Turning Your Dream Into Reality: The Job (Part 2)

August 18, 2011 at 10:24 am (Quarter Life Crisis, Turning Your Dream Into Reality) (, , )

I was thrilled by the interest in the first post in this series – thank you to everyone who posted it on Facebook, retweeted the link and sent me messages and questions.

Going back to those 4 questions we looked at in Part 1:

  1. What is it about your current role that pushes you towards self-employment?
  2. What would be the main reason for your transition?
  3. What areas do you have valuable knowledge in (be specific)? 
  4. What are your marketable skills? 

If ‘more money’ was included in your answers for numbers 1 and 2. Do not quit your day job. Being self-employed does not mean that you will magically earn more. In fact, you’ll probably earn less (at least in the first few years). What you can do if money is a driving force, is supplement your day job income with creative income. Or go part-time in your current role and utilise your newly free time to work on creative projects.

Take a long hard look at what you have written for numbers 3 and 4. Write them out side by side as a list and link knowledge based answers with skill based answers. Not all of them will partner up with something else and some of them will be able to be connected with multiple skills.

Here’s an example of what someone’s Creative Knowledge and Skill Set might look like (examples inspired by some lovely, talented friends of mine):

Now comes the slightly trickier part. How to create income streams out of your knowledge and skills.

Put the groups you have created on separate sheets on paper. Start writing possible products and/or services that you could offer if you combined these sets of knowledge and skills. Underneath each product and service write what you would need in order to be able to produce or offer it (equipment, extra training, office space etc).

Hopefully it is a pleasant surprise to see all the possibilities that come out of what you already know and how easy it would be to start the wheels in motion on some of the projects.

For the example above, I would suggest that the person has a lot that they could started on right now.

  • Start to do some logo designs for friends/acquaintances for free to grow a portfolio and get feedback on designs. Then you can start a website aimed at small businesses that require low cost, professional looking logos.
  • You could also write a blog post/eBook on how to teach yourself Photoshop. Research top graphic design/photography blogs/websites to see if they’ll host it as a guest post which would generate traffic through a link to your logo design website. It’s all about free promotion and visibility people!
  • Start to create a theatre/film makeup portfolio. There are a lot of models and photographers needing to build theirs, so aim to find people who are willing to trade their time for shots of the completed work.
  • You could upload tutorial videos on YouTube, linking to a blog on theatre makeup techniques or a website offering your services. Eventually, down the track, you could create a workshop targeting makeup artists that would like to get into this specialised field.
  • In terms of your knowledge of art history, you could start small tours of your city, focusing on the outdoor art and the background behind the pieces and the artists.
  • Tutoring kids or adults in Spanish one on one is a no-brainer.
  • Of course throwing amazing dress up parties is valuable knowledge. Create a website for boutique event planning, specifically themed parties. Make sure you keep them small initially and only take on one or two projects at a time. You could start by writing guest posts for lifestyle bloggers in your city/country on specific themes or ‘things that commonly go wrong and how to avoid them’, linking to your website and therefore your services.

What projects could you get started on right now?

What have you got to lose by setting these up?

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Turning Your Dream Into Reality: The Job (Part 1)

August 9, 2011 at 8:59 am (Quarter Life Crisis, Turning Your Dream Into Reality) (, , )

I have been asked “how I did it” numerous times. People send me messages about how brave or inspiring I am – inspiring maybe (thank you) but brave, no so much. My decision to work for myself wasn’t born from bravery but rather from fear. Fear of what my life would look like if I worked 9 hours a day (and commuted for 2), at a desk, in a job I didn’t love.

I was afraid of what I would become after years and years of this.

So I had to try something different. Sure, I could try a new role in a new organisation and see how that felt, but somehow I knew that wouldn’t be a good fit for me either. It was the long hours, the restricted work environment and the lack of flexibility that made me cower every Monday morning.

I am in the middle of writing an e-book about making the transition from employee to self-employed and will hopefully release it here on Dream. Delight. Inspire. in the next few weeks. I’m pretty excited about it – it’s taken a lot of hours and coffees already, let me tell you.

