Starting a new business while working a traditional job is a very shrewd move - it helps eliminate much of the financial stress that accompanies entrepreneurship. But working a day job while pursuing your passion is also incredibly difficult - it can wear you thin while pulling you in two different directions. I made the decision to quit my career as an attorney at a big law firm to sell ugly Christmas sweaters, and it was not an easy one.
At some point, you'll have to make a decision to quit your day job and fully devote your efforts to your new business. But knowing when to walk away from a steady paycheck is not always clear. Before turning in your notice, ask yourself the following questions to help determine whether you're really ready to make the leap.
1. How Is Your Side Business Doing?
If clients are pouring into your new business, you might be ready to act now. But if you're barely scratching two pennies together from your new venture, leaving your current job won't necessarily guarantee more income. Remember - your steady pay check is paying your bills and keeping your head above water. To give that up means you need to start paying your bills from another source. If you're not generating much income from your new business, you'll need to rely on savings or loans - are you really ready for that risk?
2. What Are Your Expected Growth Plans?
If your projections and research indicate that your new company could take off in the next few years, you might be able to pull the trigger before the money starts rolling in. Be sure you have a solid business plan in place with finances, projections and expansion plans noted.
3. How Are Your Personal Finances?
Personal finances play a major role in entrepreneurship, especially if you plan to run a one- or two-person show. If you have little to no credit card debt, an emergency fund in place, and long-term savings stocked away, you might be ready to go it alone. Many entrepreneurs must bootstrap their companies or forgo a personal salary until the company is self-supporting. Solid personal finances make this possible.
4. Is Your Day Job Interfering With Your Business Operations?
If you can't tend to your side business because your current career is getting in the way, it might be time to make the switch. For instance, if customer service is suffering, or you can't take on new clients because your day job requires too much time, you're actually foregoing possible income with your new business to maintain the job you're trying to leave. If it happens once, carefully decide whether it was a one-time thing or an ongoing problem. If you're constantly compromising your new business for your day job, a transition might be in order.
5. Do You Have Access to Additional Capital?
If you think your business needs more money in order to grow, now's the time to start investigating options. This is particularly true if you don't have any personal funds available for business expansion. There are lots of ways to raise capital - angel investors, venture capitalists, crowd funding, and small business loans - so research which option is best for you. Lining up capital before you leave your job enables you to list your current income if you apply for a loan, and it also ensures there's no lag in cash flow once you're on your own.
6. How Is Your Personal Life?
If you just became a caretaker for an elderly parent, or you're wife just gave birth, now might not be the best time to add more stress to your life. Your family should always come first, so think about their needs before deciding to quit your job.
7. Are You Disciplined and Organized?
Once you quit your day job, you'll be running your own show. You won't have a boss, a work schedule, or as many externally-assigned deadlines to meet. While the freedom of entrepreneurship is wonderful, if you don’t have the personal organization and discipline to maintain productivity, you might not be quite ready to quit. Take steps to improve your self-discipline and organization before you walk away from your day job - enroll in a class, or attend an online seminar to learn techniques for staying on track.
Making the leap from a traditional career to small business ownership is a major decision, and shouldn't be taken without careful consideration. I made the transition several years ago, and while it worked out for me, it took a lot of planning, research, and prudence. Be sure you do the same.
Have you recently quit your day job? How did you decide to make the transition?
Bought your TipsyElves sweater for an ugly sweater party and you’re dying to find another excuse to show it off? TheUglySweaterRun.com is hosting 5k runs at different locations throughout the United States and Canada, in which Ugly Sweater enthusiasts can come together to celebrate the holidays by drinking beer and wearing fake mustaches!
The course, which runs about 3.1 miles, features hot chocolate re-fueling stations at every mile. Your entry fee includes your own Ugly Sweater run Santa hat, a ridiculous stick-on mustache, and two Samuel Adams beers (or Angry Orchard Hard Cider if you prefer). Full priced entry packages cost $39, but LivingSocial is currently having a deal where you can buy a single-person entry for only $22 (kids 8 and under are free!).
If the Ugly Sweater Run isn’t for you, or you end up having so much fun you’re looking for a repeat in December, TheSweaterDash.com offers a similar 5k race, with three venues along the west coast: two in California and one in Seattle! Santa will be there for pictures, and I’ve heard that lots of unique vendors will be there selling food and drink to runners and spectators alike.
Whether you’re a marathon runner or simply full of Christmas spirit, you’re sure to enjoy participating in an ugly sweater run this season. Keep an eye out for TipsyElves sweaters… There are sure to be a lot of them at these races this holiday season!
