How to build a dream job while you work a day job

How to build a dream job while you work a day job - wordy advice from someone who's doing it via FunkyJunkInteriors.net

“I want to quit blogging!”

I remember the day vividly. I was on my way to work but stopped in at my friend’s place to whine. I was in an online decorating contest and wanted to quit. It was so hard… I had to come up with a new project once a week and the push was gruelling. I had a dayjob AND blog after all and this extra stuff on the side took things over the top. 

One day in mid contest, I lost it. “I can’t do this contest anymore. The pace is KILLING ME. Why am I doing this blog thing anyway? It doesn’t earn me anything. A clean house and cooking? Long gone. I want out. I want my life back. I want to quit blogging!”

My friend looked me sternly in the eye and said, “To do what exactly? To do something you hate?

You are on the build. EVERYTHING you do now will pay you back later. Never forget that. And never stop. You are on the right track, so keep going! DON’T. YOU. DARE. STOP!”

After my pep talk, I gulped hard and decided to stay in the race. I saw through the competition and even nearly won. But turns out, the final win did not matter.

Staying in the game did.

Old crate stairway via FunkyJunkInteriors.net
Crate stairyway is HERE

All Decorating Contest Posts are HERE

Because in a nutshell, all those projects I pushed myself so hard on have been some of the most popular to date.  Some have landed in magazines and many have been featured elsewhere. And they continue to get fairly high ranking visits each year.

But it wasn’t just about staying in. The push to do my BEST was the key. Even when I didn’t have time.

Today, my thoughts work the opposite way. I dream of quitting the day job so I have more time to blog.

So why haven’t I yet? I ask myself that every single day. But I always know the answer. I don’t earn enough. Yet. Because there is one thing I’ve learned over the years… you have to earn more than you spend if you wish to leave debt behind and get ahead.

When I tell others I work two jobs, they shake their head. “How do you do it? I can barely work one!”

And that’s when I assess how happy they are with their one job. Interestingly enough, most aren’t. Yet they are more than willing to run home at the end of their day and put up their feet because they are tired.

I can’t imagine. :)

So, here’s my take on how to build a dream job while you work a day job.

Rustic garden shed from salvaged wood via FunkyJunkInteriors.net
Garden junk shed HERE

YOU HAVE TO LOVE WHAT YOU CHOOSE

You truly have to love your passion with all your heart. Because you are going to spend countless hours building this whatever it is. May as well do it right this round. Own it and ADORE it.

Old gate window screens via FunkyJunkInteriors.net

Old gate window screens HERE

MAKE THE TIME

Everyone has 30 minutes in their day they waste. At least. So spend that 30 minutes on something that you love to do that counts. I nearly guarantee, you’ll put more time into it once you start. But starting is key. If you keep saying to yourself you don’t have time, you won’t make the time. Leave the laundry unfolded and put in your time Then fold your laundry.

How to make a farmhouse window from plain boards and no miter cuts via FunkyJunkInteriors.net
Create a farmhouse window with plain boards HERE

DON’T DO IT FOR THE MONEY 

If you are doing this new thing for just the money, you’ll be disappointed.  Do it for the love of it to start and the rest will take care of itself. If you choose the other way around, you’ll end up doing something you don’t like and turn it into just another job. No boring day jobs allowed this round! 

WRITE A MANTRA FOR WHAT YOU WANT TO DO

It’s my belief everyone has a special purpose. Rather than thinking this thing is all about you, try changing that perspective. Maybe it’s because it’s about someone else.

The only way to know that for sure is to write a mantra. Why do you want to do what you want to do? And don’t have it just about money. Dig DEEPER. Why are you choosing THIS?

Your delivery and focus will totally change… and so will the result of your efforts, as long as you stick to your mantra. You just wait and see.

Salvaged Farmhouse Bathroom Makeover via FunkyJunkInteriors.net

Salvaged Farmhouse Bathroom Makeover HERE

GIVE YOURSELF 5 YEARS

That hurt, didn’t it? 5 years to earn? My artist buddy told me that 5 years ago and I groaned… but I’m now on my 6th year of blogging and he was right. My project archives and built up traffic are finally making a difference and helping pay my way in life.

Your time may come sooner or it might take longer. But don’t expect instant riches. This is why it’s so important to build WHILE you have a day job.

Pallet wood sawhorse ladder blogging desk via FunkyJunkInteriors.net

Pallet wood sawhorse blog office desk HERE

DON’T FLIP YOUR DAYJOB UNTIL YOUR DREAM JOB EARNS MORE

While taking a leap of faith is good, it won’t pay the bills. Not at first. This is why it’s so important to make time for your passion NOW. You’ve got to fire things up while you earn.

ONLY when your passion is earning more than your day should you consider quitting the day… unless you have the cushion of another household income. Let me put it this way… if I were married to a working spouse, I’d have left the day job LONG ago.

You CAN do both. It won’t be easy, but how many do you know that can honestly say they adore their work? Be different. Because it’s vital you do this if you ever wish to be happy and do what you love.

Pallet wood topped desk via FunkyJunkInteriors.net

SLOWLY CUT BACK ON YOUR DAYJOB HOURS

There’s only one of you. And two fulltime jobs will likely kill you slowly. So if you wish to up the ante on the dream job and can’t possibly put in all those extra hours, something has to give. You can choose to downplay the day job to make room for the dream job, or take longer making your dream happen. There’s just no other way.

I am fortunate that I have been self employed for 22 years, so I cut back clients as I grew the blog. It was my only sanity saver and it’s working!

– – – – – –

I know one day I’m going to have to cliff jump and take a risk. It’s scary losing the security of regular work, but I’m already in my 50’s. When will it be time? I’m working on soon!

Just start now. I know you’re tired. I worked all day too and I’m slurring my thoughts right this moment. But when I sit here and write, the tired momentarily lifts. I’m writing with intention because not only am I putting my 30 (60-90ish) minutes in before I hit the hay, I’m LOVING it and don’t feel the pain of tired. Yet. :)

I challenge you. Put in your 30 min daily no matter what, and watch what eventually happens… I got a new blog post out of mine. How about you?

My last truck - a story on quitting the day job to pursue the passion job via FunkyJunkInteriors.net
Part 2  – My Last Truck – Late August 2014 I quit my dayjob. I made the leap! This post says it all.

