“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Have you ever wondered if you could use your passions in life and actually turn them into an sustainable income?
When I resigned my position as a nurse, one year ago today, I had no idea that one decision would change my life — and the course of our family — in such a drastic way!
All I knew was that I needed to be home, caring for my husband and children…free to pursue the things that I love.
I could never have imagined that one year later:
- I would be sitting here writing these thoughts and that you would be reading them
- that as a family we’d be better off financially now than we ever were with 2 incomes
- that my love for making homemade products would become a thriving little business
- that we would start seeing the future not as something to fear or dread…no matter what may come
A year ago, all of these things were not.on.the.radar. They weren’t part of the plan…they were only dreams.
All I’d ever been focused on was establishing a strong educational foundation for career development, and working the best 9-5 job I could find. Anything else was too unrealistic.
Yes, it is possible
By no means do I consider myself qualified to give entrepreneurial advice, nor have I been blogging long enough to speak to that either. All I know is that it is possible.
As a wife and mother to three children, I’m telling you it is possible to generate a sustainable income without working and suffering through the grind of 9-5. I strongly believe that when we follow our dreams and pursue our passions, success (however you define it) will naturally follow.
But it’s not easy.
And here are a few things that I’ve learned along the journey (in no particular order of importance):
1. Discipline and diligence. If generating an income is something you want/need to do, you must to be disciplined and diligent. You must have your eyes set firmly on the prize. You need to be willing to spend time researching and learning about all of your options. You must find your rhythm and stick to it.
2. Financial management. You see there’s this whole thing called “making a living” and you’ll often hear people (myself included) talk about living within your means. Well truthfully, it’s really all about living below your means! This involves managing and controlling your living expenses so that they fall below your income level. In the long run it allows you to have more freedom. Likewise, by keeping your living expenses low, you won’t need to generate as much income to support yourself and your family. More to come on this topic…
3. Be honest about, and identify, your fears. Fear can paralyze you or it can push you to great things! Only when you are honest with yourself about your fears can you truly overcome them. Why won’t you quit your job and stay home with your babies? Why won’t you log on to Etsy and set up your handmade shop? Why won’t you head over to WordPress and start the blog you’ve wanted to start for months? Why? Are you afraid it will fail? Well guess what…it just might! And that’s okay! You try again…you face your fears and you find your own way.
4. Trial run. Once you’ve embraced your fears, give it a trail run. For example, when I quit my job last year my biggest fear was the loss of income. My husband and I decided in order to ease the transition we would consider this time off a “trial run.” If things got really bad or out of control financially, I could always return to earning a wage…no big deal. 365 days later that still remains an option, but the likelihood of it ever happening again is slowly fading into the distance.
5. Pick one thing that you love and go after it. As an individual there are so many things that I am passionate about. I could talk forever about my passion for our work with orphans and AIDS victims in Ethiopia, or about the adoption of our son and the need for people to step up and father the fatherless in order to sustain humanity, or what about homeschooling and backpacking and tons of other things that I don’t write about often, but are as equally important to me. Out of all the things that you love…choose one and go after it. If it doesn’t work, try something else.
6. Sell your craft. I’m going to talk about this more in a future post, and it kind of goes along with #5, but it’s been a great way for me to generate a bit of income while doing something I already do for my family.
7. Genuinely care for and help others. What does helping others have to do with generating a sustainable income? It has everything to do with it! By caring for and helping others we build trust and we gain fulfillment. And if we are consistent in this, where do you think people will go when they need something? You! They’ll come to you for help.
8. Knowledge is power. Learn all you can about the things that interest you. Read about what other people are doing. Brainstorm new ideas. Watch videos. Find a mentor. Attend a class or eCourse on the topic. Join a community of like-minded others.
9. Forget about making money. I get it…we all have to have money to live, but at what cost? Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our ability to earn money that we forget what truly matters. Instead look at all the things you already have, find contentment, and then ask yourself “How can I live the life I want with what’s right here in front of me?”
Everyone’s path to a sustainable income looks different. And as I mentioned earlier, generating an income outside of the standard 9-5 job isn’t easy. It will take lots of work, but the reward for your dreaming, learning, and discipline can be a wonderful thing. For inspiration, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to head over to the library and check out the books Your Money or Your Life and Radical Homemakers.