Giving In To The Dip — Goodbye, JusB Proofreading

(To skip to the official announcement, click here. 🙂 )

In January of this year, I posted the following tweet:

What this week taught me:

It’s not always shameful to quit.

Sometimes, it’s braver to stop for the right reasons than to continue on for the wrong ones.

By the end of the day, I’d received several likes, a retweet, and a reply from a Twitter-er I’d met in 2017, modern-day Renaissance man (and longtime Renaissance Festival player) MordantRiki (@MordantWorld). It simply said–

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)
by Seth Godin

I wasn’t sure how he managed all that epic formatting in his tweet, but hey–quitters can’t be choosers, amiright?

…sorry. Blog joke.

I had not written my initial tweet frivolously, so MordantRiki’s recommendation intrigued me.  I had several projects I was juggling at the time, and trying to decide if they were all still worth the strain was…well, putting a strain on me.

But, I didn’t want to stop.  I wanted to succeed in all of my endeavors, because they were all so great!

Unfortunately, by trying to do everything, I was reaching the point where I was achieving nothing.

I had created my own “The Dip,” whether I knew it or not.  So, I bought the book to learn how I could work myself out and regroup to regain my motivation.

What Is “The Dip”?

I’m glad you asked, giant header.

[Sorry; I’m using a new WordPress editor, and it’s really making me aware of my dividers.]

The Dip, according to its namesake, is a lull in notable progress after starting an exciting new project.  After launching a business, it’s the first year of establishing yourself and building a clientele.  When writing a book, it’s the time spent editing and re-editing and re-re-editing and re-re-re…you get the point.

The book explains that the difference between those who succeed in life and those who don’t, is knowing when to quit and if they should quit in conjunction with this progress.  If you determine you must quit, you have two options:

  • Quit before you start, knowing you don’t have the bandwidth to even make it to the Dip. (aka the brave thing to do, according to the book.)
  • Quit during the Dip, after much time and money have been invested. (aka the stupid thing to do)

2011: My “The Dip”

The Launch

Seven years ago, I decided to start my own freelance proofreading and editing business.  It was nothing extremely elaborate; I was (am 🙂 ) good at proofreading, editing and writing, and I felt that I could help people while also making a living out of it.  Much research and budgeting later, and I launched JusB Proofreading, LLC.

The first few years were not easy.  I was forced to be sales and marking as well as the actual service department, creating business cards and telling everyone I knew about what I offered.  I bought equipment (a new iMac and all-in-one printer, among them) with money I didn’t have, and learned how to create a presentable website thanks to knowledgeable web design friends.  Requests for services were few and far between.

Pushing Through The Dip

Still, I made myself keep going.  I wanted to have my own hours; I wanted to know everything I provided so I could explain everything I provided.  My goal was to be fully independent through my company so I could make this my primary source of income.

I generally lucked out: nearly all of my clients paid for services rendered.  However, there were a few–friends, even–who I quickly found out I could not have a working relationship with and happily refunded their money.  There were others who wanted all the work done first, but balked when I gave them a binding contract and an earful of financial obligations.  One event planner called me for weeks, verbally abusing me long after I’d told him I wasn’t “the right person for the job” when the job entailed a list of services I didn’t even offer.

On the Other Side

But, I learned.  As time passed, my business leveled out and evolved from merely proofreading and editing, to resume-writing and job interview preparation.  In fact, all of the customers I’ve served over the last five years have exclusively requested resumes.  I had my niche: I trained myself in it, and I liked it.  Work arrived slowly, but consistently.

In fact, it became too consistent.

With my still having a full-time office job outside of my business, preparing resumes for multiple clients began to take on more time than I had available.  I was losing sleep and even human interaction with friends and family.  In 2017, I joined a choir.  I still had to finish editing my novel.  And I’d started training as a voice actor.

None of these choices were spur of the moment.  These were desires and life-long objectives that I had been putting off for years. I wanted to pursue them all.

But…something had to give.

Present Day

Since January, my active life has increased exponentially.  At first, I didn’t really give it much thought other than to think, Wow; I am managing my time really badly.

When I started having to tell my friends I couldn’t make one meet-up date due to another engagement, or I had to stay home and work on “something,” their eyebrows would rise. “Wow. You are super busy.”

“No, I’m not!” I’d scoff. “I’m just doing stuff at inconvenient times.  I’m free next week.  Oh, wait; not next week.  The week after–well, make that the following…huh.”

“Uh huh,” they’d say.

I started using Google Calendar to mark my appointments. Now, when my friends and family ask me to visit or attend events, I actually have to consult my calendar.  Like, un-ironically.

I’m surprised they haven’t swatted me yet.

JusB Proofreading–Its Current Status

All this brings me back to JusB Proofreading, LLC.  My baby.  One of the first creations in my adult life that I made myself.

I am so proud of this business and the growth and maturity it has brought me.

Deciding its fate has been a tough decision–one that I didn’t come by lightly or quickly.  I’ve been contemplating this since January, and I finally had to be honest with myself.

I’m busy.

I’m stressed.

I’m losing sleep.

And I can’t handle everything that I thought I could.

So, as of now, I am taking an indefinite hiatus from JusB Proofreading.  I will no longer be working on any proofreading, editing or resume projects.  My other projects will require 110% of my energy moving forward, and I don’t want to lose their momentum.

That being said, I don’t believe I am “closing the doors” on the business forever.  Once I’ve slowed down, perhaps in a year or so, I will revisit JBP and see how I can represent it even better.

In this scenario, I believe it’s okay to quit–because quitting doesn’t mean it’s all over.

It simply offers the chance to evolve to the next level and to push through the dip that is…The Dip.

Portrait of an Involuntary Hermit

“You’re probably hypersensitive,” my counselor told me two weeks ago.  “But, I just found out several months ago that I’m a severe introvert,” I thought.  “And, I suffer from anxiety and depression.  And, I haven’t regularly been around large amounts of people my own age since, like, college.”

If it wasn’t happening to me, I probably would have rolled my eyes at this seeming hypochondriac and told her to “suck it up and stop victimizing yourself.”  But apparently, that has been on the list of items that I had also defaulted into doing — beating myself up for not being…”better” at the things that came normally to everyone else.

And now, as I sit inside and type this blog entry, I sort through the list of items I have planned today versus the list of items that are actually happening around this big city.


    • Go for a walk.
    • Wash clothes.
    • Work on work.
    • Go shopping for shoes.
    • Attend a coworker’s promotional party and escape as soon as I can do so unnoticed.

The Big City:

    • DragonCon
    • The Decatur Book Festival (one of the biggest book festivals in the country)
    • College football games
    • Festivals out the yin-yang

Yes, my list is a little bit longer in length, but the difference in impact is astounding.  I browse on Google at the details of the Decatur Book Festival — the booths and the speakers and the clubs — and I know, as someone who wants to make a living as a writer, that I should be involved in all this.  I scan the DragonCon images and tell myself, “You love science fiction and fantasy!  Why are you not trooping downtown?”

Aaaaaand then the anxiety floods in.  Dagnabbit.

It’s one of those moments where you just sit and wonder, what in the world happened in the last ten years to make you into such a recluse?  Having been involved in my taekwondo school for the last eight years, it was easy to be busy there and feel that I was active and actively making a difference.

However, since I’ve taken a sabbatical from TKD to pursue my original loves, I’ve found it very…daunting to turn the next page in my life.  Oh, I want to turn it.  I want to shed every outdated and juvenile part of me and emerge bright as a sparkling new phoenix.

But what is the recipe?  How do I find the path that conciliates me without overwhelming myself?  Do acknowledge the hustle and bustle of the city, yet pick a few items at a time and gently acclimate myself back into my interests at a nice, even pace?  Or do I plow in, 100%, into the heart of 600,000 Labor Day visitors, metaphorically electrocuting my anxiety into maximum overdrive or supreme meltdown?

This requires more pondering.

But it’s also stuffy in my house.  So I think I’ll keep pondering out in the sun.

Taking a Risk

Why do we work ourselves to death? Why do we always look for the next payday? Why do we seek and submit and apply and bend over backwards for a material moment that will pay that bill or buy those groceries or secure that extra day of gas? You don’t? …Me, neither. Wistful melodramatics aside, I always like to read articles or anecdotes about people who begin an adventure with little money or no visible means to make a lucrative living. Despite the misfortune stacked against them, there are many who throw all of their caution into F5 winds and…