Part 3 – What it finally took to make the jump into blogland – the pains and total faith of taking that final leap

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Categories: Blog, Blogging, Blogging Tips, Business, Career building, DIY, Inspiration
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  1. At what point do you decide you’re done? Because for m err, I feel I have tried hard working on 3 or 4 years now with only 121 followers. Really?! Can’t get far that way. I’ve read all the blogging “do’s”. So when do you say your best isn’t enough?

    • Hey Michele, if you are passionate enough about what you’re doing and are willing to continue to grow and improve and do what it takes, I personally wouldn’t take no for an answer. :)

      Another consideration is, maybe what you’re doing right this moment needs tweaking. Focus on more forks in the road, the secret may lie there.

      I was going to email you but couldn’t locate an email on your blog… feel free to email me if you wish to chat more!

      donna@funkyjunkinteriors.net

  2. Hi Donna! Wow, this post sure hit a nerve with me! Very encouraging words there. Sometimes reading other blogs, especially well-known ones, you don’t realize that these people have other obligations too.

    I quit my job a year ago and thought I’d have so much more time to do the things I love…I do, but it’s also very tempting to be lazy when you have so much time.

    It was an eye-opener for me. Thank you.

    ~Siggie

    • Siggie, I’m a big believer in there’s nothing like a deadline. I do my best work when under pressure because I think it’s natural to ‘relax’ and enjoy life along the way, but if too much, isn’t very productive.

      Maybe structuring some self inflicted deadlines may be the key for you!

      • You are right, I should set up a schedule and stick to it. I usually work better under a little pressure also. I actually never thought of that while working at home, guess I was rebelling all those previous years of being scheduled :) Time to do some planning. Thanks Donna!

  3. It was never supposed to be easy, it was just supposed to be worth the —- ( late nights, lost sleep, missed tv, whatever). Words my hard working farmer parents live by. Your posts make me feel positive and blessed all day. Thanks!

    • The missed TV comment made me smile! I’m down to two shows… Downton Abbey and Survivor. When they are on which isn’t always. And I frequently miss when they are. Thank goodness for a PVR! :)

  4. Thank you for posting this. I really needed this right now. As an elementary teacher I come home depleted at the end of each day. My creative soul has a hard time mustering the energy to go into my studio to work. But my dream is to be able to quit my daytime job and pursue my artistic passions. I do work on it regularly but am not devoting enough time to it. So thank you for inspiring me!

    Kelli

    • I totally get it Kelli.

      But I think the key to making that happen is, take a look at what you do during your leisure time. Is it possible to turn THAT into a career? If you consider it work, then be open to looking beyond the obvious.

      p.s. sleeping and watching TV aren’t applicable… haha

  5. Good word, and encouragement at the right time. People ask me if I ever sleep (which I do…).

    It is a busy pace, sometimes I feel I might be neglecting important relationships (which are more important than things), but they usually remind me; or I feel this tug which tells me I have to invest more time into people than my pursuits. But all in all, I love it, or I know I would not do it.

    For now, anyhow, I feel this is the direction that the Lord is leading me. As long as I’m open to hear from the ones I love and trust, and can still move full steam ahead, I will do so.

    Blessings to you, and thanks for sharing.
    Susan

    • Susan, I struggle with the people thing too. This week I attempted to meet up with 3 gals and none of them can happen because of the day job calling more than anticipated. I will try again next week because I also realize how important relationships are.

      • Great thoughts.

        I have very strong feelings that God is all about restoration and nurturing; and He uses what seems ordinary to some and turns it into something extraordinary.

        That is how he treats me, and I believe, hopes that I will in turn, engage with those around me in the same manner. My main goal is to do that. So those tugs or reminders from family and friends help to keep me grounded. Just pray that my heart stays tender to that, or all of this is for not…

        My philosophy drives my passion for my extra-curriculur job. I often take things, usually antiques, cast-aways, vintage or just finds and try to look at them a little differently. Either they just need some restoration or they need an overhaul. I do love doing what I do.

        My philosophy also keeps me on track with my FT job with benefits. It causes me to pause and make sure I’m still giving it my best; taking care of people and my tasks to the best of my ability.

        Can’t remember ever taking the time to really engage with a blog. Looking back at what I just wrote, kind’ve looks like my “mission statement” for this leg of my journey. Thanks for the prompt.

        Now, all I have to do is stay true to my “mission statement”.

        All the best,
        Susan

  6. Wow, what a great post at just the right time. I have been blogging for over four years and despite getting serious the last year really, it is constantly an uphill climb. There are days I am so ready to quit. I have read all the dos and don’ts, but have tried to stay true to what I do and not follow trends. That can be good and bad, but at least I enjoy it and that has made a difference. I am passionate about my “day job” as a worship leader while blogging gives me another kind of creative outlet…and hopefully a future. Thanks for the encouragement Donna:-)

    • Anita, it may be that blogging in itself isn’t the right choice. Look beyond… is there something that you truly enjoy doing? Maybe blogging can help catapult ‘that other thing’.

      Blogging itself is full time. If it’s a struggle to stay at the keyboard, look beyond!

  7. I so needed to see this! My day job requires 40+ hours each week, so when I do make the time for creating, I feel guilty that I’m not working (even if it’s on the weekend). This year I’ve made a goal to try to be as focused as possible at work and leave the guilt behind once I get home.

    Have you ever considered a different day job that would allow you more time at home? I’ve been tossing that idea around – but is no less scary.

    When you were just starting out – how did you create the habit of setting aside a few minutes every evening?

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. I really enjoy your posts – everything you do is top of the line. I’ve recently started a blog in my area of passion – gardening. I completely agree with everything you say – 30 minutes means everything and who needs a clean house. I decided I’ll have a super clean home when I get to heaven. Thank you for taking the time and energy in all you do. You’re Awesome and set a great example for others! Enjoyed this post it was like reinformcement! -Carole

  9. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. :). I am continually amazed that God keeps nudging. Nudging the right people into my path and the right friends to say what I need to hear.
    You are so incredibly talented, my sweet friend. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with us. :)

  10. Donna, I know I’m not the only one who’s glad you didn’t quit. Your blog is one of my favorites and I enjoy your posts about projects as well as your trips with No. 1 Son. I really don’t know how you do it… I blogged a few times on my vacations just to communicate with friends at home and show them what we were doing. It took a lot of time ! And it was hard to give up that time in the evening when I would much rather have been looking at the stars. It might be easier at home during the day to take time to concentrate specifically on a blog, but I’d much rather read my favorites than produce my own. Thank you for sticking it out!

