I Dropped My Day Job To Pursue My Passion
by Sasha-Lee Findlay – Putty Perfect
My name is Sasha-Lee Findlay and at the age of twenty-six I decided to quit my day job and follow my heart. Life is short but it is also very long and so I decided that each day gifted to me will be spent doing what I wanted to, not what I needed to. Today, two years later, I run Putty Perfect which has its social media and design division as well as a self-publishing division which I am extremely passionate about. I am the author of recently published “The Castles We Build On Love & Ruin” and I have helped authors turn their visions to reality through selfpublishing. I also own Putty Perfect Life which is an online shop selling allnatural, artisanal bath and body products and locally handmade lifestyle goodies.
I am passionate about locally produced goods and supporting small business. My work in the creative space revolves around supporting other creatives which is why I try as much as possible to collaborate and work within a network of other creatives, freelancers and local entrepreneurs.
Where did it all start?
I was raised by two entrepreneurs at heart. My dad had always had his own small businesses for as long as I can remember and my mom who had always been innovative and a leader in her corporate employment, took the leap years later to start her own training and academic institution. I had always been exposed to entrepreneurship on different levels and I knew that it would only be a matter of time before I started my own business. It was years in the making. I knew I wanted to be responsible for my own income whilst contributing to the community and economy but I had to find my “why” and my “what”.
I studied graphic design but my career evolved and slowly moved into the social media space with the rise of digital media and social networks. And it is with this new found skill set that I saw my gap to grow my own business as well as contribute more than I’d be able to if I were an employee of one organisation.
Why did you make the jump?
It was never that I wasn’t happy in my job. I always saw myself as an ‘intrepreneur’ which is someone has exhibits entrepreneurial qualities whilst working within a company employed by someone else- so I was always pushing the limits of my position and job demands and always seeking the next best project to conquer. The most important question to ask yourself when taking the big leap of faith is ‘why?’. Why do you want to go out on your own? Why do you want to do what ever it is you want to do? At my last job, the company who turned out to be my first client, I was at my desk working one day when my boss had brought his kids in to see the new office. They were two young boys, not yet teens, and I simply remember him being so proud of showing his children what he’d accomplished and the looks on their faces when they asked, “Daddy is it all yours?” and he said yes! And that’s when I realised my ‘why’.
My why was simply because I couldn’t see myself working for a boss and then retiring. I wanted to do whatever I was passionate about until the day I die with no expectation to stop because of age. I wanted something to pass onto generation to come- after all, your children can inherit your business but not your job. It is so vital that you make that jump for the right reason because that will be your motivation on the darkest of days.
How did you make the jump?
Taking the leap of faith from your full-time day job to running your own business or freelancing full time doesn’t have to be a ‘leap of faith’- it can be a well calculated sequence of steps to get you there with as little friction as possible. I looked at my current circumstance and evaluated where I wanted to be and that’s how it all started. Some of my tips for calculating your leap:
1. You don’t have to do it all at once. You are totally allowed to take baby steps and as many as you need to get to where you want to be. Rome wasn’t built in a day and so I don’t think you should pressurise yourself to have it all together at once. I started putting out feelers and finding out who would be interested in what I have to offer so that I know I had some sort of client base the day that I resigned.
2. Work on your skill/product. You want to really craft your skill and product so that you have something decent to offer the world. No-one can pour from an empty cup. I crafted my design skills and my knowledge on social media for years. My experience in the companies and people I worked with is invaluable and today, after years of learning and perfecting, I am confident in my ever growing knowledge and skills which my clients gladly pay for, knowing they are getting the best of the best.
3. Have a plan You need to have a plan of action, whether it is written or just in your mind. This will not only help you know what you need to do, but it will also act as your lifebuoy when you feel overwhelmed or uncertain at any time. You can look at it and know that your plan is there to guide you on your way. My plan was to have at least two clients who I would be contracted to for the next six months or longer, so that it gives me the freedom to freelance but also gives me enough time to gain new clients in the meantime. So I had time to do the work, time to find the clients, an income stream and no
full time job to demand the majority of my time. My first client was my last boss and it was great because they knew me, my work ethic and I knew the brand and the company. Start at home and then work your way to the unknown.
