It's Time to Go for It - Making Designs By Miss Mandee My Full Time Job | Designs By Miss Mandee

It’s Time to Go for It – Making Designs By Miss Mandee My Full Time Job

Hi. My name is Mandee Thomas. I’m 27 years old, and I’m a graphic designer…or die cut designer…or some kind of designer at least. And today I am simultaneously ecstatic and super nervous. I am doing something big—something I’ve hoped to do for a long time, but never actually had the guts to pull the trigger on. But, a series of events, big and small, have led me to the decision that it’s time to go for it: it’s time to make Designs By Miss Mandee my full time job!

It's Time to Go for It

This news may get you excited (as I hope it does), because it will mean more of everything:

  • More Freebies
  • More Intricate Designs
  • More Tutorials
  • More Products in my Etsy Shops
  • More Content All Around!

Or, you could be thinking, “I wasn’t even aware that you had another job in the first place.” Which would make a lot of sense. I’ve pretty much always kept my day job and my design blog separate, and haven’t really talked about what I do outside of this realm. So, if you’re interested, feel free to take a peek behind the curtain while I share a little bit about my story and what has led me to this point.

It's Time to Go for It

Spring 2014

Springtime often represents new growth and change, and that certainly was true for me in 2014! I had just graduated from college with a BS in Psychology and a BFA in Visual Communications (a fancy term for “Graphic Design”). I was excited to trade in my part-time, campus design job for a real life, full time career!

It's Time to Go for It

Even though I had hopes (like every naive Graphic Design major) to work for a business to consumer company marketing amazing, universally fun products—like ice cream, or bubble gum, or needle-felted llamas—I realized pretty quickly that the likelihood of finding an ice cream-selling confectionary, that also happens to dabble in the needle-felted llama market, to work for would be pretty difficult. And even if such a place did exist, that they probably wouldn’t be looking to hire a full time graphic designer.

But, just because I wasn’t likely to land my dream design job right out of college, didn’t mean that I couldn’t still find a way to express my creativity and do the “fun” kinds of design I had hoped to do. My solution (as you can probably guess): Designs By Miss Mandee. I had no idea exactly what my goals were for this website or if anyone would ever care to visit it, but I figured I’d give it a shot.

And, as it turned out, my suspicions were correct: the first full time design job I landed out of college was in the…wait for it…the ATM industry. Yes, that’s right, the ATM industry is alive and well, and I had the privilege of being right in the thick of all the exciting financial institution action!

In the midst of all this: graduating, starting a design blog, and making a name for myself in the world of automated teller machines, I also gave birth to my first son! Becoming a mother came with a whole new set of challenges.

But, by starting Designs By Miss Mandee, I had something for myself, and I was determined to hold onto it.

2014 – Fall 2017

When it comes to small-talk, there are a few questions everyone is prepared for with a concise, and at least partially optimistic, answer. You know the kinds of questions I’m talking about:

Q: How is your family?

A: We’re doing well! Same old same old for the husband and I, and the kids are enjoying school.

OR

Q: What have you been up to lately?

A: Not too much. But we did take a vacation to ________ recently, and that was fun!

Well, while I was employed at the aforementioned ATM company, my answer to the question “How is work going?” went like this:

Good! The subject-matter isn’t thrilling, but I really love the people I work with.

And that was the honest truth.

It's Time to Go for It

I went into that job thinking that I would just use it as a stepping stone, and stay there for one year or less. But, I ended up really enjoying the marketing team I was on, and found that the executives at the company actually had a really great sense of humor that we were encouraged to implement in our projects. It was nice that, even though we were a part of a less than riveting industry, we were allowed a surprising amount of creativity and autonomy as a department. I even had the opportunity to travel to Kenya on a humanitarian trip while I worked there.

It's Time to Go for It

The other great part about that job was that I had the best mentor I could have ever hoped for in my boss, our Marketing Director. Not only did he recognize my strengths, go to bat for me with the higher-ups all the time, give me plenty of space to grow/develop my position, and trust me to get my work done, but he also just happened to have his own side-project (like me)!