Tipsy Elves is stoked to announce the launch of our new Canadian and UK websites, TipsyElves.ca and TipsyElves.co.uk! With these two sites, Tipsy Elves will now be able to spread our Ugly Christmas Sweater cheer around the globe, with fast and affordable shipping rates. Since our UK site has launched, we have been sending our sweaters all around the world! Be prepared to see Tipsy Elves sweaters in countries including Australia, Russia, Croatia, Finland, Germany and many more.
Visitors can check out our new Canadian or UK sites by either typing in the addresses manually, or by clicking the Canadian/UK flag on the top bar of our US site (just to the right of our “Live Chat” option). Soon our plan to take over the (sweater) world will come to fruition!
In case you haven’t been invited to one yet, an ugly Christmas sweater party is a party where you’re supposed to come in, well, an ugly Christmas sweater.
It’s been quite a phenomenon lately so how-to’s are all over the net. There’s no special secret to throwing a successful ugly Christmas sweater party. Just wear that hideous holiday sweater, and make sure everyone else does too.
Although this bit of trivia is far from being proven, word has it that the first ugly Christmas sweater party was thrown in Vancouver in 2001. The popularity of this unique holiday gathering snowballed since then.
People grew tired of them in the 90’s, but for the past few years, the funny parties have restarted, more embarrassing and goofier than ever. So well-loved these parties are that they landed on the roster of Stuff White People Like in 2008. Ugly Christmas sweaters are selling like hotcakes online so they must be quite the event.
But why do people enjoy ugly Christmas sweater parties in the first place? Are the wearers making fun of the hideousness of glittering oversized overly decorated polyester sweaters? Are they being ironic or earnest? Maybe the gatherings bring out all of these feelings at the same time.
Christmas parties where people have to dress to the nines end up being a bit stiff, maybe even a little phony. The first ugly in Christmas party in Vancouver may not have been the first ever, but we believe those who were there laughed at themselves and had a good dose of holiday spirit.
Thinking about throwing an Ugly Christmas Sweater party this holiday season? Scouring the internet for ideas and inspiration in hope that your party will go down in history as a night your guests will never forget? Look no further. We here at Tipsy Elves have compiled a list of 5 of the most important things to consider when planning your sweater-clad gathering.
- Find your sweater. You can’t have an ugly Christmas sweater party without an ugly Christmas sweater. Many of the best holiday sweaters are hand-crafted by grandmothers with nasty knitting habits, so check your closets and those boxes labeled “X-MAS” that are gathering dust in your garage. If you don’t already have a sweater available, fear not, Tipsy Elves has you covered. We stock over 20 styles of brand new, premium acrylic sweaters (so they won’t shrink or fade), as well as sweater dresses, full-length jumpsuits, and beanies. The styles vary from subtly hilarious to moderately inappropriate, guaranteeing the wearer an evening of laughs, props, and fist bumps.
- Create your invitations. Whether you’re using social media or creating cards to spread word of your party, a memorable photo will be sure to persuade your on-the-fencers into attendance. We recommend photographing yourself in your finest ugly Christmas sweater and other important accessories (vintage glasses, mustaches, cats, antlers, etc.) gazing longingly into the distance, dreaming of Christmas’s to come. You need to look your absolute best (read ‘most ridiculous’) in this picture so that your would-be guests know you mean nothing but business.
- Decorate the venue. Creating a fun-inducing atmosphere is an extremely important part of a party-goer’s experience. Decorate your venue with anything and everything that might even remotely resemble Christmas. Have extra Christmas lights or too many ornaments to fit on your tree? String them up around your house. Have red, green, or white construction paper laying around? Arts and crafts time. It’s even better if your art skills are lacking.
- Assemble “refreshments.” Potluck or BYOB Ugly Christmas Sweater parties are usually the way to go. This takes a lot of responsibility off of your hands, allowing you to focus more on some of the other aspects of the party – like showing off your sweater. Of course, I would recommend supplementing your guests’ contributions with a big batch of “grown-up” eggnog, especially if you want things to get a little weird.
- Party on! The whole point of throwing an Ugly Christmas Sweater is to have a good time. Be merry and enjoy good company. Good luck!
Christmas Festivals and Christmas Markets are hugely popular around the world, especially during the holiday season. Each country celebrates in their own way and offers a unique experience for locals and travelers alike. We’ve listed a couple of festivals that really stood out to us, but remember: no matter where you end up spending your Christmas, there’s sure to be a festival nearby!
