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

August 9, 2011 in 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.


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). Read Part 2 here.