I want your career to be a blend of what makes you money and what lights you up. I want you in careers that allow you to explore other versions of yourself.
Several years ago, I was hired as a U.S. Bank card member advisor in North Dakota. I was a broke college student who was barely scraping by, wanted to quit being a geriatric caregiver, and was lured by the concept of having my own cubicle.
Seriously, my own cubicle!
It meant I didn't have to work long, grueling hours as a nursing assistant, and perhaps, I'll start wearing finer clothes to work. To me, I wasn't just getting a job; I was upgrading my career. I equated a career in the banking sector with elegance, affluence, and independence (haha!). In my mind, I was moving from being a seemingly unappreciated caregiver to completing more skilled tasks.
Fast-forward to 2018 as a nurse, writer, and creative coach, I laugh at my silliness. Looking back, I now recognize my desire to get into the banking system as a period of professional fatigue & discontent. Yes, I wanted to quit a soul-sucking job, however, my ideal career wasn't the answer to the discomfort I felt.
Which brings me back to today's problem: we've been told that the answer to feeling dissatisfied at work is to launch an online business. Make your own hours. Enjoy 10-20k months. Be your own boss.
Now, launching a business isn't the problem (pls don’t let me stop you). However, it is the merchandising of people's uncertainty that terrifies me. Like a vampire that feeds on blood, my colleagues in online marketing have latched onto any semblance of professional fatigue, baked it into amazing copywriting that preys on fears, and created coaching programs and courses worth thousands of dollars.
More on this later.
Let's take a closer look at the rush to quit your job and start an online business as the answer to professional disillusionment.
There's that Facebook ad with a luxury boat and a woman who looks like she's loving her life--with a glass of expensive wine in front of her. There's a guy in front of a white board doing some calculations to prove that you can convert X and Y audience into profitable membership models if you follow a formula.
And I get it; people are seeking for MORE. They aren't satisfied with the status-quo and want to be able to improve their standards of living. Heck, I only survived a week as a card member advisor when I realized that although having my own cubicle was nice, I couldn't field 10+ calls in an hour.
But what if the answer isn't quitting your job to hop on the laptop lifestyle? What if it's not creating a FREE facebook group, running a coaching program, and comparing your results to that of your companions?
What if the answer is simply giving yourself permission to go on an adventure? What if it's all about seeking an outlet for your creative and unrealized potential...doing something that lights you up and quenches the thirst for more?
Yes, MORE could be quitting your job and building an online empire. But it’s not the result for many of those who have been victims of vampires of 6-figure marketing.
Yes, they want to make 10k months. Until they're faced with managing email lists, growing an audience, securing podcast interviews, developing coaching programs and courses, dealing with rejection, and ultimately, getting burned out.
Yes, they want the mojito on the beach lifestyle. But without the hustle that comes with being a "business owner."
Here's the problem with creating an ideal career without understanding it, and making a leap without having a support system:
You eventually hate your life.
You think we’re all spewing garbage.
You call it a marketing scam and pyramid scheme.
Online marketing loses it's novelty and overtime, is no longer a dream career.
So, what are the keys to a crazy-inspired career?
1) YOU DON'T HAVE TO MONETIZE EVERY SINGLE IDEA YOU HAVE.
You can create an epic adventure, a getaway to refuel your creative insights without slapping a dollar amount on it.
Cait Flanders is a personal finance blogger who writes about her journey towards paying off $30,000 of debt, going on a year-long shopping ban, and rebuilding her financial life in the process on a blog called “Blond on a Budget.” A couple of years later, she landed a book deal which became a Wall Street Journal Bestseller.
In this blog post, she mentioned that not monetizing her blog actually gave her paid opportunities; she was hired because the recruiter was impressed that she could manage multiple projects, deadlines...and her blog posts were error free!
When we experience negative events, we need to check in with ourselves to see if 1) we’re capable of dealing with this and 2) It won’t send us spiraling into a creative low.
Yes, you can monetize your ideas. But there are so many bullshit detectors out there that would wanna know that you know what you’re talking about and care about your topic. Be a conversationalist first.
Again, don't think about money (yet). If you want to be entrepreneurial, test your ideas to make sure they hold. How? Start a conversation around a topic and build an audience willing to learn more about your chosen idea.
But don’t be switching business ideas every 3 months like baby diapers and asking folks to pay all the time. Give us time to know who you are and what you do!
2) BUILD A PLATFORM AND CREATE ORIGINAL PIECES OF CONTENT.
I don't know if you've heard me say this but I stumbled into the world of online marketing by accident. My writing was discovered by someone who eventually became my mentor, and it's been a rollercoaster ride since then.
Back then, my blog served as a means to release the creative energy I had inside, skills and unused potential that weren't active in my caregiving job. But my blog also served as my publicist as it opened up doors of opportunities I never knew existed.
We see this all the time; YouTube gurus amassing followers and views in the thousands, attracting brands and landing sponsorships. Instagram models getting discovered by photographers who repost their content, causing them to become overnight sensation.
I’m not saying the exact same thing will happen to you. Rather, I’m saying that having your platform and content positions you as an expert which does attract fame and fortune.
Bottom line: build your own platform and create original pieces of content. Get an audience. The money part comes later (and hopefully, not too late).
3) YOU NEED TO HAVE A DARN OPINION AND CARE DEEPLY ABOUT IT.
Rather than becoming another online marketing drone in the world of sameness, I decided to do something different. That's right, I decided to go against the crowd by saying (and yelling from every rooftop), that you do not have to quit your current job to build an online business. I'm rebelling against the idea that your life sucks JUST because you work in a cubicle.
So, here's my opinion. You could quit your job if that's what you want. But I believe that preaching this as the ultimate solution to professional fatigue is a dangerous marketing sermon to broadcast. I want my lawyers in courtrooms. I want to have passionate nurses and doctors. I want teachers who care in classrooms. I want customer service representatives who see themselves as vital to the mood of citizens.
But I want them to also flourish creatively. I want their careers to be a blend of what makes them money and what lights them up. I want them in careers that allow for them to explore other versions of themselves. Now that's a crazy inspired career!
4) YOU DON'T HAVE TO SCALE TO 6 FIGURES AND BEYOND TO FEEL ACCEPTED BY ONLINE MARKETING VAMPIRES.
It's just a marketing message, not an actual marker of success.
If you are enjoying a crazy inspired career that allows you to blend all your interests AND make money from an online venture, yay for you. If want more and are feeling called to grow your company to hiring others, quitting your job, and doing it full-time, yay for you!
But, you definitely DO NOT have to race to the vampiric 6-figure mark.
Make peace with your 4-figure earnings if that's what brings you joy. As long as you’re paying your bills, saving some, and giving some. And if you’re loving your creative business more than your career, you have permission to create margins for what you desire most for yourself.
Okay. That’s it. For now, I think.
If you are thinking about blending all your creative interests into one crazy successful career, sign up for my newsletter.
I write about the intersection of creativity, passion, and profit. I also share my own process towards doing my other creative endeavors via email. Sign up to be notified when the next post drops!