Ok, don’t get me wrong – I know I’ve still got a long way to go! But last month I said goodbye the the corporate world so I can pursue blogging. And that to me is fucking amazing.
I don’t want to leave out that I’ve gone back to the part-time reception job from my uni days (because bills) but it’s still a leap of faith. And it’s a leap of faith that, until a couple of months ago, felt wildly out of reach.
So I thought this would be the perfect time to share how it all happened.
I hope you find it helpful. And I hope you see that you don’t need to know where you’re going to get to where you want to be.
SOMETHING TO KEEP IN MIND
Before I get into my story, I just want to say one thing.
It’s so easy to connect the dots looking backwards. To glamorise the struggle, to colour insignificant events with meaning and purpose, to paint every disappointment and setback as though they were meant to be.
But I really want to emphasise that it’s never felt like I had any idea what to do.
I’m not trying to downplay the effort I’ve put into getting here – there have been A LOT of early mornings. But I just want to let you know that this story isn’t as seamless or straight-forward as I will undoubtedly make it sound.
Dispersed between the events below are long stretches of nothing in particular. My life has been filled with frustration, uncertainty and all the usual mundane tasks. And I haven’t been able to make sense of most of it.
All of this to say – I don’t think we really need to ‘know what to do’ with our lives.
I think the key is just to do. To make the best decisions we can with the information we have at the time and continuously put one foot in front of the other, regardless of how unsteady we feel. For that is the only way to get anywhere worth going.
HOW I MAKE MONEY
Just one more thing before I go back to the beginning, promise!
I want to tell you how I make money from blogging since that’s the question I always get asked and it might be on your mind.
Basically, I created an online course in September 2016 called Dream Habit: A 28-Day Habit Bootcamp for Perfectionists. I sell it and people buy it. That’s the crux of it. I make money from my online course.
Ok, now let’s go back to the beginning.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
I’ve always loved reading blogs but I could never find what I wanted most – a blog that talked about the struggle of having no idea what to do with your life.
So I decided to make it myself.
And it wasn’t because I had the confidence to believe I could (I wish!) but because I was talked into it – by the world of business podcasts.
I stumbled upon business podcasts purely because I spent a lot of time in my car and I HATED back-to-back radio ads. Little did I know these podcasts would introduce me to people who believed that there was more to life than paying the bills. People who gave themselves permission to do what they truly wanted to do. And people who were willing to tell me all their best business secrets, for free.
Even though I had no intention of ever starting my own business, I listened to these podcasts every second I could. And when you spend a lot of time surrounded by people telling you that you’re good enough, you kinda can’t help but believe it.
So I decided to start a blog. And that is where this story begins.
On a quick side note – it’s for this reason I recommend podcasts to everyone I possibly can. If you want to know which podcasts I listen to, you can find out here.
THE SELF-DOUBT BEGINS
So it’s August 2013. And I just want to mention that, at the time, there was already a lot of chat about it being ‘too late’ to start blogging. So please, ignore everyone who tells you that you’ve missed the boat – now and forever.
Ok, so I was beyond excited about blogging. I’d come up with a name for my blog that wasn’t completely embarrassing and I’d setup my very own self-hosted WordPress site.
And then it came – the crippling self-doubt. So crippling that I didn’t post anything on my blog until December 2013. And when I did, I felt like a complete idiot. What the hell did I know? And why the hell would anyone care?
But I won’t re-hash it all here – I’ve already written a huge blog post about all the fears that came up when I started blogging. Let’s just say the struggle was REAL. I was scared of being rejected, scared of being boring, scared of appearing full of myself, scared of failing, scared of succeeding. Literally just all the fears.
And so began the emotional rollercoaster ride that was, and is, blogging.
I’M TOO SCARED TO TELL ANYONE
Because I was already criticising myself and my blog to a point I could barely handle, I felt like I had no choice but to keep it a secret from everyone I knew.
It took me months to tell my boyfriend Steve about it and years to tell anyone else!