But so that I don’t leave you in the lurch until then, here are some things to consider TODAY:

  1. What is it about your current role that pushes you towards self-employment? Long hours, poor management, lack of flexibility for holidays, feeling under-utilised…?
  2. What would be the main reason for your transition? More money, flexible working hours, working from home, creative control…?
  3. What areas do you have valuable knowledge in (be specific)? Song writing for flute, knitting baby garments, teaching tap dancing, organising large scale volunteering projects, creating floral arrangements for weddings…?
  4. What are your marketable skills? Report writing, illustration, sound engineering, building client relationships, sewing, computer programming…?
Write down as many ideas as you can for numbers 3 and 4. You may be surprised at how many subjects you know a lot about and how many marketable skills you have under your belt already.

Discovering what your dream really looks like is the first step in the planning process. People may say “I love to draw so I want to be a full time artist” – okay but in reality, a full time artist may not earn enough to support your current lifestyle. If you want to work for more creative control and money isn’t a factor, then this may be possible. Perhaps you move back home or flat with 3 others in a cheaper area.

OR you plant enough seeds in different areas that you have several potential income streams. One might be selling your paintings on Etsy, one might be creating art for cards and selling these in small local bookstores, one might be teaching art history or giving guided tours of the outdoor public art in your city.

EXPLORE ALL POSSIBLE AVENUES.

I’d love to hear your answers to the questions above – post them in the comments if you’re willing to share.

You may also have some questions that you’d like answered around this topic, please feel free to comment or email me (kimberleyms@gmail.com).

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How to Survive a Spending Ban

May 24, 2011 at 12:56 pm (Quarter Life Crisis, Sweet Nothings/Ramblings) (, )

I knew this day would come. The day I would have to get serious about my finances and enforce a spending ban. It’s not that I’ve been spending up big on a new wardrobe or lavish nights out – I’ve just added the occasional breakfast or coffee here, the odd piece of home decor there and it has added up.

I was charged interest on my credit card this month. I haven’t had this happen in over 3 years. Sometimes you need to be kicked into action and that is what did it for me.

So here are a few things I’ve implemented to help me over the next few weeks:

  • Learn to make all your favourite foods at home. That way you won’t feel the need to buy them elsewhere.
  • Go through your wardrobe thoroughly. You may find garments that haven’t seen the light of day in months – BONUS: it almost feels like you’ve bought something new.
  • Sell anything you haven’t don’t need, use or love (and I mean LOVE. Oh but I kind of like this doesn’t cut it).
  • Put your gym membership/hobby classes on hold or ask to switch from weekly to fortnightly sessions. Remember, it’s only for a little while (make this one a maximum of a month otherwise you may go stir crazy).
  • Unsubscribe or filter any emails you get from fashion labels, ticket sites or shops of any kind. You don’t need the temptation.
  • Similarly, do not read any magazines. They have too much luxurious advertising for your fragile state right now. Remember books? They’re a great alternative.
  • Spend in cash only. It has become so easy to swipe a card and distance ourselves from the pattern of earning before you spend. Doing this will make you more aware of how often you are making transactions. Question yourself before you hand over that note – is this a necessity? What will happen if I don’t get it?
  • Put a time limit on your spending ban. A few weeks at a time is probably best so you can commit fully to the cause. At the end date, reward yourself with a little (cheap) gift.
What tips do you have to help survive a tightening of your purse strings?

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Living With Less

April 12, 2011 at 11:02 am (Quarter Life Crisis, Sweet Nothings/Ramblings) (, , )

Hi, my name is Kim and I used to be a consumer-holic. I hang my head in shame when I type those words because all I want to do is be is some amazing eco-warrior who can live out of a small bag, recycle everything, only buy vintage clothing and eat food from my organic farm – but I don’t.

I love fashion, home decor, cosmetics and skincare, going out for delicious meals and beauty treatments.

But something has forced me into action. Lack of money. It’s okay, I am not worried or upset that the flow of funds I used to have has dried up because I am 100 times happier now. I get to make a living out of teaching singing and performing – it’s a dream come true! But my income is not yet where it used to be and so adjustments needed to be made.

I can’t go shopping for a new AW wardrobe, can’t accessorise the apartment, have to sparingly buy skincare and make do with what makeup I already have, go out for the occasional breakfast instead of dinners (which suits me fine as I LOVE brekky) and have a 20 minute Thai massage down the road once a fortnight rather than my hour long deep tissue treatments, pedicures and the like.

