So many of us have things we’re passionate about, but assume we have to fit in around the edges of sensible, earning lives. But over the last year or more – with Covid and Lockdown – everybody’s routines have been disrupted. And some of that disruption has proved really fruitful.
We’ve been forced to stop, and look at what we’re doing.
One Lockdown success story is Hanri van Wyk’s. Hanri, a long-term client of mine, has over recent years revolutionised how she works and lives. And Lockdown has brought further consolidation.
Today, Hanri believes she has found her niche, and she’s thrilled about it. It’s such an inspiring story I thought I’d share.
Think outside the box
Hanri, over the last years, made the gradual shift from full-time employment (as a designer in children’s publishing) to a resilient, resourceful, portfolio life: juggling art directing contracts, freelance photography, yoga teaching and selling sewing patterns.
‘Simonne got me to think outside the box right from the start’, Hanri says. ‘So, for instance, we rented our house out for a while on Airbnb. Or, when I wasn’t charging enough as a freelance photographer, Simonne helped me see this was unsustainable and uncover what was getting in the way of charging more.’
Hanri, now approaching forty, is a massively creative person, visibly buzzing with ideas and initiatives. ‘I have lots of interests’, she laughs, ‘loads and loads of hobbies. One thing I needed to learn was to focus a bit.’
And perhaps ironically, it is finally Lockdown that has brought that focus.
Of course, the last year has tested us all: for Hanri, it’s proved a positive challenge. Some of her regular work dried up completely: the yoga teaching, photography; an art directing contract disappeared. But… that’s not the whole story.
Yogahound, Hanri’s sewing pattern store on Etsy, has turned into a real lockdown success.
Focus on one thing
Yogahound combines all Hanri’s skills, experience and interests: publishing, photography, yoga and sewing. ‘That’s what’s brilliant about it, for me,’ she says. ‘I wouldn’t have thought it possible for me to make a living selling my sewing patterns. But that’s what I’m currently doing!’
Hanri maintains the site, and publishes a new pattern once a fortnight (for which, ‘I have too many ideas’). The shop has gone from strength to strength. Sales are burgeoning. (‘I guess I’m not the only person sewing more!’) And Hanri’s really enjoying the simpler life.
‘It’s nice to focus on just one thing. I don’t think I realised how much I did before. I used to rush rush rush. Now, I’m even sewing more tidily. And – one thing I thought I’d never say – I have learnt to love routine.’
Yogahound, the brand, is ‘all about mindful sewing, and clothes you can move in’, says Hanri. ‘I also love dogs – had a greyhound – hence the hound.’
Hanri says I also have something of ‘a minimalist approach’ – which has rubbed off. ‘My lifestyle has become much more sustainable’, she says. ‘I definitely now put quality over quantity. And in Lockdown, I’ve slowed down massively.’
But she’s also not scared of future challenges. ‘Simonne taught me the power of changing my spending habits’, she says.
‘She really helped me see it was up to me. It was amazing – the changes she helped me implement from the start. It’s made all the difference. I’m not scared any more: I don’t spend money I don’t have. I don’t avoid looking! I’m never scared of a tax bill. I’ve learnt it’s not about what I earn, it’s about what I spend. And understanding that has changed everything.’
‘Resilience’ is the single most valuable thing she’s got from her work with me, she says.
Meanwhile, just a cursory glance at Yogahound reveals a lively hub of enthused customers, and a site stacked with five star reviews. Hanri’s clearly got this sussed: do what you love, and focus on doing it excellently.
So, what passion can you turn into profit?
Read more about Hanri's story.