Real Talk: Transparency, Personal Challenges, and Life Behind The 'Gram

 Photo via Amanda Villarosa

Photo via Amanda Villarosa

Thanks to social media, we have a much wider access to people, knowledge, and inspiration that we may not have had the opportunity to experience without it.  We’re able to share our lives, market our businesses, and connect with people all over the world. But with its greatness, comes its faults. We see the glamorous lives of celebrities, business owners, and influencers and catch ourselves falling in a cycle of comparison. “Why can’t I have that success?”, “Her life must be perfect”, or “I will never amount to that.”

Its in the past few months where I’ve truly been able to reflect on all of this. Like many people, I carefully curate photos for my Instagram and create thoughtful captions about my business, my personal life, and everything in between. But that’s just it--it’s curated. There’s a lot more that goes on behind the ‘gram that I think is so important to share, and with this letter I want to make an effort to shake those smoke and mirrors and be real, candid, and vulnerable.

As many of you know, in the fall of 2016 I quit my corporate job to pursue my passion. I wanted to take my love for calligraphy to the next level, and I was certain that by devoting more time to it, I could make it happen. Those first few months, I hustled. I rebranded my business, pushed out calligraphy projects, participated in wedding fairs, and even drummed up some local press. As someone so new to the game, I took on every project I could even if I didn’t necessarily love it, just because I needed the income. Eventually doubt slowly crept in, and really took a toll on me. I started to question my intentions with the business, where I wanted to go with it, and whether it was something that I could really grow. It was last October when I came across an opportunity to work full-time for another local business. The thought of getting a steady paycheck was just EVERYTHING at the time. I toyed with the decision for a while, but ultimately decided that it was something I needed to do.

For those few months, I kept Crafted going in a way, working on my off hours and it became a side-hustle again. To be honest, I felt ashamed to tell people that I went back to the 9-5, fearing that it they would think that I was a quitter, or that I just couldn’t handle it. So I kept it silent and kept pushing along on my blog, getting a few small projects here and there. Essentially, I was keeping up the life for the ‘gram.

Going back to that grind gave me a new perspective on life and business. I realized that going back to a 9-5 wasn’t a reflection that I had “failed” or that I “wasn’t cut out” for the life of an entrepreneur, but it was a sign that I was smart enough to know that I had to get my priorities straight before I took a step further.  It was a few months ago when I ultimately realized I truly was meant to carve my own path, and that if I genuinely wanted to get there I had to work even harder.

After almost five months working for someone else, I’ve taken back my life and am back to work on Crafted full-time with a fresh perspective, a new hustle, and even greater work ethic. Now more than ever, I appreciate the opportunity to do what I love for a living.  While calligraphy is still a part of my business, I’ve opened up new avenues for myself in social media consulting and creating a personal brand. I hope to share this story so that you too realize its OK to have your insecurities. It's OK to have a full-time job while building your passion project on the side. It's OK to question your career path. Because you’re not alone in this, and eventually things will always unfold as they were meant to.