From Unemployed to Self-Employed: How One Day Changed My Whole Year
Written By Alyssa Ficcaglia
One day. It took one day to throw the plan I had completely off course.
Before I get to that, I should explain where my life was and where I thought it was heading. I graduated from Rowan University in May of 2017 with a degree in Journalism. After graduation, I got a job in my field of study as a producer for a local news station. One year later my fiance Anthony and I purchased and moved into our first home with our adopted fur child, Chance. A few months later on July 7th 2018, we got married.
My goal was to continue to climb up the ladder in my industry, start a family with real children (one day), and oh yeah, start my own business. Toward the end of 2018 I began making wood signs and home decor for around my own home and thought "you know... I could sell these". With reassurance from our family and friends, Anthony and I launched Little Fella Design Co. in January of 2019. We hoped this business would become a supplemental income in the future. We would take our time growing it and give ourselves a chance to learn the ins and outs of owning a business.
Everything was going according to my plan. But here's the thing about plans, they never work out exactly how you envisioned them.
One day in late January of 2019 everyone on the news team was called down for a mandatory meeting following the newscast. It was in that meeting we all were told the station would be closing its doors and we would all be losing our jobs. I made several attempts to find a new job after that, but couldn't secure one. By mid-February I was unemployed.
I went to school for 12+ years and not once did anyone ever teach me how being laid off would feel. In my mind I had done everything society told me was the right thing to do. Go to school, get good grades, go to college, earn your degree, find a job, and your set for life. "How is this happening to me?", I thought. I am 24 years old, I went to school, I got good grades, I worked full-time to pay my way through college, I saved up enough to pay off my student debt 6 month post graduation, I got a job in the field I went to school for, and yet I'm unemployed?
No one is immune to unemployment. It can happen to literally anyone. And unlike being fired for doing something wrong, being laid off because your employer is closing down is a shot to the gut. Mainly because you did nothing wrong.
February was hard. That month our little business sold ONE sign. That was it. Just one. I was feeling defeated, lost, and unsure of what I was supposed to be doing. And on top of all this, I felt like I was once again being forced to decide what I wanted to do for the rest of my life without having time to think about it. Prior to getting laid off, I was beginning to realize the job I thought was my dream job was not. In fact, I hated it. I wasn't happy. But now what?
With still no sign of a new job, I decided to invest all this new found free time into growing our business. And if it was going to supplement my lost income, I needed it to grow it fast.
Anthony and I spent hours on google researching and learning how to run a small business. We aren't even that handy so we also had to teach ourselves how to become efficient wood workers. I spent all hours of the day on social media growing our presence and creating our brand.
It's funny how much you can accomplish in times of desperation. Fast forward to today, and I am happy say I have at least been able to replace the income I was earning at my job. It wasn't easy. There were plenty of days I wanted to quit and days where the stress was so bad I cried because Anthony surprised me with chicken nuggets (that actually happened, I love chicken nuggets).
We still have a long way to go but the journey has been amazing. I feel excited about life again. I found love for what I do. A feeling I lost in the career I was in. I was always so ashamed to say that I wasn't happy or fulfilled at my job because in a way it felt like I was giving up on a dream I had for so long. I felt like I was proving all the people who doubted me right. The people who said I would never be successful in the media industry or the people who said my career would never take off because I chose to get married. But maybe that's what the problem was. I was only staying in that industry because of the opinions of others. And don't get me wrong I loved it at first, but things change and there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with deciding that what you went to school for wasn't what you were supposed to be doing.
And who knows maybe a business isn't what I was destined to do either, but I feel like I am finally heading in the right direction.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Every end is a new beginning and I can't wait to share the rest of this incredible journey with you.
I'll be darned if I let that Journalism degree I paid for go to waste so we are excited to launch our blog. Throughout this blog, you will hear from both me and Anthony as we navigate life as small business owners. We will be sharing our tips and tricks, our ups and downs, our trial and errors, and our big wins.
Thank you for following along!