    • Thank-you Patty! Blogging isn’t for everyone, but for me, it’s my way of sharing and inspiring. You have to really believe in your topic AND love writing and photography to make it all as seamless as possible. It’s ok to not like blogging yourself, you just have to find ‘the thing’ that works for you! But blogging indeed can help get the word out about what you have chosen to do.

      While some blog while on vacation, I also think it’s perfectly ok to look at those stars without having to write about it. There has to be a balance. I believe in living your life then blogging about it, but only if you’re driven to. Family first!

  11. Thank you for this post. I left my job 6 months ago. Not because I wanted to but I had to due to stress and other factors. I’ve been searching for a new job with no luck and have been working for myself making crafts and selling online. A couple weeks ago I became so burnt out putting in 12-15 hour days and then some trying to make a living I had to take a break and regroup about what it is I needed and wanted to do. It is through these inspiring posts that I keep motivated to start again and push hard. Yes it will take time but ill get there. Have a beautiful day.
    Rebeca

  12. Excellent sound advice! I’m at a cross roads right now, trying to figure out if we can do it on one income while I do what I love and grow it… big lump in my throat. I haven’t gone back to work since my layoff and my “income” comes to a close soon. Can you build me a crystal ball? Pinning, so I can read it over and over! Thank-you!

    • If you’re unsure Laurie, I’d go back part time and apply more time to blogging. Then eventually make the flip. I’m certainly not endorsing folks quit and run into hard times. Gotta take care of the bills for sure!

      • Hi Donna, I sure hope I didn’t make is sound like you were advising folks to quit and run into hard times… you are exactly right, that’s not a smart move, bills of course have to be paid. :) But I am unsure so you are correct, thank-you for sharing your wisdom and experience! It’s very much appreciated! xo

  13. Thank you so very much for your wonderful words of encouragement! It is so easy to loose perspective sometimes and then we are gently reminded that we are on the right path. Your post did that for me this morning ;).

    Your post also stirred up in me how we are called to be excellent and faithful with everything that we have been trusted with; including our day job ;). It is so easy to get discouraged with our day jobs and long for the day when we can “quit”. In reality though, it is just as important (at least for the moment) as anything else we are doing and our employers deserve our best as well (not just our longing to be out of there). I need to a better job at this and remember the blessing that a regular paycheque is AND that I get to do something I love on top of it ;). How much better could it get?!

    Thank you again for your insightful words and wisdom. Keep up the amazing work; both during the day and at night ;)

    • I agree Lisa. We owe it to our employers to do the best we can with a cheerful heart. But my point is, if folks don’t feel like that, it’s very likely they have chosen the wrong line of work. It’s those I’m encouraging, to find what you were really meant to do, which in return will give that job to someone who really does desire it!

      There are all kinds of jobs. Some are a mere means of earning so you can provide for schooling, or to help propel you towards something you are going after. No matter why you’re there, you also owe it to yourself to do your best… until you can finally offer it to someone who will love it more. :)

      • I absolutely agree with you! We have to be in the job that is meant for us and many aren’t. I was speaking more personally that even though I know I am meant to be at my day job (and it has taught me so much!) AND building my dream job at the same time, I need to be thankful for both at this point; not always longing to be at a different point in my life :) I need to enjoy the moment and learn and take from it what I can knowing that each experience will teach me something new. And… even though you meant your post in a different way, I found it incredibly encouraging as well and this is just what it meant to me.

  14. You don’t need affirmation from me, but girlfriend, you are right on! I had this very discussion with myself this weekend. I’m retired and for the first three years of my retirement I felt like I was on vacation. Then one of those things I enjoyed learning and doing turned into a job that I never wanted again. I was flattered that people wanted to buy my altered books. They were cute and the perfect “screamer” for my friend in her new gallery. Then I went overboard with my time and money and find myself on the losing end. I’ve swapped learning new things for what has become a drudge and not the joy the creating once was. So I’m finishing up my commitment for a trunk show, signing up for a local craft show, getting rid of my inventory and closing shop so I can go back to learning and creating again, finding satisfaction in every day. You gave good advice. Love what you do. Give it the time it needs to grow and nurture your heart and soul along the way. Thanks.

  15. First time commenting but I loved this post so much I just shared it in our Canadian blogging forum on Facebook. The part about the laundry got me the most because I say that all the time. That I always have laundry to fold because I’ve run out of time in the day. This year I said enough and decided to start organizing my home life and my online content. I appreciate your honesty so much with this because I’ve heard the same voices in my head many times last year. Life is short so do what you love. I agree.

    • Alex, thanks for chiming in! :)

      I’m all for keeping up our homes. We have to live there and we enjoy them more when they are organized. I’ve just trained myself to overlook the bad until I can get to it! LOL Not everyone can do that.

      But I liken it to this. People and connections are more important. So I have a choice. I can either apply all my extra time towards a spotless home or use some (most) of that time towards building a future so I have more time to keep that house spotless in the future.

      And that is why I have a pallet sitting on my sofa, and unfolded clean laundry on my floor. HAHA

  16. Thanks so much for sharing. Have been trying to get started for a few years, but couldn’t seem to do it. Couldn’t find the time, now I am inspired to MAKE the time. Excellent advice. THANK YOU!

  17. You are so right and I needed to hear this today!
    I have been building up an antique business, it is my dream job. But I live in CA and it is difficult to find the “good” stuff and at prices that I can afford. I was getting very discouraged.
    Thanks for the pep talk! It helps! karen….

  18. Wow!I just discovered your blog this morning and this post certainly hit home for me. Divine intervention maybe? I have been debating starting a blog for quite some time but fear has kept me from doing so. I have had many friends and family encourage me to take this leap of faith, but I have been unable type the first words or post the first picture. I am at a crossroads in my life. I either go back to work fulltime and do something that I might not love but will pay the bills or do something I love and have wanted to do all my life. I have been a DIY girl for over 25 years, starting with my first apartment and very little money. Thank you for the inspiring words. Your blog is wonderful and one I will visit often.