Yeah yeah, woe is me. Life must be so hard for you Kim. Not at all. You may not be able to relate to the pieces of my life that were MY luxuries – what are yours? Shoes? Books? Surf lessons? Regular weekend trips away?

When you are used to having so much and being able to snap your fingers and do just about anything, it feels quite restrictive when you cut that out. But it doesn’t need to be – it can be liberating.

Think in terms of using your time rather than spending money. Do you have boxes of loose receipts or hundreds of photos that you’ve never organised? Have you always wanted to learn a language, join a sports team or take an art class? Invest in a couple of activities that make you feel good and enable you to learn new skills.

Focus on your health. As I’ve said before, I now use a lot of my time to work on my health, from cooking nutritious meals to going to the gym most days. It takes time to create a healthy body and if you have just left full time employment, or have been working part time – you now HAVE the time!

DIY. There are so many recipes for delicious home made skincare, ideas for handmade gifts and if you’re really crafty I am sure you could take vintage finds and alter them to suit your shape.

Clear it out. I am sure most of us have items that we haven’t used in well over a year, collecting dust in our homes. Get rid of it. It will make you feel so much lighter knowing that your house is clutterless and that everything you own has a use or a purpose. eBay, garage sales and secondhand markets are a great way to make a few dollars. Alternatively, head straight for your local Salvation Army store, op shop or clothing collection bin.

Do you live simply already – how do you do it?

If not, how about you try it for just a month? Try to substitute some of your luxuries with alternatives.

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What is holding you back?

March 21, 2011 at 10:11 am (Quarter Life Crisis)

What is your dream job? Where would you love to live/holiday/explore?

Are you there at the moment? If not, why not? When I left my safe, mind-numbingly boring administration job a couple of months ago I was constantly told how brave I was. I don’t think it has anything to do with bravery – I was scared. I was scared that if I didn’t do something NOW, that I would wake up in years, decades even, and nothing would have changed. I would have missed out on doing what I wanted with the short time I have.

The truth is that we can all go ahead and at least give our dreams a go. Give them a chance to become reality, but we’re scared that we might fail. Yeah, we might. But isn’t it better to know that you gave it a go?

The thing that most often holds people back is a fear that they won’t be able to afford their rent or food. Really, it’s about throwing away some of that pride you are holding onto for dear life. Worst comes to worst, you can work weekends in hospitality until your finances start to come together. You could move back home if that’s an option. There is always a way to make things happen, but you have to want it pretty badly.

The way I see 2011 is that this year will be a struggle, but a necessary one. If I can make it through this year, sacrificing some of the creature comforts I once adored, then I will be able to enjoy 2012 – doing what I love. I will be able to stop working like a crazy person on the weekends, my credit card will look healthier and I will have the freedom that I desire.

Tell me your dream and the reasons you haven’t put your plan into action – I’d love to hear about it!

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Early Days

February 15, 2011 at 9:54 pm (Quarter Life Crisis, Sweet Nothings/Ramblings)

I have been working on this post for days now. I get part way through and then whisk off somewhere else or get distracted or can’t get the words out. I do apologise for my lack of posts – I am slowly finding my feet in my brand new career.

I am now halfway through Week Three of what feels like some kind of social experiment, but is actually the new life I have chosen for myself. Thank you for all the wonderful comments over the last few weeks – supportive, inquisitive and otherwise. What have I been doing with myself and my new-found freedom? What is it like? Is it taking off and keeping me chaotically busy?

What have I been doing? Learning guitar, teaching singing, going to the gym, cooking and experimenting with more complicated recipes, cleaning the apartment, listing possessions I no longer need on eBay, learning French, keeping in touch with my friends more (online and face to face), getting more Vitamin D, sleeping better, crying over episodes of The Biggest Loser, performing every weekend and still working at children’s parties.

What I am loving:

  • The apartment is cleaner than it has ever been and it was cleaned by ME. My boyfriend (gem that he is) has always been the domestic one in the past, mainly because I was working 7 days a week most weeks. Now, I am the domestic goddess!
  • Adding to the goddess title – I am cooking. From. Scratch. I have always been little Miss Heat It Up. Now I am following healthy, delicious recipes and am thoroughly enjoying it (despite ending up with pumpkin soup all over my walls and appliances the other day).
  • I am able to go to the gym 5 days a week, Monday through Friday. I attend classes (Pilates and Zumba), see my trainer once a week at a normal hour (I was going at 5.30am previously) and do my own workouts. Combined with the cooking, I am feeling great!

