Fulfilling my passion; being my own boss; working remotely - for many in this age of freelancing, including myself, these are phrases that often appear in conversation. It seems to be a common goal, yet few are taking steps to accomplishing it. I often feel like one step forward quickly becomes two steps back, and yet I find myself in the small hours between my two jobs longing for a greater sense of freedom and the ability to earn whilst travelling and experiencing.
Due to the fact that I’m an archetypal example of my generation, I quickly tire of my physical and social settings, eager to meet new people and explore more of my country. I move quickly from job to job in the service industry, working long and exhausting hours, and feeling like my talent for creation is being neglected. Yet why am I as a writer so scared to do what I’m capable of? Because I’m scared.
Of all the elements holding me back from becoming a better-skilled, more widely published writer,
fear is the greatest. And it’s not so much the fear of rejection is as it is the knowledge that in moving closer toward accomplishing these goals I’m moving further away from a lifestyle I know, one of other people deciding my working hours, of other people handing me a monthly wage, of little need for self-discipline.
Recently I decided to write out a few practical measures I could take toward managing myself as a creative entrepreneur, and they are as follows:
Build your network, speak to everyone and everyone about your passion or startup idea (obviously not too much detail when it comes to a novel business plan). I work evenings in a bar, and the amount of support and encouragement I’ve received from unexpected places has been overwhelming. Leaning over the bar-counter and talking to customers I’ve met writers and journalists from all over the world eager to lend advice or criticism.
Work with what you have. Any contact can be a foothold to establish yourself or build up a portfolio, so take the opportunity to show what you can do. Start talking to people who can give you insight into how to grow and become better acquainted with your industry. Even if your initial forays are poorly received, you might come out with some useful feedback.
Spend less time on social media comparing yourself to more experienced professionals. Although the internet is a vast and incredible source of inspiration, it can also cause you to doubt your own ability, when compared to what’s on show. While in the planning phases, consider take a week-long social media cleanse. It’s important to stay on top of trends, but overindulging can affect your productivity and confidence.
Look at the actual costs of starting a different, more passion-based profession or small business. Every skill requires hardware that will allow you to remain competitive as your own enterprise. In my case, I needed to find a laptop and work out a way of paying it off. Only once I knew how much I needed to get going was I able to set concrete financial goals.
Start budgeting now. Once you have your eyes on a goal it starts to appear more and more accessible. Setting an intention is not an abstract thing, it requires focus and dedication, but it is these small rewards that make the effort all the more worthwhile.
Building courage and confidence is an essential part of growing into a passion-based profession, but it is also part of the process of getting there. Maintaining stamina is difficult, I find it hard to maintain a level of self discipline. But the fear of not accomplishing what I know I can is greater than the timidity I feel when showing people my talent. It’s uncomfortable, but less so than stifled passion.