, hired some part-time employees to be in the store while I was at the office, and managed to do both for a while until I realized the store was not sustainable in the long-term. I think it's this first experience of failure that gave me the courage to try starting my own jewelry business a second time in 2017 - I knew that I wasn't going to die if it didn't work out. All kidding aside, I feel like people think a big decision like quitting your job to start a business or changing careers is life or death, and it just isn't! If it doesn't work out, chances are you'll just go back to what you were doing before.
Now for the small comforts of life - you know, the monthly massage, the gym membership, the stops at Nordstrom for new shoes, the weekend getaways. The truth is, yes, I had to give up some of these things and put the money I would've spent on them towards my business. But I am here to tell you that it was 100% worth it. You know what I learned in the process? I was buying some of those things - like the new shoes - and I "needed" some of those things - like the monthly massages - because of the stress that my lawyer job caused me. When I started my business and started to do work I enjoyed, I no longer had these internal "holes" that needed filling with new shoes, and massages, and weekend getaways. In other words, saving money and being careful with how I spent my money was much easier than I expected. All of a sudden, I had this new business I wanted to nurture and grow, and it felt silly to spend money on yet another black sweater to add to my collection, for example. Sure, there were more difficult sacrifices that had to be made like less frequent trips to beachy destinations (my soul just craves trips to the beach), but I completely understood that it was temporary. Temporary sacrifices for long-term gain. And - side note - two years into my post-lawyer life as a jewelry business owner, I actually moved to a beachy destination so it all evened out in the end!
So what I'm trying to tell you is this: starting your own business or making that big career change that entails a pay cut for a little while is going to require you to get a little uncomfortable. You're going to have to give up some of your comforts for a little while and re-prioritize how you spend money. It might be a little painful at times, but it's not as bad as you might expect. Please, I beg you, do not let the comforts stop you. Do not let the comforts hold you back. Going after that dream you have - whether it works out in the end or not - is so much more fulfilling than buying another pair of shoes or going on a vacation. Trust me, I can speak from experience. If it does work out, that temporary period of making sacrifices is going to eventually end and you're going to reach a place where you can again afford the expensive shoes and vacation. And if it doesn't work out, that temporary period of making sacrifices is going to end too - you'll get another job (probably like the one you had before) and you'll again eventually be able to afford all the comforts of life you missed. In either case, you're going to find out that you were enriched by the experience of pursuing the goal or the dream in ways that money simply can't buy. And you know what else? I bet you're going to respect your money a whole lot more too because you'll understand it's worth a little more. It's a win-win all around.
Cheers to getting a little uncomfortable in 2020!
P.S. If you want to make a career change or start your own business but money is the biggest thing holding you back, I invite you to join my Virtual Book Club which kicks off in February. The first book we're going to be reading together deals with money because, let's face it, it's usually the thing that holds us back. You can read more about my Virtual Book Club and sign up for it here.