Can a Stylist be a Plumber and can a Plumber be a Stylist?

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For close friends and family, they know my story well but for those of you who read my blog The Plumbette, you may or may not know that I have a Diploma in Fashion Styling and I have a side business called Styled By Bec.

Styled by Bec was born in December 2009 while I was finishing my plumbing apprenticeship. Rewind to the beginning of 2009, I told my dad that I had doubts about whether I really wanted to be a plumber and whether taking over the family plumbing business was what I really wanted. I actually really wanted to have children but knew that I needed to finish my apprenticeship before I even contemplated starting a family.

My dad told me that he would support me with whatever decision I made but I needed to find out what it was that I wanted to do. This was a hard question for me to answer and I had no clue as to what I wanted to do. What I did know was that I wanted to work for myself. I didn’t want to go back into the workforce and work for someone else.

So to work out what I really wanted to do, I read the careers section of the paper and I read every job offered from front to back and highlighted jobs I thought I’d might like to do and parts of jobs that I loved but not necessarily the full job.

It was while I was doing this research that I came across an ad to study a Diploma in Fashion Styling by correspondence to become a Personal Stylist. I remember the feeling I felt when I read the ad and knew that this was what I wanted to do. But it sounded so … Mickey Mouse and I flicked the page over. But I couldn’t ignore the burning desire to find out more so I enquired about the course, received a brochure on what would be covered and signed up straight away to study the course while I was learning to be a plumber.

Every smoko break at Tafe, I would head to the library and read my styling tutorial while the other apprentices would go up the road to the pub.

I was in my element when I studied that course. I loved every minute and I enjoyed all the practical assignments. Funnily enough, my tutor would give detailed feedback on every assignment and she told me that I would make a great Fashion Blogger and to check out a number of blogs that blogged about fashion.

I remember scoffing at the feedback and thinking you can’t make money from a blog. And funnily enough it hasn’t been until now that I have realized the potential of what a blog can do for my Styled By Bec business.

I love styling clients and giving them advice on what to wear, but I haven’t put too much effort into advertising or marketing my business because I made a left brain decision.

At the end of 2009 I got given the Dux Australian Plumbing Apprentice of the Year and The Judges Most Outstanding Achiever by Construction Skills QLD at their Excellence Awards and I thought that plumbing was meant to be my day job and being a stylist would be my night job.

Receiving my Dux Australian Plumbing Apprentice of the Year Award 2009 with Reece Managers Des & Tony
Receiving my Dux Australian Plumbing Apprentice of the Year Award 2009 with Reece Managers Des & Tony
Winning the Judges Outstanding Achievement Award at the Construction Skills QLD Excellence Awards 2009
Winning the Judges Outstanding Achievement Award at the Construction Skills QLD Excellence Awards 2009

My styling business got put on the back burner when at Christmas 2009 I found out I was expecting my first child. Starting a family, finishing my apprenticeship, working full time as a plumber and changing our plumbing business direction from commercial to residential meant that styling became a hobby rather than a career.

Fast forward to now, I have procrastinated for some time with blogging on my Styled by Bec site and attracting more clients to style. The reality is I can’t do everything, but I am more passionate about styling than fixing up a leaking toilet.

My favourite part of being a plumber is helping and interacting with clients and that is why starting a plumbing blog has been such a great fit for me and I will continue to blog and do plumbing work for now until my styling work picks up.

But my conundrum is this. That although I want my blogs to be read, I don’t want to compromise time with my family and so it’s with wobbly courage I have uploaded my first Styled by Bec blog today (after a year and a half) and I have made a goal to upload a post each week.

And the reason I have given myself this goal is because I want to act upon what I learned at the Problogger Conference about chasing the passion and not the money. I had thought about blogging about fashion on this blog but I think that would be a bit too left field and I followed the advice of one of the speakers to keep both niches separate.

So can a Stylist be a Plumber and can a Plumber be a Stylist? Yes because I’m gonna be living proof that it can be done.

 

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