Coming Full Circle

This time last year, Ryan and I were deep in the throes of wedding planning. It was taking up a lot of my time, a lot of our money, and it was all I could think about.

While designing our wedding invitations, I stumbled across numerous examples of professionally-created wedding maps that I thought were just fabulous. I can draw and use Photoshop, I thought. So why not draw and Photoshop wedding maps? I posted an ad on Weddingbee offering to create 3 free maps to build my portfolio.

This was the first map I ever created...

Yes, that was the final version. And yes, it was awful. I'm shocked anyone hired me after seeing that sloppy mess. But I forged ahead, and on February 4, 2011, I opened my Etsy shop.

Now, 68 maps and 10 1/2 months later, business is booming, and my maps have come a long way...

Back in February, I didn't know why I was doing this. I had this inner voice calling me to create maps, but there was no outward reason. Yes, we were spending a lot of money on the wedding... but we were both bringing in a nice income, and had a pretty hefty savings account. I had the free time to make the maps, but the occasional demanding and ungrateful client made me wonder if I should throw in the towel.

But here comes the real point of this story.

Just yesterday, I put the finishing touches on my finances for both my photography business and my map business to give to my accountant (aka, my mom). And the income from my map business was enough to cover all but $180 of the start-up and operating costs of my photography business for this year (including equipment!).

Back in February, I had no idea that I would be quitting my job and starting up a business 8 months later. I had no idea that my map income would cover the costs for that business during a time when money was tight. I had no idea, but I'm so grateful.

Whether you believe in God or fate or whatever... I think all of this was no coincidence.

So I'll wrap up 2011 feeling extremely blessed. Because the success of one small business has allowed me to jump start another. Thanks to all my map and photography clients for making this possible!