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!

Mew for Today: Tickle Me Green

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, green shamrocks and rainbow bridges to pots of gold. Green beer. It’s time to celebrate because, as if you needed a reason anyway, there’s a holiday underway.

Green is the color of life and the earth. It signifies growth, health, environment and is often used for it’s calming effects.

Spend Your Day Tickled Green

First, start your day by preparing the cutest of the sweets, pistachio macarons at Tartelette. If you’re feeling thirsty grab an iced green tea to refresh and wake you up. Use milk and matcha powder or brewed green tea with ice.
Next get prepared for a night out on the town or for a very-green party at home. Make sure your outfit contains lots of green and is reminiscent of whimsical St. Patrick’s Day for extra fun — I relate green, rainbows and gold to St. Patrick’s Day due to the decorations!
Add a couple of drops of green food coloring to just about anything to green it up in a flash. This is great for beer and drinks as well as baked sweets.
No matter what you do I hope you can spend it with loved ones having fun and enjoying great food as every holiday should be shared.

Dress Up, Go Out

Green Love

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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.

Just Say No to Negativity

In order to focus on the positive aspects of my life, one of my main goals (and a tough one to tackle most of the time) is to get rid of the negativity in my life. As you know, negative can come in many, many forms and a lot of these forms are out of your control. Negative thoughts are sneaky little devils, creeping into our minds and trying with great persistence to lead us away from the positive. And, unfortunately, once we open the door to one negative thought, a bunch of others seem to sneak in.

So how can you stop the negativity from taking over? Here are some things I try to remember when I’m tempted to embrace negative thoughts:

monsterNegativity is boring. For most people, it is easier to be negative than it is to be positive. Most people give into (and, in fact, often embrace) negativity, and end up giving up negativevibes. Their attitudes and actions become negative. If you are thinking negatively, you are like so many other people — taking the easy path. The easy path is not only uninteresting, but it is also detrimental to your well-being (even though, at the time, it may feel satisfying to giveinto that negative emotion or thought).

Negativity is unattractive. People like happy people; it’s a fact. Would you rather be around someone who is grumpy and moping and complaining or would you rather spend time with someone who is uplifting and always looking for the good in a situation? Exactly. People don’t want to be around negative people so you will be a lot more popular (with others and with yourself) if you keep a positive attitude.

Negativity is pointless. Being negative does not get you anywhere. There is absolutely nothing to be gained from looking at the negative side of things. While the positive may, at times, be idealistic, it forces your brain to think about happiness and increases the positivity in your emotions and actions. Thinking negatively does not. It does absolutely nothing for you, so why do it?

Negativity is tiring. Think about about happy thought. Now think about a sad one. Which thought was more draining? Emotionally and physically, thinking negatively can take it’s toll on our minds and bodies. While it sometimes feels like the easier thought to embrace, the more negative thought will ultimately cause more harm than good because it will allow your mind to be open to other negative thoughts. One negative thought can lead to another and before you know it, you are emotionally drained from thinking thoughts that make you upset, sad, or angry.

Negativity is time-consuming. Even though a lot of the time it is a negative thought jumps to the forefront of our minds, it actually takes a lot more time to think about things from a negative perspective. For example, if you allow yourself to think about what might go wrong in a situation, it’s very likely that your mind will wander to all of the other possible scenarios in which something could go wrong. You will then begin to worry about those scenarios and attempt to think about ways to solve potential problems. You will have spent time stressing about situations that may or may not happen — all because you let in one negative thought. Not only will you be wasting time and emotional energy, but you are also allowing yourself to live too much in the future, a place that is completely unknown and completely unworthy of your worrying thoughts.

Now that we’ve looked at some of the reasons not to be negative, let’s think about some ways to avoid negativity. One way is to concentrate on your thoughts and emotions and take control of them. Focus on remaining positive and living in the present moment. For more on these, see my post on mindfulness. Another way to avoid negativity is to communicate with others. As I have mentioned, clear communication often avoids conflicts and avoiding conflicts can avoid reasons to stray into negative territory. In addition, negativity can be avoided by having something positive to focus on other than your thoughts. If you like to walk, take a walk. If you have a favorite TV show, watch it. If you have a friend who always cheers you up, call him or her. Sometimes the easiest way to avoid the negativity creeping into your life is to distract yourself from it. There is a fine line between distracting yourself and ignoring a problem, but if you are certain the negative thoughts will not lead to a productive understanding of a situation, person, or problem (which is most often the case), it is best to avoid the thoughts altogether.

Negativity can be hard to escape. Not only do we have our own minds to contend with, but we must deal with those around us who can be negative, we must tackle negative environments or situations, and we must deal with negative images in the media. However, there are many ways to avoid negativity. Whether it is removing yourself from a situation or taking the time to think about your own viewpoint, removing (or, at the very least, lessening) negativity is an essential step to embracing a positive life.

Living Up to the Princess Influence

When we’re younger, a huge amount of us girls grow up with The Princess Syndrome. A lot of us latched on to a favorite Disney princess. If not Disney, perhaps another storybook princess. She helped to shape us as we grew up and for good reason. She was beautiful, kind, smart, loving, maybe animals flocked to her when she sang. It was all very awe inspiring.

As we grow up, do we lose The Princess Syndrome? Is it something we should hold onto? While I don’t always agree with waiting for Prince Charming to save you, I think that Princesses still offer a good framework for an individual.

Princess stories are often a transformation tale which can still remind us to not lose sight of becoming the best we can be.

Princesses are often very kind, caring, and empathetic which is something a lot of people lose when they get older and get out into a colder world. It’s something to hold onto. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Princesses are often kind to animals. This is an important thing to learn as a child and something we should hold onto. Relationships with animals are incredibly rewarding.

