What do you want to be when you grow up? I feel like that was one of the first questions I can remember being asked as a kid. And I’m still asking my self that as a grown up.
As many of you know, I got my start working in the music industry. I hustled hard for the first chunk of my career-driven life. I worked 10 hour days, 7 days a week a lot of the time. I fought to make a name for myself in a very competitive industry. But, at the end of the day (after a lot of days), I realized I wasn’t happy. After some trial and error (a few odd jobs and a lot of crying), I’ve ended up where I am today: completely self-employed and running my own business. I have employees, hire freelancers, set up an LLC & even have a lawyer I “confer with” regarding business (so grown up I know).
One of the hardest things was figuring out what the “Career Path of Least Resistance” was. For me, one of the hardest parts was recognizing and accepting that I needed to take an unconventional career path. There were (and still are) a lot of haters. People who think what I do isn’t a legitimate career because I don’t work a normal 9-5 or have a detailed job description drafted. But that doesn’t mean it’s not 100% real and 100% possible.
Unconventional Career Paths
Everyone’s definition of an unconventional career path is different. A lot of it depends on your upbringing and the people around you. If you grew up with parents who were artists or in the traveling circus, your idea of “conventional” is going to be a lot different than someone who’s mom was a lawyer and dad was a pediatrician.
I think it’s important to note that most people have to try a few jobs before finding and sticking with a career choice. Most people’s first job isn’t where they end up for the long haul. Which I think is great. The period of exploring and experimenting with a career is so beneficial. It’s kind of like dating. Just because you didn’t marry your childhood sweetheart, doesn’t mean you can’t find true love. Sometimes you have to date a few people, or jobs… to really know when you find “the one”.
Issue #1: The Haters
There are always going to be people in your life who tell you you can’t do something. My first piece of advice is to try to focus more on the “can people”. Keep them close and try to keep your contact with the haters to a minimum.
I am very aware of the people in my life and in my peripherals who don’t believe in what I’m doing, whether out of lack understanding or jealous. I’ve learned how to deal with them now and try not to let their negativity affect my mindset. I also try to accept some of their criticism, but use it as constructive feedback and learn from it.
It’s also helpful to come up with a quick “elevator pitch job description” to tell people. Rather than talk in circles trying to explain the complexity of my business and all of the hats I juggle, I’ve got a quick run down of my career path & how it’s evolved.
Issue #2: Money Stress
Sadly, most of us have bills. So lame, right? That doesn’t mean you can survive on less while you build up your career. You just have to make sacrifices. If you’re taking an unconventional career path, chances are your bank account with be hit temporarily. Which means less trips to Starbucks, less shopping sprees & less stops at the nail salon.
To start, it’s always possible to work a part time job. Whether it’s working a few days a week or a shorter shirt, you can always back off gradually. That way, you have a little more of a financial guarantee to make the transition easier.
It’s also important to consider your living situation. Whether it’s moving home, getting a roommate or even finding a less expensive apartment. If you can spend less time worrying about paying rent, you can focus more time on your career.
Issue #3: Self Confidence
One of the hardest parts of taking an unconventional career path is the stuff that comes up in your own head. In the beginning, it can be really hard. You might not see the results you hoped for as quickly as you’d anticipated. Keeping your inner voice in check is key.
I think it’s also important to embrace the fact that you don’t always know the answers. You don’t have to always have a solution. Part of finding success is being flexible and rolling with the punches. Not all of your plans will pan out and that’s ok. As long as you’re learning and growing along the way, you’re setting yourself up for success.
Issue #4: Lack of Resources
I get asked a lot about starting a business or blog. The most common issue people run into is not having a lot of knowledge about the process or where to start. My biggest piece of advice is research. Whether it’s google, Pinterest or grabbing coffee with a fellow unconventionista, knowledge is power. The majority of what you need to know is at your finger tips.
If you’re looking to get started, I put together a career focused Pinterest board with tons of tips & articles that can help you!
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