I keep going back and forth on whether I want this post to be a short-and-sweet “Hello, world! Here’s what I’m currently doing with my life!” or a deeper, let’s-breakdown-societal-constructions-and-analyze-their-grip-on-us type of essay.
I'm shooting for a happy medium. We'll see …
The truth is, I’ve been waiting to write this post for a long time. And finally, here I am, in my second week of self-employment, thinking about how I can gracefully word the major changes I've made in my day-to-day life the past few weeks.
Another truth, is that although I feel like I've been waiting for this for a long time, it's really no surprise (to me or the people close to me) that this is what I'm doing now. The moment I realized I could be an entrepreneur, start my own business, and work for myself, I haven’t been able to think about much else.
If you asked me a few years ago what I wanted to do professionally, I probably would have told you I was headed back to grad school. I'd keep studying creative writing in hopes of one day getting published and becoming a professor. A noble pursuit, for sure. I still miss many aspects of life in academia.
What I never would have told you, however (or maybe I would just be too afraid to say it out loud), is that I was quitting my job to be a freelance writer, while simultaneously starting a jewelry business ... what?!
I know. Keep reading.
Growing up, throughout college, and heck, even earlier this year, it seems like I knew about a lot of people starting and running their own businesses. Yet, it always felt so far off.
Oh that’s nice, good for them. I could never do that,though. Maybe you’ve felt something similar.
I don't think I'm qualified to be Exhibit A in any sort of case study, but I am happy to serve as an example to all of my liberal arts peers out there (especially my female liberal arts peers), who think that "business" is not for them. That it's for a different breed of people.
Here's a little not-so-secret. If you want it to be, business and entrepreneurship is for you. On top of that, the business world needs people like you -- people with more diverse backgrounds, with fresh perspectives, and different ways of doing things.
For the benefit of people like me who were allergic to the idea of taking a business class in undergrad (still kicking myself for that), entrepreneurship is becoming more and more in style and thus, more and more approachable and accessible. Thanks to people like Tim Ferriss and Sophia Amoruso, there is a wealth of knowledge out there for people who know (or think they know) little to nothing about starting and running a business.
What you begin to find, however, after listening to hours and hours of podcasts, and reading article after article on marketing strategies, goal-setting and optimizing morning routines, is that you actually know more than you thought you did. And that really, the only way you’re going to learn more and gain this experience that everyone is so busy talking about, is to just dive in head first and frickin’ do it.
So, that’s what I’m doing. There’s a lot more story between then and now that I’d certainly like to share, but for the moment, we'll skip over it. The short of it is, after finding and securing a few promising contracts, I finally mustered up the guts to leave my steady office job (full of wonderful, smart people) and pursue my own opportunities full-time.
Between contract writing and jewelry-making, I’ve managed to stay pretty busy so far. I keep telling everyone, “talk to me in a week," could be a different story. But so far, so good. I feel confident, excited, and most of all, empowered.
I felt it was important to write a public post on this because I imagine there are lots of young people like me out there. People who want to go out on their own, but think maybe it's not for them, maybe it's not worth it, or maybe it's not the right time.
You see, people like to make up a lot of rules about these "leaps of faith". You hear it and read about it all the time.
Quit your job, but have six-months worth of salary saved up before you do.
Travel the world, but only for two weeks of paid vacation.
Start this thing you really care about, but make sure you realize that it’s only ever going to be a hobby.
I took that last one a little personally … I’m done now.
The point is, there are no rules. The only thing limiting you, is you. It's a little bit cheesy, but I think it's 100% true. Don’t let people who aren't you tell you that you can’t, you shouldn’t, or you won’t. You be the one who decides all of that and above all, trust yourself.
You know you better than anyone else.
That is a concept I struggle with on a daily basis. But it's when I truly believe that statement that I know, I am on the exact right track.
If you liked this article, let’s stay in touch! Whether you’re looking for encouragement, friendly conversation, or awesome copy for your next project, I’d love to hear from you.