What the HELL do I do now?

Head_here-in-this-direction-lost

*warning: long post with no pretty pictures*

When it comes to hobbies, I am not unlike a magpie chasing shiny objects.  Graphic design sounds like fun - I am going to sign up on Lynda.com and watch a million hours of video on how to lay out a magazine!  Photography is awesome - I am going to take a photoshop course and spend hours on the computer tweaking levels!  Interior Design has always been a passion - I am going to launch an online design business even though I have no training and little experience!  Then there's yoga (which at least I am consistent about), knitting, painting, reading, BLOGGING.... there are times when I get an hour to myself and am actually at a loss for where to start or what to do!

After quitting my (pretty awesome) job at the Symphony a year and a half ago, I have been really enjoying spending time with my kids.  Sure, there are some monumentally frustrating days, but generally it has been a crazy blessing to be able to tell myself "this is my job and I love it."  Read books with them, make them lunch, watch them play cars, break up fights, listen to them talking to each other, do crafts - the days fly by.  I have thrown myself into this time completely, grabbing these precious days with both hands and wringing out every sweet hug, funny face, and paint-covered high five.

Now, on the horizon, I can see the end coming.  An end, and of course a new beginning.  In September, both my boys will be in school full time (9 to 3).  This doesn't mean I don't get hugs and hang-out time anymore (God forbid!) but it will definitely be the dawn of the new era for us all.  It is only February and I have many more months of boy-time ahead of me, including those awesome summer months, but I feel like I should be preparing for my own reality now.

My sabbatical from Making Money (since it certainly isn't a break from WORK) has been fully supported and encouraged by my whole family - I definitely couldn't have done it without everyone's sign-off.  But a was conceived as a sabbatical, meaning eventually I would return to work away from the boys and start putting money back into the bank account.  Right now, I can't imagine going back to life the way it was; I am a different person than the girl who did marketing for the Symphony.  Ideally, I will be able to do something part-time, during the school hours, and still be able to walk the boys home from school.

But WHAT??!!??  I am pretty confident I know how start up a start-up.  I have read books, blogs, watched videos and am fully inspired to build a successful business.  After all, marketing was my line of work - I can direct-mail-social-media-conversion-rate-advertise-promotions the hell out of this business.  I can network-leverage-collaborate-media-SEO-customer-service with the best of them.  But first I have to figure out what the hell I will be selling!

In the past few months I have done logo work, website work, marketing consulting work, graphic design work and tried my hand at interior design.  The problem?  I loved ALL of it!  But I have to pick one thing and do it well, right?  So now I am feeling lost and directionless.  I feel like I have to pick one and get much better at it before I can launch a business and charge people money for it.  Right?  But as soon as I start with one, I am crippled with indecision and doubt - maybe this is the wrong one.  I should go back to that other one.

I really love interior design, but I have absolutely no confidence there.  People go to school for this, intern, apprentice, yada yada.  Who the hell am I to equate putting a mood board and layout together and thinking I'm a designer?  Graphic design is really fun and I think I could be really good at it.  But the learning curve on the programmes is STEEP guys, and there are so many graphic designers out there - would I even find work?  Marketing is where I feel confident, maybe I should stick with that and offer consulting for creatives?

Photo Credit Andrés Þór
Anyway, sorry to dump all this on you guys, but this lack of direction has somehow bled into my blog as well - what is my niche? what do I blog about? - and has kept me from posting for a bit.  I am hoping that this soul-dump will at least break through my writers block...

26 comments:

  1. So many choices make decisions hard! Add in the weight of any insecurities you may have, and Boom! Frozen. I know you'll get there eventually, Lisa, but it sounds like it will take some time and soul searching to end up on the right path. I wish you success!

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  2. I hear you loud and clear! My first is entering school, I have 3 years until my second one goes, but my mind is already running down these paths.

    I give my blog a break though - it doesnt have to be a platform to lauch a second career. I go with what feels right and maybe when i look back, my blog will tell me where my heart is, (was,tense problems here). anyways, my career dreams are: vintage dealer, carpenter, professional organizer, professional reader (ha! i wish!), professional traveler (oh please!!???)

    What are you most interested in learning/studying? Because you might like to do all these things as hobbies, but only interested in getting really deep in one or two lines? like, if the hours fly by while you are learning a new program, and you are super alive sitting there creating with your computer - then keep learning. and you could offere marketing services with graphic design add on...or something?

    anyways - it will come together!!! never fear!!!



