Career vs job. Most creatives go back and forth between these two. Timing is critical when deciding to quit their job to do their craft full time yet needing a paycheck.
It is important to set yourself up to win (succeed) and remember that luck favors the prepared.
When facing this dilemma, remember these 7 points.
- As a creative, you are compelled to write, paint, sing or do whatever it is you do. Writers write because they have to. Painters paint because they have to. This can be worked in whenever possible… on breaks, during commutes, first thing in the morning, last thing at night or any possible time.
- If you commit to doing your creative expression daily, whether it is 15 minutes or one hour per day, you can have just about any job. For me writing all days sounds like a dream come true, but it is not sustainable. One, two or four hours max is the reality. Plus, most of our creative work happens alone and most of us need to create space between creative sessions and require some social interaction, which brings us to the next point.
- Be clear about what your day job or side job needs to provide for you, besides money. For example, day jobs can provide:
- Structure: there is nothing like having to be somewhere to get us out of the house. For some creatives, this is very helpful. I went through a pajama phase when I just got up and got to writing. Next thing it was night time, and I forgot to eat. The structure of a job cured this instantly.
- Community: most of us are people people at some level. Your coworkers and customers can provide perspective, friendship and collaboration. Before leaving my day job, the idea of losing my community was one of the toughest parts.
- A positive or inspiring environment: good material is everywhere. This could be a good thing or a challenge, depending on what inspires you to create.
- Commuting time: a short commute so you can have more time to do your art, or a long one to listen to audio books to deepen your skills or record your screenplay while yon the road.
- Know your numbers. Account for what your life costs so you know where your leeway is, and what needs to be in place for you to transition. When you know your accounting, you can set benchmarks. Also, start saving to invest on your business. Whatever it is, you may need supplies, marketing and travel money.
- Make a plan. While doing your day job, how can you achieve your goals? Write it down. Time passes anyway so move towards your desires.
- Build your audience. Books and art sell through word of mouth. Creating a platform takes time. Don’t wait. If you can only spare one hour to work on your art each day, spend a couple days a week on audience building.
- You are the architect of your life. You get to decide how you perceive it, and how to spend your time. This is power.
When it is time to move on, only you will know. In the meantime, you can work on your craft, play with the possibilities and make your day job be enriching until you are ready to move on. Anything is possible!