I was able to learn a lot from him in the years we worked together, and much of it helped me further realize my ambitions with Designs By Miss Mandee.

Winter 2017 – Fall 2018

Like any job, working at the ATM company wasn’t always awesome. There were times that it was frustrating, there were times that I felt stuck; but, for the most part, things were pretty great. And then the company went through a restructuring. Our marketing team got split up without any of us having a say in the matter, and we were all left pretty dejected.

My (now former) boss left the company soon after; and, one by one, so did each of my marketing team members.

Suddenly, I just didn’t enjoy work. Don’t get me wrong, I still had some good friends, but I didn’t have a team anymore. I was the last one left on the island almost one year later, and things weren’t looking up. It was time to build a boat.

I began applying for other jobs, hoping to find something closer to my house (I was commuting about 35 minutes at the time). And, one day, I happened to stumble across a graphic design opening at a company in the same city I lived in!

After interviewing and being offered the job, I decided to take it. The industry was even more dull than ATMs (believe it or not), but it was more money, and cut my commute in half.

Winter 2018 – Fall 2019

Although I would have loved to snag a job in the ice cream/confectionary/needle-felted llama market, I wasn’t too worried about doing design work in a non-fun industry. After all, I had been doing that for the past four-and-a-half years, only now I would be doing it for more money!

There was just one problem…the job wasn’t actually graphic design related at all.

Every once in a while, they’d throw me a design project, but, for the most part, I spent every day writing articles. And I’ll tell you, designing marketing materials for a very serious, not at all exciting industry is one thing—writing articles for such an industry is a whole other thing!

My new, optimistic answer to the standard question, “How is your new job going?” became:

It’s a shorter drive and more money.

But, as the months wore on, this became more than a standard answer in a small-talk situation—it was a mantra I repeated to myself every morning in order to drag myself to work.

While a great place to work for most everybody else, this job began to wear me down with each passing day. Other complications started to pile up, and I sank into a fairly constant state of depression.

During this time, I continued to keep up my side-project (this awesome website), but I found myself tapped for energy, and barely keeping up with my personal goals.

It turns out that a “reasonable commute” and “more money” wasn’t enough to compensate for everything I was going through. After working at this company for just under a year, I knew that I needed a new exit plan: one that I knew would help me feel fulfilled and truly happy. I decided that it was time to go for it and transition Designs By Miss Mandee into my full-time job (cue the angelic choral music)!

Here’s the issue, though: I’m a complete chicken.

See, I had two kids (soon to be three), and my family depended on my income. Sure, my husband had a steady job and health insurance now, but I’d started as the main “provider” in the family, and it’s not like we’d come to a point were I could just call it quits without drastically impacting our family.

So, I made one last-ditch effort to find a different job.

I was successful in this endeavor, but my excitement was short-lived. The new company/position turned out to be a disastrous mistake in every way but one: it made me realize that I have nothing to loose and everything to gain by pursuing my dreams.

And that brings me to the here and now!

It's Time to Go for It

Today is the Day

Today is the day I stop being a chicken! Today is when I finally do what I’ve wanted to do for more than five years. Designs By Miss Mandee has been my creative outlet, a place where I’ve developed design skills and marketing know-how I would have never developed at a traditional corporate company, and an amazing passion project for me; and now it’s time for me to take it to the next level and give it the time and attention it deserves.

A graphic design professor I had in college would often say, “The worst mistake you can make in your career is to go off on your own right away. First, you need to make all of your mistakes on someone else’s dime.”

Even though I’m sure there are still many blunders to be made in my future, hopefully (fingers crossed) I’ve put most of my rookie mistakes behind me.

At any rate, you have to take the leap sometime if you really want to achieve your dreams, right? So, here is my “leap into the dark.” It’s time to go for it!

Miss Mandee Signature

 

 

It's Time to Go for It

46 Comments

46 Comments on It’s Time to Go for It – Making Designs By Miss Mandee My Full Time Job

  1. Noreen
    November 5, 2019 at 6:13 am (1 week ago)

    I wish you much success. Your work speaks for itself. You will go from strength to strength undoubtedly.