Budapest Christmas Fair in Budapest, Hungary
Toward the end of November, Vörösmarty Square, one of the busiest areas in downtown Budapest, transforms into a winter wonderland. Cultural and musical performances are held daily, and you can find all sorts of traditional Hungarian food and drink throughout the market. Keep an eye out for the “visual display,” a light show that will take place on the Gerbeaud Coffee House, every evening!
Winter Wonderland Hyde Park in London, UK
They really go all out in London at Hyde Park for the holidays. This year, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland will host the UK’s largest ice skating rink, as well as a massive Christmas circus. They even let you purchase bottles of champagne to sip on while riding a giant observation wheel (Ferris wheel for us Americans). If Christmas is over and you still haven’t gotten your fill of holiday cheer, don’t worry! Winter wonderland is open through the beginning of January.
Santa Claus Christmas Celebration in Santa Claus, Indiana
How could you not consider spending your Christmas in a town named Santa Claus? Renamed from Santa Fe after a feud with the USPS in 1856, Santa Claus’ post office has receives loads of “Dear” Santa letters every year! In the Christmas spirit, an organization known as Santa’s Elves have been responding to these letters since 1914!
Christmas Market in Nuremberg, Germany
Germany is one of the best places in the world to spend Christmas. With hundreds of Christmas markets throughout the country operating from the end of November through Christmas Eve, you’re bound to stumble upon one in whatever major city you visit. Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt attracts over 2 million attendees every year with over 150 wooden stalls selling traditional food, drink, and crafts. In Nuremberg they’re famous for their Bratwursts with sauerkraut, so munch on one to keep your belly warm!
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco, California
Dedicated to reviving the mid 1800’s Victorian London of Charles Dickens, this festival ignites the Christmas spirit with hundreds of costumed, role playing staff. Attendees get their own personal “A Christmas Story” adventure, and experience one of the most popular holiday films of all time, first hand. With seven stages, numerous pubs filled with holiday food and drink, dance floors and music halls, guests are guaranteed to have a good time!
Holiday gift giving can be part art and part necessity. There are people in the circles of family and friends for whom finding a remarkable gift is important. Some people seem to have everything, or seem to want very little. The art of gift giving is not dependent on the level of expense, and it does not need to impress with largesse. The artistry is in selecting a memorable gift. A gift that lights-up in the eyes when unwrapped and which brings a moment of happiness.
Tacky Is In The Eye Of The Buyer
It was in a movie about Santa, in magazines and ads everywhere. They are humorous, outlandish, over-the-top. If a Christmas carol suggests the holiday, the tacky sweater screams it while the hair is on fire. The colors are bright, the images over-sized, and the patterns deliberately unbalanced. Tackiness is something each must decide. However, there is little doubt that manufacturers and designers intended to suggest a tacky conclusion.
Where to Buy Tacky
An online search reveals product lines and even tacky Christmas sweater theme parties where people gather, ogle, and buy. Tacky Christmas sweaters have dedicated online galleries, and many familiar sellers of fine clothing offer a line of these ugly items. Found as new designs or vintage collectibles, one can buy a copy or an original; the 80’s were a period of market saturation by outrageous sweaters.
Brick and mortar sellers have them too. They are noteworthy even among the crowds of holiday offerings. If something bright and orange-like catches ones eye on the fashion avenue in any Downtown, USA, it may well be a tacky Christmas sweater, a gift in waiting.
The Tacky Christmas Sweaters Trend
One wonders why such genuinely ugly sweaters are so popular today. If it were an item on a social media site, one might list it under the heading trending now. Perhaps social acceptance is the clue. Many people rely upon an idea of tastes and preferences of their friends. A generational influence, it appears the social media age is essentially about that, sharing tastes and preferences. For them, popularity inspires choices. One can define the social media trend phenomena as popularity bred by popularity. However, these outstanding items also produce a sense of individual appreciation that this unusual item is for someone with a unique place in esteem or friendship. In the end, these tacky Christmas sweaters provide a sense of satisfaction that the gift is remarkable, and makes a memory that giver and receiver share. One can easily define success; the gift brought a lingered moment of happiness.
One of the best ways to really get into the holiday spirit is to give back to your community by donating your time or resources. If you’re in the giving mood, a quick google search can help you find a Charity that gives to a specific cause that you are passionate about. We’ve selected a couple of our favorites, so take a look!