Princesses are often courageous. Fighting for what’s right and for their own happiness. I know so many people who forget this. It’s something you should never stop fighting for.

In Cinderella type stories we are taught to never give up and that your situation does not define you.

Princesses like Belle teach us that beauty starts from the inside and it’s best to look to see who people really are outside of appearances.

Snow White was kind to animals and less fortunate individuals. She teaches us to look after the needs of others.

Ariel teaches us to be strong willed and brave. She also teaches us that what seems impossible can in fact be possible if you believe and if you try hard enough.

All of these things can and should still be implemented into our lifestyles as we become adults. Perhaps the biggest change I would make in Princess stories would be to show that you don’t need royal blood or a marriage to be a Princess. Every girl can be one in her own right. It’s all about embodying the positive traits and outlook. Sometimes it’s still a good thing to look back to our childhood heroines to remind us of things that are easily forgotten.

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.

Learning to Love You

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I’m totally new at this and I’m not going to try to be something I’m not. Instead I’m going to put myself out there and hope to inspire you to do amazing things for yourself. Although I’ve always tried to put myself out there I’ve also always held back.. and only those closest to me know why.

I have struggled with merely liking myself my entire life — it is my problem and my vice. I know that it’s important for me to get this under control, to find love for myself in order to improve my quality of life, succeed at the goals I work towards and continue to be inspired — but how?

Well it IS hard, but once you begin on the road to self-love you will notice your life and appreciation for life looking brighter and brighter. You get what you put out in a sense, so start focusing on positive things and treating others as you would like to be treated. You’ll see a change. It’s always hard at first — anxiety, change, fear — it’s scary. You’ll begin to notice that when you force yourself to do the things you used avoid they become easier to do.

In my quest for self-improvement I have come across the most wonderful, inspirational girl, website and podcast. Her name is Gala Darling and she has a blog devoted to crowning your beautiful life and an amazing self-improvement podcast.

“You cannot be lonely if you like the person you are alone with.”
– Wayne Dyer

Does comparing yourself to others create negative feelings which cause you to feel bad about yourself? This happens to everyone, everyone is improving themselves in someway. Comparison is the all purpose killer, everyone is absolutely different in every way and has their own story, life, dna, experiences, etc. This is your only life, make it worth your while and don’t let others, who may not even really know you, define you.

You have to reprogram your thinking and start to take notice of the things you enjoy about yourself and about life. Sure everyone has something about them that may cause you to clash with others, but what things attract others to you? What things are important to the person that you are? If you feel you are working towards bettering yourself and achieving your goals you will feel more satisfied and confident.

Remember you cannot change the way that people treat you, if they like you or even if they want to give you the time of day. You have to show them why they should give you the time of day and if they respond negatively, change the way you react to it. You cannot change anyone or make everyone like you so someday you’re going to have to reprogram the way criticism makes you feel.

Making a Change

Don’t worry. Worrying changes nothing.
Make a list of and focus on your good qualities and attributes; don’t focus on negative ones.
Be kind to others, see yourself in them.
Find your passion and set achievable goals daily.
Choose a role model; their good qualities can inspire you to be a better person.
Accept compliments.
Know that you are a valuable person. Your time is valuable.
Take care of yourself.
Celebrate your differences.
Smile.
Make eye contact with others when interacting.
Act confident even if you aren’t, if you don’t feel it now you’ll start to.
Consider adopting a cat for responsibility, a routine, comfort and unconditional love.
Take action.

“Many people appreciate the power of positive thinking. But we believe that positive thinking alone is of limited value. Simply repeating positive affirmations such as “I am a wonderful person with much to offer the world” will NOT change your life unless you actively DO something to reinforce that you ARE a wonderful person with much to offer the world!” , Self-Esteem for Women.

“I have an everyday religion that works for me. Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line.”
– Lucille Ball

.. and remember, if we’re new at this we need to take it one day at a time.

“Keep looking at the bright-side and someday you’ll see yourself there.”
– Benjamin Amick aka Mistereducated

Resources

How to Love Yourself in 17 Ways

What Life Should a 20-Something Live?

what life to live?

I am a twenty-four year old woman and I don’t know what I want to be, do or where I want to live when I grow up. Sound familiar? Lately I’ve spoken to a lot of girl friends and women and have found they all have questions and concerns about the life they have chosen and the lifestyles they are living. Women have more choices than their mothers and grandmothers, they have a choice to be whoever they want to be, to live however they want to live. This also makes for more stress, what if you miss your chance? What if you wake up when you’re 60 and realize you didn’t achieve any of your main goals and choices? Possibilities are endless. Lately ladies have been finding economic stresses and lifestyle decisions that leave them in shells, filled with questions. How can you decide how to live your life when you can’t even afford to live it? Will you marry? Start family? Start a business? Travel the world and write a novel? Record a demo and play your songs live? Redesign a product? Help people in some way? Whatever you life you create, build it — be conscious you’re always changing and you’re always molding your life into the life of your dreams. If you’re not happy where you are after honestly questioning yourself, find new routes, question yourself about new goals and dreams, make steps to create the life you want and that life will be yours.

DIY Lifestyle

Step 1: What is my lacking in? What is abundant in my life?
Step 2: What is my dream life and what goals do I want to achieve in life?
Step 3: How can I achieve these goals? (even if you’re not sure, quite a lot of resources are available for us to research possibilities)
Step 4: Make conscious efforts, daily, to create that life and achieve those goals. Talk to people doing what you want to do, tell them you admire them and get advice.
Step 5: Continue working towards and gaining the benefits of your dream lifestyle.

Lifestyle Inspiration

Is it most important to you to do what you want to do, live where you want to live or to live with whom you want to live with?

Lifestyle Q&A

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* The photo above was taken by myself in Hello Kitty’s house (Puroland, Japan).