And while I’m embarrassed that I had such little confidence in myself, I think it’s really important to share this. One, because most people appear to be more confident than they actually are (which can make us feel like we’re the only ones who feel scared) and two, because I think it’s ok to keep it a secret.
As embarrassed as I am, I don’t regret my decision – I needed to find my feet in private.
So if there’s something you want to do but you’ve been putting it off because you’re worried about what other people might think, just keep it under wraps. It can be just for you until you’re ready to share it.
I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO
So I’d started Smart Twenties but (1) I was too scared to share it with my friends and (2) my perfectionism was so crippling that I rarely posted on it.
As you might imagine, it’s quite hard for a blog to gain any sort of momentum when that’s the case. So it didn’t. And it sucked.
I was also about halfway through my dual degree of law and commerce (I majored in finance) and not feeling particularly excited about either. And I was doing diploma of French – because why not add a little more to my overflowing plate.
Honestly, at this point in time I was just trying to tick all the boxes.
I was told I was smart but had no idea what I wanted to do, so I just did what everyone suggested. And I don’t regret this. I learned so much from university about managing myself, my time and my expectations. I learned how to get things done, how I work best and I had heaps of fun too. So no regrets.
I graduated from uni in July 2015 and started working as an accountant (by the way, this process took nearly a year of applications and interviews throughout my last year of study – I wish it was as easy as I just made it sound).
I didn’t study accounting but I didn’t want to be a lawyer and I didn’t know what I wanted to do in the finance world. And one of my friends loved her job at one of the big accounting firms. They were hiring. I applied. I got a grad job. And then I started (as I mentioned, nowhere near that straight forward).
So yeah, that was 2015.
I FINALLY STARTED TRYING
In April 2016, I invested in an online course for bloggers about how to make an online course. I’d been thinking about buying it for months and months but didn’t actually do it until I realised just how much I’d been getting in my own way.
You see, I spent the first few years of blogging wanting everything to feel natural and effortless. Which meant that, while I wanted to be successful, I didn’t want it to look like I was actually trying (in case I failed). Which meant that I didn’t actually try. So I got nowhere.
But when I invested in the online course, I finally decided to stop holding myself back. And I started making the time, instead of trying to ‘find it’. Which meant waking up at 4am to work on my blog before going to my full-time job. And I know – 4am is a little extreme. But I had zero creative energy after a full day at work and a million excuses, so 4am it was.
And it worked!
My blog started to gain momentum and I began the mammoth task of creating and launching on online course while working full-time. And let me just say – I’m so glad I didn’t realise how much work this would be because I would have probably never done it. But more on that in a bit.
I MET JEN
So by mid 2016 I was finally making some progress with my blog and I’d set a date for the launch of my online course.
Then I met another blogger – Jen. She’d reached out on Twitter to ask if I wanted to catch up and chat about blogging, since we were both in Brisbane. I was nervous we wouldn’t have much to talk about but I didn’t have any blogging friends, so I said yes. And I’m SO glad I did.
Jen quickly became the support system I never even knew I needed. Creating an online course, especially while working full-time, was more challenging than I’d ever imagined. Not because of the sheer amount of hard work that was required (though there was A LOT) but because of the emotional rollercoaster that went along with it.
No one had given me permission to create an online course and there was no guarantee anyone would buy it. It was up to me to decide that I was good enough.
And that was not easy to do.
But the fact that Jen was having exactly the same freak outs at exactly the same time helped me stay sane and we both launched our online courses in September. I’ll always be grateful that she came into my life when she did and I truly can’t overstate the importance of finding people who are doing what you want to do!
And I also just want to mention here that all those months of 4am wake up calls and the fact that I was creating and marketing an online course while working full-time, going to the gym everyday, trying to have a social life and not completely neglecting my boyfriend did lead to burnout. Multiple times. But more on that in another post!
I FINALLY STARTED BELIEVING IN MYSELF
Even though I’d launched my online course and people were actually buying (which was so fucking cool by the way) I still didn’t think I’d ever be able to leave my full-time job to pursue blogging.
It just felt so incredibly out of reach.
