6 ways to find the courage to follow your dreams
The world is a scary place. And whilst we no longer cower from thunderstorms or fear the dragons that lurk over the horizon – today we have our own, much more personal fears that stop us from achieving our career dreams.
Perhaps it’s a fear of being laughed at for failing (or even trying!) that holds you back. Maybe you’re worried that there’s no way back if it all goes wrong. Or sometimes it’s just the security of a pay cheque that stops you from taking the risk your heart tells you is for you.
Well, we’ve got two pieces of great news for you.
First, whatever you’re afraid of, you needn’t let that hold you back. And second, this isn’t some fluffy inspirational article – today is about the blood, sweat and tears that goes into bringing a dream to life.
Ready? Then let’s go and slay those dragons!
“Confidence in what you do is crucial, but that doesn’t mean being delusional. You must always face the truth, and then combat the obstacles as they appear.”
Diane Von Furstenberg – Fashion Designer
It’s great to kick off with some very wise words form a very talented designer - and this is exactly what today is about. One thing we’ve learned from the ACAI girls is that success isn’t something that “happens” – it’s something you plan for, work towards and achieve.
So, if you’re stuck in the 9-5 and looking for something that means more to you – whether that’s a business empire or the freedom that comes with being a freelance contractor – we’ve gathered together some gems of advice from our awesome community and customers to help you bring that to life.
- Tick the boxes on a steady pay cheque. Don’t jump ship into a new venture if you’re not 100% ready. If you need qualifications, credentials or experience, get those before you pack in the 9-5 and start eating into your savings. It’s better to never need your rainy-day fund than to burn through it before you even open your door for the first time.
- Plan your first moves in your spare time. Take the time to create a solid business plan – from who your customers will be and how you’ll market your business, through to what you’ll sell and how you’ll fund your venture – and do it on somebody else’s dime. It may mean making some compromises outside of work, but let’s be honest - if you can’t skip Game of Thrones or the odd social night out for your dream, how badly do you want it?
- Diarise time to work on your business. It’s easier to prioritise something that’s already in your diary. So whether it’s a few calls from the car or a couple of hours in researching on the computer – block the time in your diary and protect it. Not only will this help with procrastinating, you’ll also be able to review your progress every week to spot the things that are holding you back.
- Nail your online presence before you open your doors. Whether you need a website, social media accounts, marketing content or just a new email address – box it all off before you open your doors. If you have an online platform from day one you’ll find it much easier to attract potential customers to your business, as well as having somewhere to showcase what you can do. If your product or service isn’t ready yet, use your social platform to create relevant curated content that would interest your potential future customers.
- Join your community and reach out. Whether you delve into online communities or go to local networking groups – whatever works for your business, roll up your sleeves and get in front of the people who will buy from you and who can help you find new customers. Make sure you’re seen in the right places, and drive those people to your website and/or social media pages to buy or book your services.
- Take the last step rather than a leap of faith. Once you have your qualifications, a plan, your online platform and a source of potential customers – you’re ready to just open your doors rather than take the plunge into the unknown.
Fear is more often than not just a “fear of the unknown”. If you take the right steps with the security of a pay cheque before launching your new venture, there will be fewer unknowns - and much less pressure on your shoulders. which means you can concentrate on the quality of what you offer rather than chasing to get money in as quickly as possible.
So if you’re putting off a future career as a dream that will never happen, focus on eliminating those unknowns whilst you’re still in your comfort zone. Start small, get a taste for what you’re doing, learn from your early mistakes – and then commit once you’re sure it’s the right thing for you.
It may still be one step back before two steps forward – but that’s much less scary than a leap of faith into the unknown!