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 5, 2019 at 8:24 am (1 week ago)

      Aww, thank you Noreen! You are too kind!!

      Reply
  2. Cherie Findlay
    November 5, 2019 at 6:24 am (1 week ago)

    Hurray for Miss Mandee! Best of luck and looking forward to more beautiful crafts from you.

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 5, 2019 at 8:24 am (1 week ago)

      Thank you so much!! 😀

      Reply
  3. Emma
    November 5, 2019 at 6:29 am (1 week ago)

    YAS! This is so exciting!! Congratulations!

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 5, 2019 at 8:24 am (1 week ago)

      Thank you Emma! I’m glad you’re excited too. 😀

      Reply
  4. Karen
    November 5, 2019 at 6:52 am (1 week ago)

    Mandy, congratulations and best wishes on this exciting journey!

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 5, 2019 at 8:25 am (1 week ago)

      Thanks so much Karen!

      Reply
  5. Mischelle Smith
    November 5, 2019 at 6:55 am (1 week ago)

    I’m, we’ll let’s say over 50. I wish I wasn’t a chicken. I had a dream when my children were young. I couldn’t fulfill it because, well, I had children. Then, 4 years ago that chance came around again. This time was, my husband started a new business in the solar energy field. How could I chase that dream now? I applaud you for not being a chicken. Congratulations to you, and may you succeed.

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 5, 2019 at 8:27 am (1 week ago)

      I get it—it’s really scary to put it on the line! There is definitely a lot at stake. But thank you so much!

      Reply
  6. Lisa
    November 5, 2019 at 7:26 am (1 week ago)

    Congratulations on following your dreams! I know it’s so hard to make the leap, but you are uber-talented and I’m sure this will be the best decision you’ve ever made. Believe in yourself. Good luck!

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 5, 2019 at 8:27 am (1 week ago)

      Aww, thank you Lisa! That means a lot. 😊

      Reply
  7. Jcook
    November 5, 2019 at 7:30 am (1 week ago)

    Congratulations!! I am so excited to see what the future holds for you and your family, I know you have many good things ahead! God Bless!

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 5, 2019 at 8:28 am (1 week ago)

      Thank you very much!! I appreciate your kind words/thoughts. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Jennifer Earles
    November 5, 2019 at 7:50 am (1 week ago)

    Congrats!

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 5, 2019 at 8:28 am (1 week ago)

      Thanks Jennifer!

      Reply
  9. Rowena Camacho
    November 5, 2019 at 7:58 am (1 week ago)

    Keep smiling and enjoy everyday..Congratulations!

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 5, 2019 at 8:28 am (1 week ago)

      Thank you Rowena!!

      Reply
  10. Danielle Kellogg
    November 5, 2019 at 8:18 am (1 week ago)

    Congratulations! I’m sure you will be much happier and that will reflect in your home life as well as in you creative outlet.

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 5, 2019 at 8:30 am (1 week ago)

      Thank you Danielle! You are so right—I’m already so much happier. 🙂 And life is just too short to spend eight hours a day being miserable, right?

      Reply
  11. Barbara Pritchard
    November 5, 2019 at 8:25 am (1 week ago)

    Good luck in your new endeavor. I’m sure you will do great, going by the wonderful things you bring to us all. Wishing you great success

    Reply
  12. TERRY SMITH
    November 5, 2019 at 8:33 am (1 week ago)

    Congratulations and the very best of luck to you!

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 5, 2019 at 10:37 am (1 week ago)

      Thank you Terry! I appreciate it. 🙂

      Reply
  13. D King
    November 5, 2019 at 8:40 am (1 week ago)

    Wishing you all that your dreams have hoped for and more. Being scared and concerned can be a good thing when taking a leap of faith. Given your talent and abilities it is sure to succeed. Yes, your life is changing but you can’t become a butterfly if you don’t use your wings. Congratulations and believe in your dreams.

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 5, 2019 at 10:38 am (1 week ago)

      What an awesome perspective to have! Thanks so much for your kind words and support!! 😊

      Reply
  14. Helen Roberts
    November 5, 2019 at 9:22 am (1 week ago)

    Wishing you much success and happiness as you start your journey into a fantastic world of working at something you love!

