Last Monday I got an email from a big copywriting client I have. I thought they were requesting more work.
I thought wrong.
They were emailing to let me know that they are putting all projects on hold for the foreseeable future.
Not a huge deal. Maybe it will pick up again in a few months, I reasoned.
Then on Thursday, after submitting an invoice to my main social media client, she replied saying that after October, she wouldn’t be able to use my services anymore.
In four days I lost two of my biggest forms of income.
I felt utterly lost. Like I had no purpose. I plopped onto the couch and told Luke that I might apply for a part-time job I’d seen. A community manager for another blogger. It was for about 20 hours a week – the amount of time that I currently spend working on my blog and my freelance work combined.
“You’re going to double your work hours just for a few extra dollars?” Luke asked, baffled.
I was panicking. I wasn’t thinking clearly. I was freaking out about the money.
We all need money.
There’s no way around it. We need to eat and we need to pay bills. Sometimes we work jobs that we hate, that we feel trapped in, simply because we need to cover our overheads. I’m no different.
But those jobs are exactly the reason I’m supposed to be working my butt off on MY blog, not someone else’s.
I’ve worked jobs I hated. In fact, I’ve never actually worked a job that I’ve liked. I clocked in at 9 and out at 5 and tried to look busy at a corporate desk job. I’ve worked for local government, taught English, and even weeded people’s yards in exchange for a bed and a hundred dollars a week (this one was probably one of my favorites!).
When I quit my last job I knew I couldn’t go back to the grind. I craved the freedom to make my own decisions and to have the ability to pick up and move whenever I wanted.
I saved as much as I could during that time so that I wouldn’t have to take a part time job. I scrimped and sacrificed for over a year so that I wouldn’t have to give up on my dreams.
Last year, Luke and I promised ourselves that we would do absolutely everything we could to make sure that we were living the lives we wanted, the ones we’ve talked and dreamed about since graduating college over six years ago.
There’s no going back. It’s now or never.
I got lazy.
I never went into this intending to make a living out of freelance writing or social media management. Those were just jobs to pay the bills. They were jobs that I could do on the side while I focused on my blog.
My goal was, and still is, to build this blog into my main source of income. I love writing. I love being my own boss. I love helping people figure out how they can travel more, how they can live abroad, how they can afford to live the life they dream of without going into debt.
What kind of example would I be to all of you if I just gave up?
Living the life you dream of is possible. I know that it is. I’ve had glimpses of it over the last six months. I just got too lazy.
I got comfortable doing a few copywriting gigs a week, playing around on Facebook for some companies, and writing on my blog when I had free time.
I didn’t try to build relationships with all of you.
I didn’t write posts that grabbed you.
I didn’t make myself vulnerable or exposed.
I simply posted a few pictures on Instagram every week, followed some people that I liked, and tweeted about my own shit.
I wasn’t actually helping anyone. I was just writing an online journal and being entirely self-indulgent.
I knew it deep down, but we all convince ourselves that we’re doing our best, right? We lower our bar as time passes and let what we’re doing in the present moment be good enough.
I had that safety blanket of income coming in each week. I didn’t have to work that hard, although I convinced myself I was working hard. It was all good enough.
This is the best thing that could have happened.
“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” – Walt Disney
Losing these accounts made me realize how little I was doing to fulfill my dreams.
On Thursday, I really thought about giving up. I didn’t want to face the fact that I hadn’t really been putting in the work. It was so much easier to tell myself that I’d done my best and that it was time to throw in the towel.
I spent most of the rest of the week reading other blogs, looking for someone out there who had gone through what I’d gone through and could give me some much needed advice. I bought a few of Ryan Biddulph’s ebooks and read this post on empathy. I went back to Christine Gilbert’s Creative Entrepreneur course that I’d signed up for and never followed through with (if you need motivation and a swift kick, you need Christine in your life). All of it made me realize a hard truth:
I was pretty much doing it all wrong.
My safety blanket had been ripped out from under me and it was the best thing that could have happened. I had allowed myself to believe that because I was earning money from something that I was doing all right.
Giving up that safety blanket is SO HARD. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve done in my professional life.
But you have to (I mean, especially when you have no say in the matter anyway because peeps be done with you).
You have to get rid of the safety blankets. You have to get rid of the things that have allowed you to convince yourself that you’re doing enough.
Get out of your comfort zone.
That’s the only way. You have to leave comfortable behind. You have to do things that make you nervous. Do things that help you learn, that make you better and that actually help others.
For me, one of the hardest things is asking for help. I feel like such an idiot. I feel like people will judge me, that they’ll think I’m asking a stupid question or that I’m not serious. Or worse, that they won’t answer at all.
So I just don’t bother. Which is crazy.
People are mostly good. If you reach out to someone in a genuine way and ask a question, even offering your help in return in some way, you will almost always get a response.
I know this is true. I’ve experienced it before. But it’s easy to forget, easy to fall back on the fact that I’m not good enough or that I won’t get a response, so why bother?
I’m here for YOU.
Without all of you, there is no blog. Without all of you, these are just words hanging out in the ether.
So I’m going to go WAY out of my comfort zone here and ask you for help.
I want to help you. I want to help you travel more, to follow your dreams, and to get you where you want to be in your life as soon as possible.
What questions do you have that will help you reach your goals if only you knew the answer? What is stopping you from getting started right now?
What can I help YOU with? Let me know in the comments, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or grab me over on Twitter. I promise I will reply and I promise I won’t think your question in stupid.