The Challenges:

  • My bank account. It doesn’t like this new change of mine. I try not to look at it too often otherwise this sense of sickening panic and regret comes over me which just isn’t helpful. Things could be worse. I knew that leaving the security of a regular full time pay cheque would be hard, but I’m sucking it up and getting on with it. Money or no money. I do have a handful of clients but I wish they were growing in numbers at a faster rate.
  • Dreading the weekends. My weekends are now the days where I earn most of my income which means I push myself to crazy limits working during the day and performing 3 to 4 hour gigs at night. It’s exhausting and I really felt it this weekend. I lost my voice and my entire body ached. Thank God for Monday (not something I thought I would ever say/type).
  • Exercising restraint. I’m not very good at this, but am so far impressing myself. I love fashion. I love skincare. Make up, home decor, stationary, shoes, magazines, massages, delicious organic lunches, seeing movies at the cinema and buying interesting books. But this has all been put on hold. Sad but true. It could be teaching me a number of life lessons though – the most important: to learn to live with a lot less.

I promise to set aside some time this week to fill your days with beautiful imagery, inspirational designs and even some gems of the cyberspace.

How have you been lovely readers?   I’d love to hear from you!

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The Inevitable Panic

January 20, 2011 at 4:26 pm (Quarter Life Crisis, Sweet Nothings/Ramblings) (, )

It was bound to happen. You don’t just quit your job to set up a creative home based business without a large degree of panic setting in when the date comes closer.

The 28th of this month is my final day as an administrator. I will no longer write that in the ‘occupation’ boxes on forms, I will be writing Singing Teacher or Vocal Coach (depending on how many spaces they allow).

My mood swings between exhilarated and terrified and I haven’t been sleeping very well lately (my subconscious clearly wants to have its say too). But if you don’t take a leap of faith at some point in your life, won’t you always wonder ‘what if’?

Here are a few things that have been helping me through the panic:

  • Taking time out to just breathe. In….Out…..
  • Encouraging friends (especially ones that have taken the same leap that I have). Anyone that can provide assistance or insight into what you will be going through reiterates that this can be done and it has been done before.
  • Planning for the Worst Case Scenario (particularly budgeting). It sounds counter-productive but if I am prepared for that, then anything better than rock bottom will leave me smiling.
  • Putting together daily schedules. One thing I am worried about is that initially I will be at home, bored and doing nothing, which will leave a lot of time for the panic to really start to take over. Instead, I have planned my days down to the hour, setting aside time for exercise, creative pursuits and domestic duties/errands.
  • Positive affirmations. The cynic in me laughs when I run through my affirmations but part of me also believes in horoscopes, luck and karma.
What calms you down when you’re in a panic about something creeping up in your future? Any tips?

PS: If you know anyone that would like vocal tuition in Melbourne (Australia), maybe you could let them know that this is my website.  : )

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Living vs Saving

November 15, 2010 at 11:31 am (Quarter Life Crisis) (, , )

I had one of my (approximately) 8 weekly emotional snaps on Saturday night. It was, as they often are, about money. Or more accurately, my lack of it.

My fear of not living life to the fullest means that I spend a lot. I spend it on the gym and personal training to keep myself fit. I spend it on health insurance, osteopath, deep tissue massage and dentist appointments to ensure that my health is in check. I spend it on singing lessons to keep my voice in shape and creative experiences to learn new skills and do interesting things. I spend it on social occasions to keep my relationships with people strong and intact. I spend it on fresh (and often organic) food to keep my body well nourished.

But this means that I don’t save.

Saving money is one of those things that is usually instilled in us as children. Parents set up bank accounts when we’re young and put our pocket money or that $5 note from Grandma for Christmas into them to teach us about the importance of having money available for a “rainy day”. What they don’t tell you is that the cost of rent, petrol and food is continually rising and there is often not a lot left over (especially if you’re trying to be a responsible adult and have a number of different insurances and health checks).

My dilemma is do I stop going out, taking creative classes, eating well and going to the gym to save money for that “rainy day” (or a house, which looks practically impossible with rising prices) or do I continue living my life, experiencing new things and taking care of myself? People are always saying to invest in yourself in your twenties – your health, education and overall experiences in life, but at what cost?

