LISTEN ! A lot of people think that there’s no way to do both. “It’s either you quit your 9-5 and pursue your dreams or you lose out on what your life could be for a 9-5.” That’s so UNTRUE. There are so many people that have taken the risk to just focus on their passion and I really admire that. That takes a lot of faith and it speaks volumes. However, I am currently working a 9-5, I will be starting school in January and I’m working towards my career all at the same time! It took me some time to learn how to balance but after years of searching for what the key is to succeed in doing this, I’ve found the key y’all. Several.
1. The top priority is to utilize your 9-5 for financial gain to put towards your business. Every dollar I put towards my business is well spent. Shoots do not pay for themselves, unfortunately. Models, Glam squad and studio all have to be booked. And HELLO! You can’t forget the wardrobe.
2. In your down time, make time for whatever you need to get done for your business. In my case, I do visual merchandising for Forever 21. This requires me to do window displays, floor setup and MANNEQUINS. I could halfass it because “it’s just a 9-5” but I don’t! I utilize the 9-5. I try to outdo myself mannequin by mannequin and feed my creativity. I also build a portfolio from all of the mannequins I style. I share photos of my mannequins on Instagram as well.
3. Bring work to work. We all experience “slow days” at any 9-5. It doesn’t matter if you work in an office, retail or restaurant. If your dream means what you think it means to you, MAKE THE TIME FOR IT. Even if it calls for you to get work done during your lunch break, do it. Today, I brought my laptop with me to get work done on break and it made my entire day. Creating mood boards for one of my clients cleared my head and put me in such a creative space. It felt great. Doing what you love should make you feel that.
4. Make connections within the company. It does not hurt to ask questions or have simple conversation with your colleagues. You never know who knows who and as big as it seems, this world is so small. For those of you in retail who are looking to get into the Fashion industry, take full advantage of this. You actually have an advantage.
5. RESEARCH! Everyone has a phone. Instead of scrolling on Instagram while you’re counting down the hours to clock out, search for networking events. Read about the tools and skills you need to develop to make you the best at what you actually want to do in life. Self educate yourself in your down time. I do this sometimes without even realizing. Another pointer for any person reading this that is working in retail, you have another advantage. You have no choice but to stay updated on trends, whether it be street fashion or straight from the runway. We’re surrounded by clothes more than we are around our own families. Keep yourself knowledgeable of what merch you have in your store and use it! Create different ideas, brainstorm off of that and apply it to your craft. Do your research😉.
6. BE ON TIME. I’m the worst at time management but I’m finally learning that if you can be punctual everyday, you’ll build the consistency of being on time to anything and that’s CRUCIAL. How could you run a business if you can’t be on time?
7. This is the most important key: YOU MAY HAVE CLOCKED OUT BUT NOW IT’S TIME TO CLOCK INTO WHAT YOU’RE CHASING AFTER. Work does not stop at 5PM or whatever time you clocked out for the day. You just got through working FOR* someone and the goal is to break free of that. We can’t accomplish that by going home and calling it quits for the day. Nothing will get done if YOU DON’T DO IT because you are your own boss. Until you reach the success of having others work for you, it’s all on you.
These are little steps I’m taking to being successful in using the 9-5 and not letting it use me. I hope you find this to be helpful and can apply it your own life. Keep chasing after your career. You’re closer than you think. We got this.