This week we cross continents as we share the story of stationery designer Sarah Early in the US. 

Sarah Early

[Image credit: Sea Star Arts]

Do what you love.  Sounds great, right?  But what on earth does that mean?

My name is Sarah, and in May 2009 I found myself floating adrift in this terrible job market, an eager bright-eyed hot-off-the-press college grad ready to get down to business, only to find business was kind of at a standstill. 

The short of it is, one part-time and unpaid internship after another lead to the realization that now, more than ever, maybe I needed to change my thought process. Instead of finding someone to employ me, pay me, and essentially ‘take care of me’ – why not just trust in myself for those things? 

notebook - Sarah Early[Photo credit: Sea Star Arts]

I changed my plan of attack and started looking for people who just needed  freelance help rather than a dedicated employee.  And that’s when everything changed.  When things started going well, I decided not to be just a freelancer, but to start a business offering that service to fellow businesses.

My success in the realm of graphic and web services for businesses allowed me to pursue another thing I love: paper and invitations.  So early in 2010 I developed a stationery line and invitations, and things are going equally well on that side of my business.

cards by Sarah Early

[Images courtesy of Sarah Early except where otherwise noted] 

I’m not going to say it’s not really hard.  It is.  I had the distinct advantage of being fresh out of college, so being broke was old hat for me.  The sacrifice for me comes in the long hours and the leaps of faith I have to take daily hoping that everything will pan out the way I want it to.  But for the most part, the key to my success has been growing very organically and planning for the future.

I believe doing what you love is as much attitude as it is action.  I am lucky to have created a job for myself that involves everything I love – designing, blogging, coding, paper, etc. – but that also by necessity means it involves things I don’t love – like spreadsheets, fear of failure, sales.  But I get through the hard parts because I know it’s all integral to my success and continuing to do what I love.

Find out more about Sarah and her gorgeous designs here


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 STOP PRESS: Some seriously exciting news about the Do What You Love retreat to be announced tomorrow – don’t miss it!