How to run a creative business while having a day job: Saskia Maas from Ovis et cetera

Hello and welcome to a new Creative Boss Interview series! I'm so excited to be talking to other creative business owners again - and this topic is super special! It's something I know a lot of you are interested in, but where I can't really speak from experience so I decided to ask people who are doing a damn good job at it: How to run a creative business while having a day job.

I have a series of really cool interviews lined up for you with amazing people from the fibre world - from knitwear designer and online shop owner to indie dyers, we're going to be glimpsing behind the scenes and learning a lot about how to juggle a day job and a creative business.

I am thrilled to be welcoming my friend Saskia, the wonderful dyer behind Ovis et cetera, for our third interview of the series. Saskia dyes the most striking colours on her (mostly) Dutch, non-superwash bases and has a full-time day job to boot as well. I loved Saskia's honest, refreshing take on how her day job allows her to figure out how to run a creative business - and I hope you'll love it too!

Tell us a little bit about yourself! What is your creative business and what is your day job? 

I'm Saskia, I started Ovis et cetera, my yarn dyeing business next to my full time day job which is selling house plants. I feel kind of lucky having my 2 passions for jobs. I love both plants and yarn! 

What is your main reason for keeping a day job? Do you foresee that changing any time soon? Would you even want it to change?

Very simple actually: I'm the breadwinner at home so I can't just quit my dayjob before I know very very very sure it can support us fully. I would eventually like to do Ovis et cetera full time.

I’d love to dive a little bit deeper into the nitty-gritty. How does a typical week look like for you? How much time to you spend working your day job and how much time do you spend working on your own business?

I work 38 hours a week in my day job and for my own business it varies. It can be 10 hours but 40 hours have happened as well. 

I'm a morning person and love getting up really early. I have to be at my day job most days at 10 in the morning. That gives me a few hours in the morning to work before work. On Fridays I work my day job from 1 in the afternoon until 9 in the evening which gives me 6 hours to work for myself if I start at 6, so Fridays are usually very productive for me, as I get two work days worth of work in one. My days off are Sunday and Monday and usually are spend working. 

My lunch breaks at my day job are often spend writing emails, Instagram and other stuff that can be done on my phone. So every bit of time gets used! 

Do you have any systems in place - organizational (like a planner / bullet journal / etc.) and supportive (friends, family) - that help you juggle both? 

Hanna Lisa, you know me a bit by now and this question makes me laugh! Because I'm everything but organized. I'm learning though and the get shit done challenge you just did was a great help as well! I love the idea of bullet journalling and probably love bullet journal Youtube channels as much as knitting podcast, but haven't managed to keep up with it myself yet. I have a variety of planning, efficiency, staying focused etc etc apps on my phone. But haven't found a favourite yet. 

My husband sometimes drops packages of at the post office for me, but besides that I do everything myself. 

Does your day job inform and influence your creative work - and vice versa? If yes, would you like to share how?

My business's name: Ovis et cetera I chose because I deal with the Latin names of plants all the time. Latin is universal, everybody in the whole world calls a Ficus a Ficus for example. I wanted to sell my yarn world wide and wanted a universal name, Latin was therefore for me a obvious choice. Ovis et cetera means Sheep and such. Which covers exactly what I'm selling.

What are the main advantages that come from running your own business while working a day job?

That you have a stable income. There is no stress that your creative business needs to pay the bills - while that is what I want though eventually. But my day job despite limiting the time I can spend on my business gives me at the same time the freedom to figure this whole yarn business stuff out. Slower as I would have if I would have been able to dive in full time, but I don't think that's a bad thing?

What are the main challenges? 

Time! And energy. Never enough of it. there should be 48 hours in a day, and one should be able to skip sleep, haha. 

    If you were to give advice to someone who’s starting out their own creative business while working a day job, what would your number 1 tip be?

    This is a difficult question, because I seriously don't know if I'm doing this all as well as I could. 

    I guess the advise I would give is that you have to realise and be willing to work ALL the time. So your work better be your passion!


    Thank you so much for your wonderful, honest insights, Saskia! Do head over to her Etsy shop to get your hands on some squishy sheepy Dutch yarn goodness!