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 5, 2019 at 10:38 am (1 week ago)

      Thank you so much Helen!! 😊

      Reply
  15. Cheryl Sager
    November 5, 2019 at 11:44 am (1 week ago)

    I too went from a full time job to a stay at home/work from home mom. I traded lunches to bottles and diaper changes. I’m not going to lie, there were really tough days trying to balance work and kids. But here I am 31 years later and looking back, I don’t regret my decision. I love having been able to be there for my kids. Enjoy it!! You can do this.

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 6, 2019 at 8:03 am (7 days ago)

      How awesome! I’m glad to hear that you don’t regret your decision. Thanks for sharing your experience and thanks for your continued support! 😊

      Reply
  16. Teresa
    November 5, 2019 at 2:35 pm (1 week ago)

    This is so exciting for you and I wish you the best! You are very talented and I enjoy all the creativity that you have shared with us.

    Dreams are important to have and it’s fantastic that you’re going for yours!! 🙂

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 6, 2019 at 8:04 am (7 days ago)

      Thank you so much Teresa! You are too sweet!!

      Reply
  17. Brooke Welgus
    November 5, 2019 at 2:45 pm (1 week ago)

    How exciting! Wishing you all the luck and success on this brave new step! Your designs are amazing, so keep doing what you love.

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 6, 2019 at 8:05 am (7 days ago)

      Aww, thanks Brooke. 😊 I’m so excited to be able to do just that—spend more time doing what I love!!

      Reply
  18. Libby Coe
    November 5, 2019 at 4:42 pm (1 week ago)

    Oh wow congratulations. Totally love your designs and cant wait to see your creations. Thank you for all you have done and allowing us all to share your journey

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 6, 2019 at 8:05 am (7 days ago)

      Thank you Libby! Thanks for coming along for the ride. 😊

      Reply
  19. Donna Weaver
    November 5, 2019 at 5:52 pm (1 week ago)

    Congratulations !! May success and happiness be yours.

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 6, 2019 at 8:06 am (7 days ago)

      Thanks so much Donna!

      Reply
  20. Gabbi
    November 5, 2019 at 6:10 pm (1 week ago)

    Hi!

    I’ve been following you for a while now and I have to say I’m SO excited for you (and a bit jealous, but in a good way!) Definitely looking back on your story as one of my many inspirations to one day follow through on what I really want to do (whatever that may be).

    In the meantime, I wish you the very best on your journey <3

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 6, 2019 at 8:09 am (7 days ago)

      Aww, thanks Gabbi! And thanks for following along on this journey of mine! I wish you bravery and the best of luck in your dreams and future endeavors as well. 😊

      Reply
  21. Melanie Lashua
    November 5, 2019 at 8:12 pm (1 week ago)

    This is awesome!

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 6, 2019 at 8:09 am (7 days ago)

      Thanks Melanie!

      Reply
  22. Autism Mommy
    November 6, 2019 at 7:55 am (7 days ago)

    Wow what a wonderful story! It was so nice getting to know you better. Congratulations on taking this HUGE step! That took a lot of strength and courage. It’s very exciting being able to have a job that you love plus you can be home with the kiddos😀 I wish you the best of luck and I just know you will be ok! You already are very successful and you are going to continue to grow from here. YAY! Mandee did it!! You GO girl!

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 6, 2019 at 8:11 am (7 days ago)

      You are too sweet! Thank you so much for your kind words—reading them made me so happy. 😊 I’m so excited about this and all the opportunities that lie ahead!!

      Reply
  23. Nancy
    November 7, 2019 at 12:24 pm (6 days ago)

    I think it’s awesome. You’re awesome for taking that leap! You are very talented and I can only wish you much happiness and success in your future endeavours. Congratulations!

    Reply
    • Mandee
      November 8, 2019 at 8:45 am (5 days ago)

      Thank you Nancy! That is very kind of you. 😊

      Reply
  24. Judi Markel
    November 12, 2019 at 9:33 pm (7 hours ago)

    Congratulations to you! Enjoy what you love to do. I really enjoy you things.

    Reply

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