This day last year, i took a leap of faith. A big one.
And since, i’m sitting here at my desk in my home office it’s safe to say that my leap didn’t kill me. Was it hard? Absolutely? Did i feel at times like i wanted to die? Yep. Was it a struggle? More than it wasn’t. But was it the best decision i ever made for myself?
AB SO FUCKING LUTELY!
On July 8, 2016, i left my almost decade-long position at Resource Center to pursue work of my own making.
And today, i’m celebrating my one-year anniversary of this big bold move!
For years, i knew i wanted my time to be my own but i didn’t know how i was going to do it. i sat on the idea for years until i realized i was about to be 39 and i remembered that in my 20’s i promised myself i was never going to forgo my creativity or my dreams for the comforts of a steady paycheck. That is the death of any artist.
Petrified, i leaped.
At first, i relied on drag (and my tiny savings) to pay the bills as i built up my freelance writing portfolio. i got a job writing for TheThings.com — a fun and frivolous site i still write for today. i helped a few people write their books with an offering called InstaBook. i took a few one-time freelance and ghostwriting gigs and spent waaaaay too much time searching Craigslist for freelance opportunities.
And then i took what i thought was going to be a one-time gig writing for an editor at IOne Digital for their Global Grind online media brand. That one job changed the course of my career.
As of June 26, that one-time gig turned into an indefinite contract to write for all FOUR of their brands — a major win for any freelance writer.
And a few months before that, i had sent in my first op-ed to the Dallas Voice, North Texas’ LGBTQ newspaper, which jumpstarted an ongoing writing relationship and a cast position on their internet radio show DVTV in Spayse.
But all of it — my dreams, my contracts, my writing gigs, my time being my own — wouldn’t have happened without any of these six things. If someone were to ask me, what’s the secret to success for the first year of working for yourself these six things would be it.
Use them to empower your own greatness.
1. One person who believes in you unconditionally. For me, that’s my wife. Without a shadow of any doubt, jealousy, or envy she believes in my ability to do anything and supports me through everything. And i know that no matter what happens, she has my back. Having a ride or die on your side — whether it’s a life partner, a best friend, your mom, dad, or grandmother — as you begin making major shifts is extremely important. Because support, when the world feels like it’s falling down all around you, is the most priceless thing any solopreneur could as for.
2. A vision for yourself. You have to at least know where you want to go. Think of your dreams like a map or the GPS system on your phone. You have to input where you are and where you want to go in order to get directions. But within the starting point and destination, are many paths to get there. But before you can choose, you have to know where it is you want to go. The same goes for your life. Find out where you want to go (and why.)
3. You don’t necessarily have to have a plan . . . but you definitely need a few options for income. Whether that’s performing, doing makeup, writing web copy, driving for Lyft . . . whatever, you need to have already mapped out a few sources of income. Take out a sheet of paper and make a list of 100 ways you can make money. Once you see on paper that there are multiple streams for you to make income, you start to believe you can. Ditto for savings. When i left, i didn’t have a lot, but i had enough to cover my ass for a few months.
4. Perseverance. You have to keep showing up for yourself, your dreams, your art even when it feels like nothing good is ever going to come of it. Woody Allen said 80% of success was showing up. If you show up for yourself, you’re already more than halfway there.
5. An unwavering determination and resolve to succeed no matter the odds. ‘Nuff said.
6. And finally, the most important thing is faith. Faith in yourself and faith that the universe (God, Goddess, Buda, Shiva, whatever higher power you believe in) has your back. The universe wants us to succeed; it’s the world (and humans) that sometimes doesn’t. Don’t get them confused. There is nothing you can’t accomplish if you have belief fueling your drive. There is nothing you can’t do if you let your belief in yourself and your abilities lead the way.
This past year has been nothing short of amazing. i am living the dream of artists and creatives everywhere: making enough money off my art to pay for my living. And i am deeply grateful.
The real tea is: you can do it too.
Just yesterday on Israel Luna’s Don’t Panic show, i met Chris Sapphire. Who, before he was one of the most sought after pop-cultural commentators and YouTube stars booked with World of Wonder, was doing medical billing until he realized that medical billing wasn’t his truth. Pop culture and entertainment was. He took a leap of faith and landed on multiple gigs.
IT CAN BE DONE.
But more importantly, IT CAN BE DONE BY YOU.
Believe. Breathe it. Be it.
i’m celebrating today by taking another leap and doing something else i’ve always wanted to do — a podcast.
DEFY is a podcast about defy-ance. About being woke and doing woke creative shit. Because social revolution can’t happen without self-evolution.
In the trailer episode, i talk about my fears around putting another creative venture out in the world and how by facing our fears we can defy not just ourselves but the world. Listen to the 9-minute trailer below.
DEFY launches August 7, 2017. Hop on the mailing the list here to be the first to know and hear when the defy-ance begins.
Whatever you do today, make it count.
Yours in love, light + DEFY-ance,
Here’s my latest creation! Enjoy!