I left off the other day with Part 1 of my journey to full time, and I’m back with the rest of the story (well, the story up until right now!). I also shared a little insight into “what had to give” (some of them silly!) in order to make this happen.
Back to the story…
I shared that I was working on Stephanie Scholl Events while simultaneously working my day job at a non-profit in downtown Washington, DC. Over the course of the last year, it became more and more clear to me that I wanted to wholeheartedly invest myself in the wedding and design community. Up until the last couple weeks, I never marketed myself or searched for brides; they somehow came to me. My first several clients were friends of mine (and man am I grateful for them!), and then I started to book more and more brides that were friends of friends or knew me through the grapevine or just heard about me somewhere. So fun! It was serendipitous how many of my brides came to me, without me seeking them out, and I trusted God to set the course for my business. I didn’t want to take on more brides than I could handle (I was close to a tipping point these last two months!), but I also wanted to conscientiously grow my business and clientele. I knew I couldn’t take on a completely filled calendar of a couple brides a month or even twelve weddings this past year. There are simply not enough hours in the day! I also wanted to keep some semblance of a social life (which, for me, is seeing friends every day).
When I knew
Right before Easter! I can’t really pinpoint exactly what it was or how it happened, but I just decided. (This is pretty normal for me.) I think I was sitting at my desk at work, about to walk over to one of my elementary schools for a site visit, when I realized that I wanted to take Stephanie Scholl Events full-time and become my own boss. I clearly remember calling my parents when I was walking in Dupont Circle and just telling them… hey, guess what?! And the rest is history!
Well, sort of. I do know that my parents were a little shocked (I mean, I did call them around 11am on a random weekday with no warning)… but super, super supportive and enthusiastic. It was so strange and so liberating to say it aloud, and I remember practically giggling to myself and smiling a pretty goofy smile the rest of the day! I also called my sister (my best friend!), of course. And we all talked over things (the nitty gritty) over Easter when the five of us were home together. I’ve got the best ‘team’ ever (hello finance minded and website building dad! MBA brother-in-law!), and I truly, truly couldn’t even think of doing this without them. I think one of my favorite little memories of all of this was my mom: over Easter, she whispered in my ear at least twice, “Just do it, sweetie. I’m so proud of you.” It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it!
Anyway, a business plan was set, a budget was created, and I had a to-do list a mile long to get things in order. Whew!
What my days looked like – the abbreviated version
All of a sudden, my days (and nights) took on a life of their own. In January, I shared “a day in the life” with you all. Looking back… I laugh! It was late February/early March when things really amped up, and these last few months have been nothing short of a whirlwind. And I certainly don’t want to sound ungrateful or overworked! I took it in stride and have always been, and still remain, so thankful for all of the craziness.
Every morning, I would work for about 30-45 minutes from my bedroom before commuting to my office downtown (another 45 minutes to an hour). Then I’d work very busy days managing staff and visiting elementary schools and overseeing close to one thousand volunteers from 9am-5:30pm. 95% of the time, I would spend time with friends, go out to dinner or happy hour, or go to Bible study or book club or an event after work. I generally got home from a fun evening around 9 or 10pm, and then I’d settle in for 3-4 hours of wedding work every single night (typically going to bed between 12:30 and 1:00).
I thrive off of being busy, and I’m often more productive if I know I have limited time to do so. I also knew that there was an end in sight. I really don’t think it was sustainable long term, and I knew it was just a season of life. And I wanted it so badly that it’s been totally, totally worth it! I just never really turned my mind off of work, and I had to be really intentional with the hours in my day and how productive I was with precious time.
Why wait til summertime
Since I worked with schools, I wanted to not leave my team and the staff that I managed in too much of a lurch. And if that sounds selfless… I also wanted my paid vacation time (that I could only use during the summer). I wanted to continue to grow Stephanie Scholl Events, plan and prepare for its future, continue bringing in a steady salary and reap those benefits, and try to control the timing as much as I could. So that’s what I committed to doing.
I’ve said it before, but those were some incredibly busy months. I traveled almost every single weekend (I think I’ve been home three or four weekends since February), crammed as much into my weekdays as possible, multi-tasked when able, and tried my best to balance it all! The things you want the most are worth the struggles though! And I want this so badly.
The hardest part
Waiting! And being patient. Those are always my weaknesses. We live in a world where it’s go-go-go and now-now-now. I just wanted to make these big life changes overnight and get started with my new path, but that’s often not how life works. It’s also hard to quietly wait when you start comparing yourself and your journey to others.
I also think one of the hardest parts was keeping it a secret. All of my friends and family and anyone I talked to in ‘real life’ knew my plan, but I definitely had to keep it hush-hush because of my day job. I didn’t want to make anything public til I had officially resigned. So the announcement is even sweeter, even though this plan has been in the works for some time now. A year ago – or even seven months ago – I never would have pictured myself exactly where I am now. But the Lord is so faithful and always has His perfect plan, which is always better than my own. Who knows what the future really holds, but I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for me and for Stephanie Scholl Events. I’ve tried so hard to trust in Him and not listen to the world around me, and I can’t wait to see what’s yet to come.
In another post (sorry to drag out the story even more!), I’ll share with you why I’m moving to Raleigh, North Carolina in three weeks!
And in case you need some encouragement or inspirations, here are some of the verses and reminders that I clung to:
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man.” – Colossians 3:23
“I can do all this through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.” – James 1:17