By Casey Sibley
If you are reading this post, I'm going to guess that you either:
Have a full or part time day job and are running your blogging or creative business in your free time (and possibly want to take that blog or business full time) or,
Work on your blog or creative business full time and want to take it to the next level.
If either of these guesses are true, keep reading, friend.
You are not alone. There are a LOT of people trying to do exactly what you are doing. I write this not to deter you from doing it, but to illustrate that in order to stand out and grow, you're gonna have to take action.
Here's the really great news: You have a lot of power in this situation. More than you probably realize.
And to harness that power and start allowing big things in your business and life, you have to get comfortable with being a little uncomfortable.
One thing I notice with aspiring creative business owners is that they are timid to take big risks. They don't want to let go of that day job for fear of struggling financially. They don't want to reach out for that big opportunity in their business for fear of being rejected (or even worse, ignored). They don't want to talk too much about their work or ask too much money for their products and services, for fear that they will turn off potential customers and clients, or won't be able to deliver on their promises.
See a pattern forming? Yep, it's fear. Fear of not being ready. Fear of making a big commitment without knowing the outcome. Fear of not being good enough.
Fear of struggle.
Once you can move past the fear and use your intuition--that gut feeling--to make big decisions for your business, you will find that really great things will start happening.
But what if your gut is telling you that you aren't ready to take those big leaps?
Here are my thoughts on that:
1. Spoiler: You will never be ready.
You can plan your next move for years without ever actually making the move. It's fun to plan and research, isn't it? You are learning! You are filing all that information away neatly for the day that you are finally ready to launch. So much fun!
And you're totally protected by the fort of information that you have built around yourself.
But you are trapped. You have to take action, or all that research will go to waste. You might even find that the information you gathered wasn't as helpful as what you will uncover by taking the leap and putting yourself out there.
2. You will figure it out and learn as you go.
I run a product-based business and a couple of years ago I decided to start wholesaling my products to retailers. I knew nothing about wholesale, except that it was a great way to sell more product and get fresh eyes on my work.
One night, I finally decided to start reaching out to shops, and ended up getting a really large order. It was amazing. And so stressful!
I did many things wrong, even after following all the "advice" I had found online. I got paid late and I barely made any money.
But my experience with that order helped shape my entire wholesale program as it is today.
Now? I have regular wholesale orders and the bulk of my income comes from my wholesale business. And I get paid on time!
I threw myself into it and learned from my inevitable mistakes, and now it's no biggie.
3. The money will come.
I've amazed myself at times with how quickly I can make $300 when my feet are held to the fire.
I'm not here to tell you to quit your day job tomorrow, but trust me when I say that you know how to make money on your own. Sometimes that day job (or other job-like commitment) is a financial crutch. You think you need it.
You need money, not a specific job. There are plenty of ways to make money by doing what you love.
Start figuring out ways to make up that income. Start scaling back your day job hours. Start taking back your time and devoting it to things that you really want to do. Do these things before you can rationalize it (by the way, the only rationalization you need is that you want to do it).
You might be amazed at how resourceful you are, too, when your feet are held to the fire.
4. Now is the best time to start building your experience.
The sooner you put new work out into the world and introduce it to the people that can help you grow your business, the sooner you will build a fantastic body of work.
Your work may not be the best ever the first time you create that new product, or reach out for that big brand collaboration or magazine feature. But if you do it now, and keep doing it over time while taking note of the things that weren't strong, you will improve.
If you don't look back and cringe a little at your old work, then you probably launched too late. Launch early and don’t give up on the opportunities that are important to you.
5. There's no better feeling than doing exactly what you want every day.
Several years ago, I spent most of my time doing all the things I should have been doing and only dreaming about all the things I actually wanted to do.
Now, I get to choose what I want to do most days. Being able to spend my time on things that bring me joy is one of the most empowering feelings, ever.
But you don't get to that place by sitting around waiting for it to happen to you. You have to chase it, wrangle it, overcome adversity, and ignore everyone saying "You know what you should do..."
Focus consistently on your goals, both big and small. What action will get you closer to achieving them? Do that.
And do it as soon as possible.
Casey Sibley is a Reno, Nevada based designer and writer. She writes the blog Leap Repeat, sharing her experiences in pursuing a business and life that brings her joy, and encouraging other aspiring creative entrepreneurs to lead a life by their own design, on their own terms. She also owns Casey D. Sibley Art + Design, a lifestyle brand of accessories and home goods in a colorful, modern style meant to inspire a happy life.
Photo Credit: Casey Sibley