How One Woman Turned her Hobby into a Career
I recently interviewed Peachy Marasigan of My Left Hand, an advertising design company that came about from Peachy's love for all things creative. I was intrigued by Peachy's story, from reading her personal blog, Unicorn Child. I wanted to know how she turned her love for graphics into a successful venture.
I understand your current career in graphic design started off as a hobby. Can you explain how that happened?
I have been drawing and painting since I was a child. My father loves to paint and my grandpa is an architect. I spent almost half my life exposed to art. I joined art contests almost my entire primary and secondary schooling years. It was because of this interest that I ended up taking a bachelor of arts degree in communication and advertising arts when I was in college. To make a long story short, art and design have always been my passion, and even though I've dabbled in several different jobs related to marketing and advertising, my first love has always been in the creative arts. So after 2 years of work as a product manager is a manufacturing firm, I resigned and put up my own graphic design business in 2001 called My Left Hand Creative Solutions.
Once your hobby started making you money, did it feel more like work?
Sometimes it still does, especially when you know whatever it is you're doing is because you need the money at the moment. Sometimes I wish i could just turn down a project simply because I don't like the objectives behind it or I think the client will not value the work that we do. But at the end of the day, I know we still need to pay the bills, I still need to pay my staff and I need to make a profit.
Did you feel anything different about it?
At one point, like in my 4th year of doing the business, I wanted to quit and just be a plain housewife. I felt drained and unfulfilled. But I realized that I can't just make a drastic decision like that considering that our design company is now our only source of bread and butter. Allan works full time in our company as the director for events and marketing. A lot of what we have and what we've achieved is because of this business. I needed to change my perspective, go back to my passion, rekindle the fire that I had when I was just starting out and use it to fuel the growth of the company.
How do you handle the stress of deadlines?
Sadly, not very well. I get very upset and anxious. I'm so glad that I have other people working with me in the business, to remind myself that I can lean on others for help when the work becomes to overwhelming.
What do you do to relax?
I go out with friends twice a week. Friends who have nothing to do with the work I do. We meet up after work for dinner and coffee and just talk and laugh. Sometimes we even go to a bar to have a few drinks and sing videoke.
Do you have any advice for women hobbyists who think they might be able to earn money, using their craft?
Based on my experience, there are two important aspects of wanting to turn your hobby into a business:
1) You have to have a deep passion and love for the craft that you do. When I say deep love, it means even in days when you almost hate doing it, you still do because the love for it is greater than the dislike you feel at the moment.
2) You have to have an entrepreneurial spirit within you. It's easy to have a hobby. but it's not easy to run a business. You have to dip your fingers in the dirty areas of business such as permits, legal matters, all things related to financial and cash flow, handling personnel concerns, handling supplier issues...and the list goes on. Some women think that just because they have a gift of creativity, they can just jump into running a business. If you love your craft, you also have to love the numbers that will determine the success of your business.
What do you do to support up and coming artists?
As of the moment, given my tight schedules, the most I have been able to do to help others is to give talks on the basics of graphic design in church organizations. Here, I help teens and young adults strengthen their technical knowledge and skills so that they may contribute their talents to creating a variety of marketing and promotional materials for their church.
You can find Peachy Marasigan (Known as Chrixean on her personal blog, at Unicorn Child), at her Advertising Company here: My Left Hand Creative Solutions (advertising design company), or at her newest venture: Bubblewrap Apparel (t-shirts business).
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