Today in our Do What You Love series, we have an interview with the wonderful Jan DiCintio of Daisy Janie and Scoutie Girl! Jan is one of my go to ladies to ask for advice when I feel the like my business-brain is about to explode. So, I knew she'd be an excellent voice to include here as she's full of life experience and laughter, which we can all use a little more of. Read on to see how she makes her way through the sometimes crazy world of self-employment!
What do you do for a living?
Most hours of the day, I am a fabric and surface designer. I design and sell collections of my fabrics to hobbyists and other small business owners; I create surface designs to sell to manufacturers; and I work with manufacturers to print large wholesale orders. In the other “most hours of the day,” I write/manage/edit posts for my blog Scoutie Girl, which features passionately handmade items from independent artists & designers.
How long have you been self-employed? What made you decide to take the leap?
I started painting anything that dared to get in front of my brush in 1998, but I didn’t sell my first piece of art until May of 2000. It was exhilarating b/c it was truly a whim! My son was 2 at the time, and my husband, Matt, strongly encouraged me (and helped me) make more art – partly to keep me from cleaning the house twice a day while my son napped and partly b/c we both recognized the potential money-making opportunity. The deal was sealed, and it set me on a path of learning how to build a business around something I really enjoyed. There have been many stepping stones, crossroads, ‘the-light’s-not-getting-any-greener’ and ‘oh-$hit’ moments along the way (as well as a couple part-time job stints), but basically, I haven’t looked back since 2000.
Do you work from home or have a studio/office elsewhere?
Do you have a partner or assistant, or are you going it solo?
If virtual assistants are permissible, I have 2 handfuls of other artists, bloggers and business owners with whom I have connected in the past 3 years who understand my struggles/successes, know my path and can advise me or assist me in all manner of business-related topics – including one Ms. Jena Coray! These women, through their accomplishments and opinions, are invaluable to me as inspiration and peers. I try to return as much as I can to them whenever possible!
How do you organize your days? At what part of the day are you most productive?
How do you keep procrastination and distraction in check, and stay motivated to get things done?
Motivation: The drive to press-on day after day comes from within primarily. I love, love, love what I do, and it keeps me going big time. On a more pragmatic level, this is my job – I don’t get paid unless I produce and sell.
How many hours do you put in per day? Do you work on the weekends?
How do you handle a non-steady income?
What do you think is the most difficult part about being your own boss?
And the best part?
How do you reward yourself for a job well done and keep yourself from getting too burnt out?
I don’t feel an overall burn out for the most part, but I DO get jimmy legs from sitting and sitting and sitting – I freak out. I have to get away from the laptop for mini pick-me-ups – a challenging workout, a great cup of coffee with a friend, a game of Spit or Horse with my son, even a load of laundry is a welcome change of pace!
Would you say you're making a living doing what you love?
What is one nugget of wisdom you can pass on to someone who is desperately seeking to get out of the 9-5 grind and follow in your footsteps?
>> you may also like: Do What you Love: An Interview with Patricia Zapata