Stand Up To Cancer – www.uglysweater.su2c.org
Stand Up To Cancer was founded in 2008 with the goal of accelerating cancer research in order to save lives. They use donations to award research grants to groups of scientists that work collaboratively instead of in competition with each other. Every November, SU2C runs an ugly sweater holiday fundraiser (http://uglysweater.su2c.org) in which participants can gather donations in two ways. Participants can either get friends and family to pledge a fixed amount for each day in December that they wear an ugly sweater, or host an ugly Christmas party and collect donations at the door or online! One of our favorite parts about Stand Up To Cancer is that they guarantee 100% of public fund donations will be spent on cancer research grants, so you know exactly where your donation is going.
Toys for Tots Foundation – www.toysfortots.org
Toys for Tots, which is run by the US Marine Corps Reserve, collects new, unwrapped toy donations and distributes them to underprivileged children throughout the US. Established in 1947, Toys for Tots has delivered over 500 million toys, and has grown to be one of the biggest Christmas-time philanthropies in the United States. You can give back to this charity through monetary donations, toy donations, or even by volunteering your own time.
Make-A-Wish Foundation – www.wish.org
The Make-A-Wish Foundation has become a household name by granting the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions since 1980. Whether the effected child wants to meet a celebrity, travel to a foreign country, or spend a day being a secret agent, Make-A-Wish does whatever they can to make their dream a reality. You can help out this holiday season by volunteering your time, making gift or monetary donations, or by contributing to a fundraiser!
Beauty is a matter of individual tastes, and so is the opposite, ugliness. In a peculiarly human way, some things are so ugly they seem beautiful. The ugly sweater is such a thing, and it has loud and unseemly combinations meant to amuse as much as keep the wearer warm. For many now, there is a favorite old sweater. So comfortable and familiar, one barely notices its presence; and there is a favorite ugly sweater, one that stops a viewer in mid-sentence.
In The Beginning, There Was Bill
If, in American popular culture, it is usually difficult to pinpoint the beginning of a trend, then ugly sweaters are the exception. The 1980's hit show, the Cosby Show, and its central character played by comedian Bill Cosby is the clear sources of the popularity of ugly sweaters and the beginning of the trend. These colorful patchwork garments, which were a fashion hallmark of the show and the character, were not unusual in that day. The unusual part was the degree of color and fabric mixing. Of course, the immediate impact was on a mass TV audience; in the years since the show, the fame of the sweaters has grown. As Cosby might say, it began as legendary and grew from there. Last summer, a network hosted a national competition judged by none other than Bill Cosby himself.
A Fashion Fixture
When a trend endures, it becomes a fixture, in the sense of a thing, easily recognized, something one expects to see. These sweaters are fashion fixtures and when thinking of gifts, they join the list of things everyone should have. Today one can do an online search for ugly sweaters and find dedicated specialty retailers with online galleries, holiday themes, and designs that nearly everyone would agree are quite ugly. The charm is the ability of these garments to disarm a viewer. It is a mark of success when people stop and look at that extremely colorful top.
We Seek To Be Unique
The ugly sweater has a quality that might go unnoticed today when the style and fashion are so well entrenched. These sweaters give the wearer a one-of-a-kind appearance. For example, if one wears a leather patched, magenta and orange blend ugly to an event, in a crowd of thousands, one is unlikely to encounter the same garment on someone else. No duplicates in a crowd of thousands, unlike the designer jeans, high-priced footwear, or even sunglasses one might wear. It is so ugly it is beautiful, so loud it silences the viewer, and in the end, delightfully unique.
Who should we thank (or blame) for ugly sweaters?
Funny guy Bill Cosby wore hideous Christmas sweaters in the 1980's hit sitcom The Cosby Show and just like that everyone wanted one too. Ugly Christmas sweaters were oversized and comically decorated with snowmen, reindeer, and pine trees. They mostly came in green and red, and were happily worn in self-effacing spirit.
Sweaters have existed since the 19th century, but it is not known when the ridiculous holiday variation was invented exactly. Cosby may have popularized it, but he most certainly didn’t wear it first. For The Cosby Show, it was Koos Van Den Akker who designed the funny sweaters. The NYC fashion designer was famous for his outrageous collaged creations, but he didn’t want to take credit for the ugly Christmas sweater. Neither did Cosby. People were probably already wearing ugly sweaters before the comedian decided to put one on for fun and turn it into a hit. These sweater were not called “ugly Christmas sweaters” then, just sweaters.
According to Time Magazine, Chevy Chase in the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation also contributed to the popularity of the ugly Christmas sweater. Thanks to these celebrities, the silly-looking Christmas-themed sweaters became fun and cool to wear.
The popularity of the ugly Christmas sweater waned in the ‘90s, but now they’re back to spread silliness and joy. In 2001, the first ugly Christmas party was thrown in Vancouver. Even today, ugly Christmas sweaters remain a happy holiday tradition.