How we turned our dream into our full-time job isn’t the most glamorous story. Frankly, it was freaking hard. But, looking back on the crazy journal of working 9-to-5’s, managing the side hustle and juggling our personal lives, it was all worth it in the end.
Four years ago, we were still in college, sitting in our design studio dreaming about what we were going to do after graduation. It was there, that the idea of owning our own business began. Fast forward six months, to us graduating and hitting the ground running on our fast-growing idea of owning a business, while basically still wearing our cap and gowns. After graduation, we both got big girl jobs. That meant nights, lunch breaks and every possibly second on the weekends, we were working on this new business we named East + West Designs.
We did everything from researching how to even start a business, to messaging newly engaged friends from college to see if we could work for free, to even creating our own brand and website to at least look sort of legit. We worked our asses off and everyone thought we were crazy. No one really understood what we were doing except for the two of us, but we just kept moving forward, closer and closer to our dream. We knew this was what we were meant to do and we were going to figure out how to make it happen.
Quickly, we grew.
And grew, and grew, and grew.
To where we no longer needed to design for friends and family—and we for sure were not designing for free anymore! The hustle was getting incredibly real and the dream we had of one day turning this into our full-time job was now becoming a necessity.
Lauren here! 👋🏻
I decided to leave my full-time job in October of 2018.
I was working as a Marketing Coordinator in Kansas City at this point, but this job was not my passion—East + West was. It was getting harder and harder to meet deadlines, go to events and even just meet people when I was basically chained to my desk for eight hours a day. All I wanted to do was East + West work all day, but that wasn’t an option.
As Sam and I started to talk more and more about one of us taking the leap and going full-time, I felt like it was me who had the best opportunity. To be completely transparent, insurance was one of our biggest issues in going full-time. Sam had insurance through her job, but mine was still through my parents. I was 25 at the time and knew that if one of us was going to take this risk, I logistically could since I still had one year left on insurance with my parents. So, now was the time to leap!
Not gonna lie, putting in my notice was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done.
Something I didn’t expect was how stressful it would be knowing that this is now a make or break situation! E+W had been a fun “passion project” before; now, it was my livelihood. It was my future. It was literally my full-time job. This wasn’t just a job or a paycheck, this was the biggest thing I had ever done.
It’s been about a year and half since I left my job and, let me tell you, it has been a whirlwind!
I have learned so much about business, patience, client management, marketing and friendship. Knowing I’m doing this with my best friend has kept me going through some really stressful times. After I left my job, we almost doubled our business. DOUBLED. Just having someone full-time, dedicated to doing the work every single day has made a huge difference. But now, we’ve hit our capacity yet again, and it’s Sam’s turn.
Sam here! 👋🏻
I’m just over here getting ready to make this giant leap—TODAY!
Yeah, yeah, we’ve had this planned for literally years and we’ve been counting down for months to this very day. But, I’m still terrified.
I’m incredibly calculated, believe me. So, I’ve run the numbers a million times—business and personal—so I know we can totally do this.
The two of us + full-time = POSSIBLE
Now, all that’s left for me to do is just do the dang thing. But why am I so scared?
We’ve read every blog post, enrolled in every online course, watched every single Instagram story imaginable about “how to quick your 9-to-5” or “how to make your dream a into your full-time job.” What no one in any of those courses or videos tells you is that you will honestly always be scared, but you do it anyway.
You can have all the numbers lined up, perfectly calculated, staring you in the face telling you that It’s possible, but its still a scary thing to put in your notice, leave a job that is totally stable to take a bet on yourself.
IT’S CRAZY. But, worth it.
I’m beyond excited for what this means for not only our business, but for our personal lives. For years, and I mean years, we have been pouring every ounce of energy we have into this business of ours. Now, for the very first time, we both have just one job—East + West.
You mean to tell me that now I can “go” to work (I saw “go” because we both work from our homes), have an actual lunch break where all I do is eat? And later, at the end of the day, I can just do whatever I want? I don’t have to work for all hours of the night because I worked all day at another job? For real!?
Even though, yes, its so, so, so, SOOOOO scary to take this massive, daunting leap of quitting my job today, I’m just so ready and so excited to turn this dream into a reality.
Well, Sam gets married next week.
So, once the two of us are back from Hawaii, we’ll be hitting the ground running a lot of super exciting things coming to E+W.
We don’t want to give too much away, but it may involve a shop of some kind as well as maybe a fresh look…?
We’ll see how it all comes together in the next few months, but we can’t wait to share more with you soon!
So, stay tuned! And in the mean time, please check us out on Instagram if you haven’t already to follow along with all the crazy of Sam quitting her job today, the excitement of her very own wedding and some behind the scenes of what we’re cooking up with this shop/look secrets we’re working on.