Are You Ready to Quit Your Day Job?

It’s exciting to have dreams of quitting your job and starting a freelance business. The big question is:  when do you know if the time is right? It’s easy to want to quit your job after a stressful meeting or designing the exact same pattern for the 100th time; however, that is not the best way to launch a successful business. We are all passionate about an exciting and creative industry but we cannot forget that in order to have a successful business it needs to be profitable.  Some solid footwork and thought into how to run a business is necessary in order to really enjoy the creative aspects of it.  As with most industries, it takes time to develop high quality products, find the right market, and consistently market products in the right way.

From the outside looking in, it’s interesting to watch someone who just up and quits their job.  It may appear like they waltzed out the door one day and walked into their new, fast-growing business.  It’s rare that is truly the case.  Taking risks and bold actions is great, even mandatory for an entrepreneur, but a large amount of planning and preparation also goes into starting a business.

Do you think you’re ready to start your own business?  Or, is this something you are interested in pursuing?  Here are a few ways to help prepare you for the big day and take away some of the uncertainty.

1. Save, save, save!

Before leaving your full-time job, save up enough money to cover at least three months of living expenses.  When I left my in-house design position I did that and it made a huge difference.  Remember:  it will take at least thirty days to be paid for your new freelance projects and many times they take weeks, even months, to finalize.  The more money you have saved the better off you’ll be.

2. Start the business now.

I strongly encourage designers to start with a part-time business, taking advantage of nights and weekends until things are up and running.  Consistent clients and a steady flow of sales will do wonders to boost your confidence for going full-time with your own business.  Of course things will be stressful at times but not as stressful as if you are wondering where the money to pay your bills is going to come from.  Also, check and see if you have any non-complete clauses to be concerned with.   There is always something that can be done even when you may have one that stops you from doing one aspect.  For example, start your website, put the groundwork in place, and prepare your projects and products.

3. Do your research and find your place in the market.

Research is so important to building a business that is right for your lifestyle and personality, as well as logical in a business sense.  If it takes you fifteen hours to create a print selling the rights to your work through a print studio may not be your best option.  Licensing, on the other hand, may be perfect.  The longer I work in this industry the clearer it has become that we each have our own place within it.  There are countless markets, sales options, and acceptable styles.  Sometimes it just takes time to find your “design home.”

It’s been over four years since I quit my full-time job and hands down, it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  I believe it is that way because I prepared for those first few months and by doing so, it reduced my stress quite a bit.  Having the income stability of my full-time job made it a less stressful endeavor. If you see a freelance business in your future start planning for that new chapter in your life today.  It’ll make it much easier to know when it really is time to quit your full-time job and sprout off on your own.


  1. Starting your own business holds many risks in it. It is no different that working full time freelance. If you are lucky enough to have an opportunity to experiment with your freelance endeavors, do so before you leave your day job. Finding a market will come, and clients will appear and go, just as is when you work for someone else. But, working for someone and operating own business is completely different area. It takes more than just being a professional in your own field to succeed. You have to be all at the same time, manager, payroll, HR officer, sales and even an accountant for some things. By my experience getting knowledge in these fields is a must, while you work on polishing your creative skills. Also, definition how much to charge clients is a tricky one for creative businesses. There is so rule. No one actually can tell how much your work should worth. Research how muc other freelancers (the ones who are established in the field, or at least work for a year or two) charge, than base your calculations on that in order to calculate costs and benefits.

  2. Hello my name is Antonio

    i was wondering if you could steer me in the right direction. what im hoping to do is design some sheet sets and have them manufactured and find a distributor. previously i was able to have a company apply my design onto a pair of shoes they had for sale basically custom design. it seems to me in my thinking if i could establish a business relationship with a manufacturer of sheets that could efficiently apply my design print to the product i pay for the sheets and the cost of applying the design then ship to my business.

    please advise

    thanks in advance

    1. Hi Antonio, we don’t know of any companies exactly like this, but there are plenty of manufacturers who could print the fabric and then you could have them sewn into the final product. Best of luck!

  3. Hi, I am starting my career very late as a Textile Designer for fabric and wallpaper and I am findng it difficult to get my foot in the door, where can I find textile design agencies? Can you possibly give me any names of agencies I could contact? I would be so grateful for any help or advice, It seems impossible to find agencies on-line.. Thank you very much

    1. Hi Laura, sorry we missed this! Our Textile Design Lab members have access to an extensive Resource Guide which lists textile design studios, agency directories, job boards and lots more. You can learn more about membership here: Another great way to get started would be to search the exhibitor lists of some of the major print shows like Printsource, Surtex or Indigo. Best of luck in your search!

  4. Hi, im a fashion designer and Communication Designer (From the FIT) I do have experience using all the design softwares and hand paint, sketching and airbrush. I feel like I want to do too much and I find hard to concentrate in just one niche. I was wondering if you have a guide or steps to make my design get into one direction that could be profitable. And how many pieces do I need to have to put together a portfolio to present it to the studios.



  5. hi, i have just resigned from a full time job but have always had the skills and talents in hand drawing and designing, i want to direct my creative talent into textile and wall paper design. I know i have an unrelenting interest in home decor designs which includes bedding, fashion pieces, wall paper. please could you give me the necessary steps to follow to in order to achieve these aspirations please. thank you

    1. Hi Joye, sorry we missed this! Have you checked out our How to Sell Your Artwork e-course? This is a great first step to learning some of the options available as a textile designer. I also encourage you to check out our Textile Design Lab e-learning community at which contains courses such as The Sellable Sketch, The Ultimate Guide to Repeats, Five Days to a Better Business and others that are very helpful to learning the ins and outs of textile design and building a design business. In the Lab we also offer a forum for personalized feedback on your artwork, design tutorials, guest expert trainings on a wide range of topics, an extensive resource guide and lots more helpful content. We hope to see you there!

  6. Hi, i’m a textiles print student and i will be graduating next year in June with a bachelors degree. i’m starting my own online business with my boyfriend and i am thinking to also sell my canvas paintings that i’ve done over the years. My question is, is it too risky to start my own business without a full-time job? And also do you have any suggestions as to how I could build up my portfolio as a freelance textiles designer?

  7. hi, i m a fresher. do i need to get some in house design experience before jumping directly into my own freelance business?

    1. Getting an internship and/or working in-house is a great way to gain experience and contacts within the industry before forging your own business. There are definitely designers who freelance right from the get-go and that’s great too, it just tends to be more of a learn-as-you-go approach. Since it can take a while to get a steady business going at first, it depends on your financial situation, how much you’re willing to do in terms of marketing yourself and the business side of things, etc. There’s not really one right choice, it’s different for everyone! 😉

  8. I really enjoyed this article. I found it on Google. I can’t wait to check out all of the links. Well done, I am inspired! Please keep it up.

  9. Hello!

    I’m a print designer from İstanbul/Turkey. I have 5 years work experience as a print/artwork designer in textile industry in İstanbul and i decided to sell my works to abroad now. And i want to ask your ideas about this stuation, how or where can i sell my works?

    Best regards

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