Laura Lonsdale Designs – How I quit my 9-5 and became a full time creator

In the thortful community, we have creators who design cards as a side hustle, and creators who are full time independent designers. In this creator spotlight, we’re speaking to someone who’s been both: Laura from Laura Lonsdale Designs! Read on to hear in Laura’s words how her personal journey influenced her to start creating, how she made the jump to being a full time thortful creator, and… wonderful rollercoasters. 

Can you tell us about the journey to becoming a thortful creator?

Myself and my husband Ste went through years of infertility issues and 6 rounds of IVF to have our daughter Penelope. Shortly after becoming pregnant I was made redundant from my marketing job. My husband saw online that thortful accepted designs from anyone, regardless of experience so, finding myself with a lot more time on my hands I had a go at designing cards for thortful! Initially they were just cards to support those going through IVF and infertility.

How do you find your journey influences your designs now?

Our journey definitely still influences my designs now. Particularly my ‘thinking of you’ range of cards. It’s always so hard to know what to say to someone when they’re having a tough time, but our experience helps me think of really appropriate cards that I know people will find comforting. 

Can you tell us a bit about how you made the leap to becoming a full time independent creator. What were those initial thoughts and feelings like?

After I started designing for thortful, I had my little girl so I was off on maternity leave for a year with her. I kept dipping in and out of designing as I found it such a nice way to switch off my brain. By the time my maternity leave ended I had over 200 designs! So, when I went back to work I just kept building on this until I had enough income to leave my full time job. It was terrifying, but that has only made me work harder at it!

What is one thing you know now that you wished you knew a year ago when you first quit your day job?

That there is just no way of knowing how much you’re going to earn, and every month will be different. It’s scary but if you just keep working at it, it will pay off! I thought my income would just go up and up, and it really doesn’t! It goes up and down with the seasonality of card buying and I’m much more used to that now!

How would you describe the past year of being self employed?

A wonderful rollercoaster! The highs are SO high, but the lows can be really low. I never really know if I’m going to earn enough and some months I’ve found that really hard. For me, the pros outweigh the cons, and waking up everyday to do a job I love is just absolutely priceless. 

What advice would you give to someone wanting to quit their 9-5 job?

I’d say definitely try to save so you have a few months wage put away in your savings first if you can. There’s no guarantee of what you’ll earn every month when you’re running your own business full time and I wish I’d had more money put away to act as a buffer when I needed it! Prepare to be up and down and all over the place at first, but once you find your feet you’ll be fine. 

Can you tell us about your style and creative process?

A lot of the time my designs come from my own personal style and I base them on something I’d like to receive. Sometimes it’s a little more thought through than that and I brainstorm an occasion to get lots of new ideas. I also ask friends and family as they often come up with things I would never think of!

What has been the best thing about being a thortful creator?

Being a thortful creator has allowed me to pursue a career that I had only ever thought of as a dream! I manage my own time, I draw and design every day and I just love it!

How has thortful helped you in your journey of being a creator?

Three years after designing my first card, I never in a million years thought I’d be sat here running my own business. It really is a dream come true and it’s all thanks to thortful for believing in artists, and allowing them to create designs regardless of previous experience. Every day doing this full time feels like such an achievement. Looking forward into the future, I’d love to get my cards into more stores and in particular some of the big supermarkets. I’d also love to try my hand at designing prints and gifts.

You can find Laura on Instagram @lauralonsdaledesigns. Want to read more insights into the inner workings of our creators’ brains? Take your pick from the archive of our creator spotlights

Team thortful