One of the scariest yet most important decisions you’ll ever make is the day you decide to work for yourself. Some of us are built for it, destined for it even but most times it just takes a push to take the plunge. Let’s face it, the world is different than the world our parents grew up and made a career in. It’s different from 10 years ago, really. The rise of social media, online business and the pressure to do the classic cycle of college, job, married and then kids has waned.
My decision to leave the traditional job and pursue a life of entrepreneurship isn’t “the right one” and I’d never pretend it’s that way or you’re missing out. It’s a choice that has to fit…you. How you think, what gives you a rush and even a fear of what you don’t want to do. Becoming a blogger was never in the plans but certainly has opened the doors to a lot of things I now cherish and things I am leveraging to help accomplish other goals. As a blogger I get asked a lot of things and it’s not always about what to pair with black jeans or the color of chelsea boot that’s best for the spring season. I get asked mostly about how I built my lifestyle. How I learned to create the freedom of working from home, or finding the time to workout everyday or how I stayed inspired. Sometimes I think consulting and public speaking is in my future because they are the answers I most like to share. My story is by far the most successful one but it’s a success for me.
I meet a lot of men and women who have that creative desire. That possess a talent or a skill that they somehow want to hone to then funnel into a personal business of their own. While having the skill in something is certainly the starting point it’s all about the next steps. Okay what do I do with this? I’m a little scared it won’t be successful or people will judge me…This is about you and your happiness. If it’s keeping you up at night then you’re already behind in making it a reality. It’s true when you read we control our own destiny and when you start to buy into that a little bit you’ll surely see the fright of the giant clock on the wall ticking but you will also feel the motivation to make a change. To pivot and find a new purpose.
To give a little relevant background, here’s my story in an elevator chat. I grew up in a divorced home with an unconventional upbringing. I lived primarily with a Mother who was loving but social and preached independence. I walked to school at a young age, I babysat myself and eventually grew an appreciation for taking care of myself. I mixed in with a few rough cats when I arrived in high school and before I knew it, I was out of school and living in a basement apartment at 16. I recall a few nights of feeling sorry for myself as I turned the bag of potatoes my landlord gave me into hash browns in the morning and baked potatoes at night but it was my beginning. I quickly developed a sincere desire to make money, be different than the other kids my age and fucking own it. My relationship with my mother became a friendship that is the deepest one I have, the father who while was always the most incredible support system was always someone I was afraid to disappoint. Suddenly he too became a trusted friend. He respected my decision to go down a different path and being a man that essentially did the very same thing, I think he silently respected it. I went from pumping gas to building event stages to roofing to working in glass factories to installing sky scraper window from a swing stage 40 floors up. All the while, I supported myself and my life became my business. What do I next? How can I open a new door? Who do I need to connect with? Eventually I ended up in the fitness business answering phones to part time sales to head of sales to personal trainer to fitness club manager to eventually a great gig making big money with a great fitness brand. I inevitably grew bored but the positive pattern I was creating was to never step backward. To keep moving always and look for the next door to open. I managed to teach myself web design through quiet nights at home and an unquenchable thirst for art that I seemed to have been born with. Then I left that big money job. I started telling folks I was a web designer. I started telling folks shit I wanted to be but hadn’t quite learned. I’d roll the dice, figure it out and make it happen. Then I started taking pictures of my sneakers…then before I knew it I had built a social following which I then used to build Platform Media with my partner. We started managing bloggers. Yeah, now we host events, manage social media accounts, create content, spearhead branding development and I got about a billion other things I want to add to our service lineup.
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is you can do and be whatever the fuck you want. You just have to want to be it. Use time wisely, block out the chatter of your unsupportive peers and most of all, connect with people. Become a great communicator and listen to what others want because those are the very instances where you can say “hey I do that, would love to help”. That’s how you build a portfolio, a business and a life that sometimes feels likes it’s unobtainable or hard to get started but is right there like an empty chair in a room. Stop making money for other people. Make money for you but try to understand quickly that money is a great support system but freedom is the true currency you ought to aspire to be rich in.
For anybody needing that push to take the plunge and pursue their own venture, this is the sign. I’m right beside you not as somebody that’s completed it but as someone still on the journey. There is so many things I need to get better at and so many things I need to learn. It’s a never-ending journey I tell you but it’s one worth packing for.