4. You have to be brave. It’s okay to be nervous or uncertain but you have to be brave and being brave means that through all the negative emotions, you still do what you most desire to and stay true to your vision and mission. There will be hurdles and it’s not smooth sailing at all but the bad times will fade and the good times are exceptionally sweet!
5. Plan A is the only plan. I swore to myself never to have a backup plan which would be a full time job on standby. There were many times in my first year of self employment where I didn’t know where my next cheque would come from and I would think of applying for full time jobs, just in case. The only way I made it through my first year on my own was to really
be tough and say no to those thoughts. My money would have to come from me working as a free agent only, and nothing else would be accepted. It was tough but I don’t think I’d be here, more rewarded than ever, if I had a plan B and used it in my desperate times.
6. Never stop. It’s so easy when you secure those first few clients and then you stop canvassing and just focus on doing the work for those clients. Wouldn’t that be the life? I fell into that trap a couple of times and thank goodness I learnt from that mistake eventually! A client’s lifespan is never guaranteed- I think we all felt this with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
You have to keep seeking new business, keep pushing your product, keep your brand active and not be afraid of the growth. Keep searching even if you are at capacity because things change in an instant.
Entrepreneurship is a conscious decision every day and each choice will set you either one step toward your goal or one step further from it. Think about each action you take, each task you do, each opportunity you seize- actively think about each thing and you’ll soon understand that everything impacts your journey to entrepreneurship.
Being an entrepreneur, business owner or self employed is not for everyone.
There is nothing wrong with seeking the familiar stability of a pay check each month, knowing where your money comes from and not being responsible for anyone else’s livelihood. However overrated or underrated doing your own thing is, following my passion, my joy and vision has fulfilled me in the most holistic sense possible. I have found a rhythm and flow that I like in my freelancing. A freedom that allows me to be different things to different people and so beautifully fulfills my ‘why’ all the time.
Q. How important is self-care to you as an entrepreneur and business owner?
Self-care is of extreme priority to me especially when you are in charge of your own livelihood. It can be daunting and overwhelming at time when you are in charge of all things that would alternatively be taken care of by others. As one-man-band, I am in charge of getting new clients, servicing those clients, doing all my admin, doing all my marketing and making sure that everything runs smoothly- all that can be very distressing at times, so taking constant good care of myself is important for me to keep functioning at optimal levels.
Q. What are your go-to self-care practices?
I make it a point not to take a break once in a while but to have an ongoing series of little self-care practices that I do on a daily or weekly basis. I love doing a facial mask twice a week and taking that 20 minutes to just really relax into the nothingness. I also have a set breakfast that I eat every morning before starting anything so that I know my body is well nourished- skipping breakfast is my first sign that I am inundated and need to take a step back and reassess everything. Working from home can also mean that the lines between work and home are blurred so I make sure that at 6 pm every day I totally switch off from work- sometimes I have the opportunity to switch off earlier which is then very much welcomed.
Q. How do you balance business, health, wellness and family?
There is a time and a place for everyone and everything. When I am with family, I make sure that I am fully in the moment and not taking anything away from that quality time. I have set times for business and make sure that I don’t cross those boundaries. I also make time for my personal wellness and health to ensure that holistically I am taking care of my mind, body, family and business.
Q. What advice would you give to parents that want to ignite & cultivate a sense of entrepreneurship in their children?
I think it’s never too early to start cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit within your child as it doesn’t have to apply to business only but you can apply entrepreneurial principles to all matters in life. Teach them about looking at things from different perspectives, teach them not only to count money but also that you can grow money and not all your money has to come from one place. Teach them their own value and the many things they can do to make money or make a difference in people’s lives. Teach them that their livelihoods can be in their own hands and they can make their own way without having to conform to existing ways of the world. I think that these are lessons that can be taught and applied and every age.
To get in touch you can find Sasha below: