Your Hostess Has Fallen Down the Rabbit Hole

My pride! My joy! Miseducated, I have missed blogging inspirations and hearing from you. I’d never leave weekdays without posts unless life has taken me for ransom.

It just so happened this weekend that my never-ending morning sickness had finally gotten ahold of me. I was dehydrated and having cramps and contractions — how scared was I!

It’s 2 months early, Colette still has quite awhile to bake in my stomach.

So I was rushed to the hospital and ordered to stay while they pumped me full of fluids and monitored my little stomach dweller.

The bad news is I had to stay.. the good news is all the time spent monitoring Colette paid off because she’s *very* active and healthy for her age! It was music to our ears.

Now, as for the wonderful world of Miseducated..

We have quite the inspirational, diy, career-inspiring AND GIVEAWAY goodies coming to you very soon! I’ve been collecting some of the sweetest handmade items from artists around the world to offer you in our Spring Giveaway.

This is yet another way for Miseducated to support handmade artists. Did you know you can apply to be featured in a future giveaway? Miseducated will purchase your handmade goodies and give our wonderful readers a chance to get ahold of them.

So stay tuned for new ezines and newsletters arriving into your inbox (you can submit your email in the ezine space in the sidebar!), inspiration and of course tons of color and unconventional Miseducated fun.

I speak for all of our contributers when I say, you make everything worth it!

Why So Many Women Are Afraid to Self-Promote

Are you a history buff? No? Me either, but I will never forget Glenn Close in Dangerous liaisons. The scene still stuck in my mind where her life of privilege and power climaxes in ruins- because she dared to what? Manipulate people to suit her purposes, avenge herself (jilted by the man she loved who used her and tossed her aside for a younger version), seek revenge, relish the feeling of power, and revel in her own self centeredness. Gosh, this reminds me of something… what is that… I know-MEN.

Ohhhh, wait a minute, is this male bashing? Some may say so, I believe it is simply one passionate opinion about the pandemic affect of this two thousand year old inequity. What I am trying to say really is that, how come when a woman tries to bend things to suit her needs she’s a thankless whore and when men do it they are…just being men. When women are shrewd in business, arranging people, places and things to most optimally benefit her desired goals they are willful bitches and men, savvy hunters?

Am I saying we women want to adopt such scruples? Hell NO. What I am saying is enough already! And set forth a motion to do away with this reckless thinking and embrace a more lavish approach to achieving, creating and realizing what we all want and need and would like.

We will collectively grow up and subscribe to the more the merrier, there is plenty for everyone and then you wait and see what happens!! Until then lets inquire whether or not we want to continue to subscribe to an antiquated way of promoting our passions, taking care of our selves and achieving our deepest desires; groveling along, manipulating our pretty little way to success, trying to be the good girls and wives that we were taught to be.
So let me offer a few pointers and suggestions, how do I promote myself without feeling shame or frightened of how others will view me or instinctively feeling like I may offend people that I believe I need in order to survive~

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First~ Ask yourself who your source is? Go on really. Who or what is the source of flow, money etc in your life. You may not like your answer but you will see it is the source of your angst. A clue is if you believe source is outside of you, or have simply forgotten- there’s the work to be done!

Second~ There is no other! This means we are all one and whatever you see or experience outside your self is simply a projection of your own material and beliefs. Maddening isn’t it. But when you think about it really its empowering and ultimately freeing! And a stellar opportunity to embrace and heal your own beliefs and story about yourself and the world around you! Like men have power women don’t, self promotion is shameful etc. cause if you see it or believe then its true (for you).

Third ~ And last for now , have some fun and stretch yourself. Try celebrating yourself out loud and test some of those theories. Will people really think you’re a shameless self promoter? And if they do, so what? Once a woman told me something I will never forget; “She said to me’ Honey child, half the people you meet aint gonna like you no matter what you do, the other half will. You might as well get over it! So, as Don Miguel Ruiz says, don’t take it personal! Or you stand in it and feel the burn and heal whatever insecurity keeps making you feel this way! I am a big self inquiry fan and find that when I face the daemons they go away. The shadow isn’t so scary when we shed light on what’s really underneath it all!

Design Your Own Career: Part Four

“Starting out to make money is the greatest mistake in life. Do what you feel you have a flair for doing, and if you are good enough at it, the money will come.”
– Greer Garson

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We’ve identified our passion, worked out the skills we will need to pursue it, and found that we must keep learning in any creative career. Now the tricky bit, the question of the ‘M’ word, the point when we realise just how difficult the creative career is to achieve, and why so many abandon it or never even try: how do we make money? Firstly, there are two vital points to keep in mind when embarking on or living the creative career, if you want it to work financially.

Two Principles for Making Your Passion Pay

Not only do you have to love doing it, you have to have a certain amount of love for the work involved in doing it. For example, I would really like to be a property developer; I’m interested in buildings, interior design and the pleasure that comes from renewing something tired and old. However, I’m not one for physical labour – a bit here and there, sure, but stripping walls, plastering, painting – it just isn’t for me; I’m an ideas person. Therefore, I would either need a great deal of start-up money to outsource this work, or I’d need to partner up with someone who wants the challenge – it’s just logic. Whereas, when it comes to writing, I love the concept, the materials, the result and the work involved – it’s win win.

You have to think about who will pay you, and tailor your work for them. Making money always involves someone else; you don’t make money as an individual unless you have a licence to print it yourself. Now, if you know you won’t get paid as an isolated entity, then you need to quit thinking of your ‘working self’ as an isolated entity – you need to start thinking about your customer: the person who will pay you to do what you love. When you think about them, you bring yourself closer to making money, because you can see things from their point of view, and know why they would or wouldn’t part with their cash on your behalf. For example, if I wrote articles purely for myself, made them all about me and only relevant to my life, it’s pretty unlikely that anyone would ever pay me for them. Whereas, if I wrote them, yes out of a love for the craft, but also with a target audience in mind (publishers as well as readers) then I’ve tailored my work and I invite payment.

What about money now?

This is all well and good, but I’d be lying if I said these principles alone will make you a living from your passion: there are many more sides to the coin. Firstly, it is an elite few who have the resources to start a business from scratch and live off of it, and I’m going to assume you are not one of them. So how do you get a financial head start with a creative career?

Start early. If you want a lucrative, independent career, you must be prepared to walk a long, toll-taking road to success. Because you are not relying on anyone else for that ‘big break’, you have to build up all the things that separate entity would offer you: reputation, credibility, contacts, experience, knowledge etc. The sooner you start, the better.

Do it alongside study. Study, particularly undergraduate study, is probably one of the best times you could start working out a creative career, whilst still feeling grounded. You have plenty of free time, you might have a student loan, and you are surrounded by other creative, young individuals to join forces with.

Do it alongside other work. Many creatives assume an ‘all or nothing’ mentality, refusing conventional work altogether – but you don’t have to be one of them. A part time job can fund your creative endeavours if you want it to, and work doesn’t always have to be a 9-5 desk job. Do something that keeps you fit like being a kids water sports instructor; do something in a creative environment like work at an independent cinema; or even do something that you can do whilst working on your career, like evening babysitting.

Research possible creative grants and/or young person’s business loans. These exist, and they are actually far more plentiful than you might think. Whilst I wouldn’t recommend commercial debt, there are many government-backed schemes to help the entrepreneurs of the future: after all, it is in the interest of any economy that you make money. In terms of grants, if you’ve got the talent, show people – they may be willing to fund your potential success. Type ‘creative grants’ or ‘arts grants’ or whatever is relevant to your dream career, plus the area you live in into Google and see what you find.

…Ask parents or investors? For some of you this will be the obvious choice, for some it will be unthinkable, but we’ll leave that debate for another day. If you think your parents (or other members of your family) will be willing to invest in you, make it worth their while. Like I’ve said, think about the person attached to that fistful of cash and ask yourself ‘what’s in it for them?’ Draw up a business plan and approach them like any other lender, and, of course, pay them back when you are in the position to do so.

Want to know just what you could be doing that’s creative and will earn you a crust?

Here are some examples of possible creative careers: Writer, Blogger, Graphic/Web Designer, Cabinet Maker, Painter, Interior Designer, Fashion Designer, Textile Designer, Property Developer, Musician, Life Coach, Personal Stylist, Photographer, Potter, Illustrator, Chef, Baker, Landscape Gardener, Florist, Window Dresser, Advertising Creative, Copywriter, Thespian, Director, Set Designer, Dancer, Greetings Card Maker, Knitter etc.

You can follow just one of these paths, you could weave several of them together, or you could carve out a new career especially for yourself. There are people in every one of these careers making good money, why not pick your guru and research how they did it? And, more appropriately, how they made it pay. Don’t be disheartened if you’re not abundantly rich in your chosen career immediately, it can take several years to get on your feet – the point is to get there and, if you give up, you never will.

Where to go next

Don’t let this series be a waste of your precious reading minutes; get started on your dream creative career now. However old/young/ prepared/unprepared you might be – there’s something you could be doing to make the mission of earning money one that is fun, fulfilling and freeing.

That’s it for designing your own career.

Please let me know your thoughts on the series and ask any questions/request follow up articles. Remember – you’re my customer and I’m here to tailor my work to your needs 😉 If you want to throw a tip my way, well, that’s up to you!

Sometimes You Just Have to Do What You Want

You should always spend time doing what makes you happy. Last night, I spent a great deal of time doing something I did not want to do, something that made me ultimately unhappy, and when I woke this morning and thought back on the wasted Saturday night, I was reminded of a point that I always try to aspire to: do what you want to do. Of course, there are situations in which we must attend unpleasant events or participate in less-than-thrilling conversations, but there so many times when we end up committing ourselves to do something we don’t want to do, something we could have easily gotten out of. When this happens to me (as it did last night), I feel anger and resentment not only to the other person/people and situation, but to myself. Afterward, I ask myself, Why didn’t I just say no? Why did I waste time doing something that didn’t bring happiness to my life? I often rationalize that I somehow got suckered into it or I couldn’t get out of it, but this time I am choosing to do something different. After waking and feeling resentment about a wasted Saturday night, I am not going ask why the time was wasted or think about what I could have done with my night. Instead, I am going to prepare myself for the future by taking these steps to make sure that, whenever I can, I am spending my time the way I want to.

1

Just say no. When I come across an invitation or a situation I don’t want to participate in for whatever reason (even if no one else could possibly understand my reasoning), I am going to say no. Of course, this means I will still have to go to work and meetings and do some things I really, really hate doing (like pumping gas and walking down the aisles of a grocery store), but there are also a lot of things I can say no to that I usually don’t. I usually rationalize the event in some way, saying to myself, Oh I haven’t seen this person in so long or I don’t have any other plans set in stone yet. Even if I have nothing better to do, I will still strive to avoid spending my time in ways that don’t feel positive to me.

2

Recognize what things don’t interest me — and don’t do them. Ever. We all have things that we know we don’t like to do. For example, I’m not a big fan of sports games. With the right people and in the right situation they can definitely be fun, but I have spent hours and hours of my life on boyfriend-of-the-moment’s couch watching football or basketball. And I have sat there resentfully, thinking to myself, I could be doing something else right now. I really don’t care at all about this stupid game. What am I doing here? That’s just my example though. I’m sure for other people, there are certain situations they know bring out negativity and resentment in them. My advice? Don’t do them. Yes, if you have a friend or significant other that really wants your support, sometimes you might have to do things you really don’t want to do, but you should seriously consider if participating in an event and feeling annoyed about it is really worth it in the long run. Maybe you can work out a deal with the person or maybe you can find someone who has interests more in line with your own. Either way, settling for a situation never brings about positivity in any relationship.

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3

Set aside time to do what you love. Sometimes it’s easy to remember what we love to do, and to find the time to do it. When you experience a situation in which you feel you have wasted time, often the things you would have loved to have been doing jump to the forefront of your mind. For example, last night I thought to myself, I wish I were writing right now. I wish I was finishing up the book I’m so into reading. I wish I could be in bed, turning off the light, about to get a few extra hours of sleep because it’s the weekend. Right there, I thought of three things that I really enjoy doing (yes, sleeping is one of them). That’s one of the few perks about doing something you don’t want to do — you realize all of the things you do want to do. Once you’ve figured out whatever it is really enjoy doing (which, actually, can be very difficult for some people so really take your time with this), you should set aside time to do it. Not general, maybe-this-weekend time, but actually time, such as blocking off an hour or two in your calender. In doing this, you will be more likely to remember and take time to do the things that interest you. In addition, you can easily say, “Oh, i’m sorry! I already have plans!” when an invitation arises that you are really not interested in accepting.

4

Realize that life is short. Cliche as it sounds, life is short. We only have a limited amount of time here in this life and we should make the most of it. We should spend whatever free time we have doing what makes us happy. It’s easy to get sucked into doing what other people want to do or justifying activities and saying that we “have” to do them, but this is unfair not only to us, but to those around us. People will be able to sense that you are not enjoying yourself (or, at least, people can sense when I’m not enjoying myself because I make it very clear). You will be resentful of the people and situations you spend time with and partake in because you felt you “had” to. You will miss out on all of the fun and excitement and joy you could have had doing what you really wanted to be doing. Our lives are short and we should all be living them the way we would like to.

5

Surround yourself with people who support what you want to do. This can be difficult at times, because not everyone wants to do the same thing and it’s pretty near impossible to surround yourself with friends and family members who enjoy the exact same activities that you do. However, you can choose your friends and you can choose friends that enjoy similar activities. You can also choose to surround yourself with people who make not like to do all of the same things you do, but who support the time you want to spend doing those things. Likewise, you can be the kind of person who, though you may not want to participate in a certain activity, fully supports those who do. People who are unsupportive bring negativity into their lives and the lives of those around them, so try to support the preferences of others and most definitely try to surround yourself with people who support you.
Some may read this entry and think, How selfish! We shouldn’t just go around doing what we want to do without thinking about the needs of others! This is true. I am not encouraging complete and utter selfishness, but I am, as always, encouraging positivity. We have this moment, this life, to live however we want to, and I feel like so often we take this for granted. We think that we can get to something later or, in my case, I rationalize things, saying to myself, Oh, I’ll always have time to read. But will I? What I know for sure is that we have this moment, this single moment, to live. No future is guaranteed so whenever possible I believe we should spend time doing whatever makes us happy. Between work and other commitments that we can’t get out of, we actually have very little time to do the things that make us truly happy. Think about what you really love to do — and do it!

Design Your Own Career: Part Three

“To love what you do and feel that it matters–how could anything be more fun?”
– Katharine Graham

In Part One of this series we learned how to target our dream careers and in Part Two we sussed out the skills required to start achieving it. In Part Three we are going to focus on increasing your appetite and ability for learning, and how this translates into a fulfilling career.

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Never Stop Learning

It is a common, often subconscious, belief that learning stops when you remove yourself from a traditional academic environment – be that school, college or university. But, for your dream career, this is absolutely not the case. You should always look at your career as a path, not simply a destination (if you saw the movie ‘Click’ then you’ll know the danger in that!)

However, this doesn’t mean you should constantly be striving ahead, rather than being content where you are – it is actually quite the opposite, it’s knowing that, when you reach a milestone, it is not the be all and end all, but merely a glorious bonus in a tapestry that stretches far beyond and around it.

When we stop learning, or being open to learning, in many ways we stop trying, we stop feeling challenged, we stop being creative and hopeful in our work, and therefore that work becomes dull, wearing, and a slog. Life is a continuous puzzle, and it should always be that way. The moment you feel you have it all sussed is the moment life becomes monotonous.

When thinking about learning within the framework of your dream career, it is necessary to look backwards as well as forwards – what type of learning got you to where you are now? What is the best direction to take the results of that learning?

Got a conventional education? Fantastic.

Just because you did what everyone said was the ‘sensible’ thing and got a qualification, doesn’t mean you aren’t still destined for a creative and unconventional career path. Standard curriculum education may have its faults, but it also has many benefits.

Take a wider look at your education – what has it taught you beyond the course title? Have you gained confidence, people skills, and a power for problem solving? If you start to look, you’ll realise there may be far more to your education than you thought, and you may start to see how those skills can transfer into a more creative, ‘designed’ career.

Not got a conventional education? No problem!

Learning is a personal journey, and it is certainly not found strictly within the confines of a classroom, or out of a traditional textbook. Find a genuine love for learning and you will find there are many avenues for self-education.

The likelihood is that you have built a wealth of real-life experience in place of a conventional education, and this can be just as much, if not more, value to your self-fashioned career than you think.

What Learning Looks Like

Learning comes in different formats. Learning can be alive and interactive and exciting – not just dusty equations on a blackboard. Learning is a frame of mind and, when you start to illustrate and intertwine your dream career into your life, you’ll realise there are lessons to be found all over the place.

Books – Fiction and non-fiction, books are perhaps the most straightforward way of gaining new insights within your field. Aim to read at least a book a month that is relevant to/impacts your career.
Internet – It’s easy to take the internet for granted, but we have more knowledge literally at our fingertips than we have ever had before. Take advantage of that.
Museums – Our culture, our ideas and our businesses are all built on our history, so educating yourself about the world you come from is a great tool for shaping the world you want for yourself.
Art Galleries – It is important to feel we are learning creatively just as much as it is to feel we are ingesting facts and figures. Gaining inspiration or knowledge from any creative medium can really help to inspire various elements of your career.
Film – Not merely a brain-dead way to pass a Saturday evening with a bucket of sweet or salted, cinema is a powerfully animated tool for teaching yourself about various careers, cultures, continents and more.
Music – Music and its history tells a story, it arouses our creative side and it is a thoroughly pleasurable way to learn about the world, so you’ve got no excuse to avoid it!
Travel and Real Life Experiences – These are perhaps the most valuable ways of learning as they remove you from your comfort zone, challenge you, and ultimately teach you about yourself.
People – That’s right, actual conversation and the ability to listen will pay dividends in almost any career. Always strive to learn from the people in your life, new and old; they have first-hand experiences you may never get the chance to live yourself.
Short, evening or residential courses – If you like the group learning environment then there are courses available within almost any niche. If you haven’t got the time or opportunity to physically attend courses, e-courses are becoming more and more popular.
Community Events – Getting involved in community events is the perfect way to tie together all kinds of forms of learning and, hopefully, build your career.

Putting Love into What You Do

So where does love come into all of this? Well, if you truly love your career, then an inherent hunger for improving within it is a given, and this is just another way of learning. Your dream career should feel fluid, organic and always fresh and exciting; that’s when you keep your appetite for it; that’s when you love it; and that is only achieved when you are open to learning.

The next and final part of this series will be all about making your passion pay – how to earn an income from doing what you love – so don’t miss out.

10 Ways to Brighten Your Days

It’s easy for us to feel down with the daily grind of life. Especially if you’re working a full time job or constantly busy with school. It’s important to keep individuality in your life, regardless of your hectic schedule. It brightens up your world and makes you feel a little cheerier. So, what should you do?

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Update your wardrobe, and don’t be afraid of color. Sometimes when I peer into the depths of my closet all I see is black, gray, and more black. Color is your friend, even if you’ve got the professional hat on. Don’t be afraid to buy something that catches your eye. If you’ve got a uniform to wear, put on some bright nail polish or find some lovely under things.

Change your hairstyle. Cut? Color? Go for it. Hair grows out so don’t be afraid to do what you want with it. One of the best confidence builders you can get is a great hair day.

Are you a hard working student? Get yourself some adorable school supplies. Check out Kawaii Gifts!

Keep a little journal with you to write down all the positive things that happen in your life. You can keep another one to vent too, but keep it separate. This one’s all about the positive. You can even write yourself little love notes to read on a rainy day.

Make like a Japanese school girl and give your cell phone a makeover. Check out Strapya World.

Start working some leg wear into your attire. Take a peek at Sock Dreams.

Find a pen pal. Send each other letters and cute little things in the mail. Instant day brightener.

Plan out your meals a little better. Working hard, being starving when it’s time for lunch, resorting to some greasy fast fast food & then feeling awful about it is an ultimate mood killer. Don’t skip breakfast either! Maybe it’s time to get into the art of bento boxes.

Clean out your life! Get rid of everything you don’t need. Donate! Your first assignment: clean out your wardrobe. Get rid of everything you don’t wear. This makes room for all your colorful updates.

Stop focusing so much on “practical” and “sensible” 24/7 and start caring more about what makes you happy. Don’t let things stand in the way of your joy! Happiness is the secret to life, after all.

Design Your Own Career: Part Two

Part Two: The Essential Elements of Entrepreneurialism

“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.” – Nietzsche

Hopefully, from our work together on the previous post you’ll have some idea of the unique career you want to build. Now is the time to look at what is required from you to achieve this, and how you can acquire, cultivate and harvest these traits to your best advantage. Even if you haven’t 100% pinned down your ideal career, working on this in the mean time will only serve to enhance your prospects.

That ladder again…

Designing your own career is not a clear-cut thing, so it does not merely entail clear-cut procedures to attain it, like achieving basic qualifications, writing an average CV or applying for an advertised position. Your own career requires more; it requires passion; it requires initiative and brazen ambition; it requires jumping on all opportunities, and manufacturing the opportunities if they don’t exist; it has to justify itself by the very splendor that the ‘work’ brings you, before you even begin to contemplate the money you could make.

That said, you shouldn’t lose sight of the practical measures in the design of your own career if you want to make a practical living from it. As I previously highlighted: whether we opt for the conventional or creative career, we are still on a ladder. The only difference is who chooses the steps.

You need to conjure your own steps, and then take them with dedication.

I strongly advise writing down your prospective steps if you’re serious about success. Designing your own career isn’t easy, in fact it requires far, far more work than any other option, but you must love this work, or at least love the thought of where it will take you enough to bury yourself in even its most mundane elements with reckless abandon.

I can’t stress enough how strongly you have to want to design your own career if it is ever going to happen, it has to burst out of you like bubbles from a shaken can – if it seems too much like hard work now, know that it’ll get harder before it gets any easier. I don’t say this to put you off, not at all; I’m here to encourage you! I simply want to portray the seriousness of what you’re embarking upon, this is a huge part of your life, so do it right.

But back to those steps…

Here’s a guideline:

Where you are now. Education and ambition, laying foundations by getting qualified and testing the water. A time for work-experience, seeking a mentor etc.
Establish a product. A book, a collection of paintings or photography, a brand, a form of design, a celebrity self, a voice, a viewpoint etc.
Refine, improve, and update product.
Sell product. Look at ways to sell more product/ market product. Create a website, go on tour, create flyers, get a stand at an event etc.
Refine, improve, and update product.
Expand on product; bring in outside help. Create more products/more angles to your one main product.
Let others sell product for you, whether commercial or not. Affiliate programs, Amazon, local stores or galleries.
Refine, improve, and update product.
Take product elsewhere, into new markets, perhaps re-branding it.
Ultimate goal. (Mansion? Fame? Florida retirement?)

You are always selling a product in any career, whether that product is yourself, your art, a service – you have something to offer, and you receive recompense in return. This is your product, but call it whatever you like: your offering, your merchandise, your ideas.

Don’t feel like you have to stick closely to the above guidelines, your own career is your own, after all, and the steps will be uniquely yours. Just make them clear, measurable, and place them somewhere you’ll look at often and repeatedly.

The top three traits to entrepreneurialism and designing you own career.

There is no magic formula that mixes to make you an instant entrepreneur. You should know already if you have a passion strong enough to carry you along your own unique career path, and that is the only real starting point. However, here are three factors I consider the most important in any aspiring artistic tycoon.

Be inspired because…

“If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting.” – Katherine Hepburn

You have to find a medium of work that has you jumping out of bed at 5am because you can’t wait to get started (okay, maybe 8am…); one that has projects ticking over in your mind all day and that you can viably dedicate hours upon hours of your time to, for what is often little or no pay to begin with.

Be sure to protect and nurture this inspiration, not take it for granted; take yourself on a cultural outing once in a while, make time for watching interesting movies, read books, and carry a notebook to catch your best brainwaves like butterflies in a jar. Think of your source of inspiration as a well that needs to be replenished often.

Be Fearless because…

“You’ve got to jump off cliffs, all the time, and build your wings on the way down.” – Ray Bradbury

You must be genuinely prepared for hard work and possible failures in the quest for your own career; but know that failing is never truly failing if we can take a lesson from it. Take chances, even if you don’t fully know what the outcome will be, even if you are only 60% prepared. Jump in at the deep end and you’ll probably find you can float, if not swim laps!

Be a risk-taker and an authenticist (new favorite made-up word meaning someone who is true to themselves.) If an opportunity scares you, it’s probably the exact one you should take. Dream big dreams and get a successful mindset because, if you act like a success, you will eventually realize success.

Be a Leader because…

“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” – Michael Evans

Have a message you want to spread and a clear goal in mind at all times, or else you’re liable to stray from it. Not that this goal should be unbending, but you need to at least be aware if it does morph into something else. Prepare an elevator pitch (aptly named to be short enough to say on an average elevator ride i.e. one to three minutes) if the ideal time to sell your product should arise unexpectedly; keep all your dealings consistent with this pitch.

Form your tribe.

Common Problems with the Creative Career

The above is all well and good, but we have to prepare ourselves for the bumps and knocks of entrepreneurialism too. Like in any conventional career, you will encounter blocks on the creative path. Often, though, these blocks will be internal issues, not external ones – making them simultaneously easier (you’re the only issue to get over, no middle man or external barrier) to be got over, and more difficult (changing yourself is notoriously tricky when you are the only person there to answer to; requires immense will.)

Again, this isn’t with an aim to put you off, but to arm you with a mindset to defeat them, and to help you understand why you’ll need to get good at the positive traits I’ve already mentioned.

Time-management

The bad news is that this is something you’ll have to get good at. The good news is that the way you do this is totally up to you. When it’s your own work, deadlines will often be wishy-washy or even non-existent, but what if you’re just not that organized generally? You need to construct a system for how you deal with your time, whether that’s ‘every night from 6-8’ or ‘I feel so inspired, I’m just going to spend all day on my art, even if I do nothing for the rest of the week’.

You must get to know your productive self and how that self thrives: first thing in the morning, last thing at night, on the weekend, at the library, with a laptop in Starbucks etc. You need to write down a system that works for you, even if you avoid anything too specific. For more on time-management, read my article on How to Avoid Procrastination.

Lack of Opportunities

On the last first part of this series I received this from a reader: “…what stands in my way are the meagre opportunities and the lack of support from family and friends who do not believe in setting up a creative career, and hence won’t help in finances and the like.” My words on finances will come later in the series, but opportunities and support are essential factors to be overcome in all creative endeavors.

Believe me, opportunities are out there. Seek and you will find. If opportunities don’t seem to exist, you must take action to create them. Dedicate a day to trawling the internet with keyword Google searches and save your findings in a ‘Favorites’ folder. There are people out there, just like you, succeeding in what you want to do; link up with them, get work experience with them, interview them for a blog, find out how they got where they are and mimic it.

Find courses you can take in or around your subject, as this is often the best way to meet real, working professionals in the business. Meet other creative people in your community; even if their skills differ from yours, you can work together. For example, a web designer could assist a photographer to build a website, and the photographer could return the favor with help on promotional pictures.

Lack of Support

Going it alone career-wise is very often championed by the introvert. Why? Because it can be a lonely business; it requires someone who is happy to depend on themselves and spend a great deal of time working over their own thoughts and ideas. I’ve been lucky, I feel I can achieve great things because of the support network I have, but I know this isn’t always the case. Financial support can be sourced elsewhere (more information on this to come later) but emotional support of friends and family is truly priceless – and without it you can feel a bit lost.

Join a community, whether locally or online, no matter your niche, one will exist somewhere. If it doesn’t – set one up, even if it’s only a Facebook group. This kind of support won’t act as a replacement for that of close personal relationships, but it can surely help, and who knows what will come of the links you will forge.

Depending on your situation, if you believe in yourself enough and start to see small successes, your family and friends will come around. You have to look for the positive, create the positive, and you will find that you will attract positivity.

Dealing with People

Despite what I’ve said on the subject of support, an independent career will never be 100% you and you alone. Whether you’re collaborating, targeting a certain market, networking – whatever – you need to know about people, even if that’s a very small niche of people. It’s in your interest to learn how to interact, impress, excite and enlighten your public – as much for their benefit as your own. Establish yourself as a go-to person in your business, and your success will only grow.

Consider this your initiation into the world of your dream career! Next up will be Part Three: Love & Learning in Equal Measure where I’ll consider questions of gratitude and education, before we move on to the essential question of cold hard cash in Part Four: Making Your Passion Pay.

Design Your Own Career: Part One

Part One: What’s Your Calling?

“The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” – George Bernard Shaw

Convention, we nearly all assign ourselves to it on some level or another; whether it’s three square meals a day, two point four children or a standard curriculum education. However, there comes a point in the life of your average creative when they realize convention just won’t cut it for them any longer, most powerfully when it comes to their careers.

Sometimes, even though it would be easier for an individual to ignore their talent, their desires, their dreams, and opt for habitual obedience and a fixed wage, they just can’t quite swallow the dry pill that is the conventional career. Is this you? Then this series is here to help.

Whether you’ve got no idea where to start, or you’re a seasoned freelancer looking to get back to basics, ‘How to Design Your Own Career’ will take you from the very basics of figuring out just what it is you should be doing, the traits you’ll need to be successful in that career, getting qualified and making it pay. From artists to jewelery designers, writers to life coaches and more – it’s in your hands to create a self-sufficient, fulfilling and profitable career. So, how about it?

What should you be doing?

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” – Buddha

You may know that a conventional career isn’t for you, what you may not know is which creative path you’d like to take. Deciding early on is desirable, as the more work you can put in now, the sooner you’ll get there. For sure success, you’ll also want to stoke a very organic, fiery desire within yourself, aimed at a certain path.

However, the creative mind is oftentimes a confused one – there’s just too much going on in there! For that reason, it may take a little self-research to conclude just what it is that you want to make your living doing.

If you’re stuck, try this exercise:

1. Find yourself a private space where you can sit comfortably, equipped with a notepad, pen, warm drink and perhaps some motivating music playing quietly. Gather five to ten items that interest, excite or inspire you. For example: a great book you’ve read (fiction or non-fiction) a magazine clipping, a beautiful image or photograph, a piece of jewellery or clothing, a CD or DVD etc. Try to vary the items as much as possible (although this isn’t essential) and spread them out in front of you.

2. Study the items and try to note down answers to the following questions:

  • What unifies them?
  • Imagine they were the belongings of a fictional character (i.e. not yourself) what would that character be like? Could you aspire to be more like this character? What career would fulfil this character?
  • With each item individually, try to create another item from it. For example, a Jazz CD could relate to a Jazz club (real or imagined) and you can picture how the Jazz club would be decorated, perhaps with a mural or mix of antique furniture.
  • Of all the items, real and imagined, which feels most exciting or ‘hottest’ to you?

3. Leave your notes for a day or so, and then return to them in the same setting. Brainstorm careers around the ideas you generated, even if they don’t exist, even if they’re silly, even if you don’t believe for one minute that you could make a living out of them.

4. Further questions you might like to ask yourself and brainstorm from are: what do you most often think about? (Food, fashion, a certain sport etc.) What do you most often read about? (What kind of article would you stop to read in a magazine, or what book would you pick up in a library?) What is currently on your mind? (When you’ll get a chance to watch that new movie, or your next holiday etc.) Again, what feels ‘hottest’?

5. Once you have certain topics in mind that inspire you, think about how you could make a career from them. What are the different ways people have done this? Who are they? How did they do it? How could you do it differently?

What you should know is that any career, any career you can think of, is made up of a series of ‘steps’. This, low and behold, is why it is called ‘the career ladder’! All you need to do is determine what these steps are, from your current position, and start taking them.

If your creative career doesn’t exist – create it! Thanks to the internet, the world of work is changing. The middle man’s days are numbered and we are freer than ever when it comes to how we can generate income. Online business is lucrative for the individual, and can be forged from an almost innumerable amount of hobbies, skills and interests.

Many people think they need a ‘big break’, or lots of money to begin with, and this can be the case, but don’t you think that even if you just reach, say, step seven, you’re far more likely to be noticed for your hypothetical ‘big break’ than if you lounge around at step zero? Precisely.

The truth is, the career of the creative is often made up like a tapestry, weaving together several income streams, some more attractive than others. Many people take the option of what we’ll call ‘half creative’ living, where they work a part-time or even full time job, and pursue a creative career alongside it. If followed with enough ambition, this option can often lead to ‘fully creative’ living.

Only you can know which choice is right for you but, if you’re really serious about designing your own career, you need to dedicate as much time as possible and, if not, have a strict regime of how you’ll use the time that you can dedicate. We’ll look more at time-keeping, and other positive traits you’ll need to develop for successfully creating your own career, in the next part of the series.

Who Do You Push Out and Close Down?

You’re getting with your friends realizing how amazingly successful everyone is (let’s be honest each one of them seems to divulge in a different success each turn) but do they really feel successful? If you often really ask people they’ll tell you they’re nowhere near where they want to be because we’re always striving for more.

Do you feel successful?

Being an artist as a career is tough.. no one wants to take you seriously, especially when you’re a tiny girl that loves cuteness. One day you feel you’re getting somewhere, perhaps you’re illustrating a new layout for your favorite art magazine, and then the next day immediately it feels like everything can be taken in an instant.

We are constantly averting our attention and watching as new art shops and artists pop online one after the other.. we’re constantly deciding who we want to succeed and who we want to fail.

We are? Yes. You’re deciding right now what succeeds and what fails, take a look at the support you have for the art or DIY community.. whatever you buy or pay attention to, you’re ensuring their success.. whatever you pass by without a second glance, you’re obviously not ensuring their success. We have more power than many of us like to think and it’s time we realize that.

If success was based solely on the artistic vision, genuineness, and quality then there would be no problem, but with the resurgence of options what really is getting weeded out? Is it the amazing acrylic jewelery artist who coined the peppermint ring? Are we purchasing the rip off and ensuring their success while the genuine artist is missing our patronage? It’s worth thinking about.

Is it tough to be unique in a world that’s constantly adopting your ideas and incorporating them into their own artistic vision?

All jobs are hard in some way and everyone can master something amazing in their lifetime.. why not also realize you’re ensuring your community’s success also?

Living like a 5-year-old

When I was five years old, if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have stated, very specifically, that I was going to be a pony rider in the circus. Apparently, riding horseback in a tutu with a tent full of people watching was my greatest aspiration. Nowadays, you’ll find me working odd jobs waiting tables, organizing office files, and ringing up sale items to pay my rent, but in my heart, I’m still a performer. True, my dreams have moved beyond the circus saddle to in front of a movie camera, but actresses love their audience too. There are those who find my aspirations foolish, childish, and unrealistic; naysayers who feel it’s time for me to grow up and settle for something more sensible. So far, I’ve refused.

Why is it that we are expected, even encouraged, to have ridiculous ambitions in childhood, but realistic goals as adults? Let’s find ways to keep the magic within us alive even as we grow older. To find out how, I set out to discover what we can learn from the dream jobs of our five-year old selves. Through discussions with friends and family, I’ve compiled a few themes within common childhood dreams and ways to never let go of them.

Art/Entertainment

Creativity is important to us as children. We want to color. We want to create. We want to let our imaginations run wild. Perhaps that’s why the vast majority of the people I asked remembered wanting to do something artistic or entertaining when they grew up. If we’d all had our way, today’s world would be filled with ballerinas, writers, artists, movie stars, and even a few ‘In Living Color’ Fly Girls. Maybe it was the glamour that attracted some, but I think most of us just wanted to express ourselves. That instinct doesn’t have to die with age. Ballerinas and fly girls can take a dance class or volunteer to teach dance to children. Writers can still express themselves in blogs or webzines dedicated to their subject of choice. As for the movie stars, there’s actually a lot more local film opportunity than you might know, find your way in and you can ham it up on your weekends off.

Caring/Helping

As selfish as some children may seem, there are quite a few of us that still care about the rest of the world, even at a young age. A large majority of former five-year olds that I talked to wanted to be veterinarians. As children, we sense the importance of having furry friends in our lives and want nothing more than to help them. Oftentimes this dream falls to the wayside later in life when the reality of a long veterinary education sets in. But fret not; you can still have a taste of your Dr. Doolittle dreams by volunteering at local shelters or adopting your own menagerie of pets. After all, adults need furry friends too.

Inspirational

For every dream that’s set aside, there’s another dream fulfilled. While my research revealed that perhaps superheroes and cowboys are aspirations best left in childhood, there are still several inspirational stories of those who are making their dreams a reality: lawyers just graduating from law school, writers working nightly on their novels, and animal lovers plugging through pre-vet exams. Anything is possible, if it’s what your heart truly wants.

Quick Tips for Making your Dreams a Reality

Be realistic about why you want what you want. Do you want the reality of your dream or the fantasy?
Don’t let television dictate what you think is real. Find out what the job is really like before deciding it’s your ideal.
Start small. No one makes a career happen overnight. Find ways to participate in your dream field, even if they’re not bringing in the big bucks.
Surround yourself with people that understand. You need support to follow your dreams. Nothing picks you up after failure like the voices of those who believe in you completely.
Never stop dreaming. Make a list of new and exciting dreams annually and don’t be afraid if your goals change, just always be honest about what you truly want. Follow your heart and you can do no wrong.