Season 3 – epiBLOG 5:
Those of you who are my former college students know that the idea of a “day job” isn’t all that exciting of an idea to me. The very definition of a “day job” according to Google is “a person’s regular job and main source of income, typically as contrasted with a more enjoyable occupation or hobby.”
See…? By its very definition it makes you want to cringe at the idea of trading your time for money doing something that makes you want to poke your eyes out at the very thought of looking at the work that would be required of you to do. However, “day jobs” seem to be part of what an artist has to do –– like a rite of passage.
BREAKING NEWS: Not all day jobs have to be miserable! You just have to take your time to find one that is right for you.
Today’s topic is about choosing your “day job” wisely so that it doesn’t feel so much like it’s a chore you have to do, but rather a complimentary task to your work as an artist.
Tip #1: Assuming that you’ve already figured out your life’s purpose, pull from what you enjoy doing already as an artist. List at least three to five skills that you’ve already developed. This could be networking, writing, organizing and planning, teaching/mentoring, singing, drawing, etc.
You probably already have in your mind exactly how you see yourself sharing your artistic talent with the world. If you’re a screenwriter, you’re probably imagining your work on the silver screen in every movie theater across the country. If you’re a singer, you see yourself opening at a concert for Beyoncé, or shall I be bold enough to say, replacing the R & B pop artist as the headliner. If you’re a painter, you might envision your work being bought at galleries across the world. If you desire to be a chef with a chain of restaurants like the infamous Chef Gordon Ramsay, go after it. Hold onto that dream.
In the meantime, I know you want to eat and have an actual kitchen within a home to eat that delicious food in. So, what do you do? Go out and make money.
Tip #2: Once you make your list of skills, you are now ready to be open-minded to how these skills can be transferable to other industries that have a high demand for your specific skillset. Screenwriters – as well as other writers – can use their talent to make a living by being a content writer, copywriter, or blogger. If you’re good at mentoring, you can use your talent to teach and guide others. This could either be one-on-one based on your industry experience, or if you have the degree and credentials, work at a high school or college sharing your knowledge, experience, and passion with others. A singer can write jingles for commercials. Figure out how your skillset can be used in an avenue that already has a proven demand. That way you’re making money doing something that is relatively close to what you would like to do.
Tip #3: Create time in your schedule to continue to pursue your art. Letting a day job or anything else take over your life will cause you to regret a lot of missed time and opportunities later in life. Even if you can only dedicate one hour a day or three hours a week to creating, do it. Set time in your schedule and commit to it. Do NOT treat your talent like it doesn’t deserve attention because it does.
Tip #4: Set goals around your art. Doing this will help to keep you on track and it will also help you with scheduling your art as I mentioned in Tip #3. If you have an end game in mind, you’re able to create a plan to reach that end. Write down a list of three to five reachable goals that you would like to accomplish over the next six months. They have to be realistic and you have to be able to integrate them into a schedule that requires you to balance a day job. If you set unreachable goals, you’re going to end up not reaching them, getting frustrated, and finally blaming your day job for why you aren’t moving forward with your career. Remember, blaming never helps. I have to remember to tell myself this as well.
Tip #5: Make sure that the day job you accept pays you to fully support your needs and responsibilities. The worst thing that you can do is to have two to three jobs that you are working all of the time, and to still not have enough money to pay your bills. The level of stress and anxiety of not having enough money, mixed with a chaotic schedule without the discipline to create your art at all, will cause you to feel like you’re in a whirlwind that is never going to settle down.
Tip #6: Read self-help books as much as you can in order to get fresh ideas for your life and art and to keep you moving forward. You can read for 15 minutes a day. It doesn’t have to be a huge commitment, but it is helpful in keeping you grounded and giving you perspective.
Finally, I know that many of you don’t want to commit to some full time job because you feel it will take you completely off task. I get it. There’s nothing wrong with doing what you feel is best for you. I just wanted to let you know that there are other options out there for day jobs that are NOT so miserable. At the end of the day, I’m all about making money doing what you love. That is my mantra. And if you absolutely HAVE to get a day job, my advice is to choose one where your talent can be utilized.
Today’s LESSON is to figure out a way to integrate and balance a satisfying day job with your art.
FUN ASSIGNMENT: Google jobs using your skillset and see what happens. You can even take personality tests to see what jobs would be the right fit for you.
RECOMMENDED READING: The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz