Papercut artist and illustrator Mr Yen – aka Johnathan Chapman – writes about how he's used losing his job as an opportunity to work on his passion full-time.

Well it's official, I have been made redundant again for the second time in two years (through no fault of my own, as the company has gone into administration)

How do I feel about it? In a way it's the worst thing that could have happened right now, but....

When I mentioned my redundancy over on Facebook, I did get very nice comments and messages from everyone saying how sorry they are for what's happened, but I got some other messages that I think were slightly surprising (but in a good way).

Quite a few people said that this opportunity is the perfect time to work on my papercuts full time. Why did I not even think of this? Maybe it was the shock of losing my job, but the more I think about it, the more I realise that this was meant to be.

I was meant to lose my job last year, giving me an opportunity to work on papercuts full time. It was the Universe saying "go on, now's your chance". But I didn't listen.

I was meant to lose my job again this year, giving me an opportunity again to work on papercuts full time, and again I believe it is the Universe saying "go on, now really is your chance – you better take this opportunity this time. How many more times can I keep slapping you in the face with it?"

This time I'm listening.

In my years as Mr Yen, I have always had a second income: be it full-time or part-time jobs. Now, I think it's time to fully focus on Mr Yen. I don't think it's a coincidence that I have just finished the fantastic What Retailers Want course by the Indie Retail Academy, which focused on helping me sell my work wholesale.

I think it's time that I listened to the signs, fully devoted myself and made this papercutting love of mine a full time thing.

So as of today I am no longer seeing myself as unemployed, but as a self-employed papercut artist/designer. This is something I have always wanted to happen and it looks like it's happening now.

I would just like to say a huge thank you for the support over the years, from Twitter and Facebook, to Etsy chat rooms when I first started cutting paper and the kind emails I've received when my work is featured on blogs. I'm so touched that my art can mean so much to people and it is this very thing that makes me want to do this full time! I've worked in retail jobs, office jobs and restaurants – but nothing gives me as much satisfaction as receiving an email from a customer to say that they love their papercut design, or that they have been inspired by my papercuts and I don't think I could have imagined that I would ever create designs for Oprah magazine or cut paper big enough for a window display!

To celebrate his decision, Jonathan is offering a 20% discount off his If You're Waiting For A Sign papercut (pictured at the top of this piece). To take advantage of this, enter the code FULLTIME at checkout when buying it.

This piece was originally posted on the Mr Yen blog. Republished with permission.