The decision to start your own business is not an easy one. Sure, we've all thought about turning our own individual DIY hobbies into full-fledged hustles, but for reasons like stability, income, and fear of taking the risk, we typically don't make the bold jump. And there's nothing wrong with that. Entrepreneurship is and should be intimidating, otherwise everyone would be a CEO.
But for one budding creative, the choice to leave her career and focus on her passion was too clear to ignore. Annabelle Fleur has been the brains behind the fashion blog VivaLuxury since 2013, but it wasn't until some time after launching it that she decided to make it her prime focus. The decision was a slow build, one that she took time to make. "My background is in IT, and I worked in the field for about a year. I truly enjoyed it, but I felt like I needed a creative outlet," she shares. "I started VivaLuxury for that very reason. Then I quit my job and [became] a production coordinator working for Hollywood shoe designer Elisa Ferare."
At first it was just a hobby, but, very slowly, it became my full-time job and an enormous part of my life.
By dabbling in the shoe business and even adding designer to her résumé — she later codesigned a shoe collection with Ferare — Fleur knew she wanted to get more involved in the fashion world, and that meant committing to her blog. "Very slowly VivaLuxury started to take up more of my time. It was so subtle at first until I noticed that I was staying up later to take care of the blog," she explains. "At some point it was just not feasible to work my full-time job and run the blog, so I had to make a choice."
And it was the right choice, as this IT-gal-turned-blogger is only getting busier. "Sometimes it feels like I never stop working. Even when I'm not physically doing something, my mind really never stops thinking of shoot ideas, outfits, and upcoming travels." So long as she's dressed for success and wearing jewelry that reflects her style and mood, she feels ready to tackle anything in her way.
Still growing, she also feels like she's learned a lot, too. Looking back, here are her biggest takeaways.
5 Things I Wish I'd Known
In her own words . . .
1. Success Doesn't Happen Quickly
"It may be extremely frustrating at times, but staying patient and continuing to work hard is key. I have felt that frustration at times, but believing in yourself and surrounding yourself with people who do the same makes all the difference. Continuing hard work and staying dedicated will never let you down."
2. Work-Life Balance Is Critical
"I wish I knew how challenging it would be to have a healthy work-life balance. Working for yourself, you do not have a set schedule, and it is very tough to separate work from home. Oftentimes I get so lost in what I'm doing, I don't realize it's past midnight. I have been slowly learning how to take time for myself. Sometimes you just have to put your phone and laptop in the other room and enjoy being with your loved ones without your phone buzzing."
3. Make Networking a Priority
"Networking is very important. Getting out there, whether physically or virtually, and getting to know people is key. Not to mention, you learn a great deal of information from people in a similar place as you. It can be intimidating when you are new, but if you keep doing it, eventually it becomes second nature."
4. Understand Budgeting
"If you are not good at it, get someone to help you who is. It's very important to have a proper financial balance and watch your expenses. Sometimes I get so carried away creating content for my blog and social media that I forget to account for my many spur-of-the-moment purchases."
5. Create a Schedule
"I am a workaholic. I love what I do and sometimes I feel like I can't stop doing it. It's so important to disconnect and take time for yourself every once in a while. When I worked at my previous job, I had more or less set hours, which made it easier to separate work from life and create a healthy balance. Working for yourself, however, it's much harder to do. One thing that is helpful is keeping an organized calendar — it helps you stay on track and make sure you leave time for yourself."
If anything, this budding entrepreneur has shown us that being bold and taking risks can pay off if you're willing to do the work.
Sometimes you just have to put your phone and laptop in the other room and enjoy being with your loved ones without your phone buzzing.