Before I quit my day job, I had a plan. Perhaps not a solid, set-in-stone plan but a plan nonetheless. It took me at least 10 years to formulate it. Here are some of the steps I took to get there:
- Determine your strengths and what you enjoy doing. Where your skills and interests intersect, you may find your new career. I didn’t know what I wanted to do ten years ago. I had a degree in journalism and a lot of creativity, but no real focus. I’m very happy when I’m being creative, but that certainly doesn’t narrow things down for someone who has a lot of interests. So, I took classes. Lots and lots of classes. If there was a university dishing out master’s degrees for weekend workshops, evening classes and week-long retreats, then I would surely have one. Maybe two. I studied psychology and yoga. I attended personal growth retreats. I learned about non-profits and starting a business. I painted. I sang. I meditated. Heck, I just started another class last night. The list is long, but finally I started writing. It wasn’t even a class that spurred me on, it was this blog.
- I read over and over that I should volunteer to get experience. So I did. I’m now qualified to care for cats! I did consider starting a pet sitting business. That was one of my first jobs after college, so I had experience. Why couldn’t I be a professional pet sitter? How about because I’m scared to give meds to any animal except the three cats I live with, which leads me to my next point.
- Know your weaknesses. It pays to know yourself well. Knowing what you like is only half the battle. You have to be honest with yourself and be able to embrace your weaknesses along with your strengths. Go with your strengths.
- Talk to people and read. When I started thinking about making a living as a writer, I started talking to writers and picking their brains. One friend, said it would be the hardest work I ever did. Great. I also started following writers on Facebook and reading their blogs, and I read a lot of books on writing. I especially ramped up these efforts over the past year.
- Last but not least, get your financial house in order. I paid off all my debts except my mortgage. I stopped buying so much stuff. I reduced my expenses. I saved money. For me, this was the most important step.
I’m just in the beginning stages of a new career. At this point, I don’t know exactly what my future holds. I could be doomed for all I know and back in the corporate world a year from now. However, I’m optimistic because I have a plan and I keeping working on the plan. Of all the possible ways to make a living and I’ve explored many, I’m plan to write (as well as make art and practice yoga — multiple streams of income as a good friend likes to remind me) because I believe it’s a powerful tool for social change. It’s my intention to make a living doing work I enjoy while making the world a better place. I also believe if everyone got paid to do work they enjoy, the world would be a better place.
Joy in what you do is not an added feature, it is a sign of deep health.
~Mark Nepo in O Magazine.
Have you quit your job to pursue work you love? What tips do you have for others who want to do the same?
This is the second post in a series on how to start a vegan business. If you missed the first post in the series, check it out: Building a Dream.