I have been toying with the idea of entrepreneurship for the last, oh, 20 years of my life. I fantasize about running my own company on a daily basis. (This is not an exaggeration.) What the business is … that would be something I have struggled with for just about as long. I have far too many interests and for a long time I have been nursing this troubling mindset that I don’t have enough expertise in any one area to make a decent go at anything substantial. Plus, there’s the whole ‘you need money to make money’ thing. Plus I don’t have a business plan or sense of how to start… Plus… this is usually where my cycle of self-deprecation and defeat slides in and locks comfortably into place.
Recently, however, I have been shifting my thought process around what entrepreneurship looks like. For the longest time, I had this vision that I would have ONE BUSINESS, and that ONE BUSINESS would be my sole source of income. But I just couldn’t come up with what I felt was an actual workable idea for what the ONE BUSINESS would be. Then something clicked. I can’t remember what or when or how — but I’m guessing it was probably in the shower. (That’s where most of my good ideas happen.) I realized that if I am someone who thrives on having a wide variety of interests, any one of which can grab and hold my attention at any time, then why not consider that a strength rather than a liability when it comes to my paid work? What if I could have a bunch of smaller businesses or projects that could sustain me just as easily as one could? And if I really think about it, a bunch of smaller businesses that didn’t require my entire focus at every given moment might actually sustain me mentally as well as financially. At the risk of sounding cheesy, multiple income streams could possibly mean my ‘soul’ source of income rather than my ‘sole’ source of income.
(And now that I’ve come up with the title for my first book on living the entrepreneurial life… “Finding Your Soul Source of Income” … gods, doesn’t that just drip with self-help-y goodness? … I really should move on.)
I think I’ve started to get a handle on what the foundation of this multiple-income-stream master plan might look like. And can I just say… FINALLY. At the height of my depression over the last several months, because believe me, I have been immersed in a pretty dark place for a while — I would get really defensive whenever anyone would ask me about my plans for getting out of my current job situation. I would try to be polite, but anyone who knows me might detect the seething, red-hot anger just below the surface of my pat line: “I’m working on it.” Thing is, this response was a result of feeling stuck, scared, trapped, upset and helpless. And frankly, I still feel all of those things. Daily. I need to get away from my job – but it pays well enough and is comfortable enough that I find myself mired in it. Were I 10 years younger, I might take the risk I took when I quit a lucrative job at a great company and moved to Chicago on a whim with no job prospects. I am not in my 20’s anymore, and I am far less stupid. Granted… that stupidity turned out to be one of the best choices I have ever made … but my older, more mature and reasonably-economically-situated self doesn’t like to bring that up.
But in order to make this goal happen, eventually I am going to have to take a plunge. I’m just going to do it smarter than the 27 year-old I was when I showed up in the Windy City. But I can finally say that I have plans and schemes and dare I say it… a direction. I am ready to brainstorm and figure out how to make this all work. I am excited for the first time in months, and that’s no small thing.
Details to come. But for now, know that change is a’comin’. I don’t know exactly what the form will be, but I can’t help but feel a giddy sense of anticipation.