Here are, in relative order, the best freedoms I have by virtue of Bespoke Hogaboom.
1. I get to make time for my family – any time I need, any day of the week.
Shown in the photo above: last Saturday I took an excursion to Olympia with my oldest son, just because we wanted a roadtrip and some noodles. End of story. I didn’t have to ask, I didn’t have to worry about my schedule. I knew I had the time and knew I wanted the trip. I didn’t have to “make up” work when I got home.
As hard as I work, I’ve also programmed my life with a lot of fuck-off time.
This freedom is lovely for snack attacks and beach days and goof-offs – but it’s also indispensable for supporting my partner’s career, for getting our sons to campus or to doctor’s appointments, for running errands, for taking our cat in for cancer surgery! There is a little bit of juggling now and then but my partner and I know there’s always time we can make for the things we need. I know our stress levels, blood pressure, and general health all benefit from my flexibility and built-in time cushion.
And on that note:
2. I can truly and deeply prioritize my mental and physical health.
I’ve had some bad jobs in my day and but some really good ones, too. But every damn 9-to-5 I’ve ever had, I had a limit of sick days. There was always that ticking-clock feeling – sure I can come in late a day or two or take some personal time but sooner rather than later I had to get my physical, mental, and/or emotional health in order – or at least fake it!
It was a terrible feeling.
Not so with my entrepreneurship.
I am responsible to communicate to my clients, and I am responsible to take care of my commitments. But I get to set those commitments. I am answerable to no one but myself.
This means if I want to stay up watching an excellent film or trashy television – I can. If I want to sleep in, I can. If I want to get up and meditate first thing – I can. If I need kidney surgery – no need to worry I’m inconveniencing the office.
The office is me!
There is no rush or unnecessary pressure on my timelines. There’s no cramming a quick breakfast and running out the door with a knot in my stomach.
If I’m feeling off, I can just put down work and rest, take a walk, go grab something to eat.
It’s glorious. EVERY DAY it’s glorious, and I feel a huge sense of gratitude every day!
3. I can be myself.
I always joke about my Horney Werewolf Patch because to me it’s the exemplary Kelly Hogaboom project. I made it for NO REASON, because I wanted to, exactly the way I wanted to (old-school vegan chainstitch on a scrap of deadstock)! I didn’t have to compromise or prove anything. I just made it. It’s just one tiny piece but it’s perfect, it’s me doing what I want to do.
I get to do that every day.
I don’t have to try to be “marketable”, or say the right things, or curry favor with influencers or larger accounts. It’s not that I don’t want to connect with others – I absolutely do! It’s that I get to be 100% myself – instead of someone I’m not! I might reach out to make connections, but I can reach out from my own grounded space. After all – if I’m not “Me” here on this blog, in my emails, on social media, than I might make the wrong connections with the wrong people.
I get to get up and be Me – every day!
4. I can afford to expand my skillset, materials, and equipment.
Since early 2020 I’ve purchased over $14,000 of amazing vintage sewing equipment – all without a line of credit, loan, and all without cramping my family’s budget. (Brief note: there are good reasons to get business loans and business credit, but this is not part of my plan for 2020 – 2023.)
There was simply no way I could have afforded all these amazing toys, if I’d stayed a hobbyist.
Before I got a business education and professionalized, I never had money to spend on my craft – ever. I ended 2019 with $115 in my business and checking accounts. Starting in 2020 I applied my new business sense, and that year I bought $10,000 worth of sewing machines – several of them vintage industrial Singers, that will only appreciate in value! – without borrowing money and without stress. In fact at this point I have so many amazing machines, I am out of studio space. (We’ll see about that!)
I went from longing for fabrics and being jealous of people with fancy studios and equipment – to being one of those people I used to be jealous of.
It’s not because I’m so great at design and sewing. It’s because I learned how to run a business!
5. People line up for my work!
My first-ever business coach Erik Stewart – I met him in 2015 or 2016, I think, at Grays Harbor College – told me after our first hour together; “they’ll be lining up for your work!”
I couldn’t believe he was saying this to me, with so much confidence.
But he was right!
The practice of running an entrepreneruship – with a business education. – compliments the acquisition of skills, materials, drive and joy – like no other relationship!
Far from “I professionalized and now I hate my craft!” (cough, cough – someone without a business education) – my story is “I professionalized and now I’m better at my craft, more people see it, and I’m getting better opportunities all the time!”
If you’re reading here and you’re an artisan, your work is probably already good enough to sell. But you can’t sell them without knowing how to run a business – the very principles I now teach. All you have to do, is follow my instruction. That’s it. You can have your entrepreneurship.
People will line up.
They really will!
6. I hand-pick my clients.
There is too much work out there – too many people want me! – which means I get to be selective. I get to pick work by the work itself, or the client – or both. There is this fantastic experience of mutual consent, and mutual appreciation.
I want to be there, and my client wants to be there!
Again: I’ve had good jobs back in the day. No job has felt this good before though – ever.
7. I am not scared of competition.
I’ve had people copy my style, my vibe, my designs, my art, my language, my Discord community. I wish more than anything they would regularly give me credit – but the kinds of people who copy, aren’t the kinds to do that.
I don’t have to worry about competition because I am confident in my skillset, and I have come to really trust my intuition (my partner tells me all the time that I have great instincts)!
My “competitors” who copy from me and never say my name, or the in-town sewist who never sends business my way because she is threatened by me – these people demonstrate through their own fear-based behaviors a lack of security in their skillsets. If they really wanted to make the world a better place – they’d look to their own weaknesses so they could joyfully and enthusiastically support others’ skillsets and business models!
I can’t change people who behave like this (although I am happy to help them get better at running their businesses, if they want to hire me) – but I can demonstrate mutual support through enthusiastically supporting others! I do this all the time!
8. I can pick up and move.
My business is such I can work from anywhere – even internationally. Besides the trouble of packing up my studio and shipping it somewhere – I can do this work without missing a beat.
This isn’t by accident. This is on purpose. I built a nomadic business – and I have clients all over the world!
9. I have zero busywork.
I love everything I do for my business. From marketing to bookkeeping to planning to writing these blog posts (hi!) to cutting and constructing.
There’s only one thing I don’t adore, and that’s cleaning up after a project. I admit it: it’s not my favorite thing to do.
But come on – ONE thing I don’t love doing, in my entire-ass work week?
That’s pretty dang cool!
(Pro-tip: I usually have my sons and/or partner help me cleanup, anyway!)
10. My partner and I provide balance for our children.
My partner works a nine-to-five. I work a scintillating, fantastic entrepreneurship. We both love our work. We both show – through actions and through easy conversations in the family – the benefits and costs of each model of business. I had to figure out entrepreneurship on my own – no one in my family was any good at it, they were mostly kind of half-assed artists with day jobs. It was a Great Unknown for me to venture into business. But I know our sons – if they ever choose this path – will do brilliantly.
11. I have a huge, huge body of work I am proud of.
Surprise! This is a list of eleven, not ten!
My work speaks for itself – which gets me more opportunities, makes the world a better place – and inspires loads of people. I feel like every day I’m doing something constructive – in a world that desperately needs energetic healing and restorative action.
I look back on my work, and I’m damned proud!
When I worked a 9-to-5, that feeling of pride was always pretty touch and go.
And there was an awful lot of concomitant bullshit I had to wade through!