But finally, at the end of 2016, I started believing it might actually be possible (mind you, I didn’t believe I’d be able to leave until 30 June 2017 but at least it was a start). Here’s how it happened:
HOW IT HAPPENED
First of all, my personal trainer Jase told me that he was moving to Dubai.
Ok, so I know A LOT of people who’ve moved overseas but for some reason this really hit me – I didn’t have anything exciting to look forward to. And I don’t mean that in a depressing way, there were heaps of stuff I loved about my life. But it was so damn predictable. I was doing exactly the same things, at exactly the same place, with exactly the same people.
I just remember thinking ‘I wish I was doing something exciting like that’ and then realising that I could. And even though I didn’t do anything with this thought straight away, it planted a seed.
I then started reading Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, which I’d gotten for Christmas from my little brother Alex. I’d already read a lot of books like Tools of Titans (which I highly recommend by the way) but I’d started to notice that I never actually did the things they told me to do. I just read them, got inspired and then moved onto the next one.
So this time, I made the effort to do everything the book told me to do (I’ll be writing a blog post on how I did this – watch this space).
One of the those things was an exercise called fear-setting – an exercise which helps you see that your fear around a certain decision isn’t nearly as bad, as probable or as irreversible as you imagine.
This exercise was AMAZING because it got me to realise that the real reason I was scared of quitting my full-time job wasn’t because I was scared I might fail or because I was scared of what other people might think – which were the vague fears that had haunted me for years. I was scared because I believed that quitting my full-time job would somehow lead to the end of my relationship with Steve (in my mind, my blog failing would lead to financial dependence which would lead to unbearable pressure on our relationship). And once I got clear on this, I could see it for what it truly is – fear.
The second thing I did was to handwrite an affirmation 15 times a day, every day.
I’d never been into affirmations before, but the way they were described in Tools of Titans made me curious – an affirmation wasn’t claiming to be magic. It simply re-focused your brain so you could see opportunities you might otherwise miss.
So, starting Christmas 2016, I wrote this sentence 15 times daily – ‘I will celebrate my last day at my job on 30 June 2017 or sooner’.
I’ll be honest, I felt like an absolute idiot for the first few days. But after a few more days, I started to believe it. And after a few more, I was totally and utterly convinced – I would celebrate my last day at my job on 30 June 2017 or sooner (if you want to find out more about this whole affirmations thing, I highly recommend reading this).
The final piece of the puzzle was a book called You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero (which had been recommended to me in the Smart Twenties Community Facebook group – thank you!).
It was just one, tiny sentence in that book that gave me the epiphany I needed – I could quit my full-time job and I could quit it immediately. I could go back to my old part-time reception job, which I loved, and have SO MUCH TIME for blogging.
As I was saying, it’s so easy to connect the dots looking backwards and to colour potentially insignificant events with meaning and purpose. But I truly don’t believe that I would’ve gotten the idea to quit my job, and then acted on it so quickly, had everything above not happened. I immediately messaged my friend who still worked there and, one week later, the perfect position came up. I still had my doubts but Steve and my friends helped me through it. And for that I am so grateful.
I applied, I interviewed, I got it, I handed in my resignation on 7 February and I celebrated my last day on 10 March 2017 – more than three months earlier than even my most ambitious-self had anticipated.
SOMETHING TO KEEP IN MIND
It’s been incredibly hard to write this and there are already a million things I already want to add and change (still not over the whole perfectionism thing).
But the point was really just to show you that you don’t need to know where you’re going to get where you want to be. And that it’s never too late to start believing in yourself.
And to thank you for all your support, I appreciate it more than you will ever know.
HOW TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE
Since publishing this blog post, I’ve filmed two Youtube videos to share more of this journey with you! The first is about how I finally figured out what to do with my life and the second is about how to stop putting off your dreams!
Make sure you watch these videos if you haven’t figured out what to do with your life or you know what you want to do, but you feel too scared to do it! They’re not really about blogging – the advice I share can be applied to absolutely any situation!
Don’t forget to subscribe if you like the video, I post a new one every single day!