It's The Dream to do exactly what you want for a living, but it seems impossible. I've had many jobs, even more than I revealed in my biker-asks-to-buy-roses-from-"between-my-tits" confession. I'd been making websites for years before my first crap-job, but I sold myself short. I listened to the status quo that demands ingenues start at shitty jobs and "work their way up." I call bullshit. I've been operating outside the norm my whole life and running a business my way for three years. I ran "Thrift Core" on the side as my creative outlet while I worked full time as a copywriter, three years later the blog and vintage selling became my full time work. Here's what I've learned 2.5 years into being fully creatively self-employed:
1) You Don't Need as Much Money as You May Think
I've always challenged myself to live extremely frugally; it's not about deprivation, it's as simple and finding and using all the free resources available to me. I lost sight of that when I started working full time and earning more than I ever thought I would as a copywriter. With less time and more money it was easy to just "buy" things instead of thinking critically about every purchase. When I left that job I naturally went back to my resourceful ways, it was a painless instinctual switch. I changed to healthier eating saving with bulk-bought fruits and veggies, my best friend coincidentally moved in with me and we split expenses, it all worked out beautifully. Think of ways you can cut corners. You don't need as much money as you may think as you transition to making a living full time pursuing your dreams.
Read: My No Cost Start-Up Ideas and My Epic Cheap Bastard Savings List
2) You Don't Need "Stuff"- Be Healthy Instead
We often buy material possessions as a way to fill an immaterial void. When you're healthy and satisfied you're less likely to go on spending binges. I've sold many possessions since becoming self-employed and I'm more satisfied than ever with less in my life. I have little desire to spend. Four years ago when I was still a full-time marketer I wrote this post on my minimalist living dreams, now I'm living and loving it.
Photos from a flea market trip in the Florida heat. Being a full time blogger and maker takes many hours of dedication.
3) Complete Liberation and Flexibility are Paramount in Life
I could be earning so much more if I chose to go back to copywriting and marketing for online businesses. I've turned down several lucrative offers. I don't let ads or paid posts on to my website that I don't approve of. I'm certainly "poor" compared to my days working with The Man, but my days are flexible and I have complete control of my business. The liberation is priceless.
4) A "Job" is not a necessity in life- an "Income" is
A simple but important lesson. We don't all have to have jobs. There's nothing wrong with it if you do or if you want one, but we CAN create income streams for ourselves that run self-sufficiently rather than slave away at a conventional job. We can choose to earn enough to live while spending time doing what matter: enjoying friends and family. Take the lesson from the Mexican Fisherman story to heart.
5) Creative Work Keeps Me Challenged; Always Innovating, Learning
My work is unpredictable, it's taught me to overcome many random challenges. It forces me to innovate all of my favorite skills. The challenges mean I'm never bored and it keeps me sharp, win/win.
It's Not Easy. I'm Struggling: I had to literally cry to a friend about my business frustrations earlier this month. Working for yourself is hard. You work more hours and the perceived failures are personal. Despite the pained places being a full time artist will take you, it's worth the struggle to live up to your full potential. Everything worth doing is a challenge. I'm in a tricky, transitional place; evolving Thrift Core into the creative space I need it to be, but I love it all, despite the growing pains. I'm learning from my #100happydays challenge (follow here) that I feel most content with the world when I'm in my work-zone peacefully composing my content.
(Still loving the hell out of working in my new office by the way, check out the free remodel and fun matching office DIY if you missed it.)
Don't wait to accomplish your life goals and dreams. Make time to work towards it every day.
Entrepreneurs, crafters, indie business owners, unconventional livers please speak up. I'd love to read your stories and tips in the comments below. Did I leave out anything important?