Two years ago, one of our best friends was riding a wave of success: a VP at her major corporation, corner office downtown, on track to become a vested partner, and a 30-something hour work schedule that would honestly make most entrepreneurs completely faint from envy.
And despite my “no FOMO” policy, despite being really happy doing our own work on our own schedule, despite all the good shit in our corner… MAMA WAS JEALOUS. This was a secret jealousy that sometimes crept of the dark corners of my brain as I was falling asleep at night– knowing that the next day, we’d have to invent our jobs and paychecks all over again, rather than having them all laid out for us. A tiny little thought that everyone else had security just by the pure fact that they had a real boss and a real office, and that running our own business meant we were waving goodbye to security from the ship as it stayed firmly planted on the shore. Not strong enough envy to want to go find a job tomorrow, but enough to make me wish that some weeks we could just phone it in and not worry about health insurance for once. In those moments, owning our own business felt so risky, like pulling a rabbit that hadn’t been born yet out of a hat we hadn’t yet designed.
At least, it FELT like it. But as anyone who regrets the dude they dated in their early 20s can tell you, feelings aren’t really connected to reality, are they?
Our friend came over after work wasted one day in early December. She skipped up the sidewalk singing sailor ditties, flung the front door open to announce that she’d had 8 gin and tonics, and… had gotten laid off. Three weeks before Christmas. She spent the rest of the day wailing on the couch, the rest of the year (and the one after) scraping together freelance gigs and trying to find a new job. So much for her corner office security and my misguided jealousy. That just isn’t the way the world works, as it turns out. We’re all inventing it as we go, and none of us have any promises.
Most of us have a secret little business plan in the back of our minds, reminding us on quiet Wednesday afternoons about what we REALLY want to do. But am I telling you to leap wildly, tell your boss to eat your shorts, and pretend you have a trust fund to back you up if it doesn’t work out? FUUUUCK NO. Don’t let your kids starve. If you don’t have a plan or any money saved, then yes, you’re definitely more secure in your day job right now.
BUT– if you have a potentially kick-ass side business and a plan for how to turn it into your full time gig, don’t let a “secure” paycheck fool you into thinking you’re in the best spot just because you’re answering to someone else. That’s your fearful lizard brain talking and it’s literally trying to keep you in a cave. If you’re selling your soul because of health insurance, your 95 year old self is going to look back and shake her damn head at you.
You don’t have a lot of time to do the shit you want to do– don’t forget to actually do it.
Still feeling stuck as you build your brand and ideas? Literally nothing (besides Chairman and Pepe) brings us greater joy than helping you level up your game plan. We have mentorship spots open again starting in July. Call us, beb.
Welcome to our Resources page! Sullivan and Sullivan Studios is a small yet mighty branding and photography studio, based in Chicago and shipping worldwide. We specialize in solid-footed, lively brand identities for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. We’re for the renegades who seek beauty, form and function– and prioritize deep hospitality above all, no matter what their industry.
Our clients come to us for something deeper than Instagram trends and surface-level branding. We've spent the past decade combing the planet for the best of design and hospitality. Our clients share three traits: elevated aesthetics, sustainable business models, and a global perspective.