  19. 30 minutes a day and 5 years of it… sigh. I am on a blog hiatus right now because I had no energy for it anymore. I am feeling a little more inspired after reading your post. Sometimes you have to walk away for a time to realize how much you love what you were doing/living.

    Thanks for the pep talk. Guess I have 2 more years of blogging to go…

    xox

    • Anne! Breaks are so important! Sometimes we get in so deep we can’t see the light of day. It’s good to clear your head.

      I think there’s something very telling about those that take frequent blog breaks. It may be that blogging itself isn’t the ultimate path but maybe focus on all those forks in the road instead.

      Writing and documenting isn’t for everyone. As for me? Try and pry this keyboard away from me! :)

  20. Wow, I needed that! I keep putting off doing what I love until it is the “right time”…that time is NOW and I need to get started on it!! Thank you for your inspirational post and advice.

  21. Have been dreaming on quiting my day job..just to make the time to do what I love,but always feel responsability came first, been a burden . now I´m inspired to make it happen. step by step…. but I gonna start walking today!!!
    Carolina
    Chile.

  22. You got a pep talk when you needed it and you gave that to me today. I am in my 3rd year of doing my day job and dream job together- in between parenting, being a wife, and all the other things that life brings you. Last December I was asked to come do my dream job full time!!! Yeah I just about died with excitement but also scared of leaving my comfort zone too…and after weighing it all out in a couple of months it should be happening!! It is so close and just have to remind myself it’ll be here before you know it. Thanks for the pep talk!! You are totally right though- it takes time, takes the long nights or early mornings to get it done before the day job happens and if you do what you love people will see that and it comes through in your work. Keep up the great posts. I have been reading your blog for a while and you inspired me to push it and it is going to pay off!! Thanks!!

  23. Even though I’m not a blogger, this post is such an encouragement to continue in my jewelry business. It is small, but growing and I love it! I am fortunate to have a working spouse with health insurance. Grateful for every day I get to spend creating beautiful jewelry!

  24. I love your blog Donna, and you so do not look 50, more like 30. Must be all your enthusiasm glowing out from your face. Or those lovely mountains around you. I want to emigrate!

  25. GREAT, GREAT, GREAT! It doesn’t seem like there are a lot of bloggers (at least the ones we read) have the second job too. Perfect post as we both have regular jobs and a family. It’s tough but we love it. THANKS!!!!!

    • Ohhh, I know of a ton of bloggers that have day jobs as well. It is hard if your job isn’t very flexible. Luckily mine is. I feel for those that put in 40 hours a day while on the build towards something else!

  26. As much as I love your projects and as much as they inspire me, I might just love and be inspired more by these types of posts from you. It seems you always hit the nail on the head with things I’m already thinking about. It’s kind of uncanny… Maybe we’re twins from a past life. lol! Seriously, though, I’d like to sincerely thank you for writing these types of posts as well as sharing all your fabulous junkiness with us!

    • Thanks Denise! These are actually my favourite kinds of posts to write… I try and do one at least once a week. I’ll set up a gallery so they can be found more easily. Been meaning to do that forever!

      I appreciate you chiming in on this! It’s very encouraging! :)

  27. Thank you for this post!! I feel like you wrote it for me :) I get impatient sometimes because I really do not like my day job. I just keep hoping “someday”. Your tips are very encouraging! Thank You!!

  28. You not having your blog! I would send your friend a million dollar check for encouraging you not to stop blogging,(if I has a million.) I love,love,love your blog. Please don’t burn yourself out,I want to read your blog for many years.

  29. Donna – you continue to encourage me! Although I do not aspire to blog, I do believe I am called to change directions from my day job. Looking forward to part 2 of this blog!

  30. I am so glad you posted this.

    You have no idea how much you inspire and push me on a daily basis. I have had some serious health issues during the past year and you have shown me that I can do it.

    On days when I can’t move and feel bad, I can peruse your site and blog, and become inspired for the days I CAN move. I know I can do it. I can follow instructions. I can’t afford contractors but you have shown me that I CAN do it with a little help from you.

    It is important that ” go getters” show the world that we too have bad days and doubts.

    God’s continued Blessings to you.

  31. Perfect timing! I had a falling apart, I can’t do all of this moment last night. I have to keep reminding myself that blogging is a marathon not a sprint. This post reminded me that I am not alone. Thanks for the inspiration!

  32. I just started my blog this week. I also work full time but dream of doing something I love! Thank you so much for the encouragement. It came at just the right time!

    Thanks, Elaine

  33. I love this post! It definately helps to hear the side of another working girl with a 9-5 job while juggling all the fun passion stuff on the side. You just spoke mountains to me so thank you for that!!

  34. You’re in your 50’s??????? You look great!

    I am blessed to be a homemaker/empty-nester, and I fear getting started because I’m afraid to fail! Thanks for the encouragement.

  35. Let me start my saying I love your style. Thank you for posting this encouraging article. I am an Interior Re-designer who loves to upcycle. This particular blog has special meaning to me because it was written on my birthday and the number 218 holds special meaning to me as a way of encouragement and that I am on the right path and everything I need will be put in front of me if I just pay attention and work hard. I am going to do my 30 minutes right now.
    Thanks again!

