If you’ve been following this blog or have known me for some time, you may know that I was a graphic designer. Lots of things have happened since my college years and marriage, and then… having children. That last one was the kicker – a beautiful kicker, though.
And just like every mom, I had to figure it all out one step at a time. One minute I was knee-deep in corporate America working full-time as a graphic designer, and then the next minute I was a full-time stay-at-home mom. Then, two weeks later, I started my freelance graphic design business. Then the next minute, I was having another baby and adding on more career opportunities to my already full résumé. I began doing anything I knew how to do in order to make an extra dollar – fancy cakes, photography, extreme couponing, along with graphic design somewhere in the background. During this time, I was also heavily involved and dedicated to church ministry – worship leader, treasurer, children’s church, etc.
Two miscarriages, one more baby, and still freelancing graphics…
Needless to say, I overdid it. I felt overworked and underpaid. I’m sure you’ve never felt that way, right? I began to hate my “job.”
The next thing is what forced me to make the right decision for my family and for my sanity.
We decided to homeschool.
So, I stopped everything, and Jenn’s Art Co. came to an end.
It was one of the hardest, yet most beneficial things I’ve ever done for myself and my family.
I knew there was no way that I would physically be able to jump right in to homeschooling and still be able to run a business, and do both really well. Therefore, I was now “unemployed.” But, I was able to fully be a homeschooling mom and be what my kids needed at the time without being pulled in a million different directions.
After the first month, I didn’t think I was ever coming back to graphic design.
After the first year, I had to start writing. I just had to. I had so much bottled up inside of me that it was spilling out and had no where to go – all the things I’ve learned, the life we had created from debt-freedom, and the desire to somehow use the gifts that God gave me.
Thankfully, I discovered Christy Wright’s Business Boutique, where I also began to learn from so many other women running businesses and families – and doing it well. Christy teaches women how to make money doing what they love. I knew it was possible, but I’m not afraid to say that I needed help in figuring it all out.
One thing I’ve never stopped doing is learning and reading, improving myself, and growing in my natural gifts. Therefore, I continued.
During the first year of homeschooling, I decided to start this blog. I titled it Creative Cajun Mama because I am creative, I’m a Cajun, and I’m a mom. I also wanted to keep the option open if I ever decided to go back to graphic design or artistry as a career, I would be able to branch out, and it would fit well with that name.
But again, after a while, I didn’t think I was ever coming back.
But as we all know…
when you’re born with a gift, it keeps coming back…
all by itself.
I was told over and over by helpful bloggers and through Christy’s teachings to “Start with what you know.” I knew art. I knew graphics. And I knew photography.
And I ignored it still –
all because I was afraid of business, and I was burnt out. I felt scarred by my so-called failed business. But, how many of you out there realize that success is only a big pile of failures that you’re standing on? The real truth is that it didn’t fail.
Over these last two years of this “sabbatical,” if you will call it that, I’ve learned more than I could have ever thought possible. The biggest and most helpful things I’ve learned is to say “No” to the wrong things and say “Yes” to the right things. And that looks different for every person.
For me, I was learning to say “Yes” to the most important priorities – my kids’ education, our family’s health and happiness, our financial goals, etc. And even though it was very difficult at first, I was learning to say “No” to the least important priorities – attending every single kid’s birthday invitation, volunteering for things I wasn’t even interested in, and taking every job I could just to earn an extra dollar (even at my sanity’s expense).
I declared myself “No longer in business.” Therefore, it became normal for me to say “No.”
“No” became a gift. When we say “Yes” to all the wrong things (or just too many things), we are essentially saying “No” to other things that could be much more important and more in tune with our values and our goals. So, instead of doing more of what we really want to do, we end up doing more of what we really don’t want to do!
And don’t think that you don’t have a choice. You do. You can flip things upside down as firmly or as gently as you’d like to! It’s up to you, and you’re the only one who can make those decisions.
I’ve always heard a certain pastor say, “The hard choice and the right choice are usually the same thing.”
Do the hard thing. Do the right thing.
And I’ve said all of that… to say this:
As of July 2, 2018, I’m back doing what I’ve been gifted to do – create!
I owe it all to the grace of God and the support of my own family. By talking with them about my goals and what our future might look like with this business, they have also been understanding with my time.
I also told myself that I wasn’t going back into business until my website was created and designed from the start, so here it is!
I’m super excited to be sharing this journey with all of you, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Jenn’s Art Company. On my website, I’ll be posting a once-per-month tutorial video, along with a free graphic download for subscribers only.
This will be the coolest thing on my website: Tutorials will be posted on YouTube and on Jenn’s Art Co.’s Facebook page, where you will also be able to use the hashtag #AskJennsArtCo to ask me a question! – questions about how to do anything concerning graphic design in Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop programs or just in general. I will choose one question per month, and a tutorial will be posted on the first Monday of the month! (Don’t forget the two N’s in #askjennsartco)
Jenn’s Art Company may not be something that interests you personally, but I’d be thrilled if you share it with people who might be :).
Thank you for sticking through this with me as I’m growing, learning and serving others!