Finding Your Dream Career
How To Find Your Dream Career
Have you ever dreamt of doing something you love instead of feeling chained to a desk, or having to do some other type of work that feels too much like "work?" Well, with a little research, soul searching, hard work and maybe a touch of luck, you really can do what you want to do.
I'm lucky that when I was in my teens, my dad imparted a bit of wisdom to me that I won't ever forget. I was giving him an excuse as to why I couldn't do something, or why it wouldn't work, and he simply said, "You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it." Then he challenged me to really give him a good excuse, and I couldn't. I don't remember what ever became of that, or even what the original basis was, but I can tell you this--I never forgot what he said and still use that wisdom when deciding whether or not to pursue something worthwhile.
You may or may not have read my hub on "When To Go It Alone: Starting Your Own Business," but either way, my message here will be similar. In 2003, I quit my job in an auto dealership that I'd been at for 12 years, and moved to Nashville with my wife to pursue a career in the music industry. I had started a side business doing PR for musicians and bands, and it has since grown into something full-time. We both work from home and have a growing client roster, and a very successful home business. More than that, this is something we both love to do that doesn't usually feel like work at all. If you've never had this kind of freedom, trust me when I say that it can change your life.
Your first excuse will be that you can't leave your day job to pursue something else, because the money is too good. Well, that's partially true. You can either save enough to live on for a while, start a business on the side, or do something part-time that you love until it makes sense to quit that day job. In other words, security/salary is not a good excuse.
So what is your dream career? Well, it can be something that you've thought about for a long time that you're passionate about, or just a hobby that gives you enough pleasure to want to actually make a career out of it. Are you an artist? A songwriter? Do you like doing home improvement projects? Writing about sports? If you have a dream about doing anything like that, but have thus far been afraid to attempt it, take my advice and at least think about pursuing it. Aside from the whole security/salary issue, here are a few other obstacles and how you can overcome them in pursuing that dream career:
Lack of family support--whether it's your husband or wife, your kids, or your mother-in-law, you are likely going to encounter resistance. Old school mentality dictates that you should be a good provider for your family, and that wanting to have a dream career is just selfish. If you have a supportive family, as I do, that's great. But not everyone does. The only thing you can do is to prove them wrong, and you most likely will.
Other naysayers--I had industry folks tell me my company would never work. "Musicians don't have the money to pay a publicist, and the ones that do aren't talented," they said. That's all the inspiration I needed, because nothing is more satisfying than proving someone like that wrong. Listen to no one like this, and instead follow your own inner voice.
Taxes--Self-employment taxes are a bitch. There is no way around that. Make sure you set aside 25% of everything you earn to pay your taxes, and do it quarterly so that you don't feel the pain of watching all that money go to Uncle Sam. Of course, this only applies if you're starting a business or freelancing.
Your own nagging doubt--It's going to creep in, no matter how positive a thinker you are. Forge ahead, and keep your eye on the prize, which is happiness from doing what you love.
Forgetting about your business sense--Even if you are an artistic type, you need to have some business sense if you're trying to do that for a living. That is, unless you're able to hire someone to do the business part for you. And if that's the case, more power to you.
More than anything, there should be nothing stopping you from pursuing a dream career. You can convince your family and friends that it's the right thing to do, but before you do that you have to convince yourself and just go for it. It may not happen overnight--in fact, it make take several years to make the transition. But better to attempt it than to spend your life wondering and regretting.
So what are you waiting for?