  36. Thank you so much. I to am in my 50’s and am dreaming of quitting my day job. However, unlike you I come home and rest too tired after teaching kids all day to move. I am going to take your 30 minute challenge and make a dent in making my dream job come true. Thank you for your truth and inspiration.
    Let me know when your dreams come true. I will be praying and hoping for you.
    Lorri Dunn

  37. Love this post! I think it was your staircase that led me to your blog – I saw it out there somewhere! I love it.
    I really like your point about not doing it for the money first. I need that reminder in my business. If I take on every custom sewing request that comes my way I can bring in cash but I’m not necessarily enjoying what I do. and yet when the things I design and create myself sit there not selling it gets discouraging. You’ve given me the push to keep going with what I love and stick it out – Sew a Fine Seam as a business isn’t 2 years old yet so I’ve got a ways to go with that ;) And the blog too, as a business is only a couple years in. But since I’ve been blogging since 2008 it feels like a lot longer!
    And now I just dumped on you – sorry!
    thanks for such a great article!
    jill

  38. All I can say is THANK YOU for this post. As a new blogger, mom, volunteer, homemaker, new business owner, etc. things can get overwhelming pretty quickly. BUT, you are right, when you are doing what you love and are passionate about, that overwhelmed {tired} feeling lifts and you can be in that happy place. Thanks for the support to keep chuggin’ along!~Michelle

  39. You look FABULOUS for being in your 50s. Tomorrow I will be 59 – ahhhh. Anyway, I had to quit work a couple of years ago due to cancer (didn’t want the cancer, couldn’t WAIT to quit working). I am curious, in Canada, do they have a form of Social Security like we do? We work here (40 years for me) and then when we turn 62, 65 or older (depends on when you were born), we can retire and draw Social Security. It is money “supposedly – ha!” put into an account for us when we retire. It is taken out of our paychecks as we work. Do they have anything there like that?

    Keep up the good work. I LOVE your blog!

    Cate <

    • Hi Cate! Yes, we have something like that here but what you get goes by what you put in. I’m not counting on much when it’s my turn. :)

      Sorry to hear about your cancer. I truly hope you are feeling better!

  40. Its nice to know that there’s others feeling the same way. Thank you for your words of encouragement! And lets keep going 30 minutes at a time….

  41. Hi Donna,
    First of all, I love your blog and projects. I recently did the rustic, junk valentines for some friends of mine.

    Your post was very enlightening and encouraging. I don’t have a blog, but I do love reading blogs and learning to look at things differently.

    Everything you said is what i try to apply to my business. Especially about the passion and not quitting. I am a Mary Kay consultant and started my business 5 years ago. I had lost my job and decided to make Mary Kay a career. Unfortunately I took the freedom and flexibility too seriously. My business didn’t go very far, because I got lazy, didn’t make a schedule and disciplined myself. It is amazing to me how I worked hard for others, but not for myself.

    I ended up getting married about 6 months later, but still did not work my business until the beginning of this year. You really have to have a strong “why” and have it come from deep inside of you. I found that and have run my Mary Kay as a business and not a hobby.

    I will pray that your time to flip the switch to your passion and obvious talent comes soon.

    Terrie

  42. Thanks so much for sharing this post! I put myself on a 5 year plan 2 years ago. Unfortunately, after 30 years of marriage, my life was turned upside down! So now I start over again. It will surely take longer now, being as I had to purchase a new home, but reading your post has certainly inspired me to keep on doing what I love. Even if it is 30 minutes every day!

  43. Hi Donna!

    I’m so impress with you and can’t wait share this info with friends. Do bloggers get paid to blog? Just wondering…I love to write (one of my biggest passions) and it would be good if I could receive a salary for writing as a blogger (or other writing opportunities). I welcome all your feedback.

    Thanks,

    Cathy

  44. This is a wonderful post, Donna. I can relate but differently. My blogging has taken a back seat to my newish business because I can’t seem to find the time to write about my projects. I was laid off over a year ago, and so many friends told me I should turn my hobby into a business, so that’s what I’ve done. It’s slow going, but with the unwavering support of my husband, family and friends, I know I’m going to do okay. I don’t need to make a fortune, but I love what I’m doing! But I really need to work my blog more…social media is huge in business now!
    Thanks for writing this…I will find time tomorrow to write a new post…that is my goal.
    Debbie :)

    • Congrats on your success, Debbie! So happy you’re doing what you love! A blog can most certainly help your biz flourish, but if you are selling on the side, I’d say your giving your biz the right kind of attention it needs.

  45. Fabulous post, Donna.

    And five years!?!?? Sigh. Okay. I’ll trust you, lady. Only because you’re amazing and have “made it” in my eyes.

    It’s true. Sometimes we need that push to keep going. Blogging can be such a discouraging enterprise. So many people seem to be keeping up… and why can’t I?

    It’s all about loving what you’re doing. Regardless of where my little blog ends up in the world, at least I’ve been happy the whole time I’ve been working on it. :)

  46. That is so true Donna. I can attest to that. My husband and I sold product at a local farmer’s market for many years. We didn’t make much money for the first while but the whole hype of the 4 hr. morning got into our blood, the repoire with the customers and other vendors became the important part and the money was secondary. It was hard but rewarding work getting ready and eventually we made more money in 4 months than I would have in a whole year. I once read a quote that said “overnight success takes 5 years”. It’s the journey that counts, the destination is just the icing on the cake! So sometimes we just have to hang in there!

  47. Donna,

    Thanks for sharing such an inspiring post. It helps to know that highly successful blogs are not created overnight. Anything worth while takes time. In our instant gratification filled lives it’s easy to forget that. My blog is less than a year old. I work full time and it is difficult to post more than once or twice a week. I know that the more content I post, the better. But it takes time.

    Oh, your pictures are gorgeous!

    Carol

  48. This was a great post. As a fellow Canadian blogger, you have helped inspire me to take the leap of doing what I LOVE… I wanted a blog for years before I actually took a step forward. I find making revenue through blogging such a confusing challenge as a Canadian since there seems to be so many restrictions for us to do so. I’ve let go of that and am discovering it all with time. :)

    • It definitely is trickier for a Canadian I will admit. That’s why I’m doing more for my own brand vs. blogging for others. Don’t give up! The right opportunities can come as long as they see you. :)

  49. Donna, thank you for the much-needed lift this morning… I was kicking myself because I’ve been blogging for a year now (and to be honest, I didn’t do much with it for the first 9 months) and not earning nearly what I would like to. Now I realize I should be happy I’m earning anything at ALL!!! Thanks again!

  50. Great post Donna! As a working woman with a blog, I totally get this! I blog because I LOVE to create. I couldn’t live without it. I’m a Art Director for my “day job” but I still want to get my hands dirty at night… getting back to my artistic roots of building things and painting. And I like having my big girl salary and the stability of it. I worked extremely hard to get where I am today in the business world at such a young age and am just not ready to leave it all behind. And I guess I’m just not ready to take that step of feeling like I HAVE to blog everyday. Maybe it will come someday, but for now the 30 minutes (ok, more like 60-90) is the perfect way to combine my two loves! Good luck to you this year and can’t wait to see where you land in the next year or so!

