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.
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.