What do you think?

Did you/are you staying at home most nights and declining social invitations/creative pursuits to save money?

Or do you spend every penny you have on living and stress about your lack of funds and assets?

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The Transition from Corporate to Creative

November 11, 2010 at 4:57 pm (Quarter Life Crisis) (, , )

A friend of mine quit her job a few months ago without a new role to go to. Some would say this was stupid, but I think it’s brave. After over 7 weeks of unemployment, she was offered another dull corporate role and was certainly tempted by the offer of a secure paycheck but turned it down. About a week later she was offered a 4 day a week role in a creative industry linked to fashion. Exactly what she wanted.

But not everyone can throw security to the wind and leave a job that they loathe to follow their dreams and land a job that they love. So how do you transition from corporate to creative?

Dare to dream. Unless you plan out exactly what you want your days to look like, how can you create your ideal career path? Figure out what is important to you. Do you want to work for yourself or an organisation in a creative field? Do you want to work fewer hours or would you like to earn more money? Would you like to work in the mornings when you’re more productive and save your afternoons for personal errands and down time? Maybe your dream is unrealistic, but you’ll only find this out if you try. Go for it.

My aim is to work less and allow myself time during the day to exercise, attend classes and  relax. I think the saying is ‘work to live, don’t live to work’.

Do some groundwork before you leave. It’s a good idea to start on the project or type of work you want to get into before you leave your secure corporate role. Write for an online publication, join a band, take art classes or sew handbags on the weekend to start your Etsy empire. Get some experience under your belt to plump up your resume for when you take the leap.

Ask and you may receive. Approach your employer about perhaps cutting your hours to a part time (or job share) arrangement that could support you through your change of career. This may not be possible, but you never know until you ask.

Check your finances. You need to do this to make sure you have a ‘Just in Case’ stash of money to keep you going in case things get tough. Also draft a budget if you are going to take a pay cut making this transition.

I’ll keep you updated on my journey from administrator to singing teacher/performer and pass on any pearls of wisdom I may learn along the way. 11 weeks until D Day…

Are you thinking of making the jump from corporate to creative?
What are your biggest hurdles?

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Live a life you’ll be proud of

October 4, 2010 at 5:21 pm (Quarter Life Crisis) ()

One of the things that terrifies me is waking up one day and realising that I am 45 and can’t account for the last 20 years of my life. I don’t want to get stuck in a rut and forget who I am, what I love and find that I have let the years pass by being bored rather than inspired.

Laura Valerie wrote a recent post on the things that “shock” us out of the monotony of day-to-day life. I read her post while overseas and found myself nodding all the way through (which often happens with her fabulous blog – do check it out). While travelling I thought a lot about how I am currently living my life and how it is/isn’t working for me.

I love the area we live in, how active I am (usually) and that I have a supportive boyfriend. But there is quite a bit that I’d like to work on to keep discovering, growing and feeling truly alive.

Career. See last post – I’m working on it!

Eating habits. Ideally I’d like to grow a little vegetable garden on our balcony and eat 50% organic and local produce. I never thought I’d be a yoga-loving, organic food eating, recycling crusader ‘hippy’ type, but I am and I’m proud of it.

Making the effort to go out. I’d like to meet new people and get out of the house more often! In ‘real life’ I am a very social and bubbly person. I love people. But when you’ve been in a relationship for a while, you tend to become a bit more of a homebody (which I also love but I tire of it easily). You say no to social invitations to watch a DVD or avoid parties to enjoy a quiet dinner at home. No more, I am going to try to embrace every invitation (where humanly possible).

Staying connected with friends. Everyone’s lives are so busy these days that it’s hard to find the time to catch up either online or face to face. I think it’s definitely time to make this a priority. Currently really struggling to reach my goal of 100 letters for the year, but will keep trying.

Feeding my creativity. I need to make the effort to seek inspiration. Go to galleries, stage shows, quirky shops, event and classes. Travelling overseas makes you realise how much your home city has to offer. Coming back home to Melbourne after a long break has renewed my love for the city and its culture. I haven’t felt this excited about exploring around Melbourne since I moved here 2 and a half years ago.  Now it’s about making the effort to find little gems in my own city (and others). I have a little blog project that I’ll post in the next few days that may help with this.

What would you like to work on to help with that ‘stuck in a rut’ feeling?

 

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