  51. This post is going to be my new mantra. Great tips and awesome motivation. What is life worth if we don’t do something we love everyday. Do the other stuff too but do what you love. Thank you.

  52. I love the encouragement and also the recognition that blogging is hard and sometimes you wonder if it’s worth all the sweat equity you invest. I do love writing though so I will continue to work toward those 5 years (and enjoy it along the way – ever if there is a bad day or two). Thanks for the inspiration!

  53. This is about what I did, but not with much intent involved! Looking back, though I see it worked out on a plan of sort! And it did start with PASSION! I was a middle school science teacher who wanted to teach in a more active way. Once I had that figured out, I started a website in 2003 to sell my teaching materials. By the time I retired I had a viable business that earned well for me. I waited for retirement age to do this. Had I been able to do this earlier (or wanted to), I would have had to be much more intentional, for sure! But the pathway would have been the same! And you are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, Donna, it starts with your PASSION! And a lot of hard work!

    My advice? Funky Donna has it figured out right!

  54. Very true. I would add another thought… Try not to feel like a failure if you do not meet your goals soon enough. I am six years in and it took me five years to stop beating myself up. It will happen when you are ready and have prepared enough. Passion is key. I feel it may be closer to 10 years for me but have finally learned to make time for my passion and am finding that when you do so, it comes. Great Blog !!! Just discovered it and I love your style.

  55. I’ve been blogging for a little over a year now, and so many times I think I’ve bit off more than I can chew considering I have a full time job, as well. I remember reading something you wrote once suggesting that if one blogs about what they love, it will start to make sense and the rest will follow (I won’t quote you exactly) anyway those words have come to me many a time and helped me make a better decision on what to post next.

    Having said that and reading this post, I want to thank you for sharing more of your wisdom and encouragement for each of us to find what we love to do and work to make it happen, sacrifices and all. I’ll be needing these words for the times when I want to bang my head against the wall, call it quits or anything close.

    Congratulations to you, Donna, on your success!!

    You are always making new things happen, lighting fires and inventing new ways to look at and approach the diy world. It’s truly a pleasure to follow along!

  56. I have followed you for a very long time. I want to thank you for today’s post. It encouraged me. You do amazing work. Wish I had your talent. Blessings, Martha

  57. This is a wonderful post, and well needed right now. I have been able to stay home and blog (while doing work on the side) for the last two months, but now financial reasons are going to send me back to work part time. It’s hard to swallow, but I love blogging and no matter what else I have to do I won’t give it up. I make some, but not a ton yet either. I’m only coming up to 2.5 years, so I guess I’m doing well if I’m only half way to the 5 year mark. :-) Thank you for the encouragement!

    • Wow, such good advice! As a 50 something, I’m constantly feeling like it’s too late to recreate myself or that I’m running out of time. Your words of encouragement hit home and were a source of comfort to quite those feelings.

  58. I have been a nurse for 39 years while doing different crafts all the while. I am finally semi-retiring Feb. 28th, down to 2 days a week. A third day I will be volunteering at a children’s hospital. I plan on using the other days to follow my other calling, making pretties. And your topic was another confirmation of it being God’s will.
    Thank you for your encouraging words. God Bless.

  59. Oh Donna, this resonates with me so much! I started blogging last year and I love it so much I’ve just started a second blog. I have a day job which leaves me feeling empty and unfulfilled. When I come home and write I feel alive. I will be vested at my job in a little under 4 years and I’m planning on working my butt off and taking the leap then. I can’t believe with the size of your blog and social media presence that you are still working a traditional job! Thanks for your words of wisdom. It helps to hear that there are others going through the same struggles.

  60. Hi Donna,

    I read your blog regularly and am always inspired. I love and adore your design aesthetic. You really hit a nerve with this post, most evident by the comments you received. I have been blogging for almost 5 years. I lost my small readership when Google Connect no longer supported self-hosted blogs and have been trying to recover ever since. The playing field has changed drastically and blog land is saturated.

    Also, I have attended blogging conferences, taken an online class and have yet to find a blogging rhythm that works for me. I love, love, love to write and share my creative pursuits but I find that the picture taking and styling (another aspect I struggle with)hampers my creative progress. I’m always questioning, “is blogging for me?” I was blown away that someone with your following could ever have thoughts of quitting. By the way, I hope that never happens because there would definitely be a void that no one else could fill. Thanks so much for sharing your personal woes and keeping it real.

  61. Great post! The 5 year thing is a really valid point that I needed reassuring on. I am entering year 3 now and can see the turn. For me, blogging is part of the mix of the business, not the whole. I have been pondering what portion of the pie it is exactly and therefore, how much time should be devoted to it.

    • Good thoughts Dee. I liken blogging to be the catapult to whatever it is you are doing. Do first, then blog about it. I’m attempting to broaden my horizon with small offshoots as well to diversify a little more. A few irons in the fire makes it a little more interesting too!

  62. Hi Donna, “EVERYTHING you do now will pay you back later.” I love that! It does get discouraging sometimes (especially since I’m still kinda new to blogging). Time management is definitely the hardest part, I’ve never been good at that. I am lucky enough to be a SAHM or WAHM now I guess, but it’s still tough to balance family and blog time. My laundry rarely gets folded but that’s ok, at least it’s clean :).
    I also love the idea to give it 5 years, a lot can happen in that time but only if I work at it. Your post was such an encouragement to keep going and put that time and work in, cause who knows, right?

    PS- Please share some of your secrets to keeping yourself looking so young. There is NO WAY I would have thought you were anywhere near 50.

    • Hey Meg! All the photos I have of myself are photoshopped so that may explain the age thing! haha I do that to all skin photos though, no matter whom they are. Just adds a pro touch to them. We also have rain 11 months out of 12 so there’s little chance of suntans around here! That may help too. And thank-you!! :)

  63. Hi Donna, boy did I need this blog…Right.Now. I have a day job, husband, 3 kids. And a side business with my sister…The Farmers’s Daughters. I love our side business. We re-do furniture and make pallet signs and repurpose old junk into wonderful creations. But only between basketball games and concerts and homework and supper and the hours of 7 and 11 at night. I am exhausted. We consign furniture at 3 different places in town and and I am in the middle of 13 special order wood/pallet sign orders. I LOVE to paint and create and have long given up on laundry or having a house presentable to company!!! I welcome people in and have to say please excuse the sander or screw gun or wood or large piece of furniture and why yes it afternoon and there are still breakfast dishes on the counter….why do you ask???? Thank you for the inspiration to keep plugging along. I will get there someday when I can focus on the dream. For now I will fit in my projects in between special moments with the kiddos and homework and basketball. I love your work by the way.

