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PURSUE YOUR PASSION

Written by Dan .

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Posted on July 17 2019

Ahhh. The all too familiar phrase “Quit Your Job and Work From Home”. It sounds super enticing, doesn't it? The ability to make money online and essentially work on the couch in your pajamas seems to be the growing trend these days. Who wouldn't want to roll out of bed, grab a cup of coffee and start your work day? Set your own schedule, live life on your own terms. When we first started the research phase of our shop, I would constantly think to myself, “How nice would it be to actually make a living off this and be able to leave my job". I must have said that exact phrase to Natalie a few thousand times over the first two years. It was weird, though, I never actually hated my job and the thought of an unsteady “paycheck” gave me instant anxiety that I would purposely act like I didn’t want it. I had probably the most secure job in the country: a United States Postal worker for five years. Good pay, loads of vacation/sick time, health insurance, etc. I was content and I never gave serious thought about leaving. Throughout the first two years when I was juggling my real job and our shop, I would come home every single night after working 10+ hours and immediately shower, eat, then work on Close Knit Co. until bed. I literally took no time off (except for our Saturday date nights that kept both of us sane). When I finally took a moment to reflect on everything, it never really occurred to me how much of a passion I really had for this. It started as a hobby to keep me busy while Natalie was taking night classes and quickly grew into a major obsession. I read a quote that went something along the lines of “The feeling of regret of not trying hurts more than the feeling of taking a risk and failing". That hit me hard. I think deep down I knew I wanted to leave my job but I was too insecure in the thought of failing so I would repress my dreams. I would constantly think “How could I possibly leave a steady, secure job for a hobby with zero certainty”. After really digging deep, I realized that the only thing for certain was that I had more passion for building our brand/skillset than I had for my job, so that’s where all my energy went.

We continued to use all our free time to learn a wider range of screen printing skills, marketing, and branding and shifted our mind frame to “I wish I could leave my job” to “when I leave my job”. I had a set amount of money in my mind that I wanted to save before I would ever even consider leaving, so we started saving like animals. Our Saturday date nights were $3 frozen pizzas and a cheap bottle of wine. We never bought any material things for ourselves. I put about 70% of my postal paychecks and every single penny from Close Knit Co. into our savings account. About a year later we saved our goal amount. It was a weird time for us. I was notified my transfer to South Florida was approved and Natalie was in her final month of school. I was battling an ankle injury and knew surgery would most likely be the only option. Still waiting for the “perfect time” to leave my job, we moved in June 2018 to begin a new chapter in our lives.  Natalie has been my number one supporter. She  sees more potential and has more confidence in me than I will ever have for myself. To leave my job to take this on full-time is a MAJOR life decision and something I've been super cautious of since day one. The feeling for her to look me in the eye and pretty much beg me to quit my job and pursue our vision can not be replicated. There was never going to be a perfect time. I knew that. It was as perfect now as it ever was going to be. In the spring of 2019, I finally made the decision to resign. I knew for a fact if I stayed there for 30 years and retired I would have regretted it. There were zero doubts about it. A few things on what I have learned prior to and after I left my job:

 If you are serious about doing something you love, whether it’s starting your own business or going back to school, do not over think it. I try to think “What’s the worst that can happen” in any new situation that I’m nervous about. In my situation, the worst thing for me was that I’d fail and have to find a new job. That’s the worst? Sign me up. We create a million scenarios that can go wrong and how it would negatively affect your life, but if you actually think about what’s the worst than can happen, it usually ends up not being as mind created it to be.

Be prepared to sacrifice. It took us three years of working everyday, staying up late and spending our money frugally before ONE of us was able to take this full time. We can’t take more than 3 day vacations, and even when we’re away we still need to be connected. Now that I’ve left my job, the stakes are even higher. I work at least 12 hour days 6 days a week, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

If you have a partner, make sure you are both always on the same page. I didn’t have any stress at my 9-5. When you’re on your own, everything falls on you which can become pretty stressful. Make sure to take the time out to understand each others emotions/expectations in the relationship. Saturday nights are our nights. We need a night to completely disconnect and do something for us..this is huge!