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  3. I can relate to a lot of this Lisa – I'm halfway through maternity leave, without a permanent positon to return to, and keep trying to remind myself this is a wonderful opportunity to create a career I love, on my terms. I wouldn't worry about trying to choose just one of your passions to pursue – if the goal is to make money, then make money where you can, from whatever avenues will make you happiest. It seems to be more and more common for entrepreneurs to offer a blend of services, and that blend will likely be the (cue marketing jargon) unique selling position that sets you apart. Trust your intuition and follow your heart. (I'm going to try to do the same! :)

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  4. Who says you have to do just one? Do it all as best you can and things will fall into place. It's a long life and three areas of interest is not that much. Who cares what people think or feel it's your life. You quit your great job and now you're blissfully happier and healthier than you've ever been. That's a big plus in the follow your gut direction. Personally I think you're great. xo

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  5. dump away. it tough and there is no easy answer. go with your gut. instinct should help guide you! don't worry you'll figure it out !

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  6. I definitely understand. Next year my son goes to school and my daughter will be in preschool (likely just 3 mornings a week, but still) part of me never wants to return to a traditional desk job. You are talented and will find your niche! Consulting for creatives sounds good to me :)

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  7. Lisa....maybe the question to ask yourself is "What would I do for free? What do I love?"....then do that. Getting paid for it will only ever be a pleasant afterthought. Follow your heart like you did with your time away from the work-outside-the-home. You won't go wrong. I would work for my community and the disabled/ disadvantaged for free. I get paid to do it but it is my true passion, so everyday I feel like I am the luckiest woman alive to go off to my office. Be that. Designer, Marketing for a Designer, website marketing for designers....you have so many talents loved one. Find your bliss.

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  8. I know what you mean! September was my "deadline" for getting back to work, when my boys started full time school. I am working from home doing graphic design, and I am really loving it. But, it is WEIRD being here during the day with no kids! Don't let the lack of training hold you back if that is what you really want to do. Some of the most well known interior designers aren't actually trained designers, they just were confident that they could do it!

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  9. Wow, what a great comment Desiree! You've given me lots to think about. Thanks for taking the time to write, I really appreciate it!

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  10. You're the best Shannon, I am feeling a little more hopeful these days! I think your advice is fantastic - somewhere inside I already know which avenue to pursue, I just need to screw up the guts to do it...

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  11. Thank you so much Heather, this is such a thoughtful comment. Perhaps I am putting too much pressure on myself to decide on the 'perfect' path for me to follow, I think I have to just jump in somewhere and move to the action phase. Then I at least will be able to judge based on real feedback rather than just conjecture... (she said while doing nothing)...

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  12. Emily - I think YOU are great! I have been thinking of you and your business a lot lately, and admire you for really working at making it work. I think you are doing a brilliant job. :)

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  13. Thanks Sundeep, it is true, my gut rarely leads me in the wrong direction. Quitting my job seemed like a crazy decision but I have not regretted it for a minute.

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  14. Thanks Julia, There certainly is a freedom and flexibility that I have tasted this past year and a half of being home that I don't think I want to give up. I have faith that I will figure this out!

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  15. Dude, you should be a life coach. This is such great advice. merci. xo

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  16. It would be kind of strange to be here without them. Do you get lonely? Thank you for the vote of confidence re training, it means a lot coming from you - I just love your work and your style. It's food for my confidence! :)

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  17. Hi Lisa, I was directed here by my friend Jackie and I've been checking you out for a little while now (not in a creepy way, haha) and I have to say...I thought you WERE a designer?! You've been on Steven and Chris, you've been plugged by major publications ect. Who gives a shit about internships and diplomas on your wall, you got cred girlfriend. I say own that and keep going. You seem very talented and highly motivated by your passions, and I believe that people vibe off that (especially rich ladies who need their houses redone). It may take some time, but you know what you're doing, so as long as you show that, people will start paying large for it.

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  18. Trish, you are awesome, I am totally going to take your advice. I can't believe all the encouragement I have received - I'm so grateful you left a note! :)

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  19. Such amazing advice!! I should tattoo this on my arm (or at least on a sticky note ;)

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  20. Trish is right! I am dreaming of the day I can hire you to design my house and then I will tell everyone I know about the amazing work you do and your work. Your passion and skill speaks volumes and all the diplomas won't even cross peoples minds. I live near a lot of rich people and am not adverse to leaving marketing material in all their mailboxes :)

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  21. Thanks Selina, you are so, so awesome. xox

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