    • Oh my goodness… Jill, with that many orders on the go, sounds like you have a solid escape route from the day job! Good for you! You would NEVER have accomplished that if you had just ended your day the moment you got home. Crossing fingers you can make the jump soon!

      • Thanks Donna. From your mouth to Gods ears (and my husbands)haha. I make a good living at my job…which is a great blessing….but makes it that much harder to take the leap. Thanks for the encouragement.

        • I totally get that one! The pay cut is hard. But I’m constantly reminded by a friend on how much better I’d probably do if I made the jump myself. Hmm…. sounds like I’m not taking my own advice here! I think you need to shake your finger at me! :)

  64. Donna,
    It’s NEVER really 30 minutes is it? It’s 30 minutes to write a post, then 30 on Pinterest, then another 30 to plan for tomorrow’s project…

    I follow you and a few other bloggers, and your successes inspire me to keep on it.

    Thanks for the reinforcement!! I hope you get to quit that day job soon!

    Cori

  65. Thanks for such an inspiring words. I work a graveyard shift right now myself. Blogging and balance have been difficult to find. But, I like the idea of just starting with 30 mins. a day. I probably waste that amount of time watching silly TV. I am going to take your challenge and start doing 30 min a day on some of my todo list. :)

  66. Thank you for this post. It’s funny, I’ve come across a few posts right in a row dealing with this same topic. Inspirational! I’m at the beginning phases of blogging (but with many years professional experience), and do not think I’ve entered this with unrealistic expectations. However, I’m still surprised and how difficult it is to get followers. I thought that after a couple months I would have a couple hundred followers not a couple handfuls. I’m visiting and commenting on other blogs (being relevant and meaningful), providing seo, etc. Do you have any other suggestions? I have a couple additional questions I’d like to ask, but don’t want to be rude and hog the conversation. Thank you :) Betsy at PaperCalliope.com.

    • I sure do Betsy!

      Keep sharing what you do best. Don’t be afraid to improve as you go along. Be seen and heard. Link up to other blog parties to become known, and comment lots to be heard. It takes a while to establish a readership, but what it really comes down to is time. Lots and lots of time. Keep building up killer content… that’s what will win new followers over!

  67. I’m in my fifties and working towards this too. Some restructuring where I have my shop may push things along, and if it does, I’m going to look at it as an opportunity and not an ending. Good luck with making the leap!

  68. Hi Donna,
    Just wanted to say thanks for this post. Great words of encouragement, that are greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work! Joel Osteen says you don’t have to do…you get to. So much of what we see as depressing have to do’s is really character building, blessing, learning opportunities. And, the whole world is anxiously awaiting spring this year, so constant uplifting is really appreciated! ;-) Really liked your breakdown of minutes at a time, instead of a big project. It makes things so much easier to handle, but we often forget. YOU are making a difference in people’s lives. THANKS!

  69. I love your blog and your perspective! Thank you so much for sharing the truth of coraling our dream while sticking to the grindstone. I found my blogging going all over the place and had to sit down and decide which direction was aiming at what my goals really were. So I started a separate blog for aiming at my dreams and what I ‘think’ God wanted me to spend my spare time doing, to benefit myself as well as others who might find it useful and to hopefully, eventually, help receive some financial rewards to help our family out.
    (On top of my own goals, I had several people ask me to help their kids with art lessons who live far away, so I thought sharing art tips/lessons for kids and adults alike would work into my future goals).
    I have to tell you, the most discouraging people were friends and family…they liked my first blog, the writing family stories, etc, and felt my new blog was boring. Sure, I enjoyed writing those personal stories, too, but they took hours for each post and they weren’t getting me to where I wanted personally or financially. I mean, doesn’t everybody feel like their time is worth something when you invest enough hours a week to be a part time job? I felt my new blog was more specifically aiming me at my dream of writing kid’s books and selling art prints, forcing me to practice the drawing/painting/etc. that has been neglected for years, and the posts don’t take nearly as much time getting on, besides the actually art part, which is what I love most anyway. :) I think it is harder to face negativity from those we look to for encouragement. Granted, my husband and a few of my friends and Mom are encouraging and get it, but working through that douse of cold water from siblings/friends has been the hardest. My blog isn’t growing by leaps and bounds, but I honestly didn’t expect it would with the topic I am focusing on: art (sketching as well as for the home).
    I just sent in my first children’s book to a literary agent and check my emails daily with fear and trepidation…I know how hard it is to get books published, esp. when you aren’t anybody. But, as my husband says, you’ll never know until you push the “send” button, so just take the leap and do it. Failures are part of life, and making the hurdles over those failures is what makes a person stronger, and, I think, more excited and maybe even more thankful when “success” finally lands, although I think the journey is a big a part of “success” as the reward at the end. :)
    Thank you for your help and honesty!

    • Oh my goodness Tonya… how exciting! I hope you’ll keep me posted on what happens with your book proposal!

      You have nailed it. Sometimes we discover that the direction we are taking isn’t quite right. Now you know HOW to blog… so now blogging about your passion is the key.

      The family blog is just fine for family. But I think it’s your turn now. Go for it!

    • I love your comment Tonya. I’ve been feeling the same way about my blog and am still trying to figure out the direction I want it to take. You are so right, aside from the projects we want to do, the blogging part is a part time job in itself so we have to figure out how to best fit it in without compromising the rest of our time. I love how you took your idea and started a new blog about it. Good luck and blessings with your endeavors, I’ll be following!
      ~Siggie

  70. This post is one of my favorites of yours – I’ve re-read several times since you posted it. I’m lucky to be able to stay home with my young son – but that hardly means I accomplish all the things I’d like to. Sometimes it takes me weeks to finish a simple project due to time and financial constraints. I’ve just started blogging, and I know I have a long road ahead (and A LOT to learn) before I can get where I want to go, but it’s given me a crucial outlet and a new happy place! Sites like yours are such an inspiration, not just in blogging, but reawakening passions and helping your readers see that it’s ok to make that passion a priority too.

