So today, I'll be sharing with you the things that matter to me them most when you are thinking of starting something of your own. They are not rules, they are just some tips that I've built for myself, because I am living them on a first person basis. Some are tough lessons I've learned and some are facts that I still deal with.
In the end, I just hope they will help you in some way, since I didn't have anyone telling me this things back seven months ago and would definitely have appreciated a little guidance.
I hope you are having the greatest Sunday*
Ana Luisa's 5 tips for when you start something on your own:
1- Find out what you would really love doing (and try to see if it will make a difference out there).
What are you passionate about? Cooking? Reading? Teaching? Taking pictures?
What can you really see yourself doing for a long, long time? And I mean "a long, long time" and not "for the rest of your life" because I don't believe in the job for the rest of your life. I am sorry, but if you are like me, and you love doing more than one thing, don't feel bad. I believe that people who keep on re-inventing themselves are the ones who live a happier and fulfilled life. I like to think that the jobs for life like our grandparents used to have are now a thing of the past. We are so much more open minded, and we nowadays have access to so much more information, that I believe that most of us would love doing more than one thing in our lives.
Even If you are one of those who have the same job for life, the current times we live in will make you change, rebrand, include new things, apps, materials, so you will never be doing the same thing forever anyways.
So the question here is: If money was no object, what would you love doing?
Then, think about it really closely… try and see where it would make a difference in the world, and in what people are already doing on that field. If you find the thing thats makes you and your project unique, and because you love it, you will eventually discover how to make money out of it.
2- Dream big.
This point might cause a bit of a stress to some people I know.
It is always good to listen to your family's and friend's advice, but sometimes, you can listen, understand and respect their point, and then follow your dream anyways.
When you are making a big jump or change in your life, family and friends who really love you will tend to try and bring your feet down to the ground. Its the most common thing in life. And they do this because they love you dearly and because they want the best for you. The thing is that sometimes the best they want for you is not really the best for you because they base their opinion in what they know. What about what they don't know? It is your life… Making a big life change can be pretty scary, but regret is even scarier, don't you think? I say, If you can afford to dream big, please dream big. That's how big companies were formed, and how there are people living happy from what they love doing.
And I can say this from experience… When I left my job, everybody told me I was crazy. I was stable, I could afford vacation and nice things… right now, I don't have a lot of money, its true, but I am happier than I've ever been. I've done an interior journey, I know myself more than ever, and I am teaching, and I love my students, and I am blogging, which I love, and Starling Film is growing in a beautiful way.
I also have the cases of my dear friends Madalena and Lidia… they used to be my bosses in another job I had a few years ago. We are now really close friends and I love them to death. They had a big and solid position where they were… and then, they felt stuck. They felt like they weren't growing as people… They needed a break and so they quit their jobs to try living their dreams. Nowadays they work between Lisbon, Luanda and London. They have great projects, do several things in different fields, they study and work, and blog, and they feel like they never enjoyed life like right now.
You only live once. If me, Madalena and Lidia hadn't did what we did, we would definitely be sadder people, not sleeping at all at night with regrets. What if…this? What if…that?
3- Check if you will be financially safe
It is always a big change, when you decide to leave your "safe" job to do something from scratch that is yours.
Before leaving what you currently do, make the maths of what you will need monthly to pay your bills, your house, etc. If in the end, you get to the conclusion that you cannot afford to stop what you are doing, don't get discouraged… start your adventure on your free time. Get to work, like you normally do, then go home, be with your family, and after dinner, instead of seating in the couch watching TV, go to your computer, start working on your dream. Nobody said it was easy, and starting something on your own will take a lot of your quality time. So first, see if you are really ready to lose those tv series you love watching, this walks in the park, and if you are, from 10 pm to 1am is quite enough time to make a lot of "damage". :)
Work, work, work. And if you really love the project you are building, it won't even taste like its work… it will be a pleasurable hobby. Eventually, you will start making money out of it because you love it and you give it a lot of effort, and then your current job can turn into a part-time job, and then who knows? After letting my job because of a health problem, I really quit everything. I am not gonna lie, I got really scared for what I was doing, but my body really needed a rest. Then, after a couple of months, when I started Starling Film, I knew I was going to need a part time job to help me pay my bills. That's when the school came along, and by then, hardly did I know that I would be this happy. If I hadn't quit what I was doing, I would never have found out that teaching is one of the things I love doing the most. It was a really risky decision, and I do not advise anyone doing the same thing. It happens that I was really lucky, but looking back in time, I know that it could also have gone really wrong.
Look at your financial situation, and start making plans for getting safely into achieving your dream.
4- Save all the money you can
I am learning this the hard way, dear friends. I have to confess.
I was a really privileged girl… although my parents have never been rich or anything, they always had stable jobs that allowed me to fulfill my education in a way that not everyone has had the opportunity. I studied in Italy during a summer, Switzerland for a semester, and NYC. I went through college, and two professional/technical degrees… and during all that time, all the money I made, I spent it. On whatever I felt like. When I started working, and I've always had nice jobs, I did the same. I payed my bills, and then I spent the rest. Because I felt like I could, because by the end of the month, I would have more, and I never really learned the meaning of saving money for the future.
Right now, I wish I had been smarter on this matter. After I left my job, (again, in a really emotional phase of my life), I went through a tough time and I was again lucky that I had my parent's support. But I felt bad, because I am a grown up now, and because my parents do not have to be taking care of me again. So when I started my own project, I promised to myself that this would be a real start over.
Starting healthy, starting my own project, getting a part-time job at teaching and starting to save money, for any casualty, for the small luxuries we once and a while need (like having a hot chocolate at Starbucks), and to keep on paying my bills on time, even if I haven't had a lot of freelance projects that month.
I am not perfect, and there are days when I feel weak, and think that life was really easier when I was unhappy but financially stable.
Nowadays I feel more grown up then I have ever been. And I am proud to say that all that I've been through has made me stronger, and I do my best to teach my students just that.
5- Never forget to call your friends.
When you are doing something by yourself, you might tend to spend most of the day on your own, and it is really easy to get used to that feeling.
You social network a lot so you kinda feel like you are talking to your friends, and know what they are up to, and then you focus on your to do lists, on getting the work done, and then, you look at the watch, and its already 9 pm, time to go home, eat something and go to bed.
This used to happen to me a lot, and sometimes it still does. The bad part is that there is always at least one day when you will feel terribly alone, and in need of a warm lap and good friend talks. The feeling is overwhelmingly sad...
My advise to you is to never let a big amount of time pass without seeing or calling your friends. The most normal thing is that at first they call you a lot, then they get angry because you are never available, and then, eventually, they stop calling. Its not that they don't love you, because they do, but the human being is a specimen of habits. And if the habit of being without you gets in, well, you have to do something about it.
Nowadays, I always make myself call my best friends ate least once a day for a quick chat, to check what their plans for the day (or weekend are), for a coffee break, or a weekly dinner at home.
It is amazing that you are trying hard to build something on your own, but if you live away from your family, like I do, your friends will help you keep on being focused and happy… they will do a lot for your mental sanity, by keeping you distracted in a good way, from problems, deadlines and stress.
I hope you liked my tips… do you also have tips and tricks of your own on this matter? I'd love to read them!