Hi everyone! Karla here, co-founder of Lark & Ives and also owner of Written Word Calligraphy and Design, Inc. I'm a busy woman, to say the least!
Today, I'll be sharing with you a glimpse of my story of how I was able to quit my day job before jumping straight on into full-time entrepreneurship. But before I can tell that story, I'll have to give you a bit of background.
As far as I could remember, I've always wanted to be a business owner. My parents are business owners themselves, and I remember growing up and making things with my own hands and selling them to my cousins (I had over 30 of them!!) and friends since a lot of them would come to my house, haha! I also went to university for business management and entrepreneurship, while I kept my creative background on the side, as it often helped me in creating advertising and marketing campaigns.
But then, my family decided to move from the Philippines, all the way to Canada. So suddenly, my career path drastically changed. Unlike the Philippines where the market is so much bigger and the emphasis on entrepreneurship is a lot stronger, it seemed so much more "normal" and "expected" to work for a stable company instead, due to the benefits and pension perks. So, I spent a good five years after university working for two corporations and one small business, in the realm of marketing, communications and project managing.
One rainy afternoon in Vancouver, I was scrolling through Instagram and I discovered modern calligraphy. I was hooked - it felt like something I could learn and develop. Once I got the hang of it and started producing artwork, I was able to get requests from all over the world to create wedding invitations and all sorts of projects. I felt like I found my calling, and was able to start a business with it.
And so, Written Word Calligraphy was born, a calligraphy and design studio that focused on unique wedding invitations, for brides all over the world. I was so grateful to have worked with so many amazing people and wedding planners, and was able to be published internationally. It was through this journey that I met Heather, our co-founder here at Lark & Ives, as we were local to each other and had a similar aesthetic.
As my work increased in Written Word, I was starting to hit a wall in my project management role at a telecommunications company. I needed to switch roles soon, as I had worked for 3 years in that role already - but I wasn't finding anything I wanted. So, I prayed for a sign. If I wasn't able to get the job that I was interviewing for and had reach the final stage already, then I would quit my job and go full time with Written Word. Needless to say, I didn't get that job, and I started to plan my exit.
Being a really detailed type of person, I wasn't going to quit my job without some planning. I started to make a business plan to expand Written Word, so I started adding calligraphy products and more workshops to my services, and also started a semi-custom line of wedding invitations to reduce the workload of designing. I also spoke with my financial planner to discuss my savings plans so that I could plan for my retirement in the future. Gratefully, my husband also worked at a corporation and also had the benefits, so I didn't lose on that at all. Additionally, I saved a bit more money for a 3 month rainy day fund, just in case business doesn't go well for the next little while. As you can see, it was a bit of a strategic move. I had a 1, 2, 3 year plan after I quit my regular office job.
Then I finally did it. On January of 2016, I went full-time and never looked back. In the process, I met Heather and we started another business, which is Lark & Ives, and I juggle my responsibilities with my other biz, Written Word. I feel so, so blessed to be able to have the flexibility to do what I love, to inspire and encourage people, to create beautiful things, while being a wife and a mom as well. It's not easy - there's days where I miss the ability to shut off the boss brain, it's harder to take vacations and breaks, but it's SO worth it. But, there's no perfect job in the world, it's what you do with it that matters more.