  71. I can’t say thank you enough for this post. I actually was JUST whining about being tired and having to wake up early to film tomorrow morning (I have a beauty youtube channel) before I go to my “real” job. I opened up Pinterest and there you were. This super hit home and was exactly what I needed at the exact time. Thanks.

  72. Great advice :) I am thinking about blogging again (had a review blog, but gave up after a while. Going to try again with a different subject I like a lot more) and I really like your 5 year rule. I keep hearing about successful blogs making a very nice income within a year, but I doubt I would be able to do that. I’m just one person! Thank you for helping to put things in perspective :)

    • Hey Crystle! It’s possible to earn quickly, but if one is doing it for the money first, you’ll start grasping to fuel that rather than what you truly love. You have potential to build the wrong audience for the wrong reasons.

      I vote to do what you love first. The rest WILL work itself out!

  73. Thank you! I needed that. I just started blogging and I’m not very good at it but I’m enjoying it – all while working a full time job during the day. I started my blog to keep me going on house projects, as a way to keep a diary of those things and to share it all with friends. I’m enjoying it so far and I’m hoping to keep it that way but to also grow my blog at the same time. The information I’m gaining from you since discovering you has been wonderful! Thank you for sharing!!!

  74. This is exactly what I needed to hear today. I was just feeling guilty for losing balance between my work and my blog desires. You made me realize it’s worth it. Thank you!

  75. Hi Donna,
    You are my inspiration! Of the many creative decorations around my home, I think you would instantly see your thumbprint! I currently have a full time job that I spent a good chunk of money to achieve my professional status and time and money to maintain it. I enjoy the work but it is not my “passion”. My passion is repurposing and decorating and also creating personal gifts for people. I am also currently in school to further my degree for my job. This leaves me very few hours for my passion. When other people see the creations or repurposed items I make, they always say “you should sell (xyz)”. However, I think, I already have a job that pays my bills, health insurance, etc.
    Long story short, where do I begin dipping my toe in the water? I am willing to try blogging, but I don’t know if I have the preserverence to dedicate myself to the 1/2 hour or more daily that you suggest would be needed.
    Should I wait till I’m done with the school, (about 1 year)? You’ve got me thinking I may be able to follow my passion, I guess I’m just unsure if now is the time??
    Thank you for letting me sound off and thank you for all your inspiration!
    Cindy

    • Hi Cindy! I really can’t answer that for you. If you are already creating things, why not document the process with photographs? Then see where that takes you?

      Blogging is a very time consuming commitment for sure. But starting to build sooner than later, when time allows could be better than not starting at all. Listen to your heart, try it out and see what you think!

  76. Thanks! I needed this so much! I know I will never quit my day job… I honestly like it and it pays the bills and has great benefits and retirement … but I do feel like I am butting my head up against the wall somedays.

    I am just starting out and trying hard to build, learn about how this all works, and keep up with the social media aspects. I am hoping it will get easier at some point!

    This really helps! Bookmarking to read again and again!

    Stacy
    http://www.anygirlcandoit.com

    • I so needed this tonight!! I have a day job that is just a “job”. My heart is in other things. My passion is blogging, home decor and my Etsy store. I have been in discussions with my husband about opening a retail store in our town, and just can’t get him to bite. So for now, my side line, after-hours job is my blog. I am in the process of revamping it to update it’s image because I do feel it’s a little STUCK. I haven’t found my identity in my blog just yet. But knowing it took you five years, gives me hope to know that it does come. I definitely need to give it more time every day. I don’t do that right now. Do you do any classes or seminars on how to grow your followers? I love your blog and your pins on pinterest. I see them almost every day!! Thank you for the much needed pep talk!! :) HUGS!!

      ~Amanda

      • Hey Amanda! The very best way to grow your followers is to create great content. Seriously. You need to social media your content for sure after the fact, however the more you create, the more you’re out there, the more your followers organically grow, which is the very best, longest lasting way. Hope that helps!

  77. Oh Donna thank you so much for this post. It is like you read my mind…and I am sure a lot of other folks mind. I was so at the point of frustration…I was ready to quit. I don’t earn any money. I work like a dog…and worst… hardly anybody read what I post. I love creating stuff out of nothing. I love writing…even though I don’t feel that I am any good at it. And I am broke as a joke…with a daughter going off to college. Your post encouraged me. This is one reason why I love blogging. I wish I had all night to look at all that you have in your archive. You are one creative lady.

    XO,
    Trish

  78. You should tell your friend that her awesome pep talk is on my bathroom mirror! It was so inspiring, that I had to cope it and use it! I read it almost daily!

    “EVERYTHING you do now will pay you back later. Never forget that. And never stop. You are on the right track, so keep going! DON’T. YOU. DARE. STOP!”

  79. OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! I am new to your blog via your instagram account and I am a huge fan of your work. I was scrolling through my instagram feed a few minutes ago and was lead her to this post from your post on insta. I just want to say that this post WAS RIGHT ON TIME for me. Thank you thank you thank you for this post. I feel that reading this tonight has given me confirmation and has most definitely inspired me to push myself to do what I love. Starting tonight, I will dedicate thirty minutes to what I love and will watch it grow in the next five years ;-) ! Thanks again!

  80. Congrats! Good for you! I know exactly where you are coming from. My husband and I made homemade Perogies for 15+ yrs. which we sold at the Farmer’s Market. Firstly it was to make a “little extra money” and soon got into our blood. Soon the money became secondary. We loved seeing our customers and the little ones growing up, year after year. It started out being very labor-intensive but as time progressed my ingenious man built machinery etc. which took a lot of the hard work out, but each one was cut out by hand (mine). We got so good the two of us could pump out 30 dz. in half an hour and the money came rolling in! We are truly retired now but I’m sure we’ll come up with something next spring…we aren’t ready to quit quite yet!!
    P.S. I too heard tell that “overnight success takes 5 years”.

  81. You go girl! You have the want, the need and the talent. Your blogs inspire me and give me ideas. They might not be exactly like yours. They can be changed to make it mine. That being said, ” with God all things are possible “.