Keep Your Day Job & Run A Creative Business

Mina Brinkey, Bohemian Vintage, Keep Your Day Job, Oh My! Handmade

Editor’s note: I met the lovely Mina of Bohemian Vintage because we were on the same Alt Summit panel! We were chatting in the airport on the day we left SLC and I invited her to come share the story of how she has balanced keeping a day job she loves with her creativity. Successful creative businesses come in all sizes and I thought it was important to have a voice for all the creatives who love their day jobs & their creative work too! 

Growing up in a home where going to school, getting a good job and settling down was pretty much the only plan, the thought of doing something creative was out of the question.  I remember wanting to be an actress from age 0-15 (not kidding!) and having my mother tell me again and again that it was “a nice idea, but not realistic.”  So, by the time I graduated from high school I figured I would go ahead and go to college to become a teacher.  That would be the closest thing to being on stage and having an audience, right? It worked out wonderfully because I absolutely love teaching.  But, my creative itch was still there.  I am a creative person that thrives in and needs a creative environment.  After a couple of years of teaching and a newly acquired law degree, I decided that I just couldn’t put it off any more.  I needed to do something that would allow my creative juices to flow.  I discovered my love of vintage and decorating while working at a local vintage/antiques boutique on the weekends.  I loved going to work because it meant I could create vignettes to my little heart’s content and photograph them again and again.  So, what better way to share this with the world than to start a blog… about…. decorating! That is when Bohemian Vintage was born.  A couple of months after starting the blog, I opened up an Etsy store where I could make some money selling my vintage finds and feature it all on the blog.  It worked out perfectly for me because it allowed me the opportunity to shop for vintage goodies, create vignettes, photograph them and write about them.  All of my creativity at work! Meanwhile I kept my day job as a teacher and was assured that the bills would be paid and life would go on without taking too much of a risk.

Quitting your day job to do what you love doesn’t have to be your only answer.  In fact, I believe this false belief keeps many people from pursuing their creative dreams.  They feel like it should be an all or nothing decision.  And, thankfully, that simply is not the case at all.  Believe it or not, there is a balance that can be found.  Your day job and security need not go out the window.  If you can manage your time efficiently, you can make the time to pursue your creative endeavors without throwing in the towel at your 9 to 5.  How did I do it?  Well… here is a run down of a typical day for me when I ran the online shop.

I would get up a 6 a.m. to be at work by 7:15 a.m.  I would devote my time to my job while I was there and do my absolute best to get everything done by 4 pm.  I would get home by 5 o’clock and eat and do all else by 7.  At 7 o’clock or so… I’d start posting items to the shop, answering e-mails, blogging and packaging items.  I would typically go to bed by 11 pm or so.  I would do all of my vintage shopping and photographing on the weekends.  It never felt like work, however, because it was fun and I loved it! I was being creative!! Just exactly what I wanted!

Eventually, the online shop started to do quite well and my husband and I partnered up to open up a brick and mortar shop in Tampa.  I was laid off from the school district due to budget cuts and so, it was a natural transition to expand the online shop.  It had already gained a name for itself online and that definitely translated to the physical store.  My dream did, in fact, come true.  My own vintage shop. It was absolutely awesome.  When we decided to grow our family, certain things (like health insurance) became vital and I chose to close down the physical shop and go back to teaching.  Of course, re-opening the online shop has been on my mind recently and even with a day job AND a one year old now… I know it can be done! And I also know that YOU can do it!

When you love something… you stop “working”.  Trust me… it will never feel like work.  It will feel like that awesome hobby you have when your working hours are over. You will get to do what you love, while maintaining that peace of mind that comes with getting a steady paycheck.  If done right and given the time to grow, your “hobby” can soon become your “job”. You know… that job that never feels like work because you love it oh so very much? Until then… keep your day job and revel in your night “job.”

Now it is your turn! Share your stories of balancing a job & a creative biz! Do you have a day job and a creative business/blog? Are you planning on quitting your day job or are you happy keeping your creative biz as a part-time gig? How do you manage the responsibilities of work/creativity? 

Meet Mina!

MinaBrinkeyDecorating and design blogger, Mina Brinkey, works as a Social Studies high school teacher by day and authors and edits the Bohemian Vintage blog by night. Mina has been featured in various publications, such as The Tampa Bay Times, Nesting Newbies Magazine and Apartment Therapy. She has also been featured as a design expert in Allison Serrell’s book New Cottage Style. She lives in sunny Tampa Bay with her husband Bill and their daughter, Savannah.

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2 comments

  1. Hanna says:

    A very inspiring article! I’ve been multi-passionate all my life, doing all sorts of things, and having many creative dreams. Currently I’m studying to be an operatic singer while writing my DIY&style blog Pearls & Scissors , running my Etsy shop, and working as a nanny a couple nights a week. And I wouldn’t want to give any of it up. I love working on my blog, and my shop, but my ultimate dream is to be a singer. But, I also love sewing and designing, and my blog and shop are realisations of that passion.
    I’ve read so many “quit your day job” articles, and the advice they share is good, but what if I don’t want to give up my daytime dreams? What a pleasure to read someone’s story who manages to do it all, and do it successfully.

  2. lushy.boutique@gmail.com says:

    I agree i think it is better to keep your day job as security and work on your creative business in your spare time until you get to a point where it has to be one or the other. At the end of the day you have to think of the risks of not having that financial security if you quit your day job. There are cons to this such as having to be more organised with your time especially when starting out as you have to have time to do the marketing, make your products, keep your blog up to date, and run your shop. It is possible though if you have the determination.

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