This is for the person who’s considered dropping out of college to start a company, for the working mother who wants more time with her kids, for the young philanthropist who longs for Africa, or the dreamer who hates their job and feels called to something greater. This post is for you.
Over the past ten years, I’ve launched seven companies. Everything from a rock climbing gym and a branding agency to Sevenly and my most recent venture, StartupCamp (the site you're on). Additionally, I wrote a national bestselling book, I’ve spoken at conferences around the world, and I’ve even found time to feed a million readers per month here on my blog. I’ve been poor, nervous, courageous, burnt out, anxious, wealthy, joyful and everything in between.
But one thing has stayed consistent. Fear.
Fear is crippling, and it steals our dreams from under us. It’s a heavy voice in our minds whispering why we don’t deserve better, why we will fail, and how our ideas are impossible. But fear is wrong.
Punch fear in the face until its nose bleeds.
The business world often positions fear as some adolescent issue. It's written about as if there is some one-size-fits-all solution to it. But fear is real. Fear is in 14 years olds and 40-year-olds. The question is, what tools can we use to minimize its negative effects on our lives?
Now I could write pages on this topic, but here’s the short. The core of the core that has allowed me to push through fear in my life. To turn my dreams into a career. To give me the freedom to control my time and build a life of excitement, adventure, and purpose. It’s not about money. It’s not about education. It’s about smart, calculated, consistent action.
Here’re My 3 Steps for Turning Your Dreams Into a Career.
1. Scratch Your Own Itch
This is a bit of a pre-cursor. Whatever your dream may be, you must start with familiarity. A dream must come from deep within. A fix to a problem you’ve experienced. The fulfillment of a need which is being ignored. Ultimately, a dream that’s “career worthy” provides a solution for a better way for you and those around you.
If your dream is to be a chef, but you don’t cook, you might be on the wrong path. If you want to launch a charity, but you don’t support other non-profits, you still have work to do. If you want to develop a t-shirt company, but know nothing about garments or screen printing, it’s time to research before calling it a “dream.”
Dreams are where personal experience, capability, and opportunity collide.
2. Start Small, Start Today
Procrastination kills more dreams than failure ever will. I’ve seen too many friends buy domains and create Twitter handles only to watch them die in their idea graveyard. Turning a dream into a career takes consistent small advances. Start with paper. No great idea was ever created without a transfer from mind to paper.
Humans experience tens of thousands of thoughts per day. The ideas floating around in our heads are seemingly boundless. To put the important ideas on paper separates them from all others. I’ve had a million ideas about what StartupCamp should be or what my marketing campaigns should look like, but when I write them down, the strong ideas are given shape and the weaknesses of the poor ones are more apparent.
Then move to conversation. Share it with anybody who will listen. Let your mind hear the proclamation and begin the backup.
Next, set a date. Buy your first batch of yarn. Launch your first blog post. Get your products on Etsy. Buy a plane ticket. Whatever it is, set a date and do it. You only have one life. Mistakes are proof that you’re trying and you’ll never regret chasing your dreams – even if it doesn’t work out.
A dream without a deadline is merely a wish.
3. Take a Leap, But Build a Net
I was so afraid when launching Sevenly, I sat down and listed every person I knew who I could turn to for a job if it failed. I folded up the paper with that scribbled list and placed it in the drawer of my desk so that I could move forward with boldness. Even today, with millions of dollars in annual revenue and the success of the StartupCamp curriculum, I still pull that list out after a tough afternoon and say to myself, “If this doesn’t work out, I’ve got ideas and options. So I might as well be brave today.”
Be bold, be drastic, be crazy, but be smart. Build a financial cushion, don't go into debt and define your back-up plan. Remember, walking a tight rope without a safety net is exponentially more dangerous.
Taking Your First Step
Starting a new business, blog, or non-profit takes more than courage. It takes knowledge, insight, and technical skills.
If you're ready to embark on your dream, I highly recommend you consider our curriculum. I've packaged my learnings, secrets, shortcuts, and tricks into what I believe is one of the best entrepreneurship schools on the market. I give you my word that this course will not only save you hundreds of hours of guesswork but thousands of dollars of poorly spent money. You can learn more in the video below.
What’s your dream? What’s holding you back? Let me know in the comments below.