September 15, 2010

Overcoming Obstacles

Things are slowly starting to come together! Just waiting on a few more things in the mail and I can make some real headway towards my Etsy shop overhaul. A lot of my job is waiting right now, which is a huge, huge lesson. And it’s given me some time to sit and reflect on some of the other lessons I’ve learned. If you’re venturing into a similar realm of employment, maybe you can learn a little from my obstacles.

Budget. Oh, the horrible dreaded word! Even with the fast food job I quit a year ago, I’ve always been thrifty and very careful what I spend money on. But with the economy and family losses, most of the funds from that job were tapped out by the time I decided to actually go for my dream. I started from absolute 0. So what are my best tips and tricks to make it?

1. Only buy what you need. No, really! Write out your goals and set them in stone. Think honestly over every potential purchase: “Will this help get me closer to my goal?” If not, take a deep breath and walk away. If so, then scour the internet and all the stores in your area for the best deal possible!

2. Shop thrift stores and take advantage of garage sales! Not only for clothes and household items, but for supplies as well. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars in frames alone!

3. Keep a close, watchful eye on your bank account. It’s so easy these days to hand over that plastic card and forget the total amount! Check it every day, if need be, and remind yourself it’s okay to be a bit of a tight-wallet! OR switch back to cash. Trust me, the spending makes a bigger impact on you if you have to count the money out and hand it over.

4. Spend money to make money…sad, but the saying is true. Just don’t go all gung-ho about it! Take it slow and start with the most important thing to get you on your way (for me, this was setting up and testing prints). Slowly build yourself up. Like I said…it can be a big waiting game, but you’ll get there if you play it smart.

Certainty. This kind of adventure isn’t for the fickle tip-toer. Be absolutely sure this is where you want to take your life before you jump in. And believe me when I say that this was the hardest part for me. With a more than shaky economy and unemployment, I had the mindset that I needed a steady job…even if minimum wage. It actually took an intervention from some close friends to make me realize this dream could be a reality. You’ve got to get rid of the ‘guilt’ of leaving the workforce, banish any crumb of pessimism, and be solid in your determination to make it!

And our good old friend, Time. When I started out, I bounced around from one thing to another without really accomplishing much. As soon as I found some sort of routine, I found myself making more and more progress every day. I usually clean in the morning, draw around 11-3, and then switch over to jewelry until around 5:30. After that it’s writing, uploading, updating and finances until bed starts to call.

The main thing to remember here is progress. Taking little bites every day won’t get you anywhere. You have to get ahead! Work hard every day, no matter the mood or task at hand. Every day should feel like a leap forward. Remember, this is a marathon. Not a sprint.

Now, don’t get me wrong…I’m still a ‘newbie’ at this. Still learning every day. But I think these are still the most important things to keep in mind if you’re heading down a similar path! Good luck to you and drop me a line if you’ve learned any other helpful hints!


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