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Side projects are very fun and A Jar of Pickles is mine! Since starting Pickles 5 years ago, I have been consistently working full time, but it has always been extremely manageable even as Pickles grows. I am very fortunate, and here are some reasons I believe that it is easier for me than it might be for others:


         
  1. I have a job that I find creatively and intellectually challenging, so, though tired, I come home motivated to explore my own personal projects. I really think an inspiring job stimulates the pursuit of side projects. I used to think a chill job that uses less of your mental energy would save more energy for projects outside of work, but It’s a little counterintuitive— I find those jobs may be chill, but are ultimately mind-numbing. 



  2. I was trained and continue to use the Adobe Suite (Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, etc) for my career which helps me with Pickles stuff for literally everything, from Instagram posts to catalog creation to actual designing. There are great online services that can execute these tasks for small businesses but being able to achieve this in-house (my small “house” of 1;) saves a ton of costs & time that would be spent on the logistics of outsourcing.

  3. My commute is ~15 minutes long which insanely short in the Bay (Google "Bay Area commute" and you will find depressing statistics). It gives me significantly more free time to get things done outside of work.


  4. I am surrounded by people that have different interests and skills and are always offering to help Pickles. For example: My dad handmade our amazing craft fair display stands. My husband used to be an engineer and can custom code a lot of preferences on my website. Some friends legit love folding cards and do so when they come over. 

  5. I have a husband who is amazing and has not only filled my life with a lot of fun and joy, but has taken a lot of daily tasks off my mind (for example, he cooks 90% of our meals so I never have to think about what we’re going to eat).


  6. I have the means to dedicate a full room in our house (and part of the garage) for inventory/workspace. And, to dive deeper into inventory: greeting cards take up very little physical space. I easily fit 20,000 cards in one room, whereas 20,000 articles of clothing or mugs, etc, would need a warehouse. 

  7. I chose to start a business with an extremely low barrier to entry and therefore had very little risk as I scaled very slowly. This, combined with the fact that I have always had reliable income from my job, has meant that "risks" that don't pan out have little to no consequences and generally cause me very little stress. 


I meet a lot of other makers at craft fairs and through online communities and most of them are pursuing their businesses full-time. It is so admirable, but I have always known it’s not something for me— which leaves me to balance my job, my life, and my side business. This list is not to say I don’t plan and work and “hustle”, but to share why, shrug, it really is easier for me and interrupts normal life very very rarely!

With that said, I still have weekly/monthly/yearly goals for Pickles and, as I instagrammed last week, I'm currently trying to figure out how to shift some Pickles energy to work energy and make my Pickles goals a little smaller. It is a continual journey (lazy ending to this post, haha)!

September 19, 2018 by Kirstie Wang

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