When A Day Job is The Dream Job

25-Jun-2014

Day job dream job

Kathleen here. Here at Braid Creative we talk a lot about creative entrepreneurs and freelancers who are paving their own path to live what they love. But get this – a majority of our creative coaching clients have day jobs. Most of them hire us for the confidence and clarity that comes from our coaching and consulting to quit. We regularly get emails from those former clients who share with us that they’ve finally decided to make the leap from day job to do their own thing (!!!!!) – those emails usually include lots of exclamation marks – and we’re always so happy (!!!!!) for them. All of that said, and as supportive as we are, we never actually tell anyone to quit their day job.

In fact, day jobs can be ideal for lots of creatives. While working nine-to-five (and then some) doesn’t give you a lot of time, it can offer the kind of security that allows you to build up a portfolio of dream projects on the side. With a day job you can afford to be picky about the extra stuff you take on. And on that note, when you work for yourself sometimes you get desperate for clients (even not-so-dreamy clients) with cash – and nothing kills creativity like desperation and clients from hell. Day jobs also give you access to teams, resources, and rad customers that you may not have when you work solo. And just because you work a day job doesn’t mean you can’t also rock the entrepreneurial spirit by embracing your own personal brand and razor sharp point-of-view within the walls of an organization that also happens to offer you a steady paycheck.

Late last year I coached a UX (user experience) designer who had big passion for projects much larger than herself, but she was also attached to the idea of working solo (I mean, that’s The Dream, right?). I challenged her assumption that working for yourself is the only path to living what you love and asked her why she wanted to freelance rather than work on a team. After sitting on that question for a while she realized the work she was best at – designing complex user interfaces – didn’t lend itself to working alone. She finally found the confidence, through coaching and additional UX training, to submit her resume and portfolio to a digital advertising startup company. She was hired and recently followed up by sharing this with me: “They are paying me a really great salary (about $30K MORE than my last full time job), full benefits, 401K, and stock options. More than that I feel appreciated, challenged and excited about my career—all feelings that were completely absent from my freelance life.”

When a day job is a dream job as a creative entrepreneur

It turns out her day job very well may be her dream job! If I was still coaching this client today I would ask her the following questions: 
• What does your ideal day look like? How does your day job fit into the picture? Are there any disconnects you could tweak AT your day job to make it even more dreamy? 
• In what ways can you cultivate your own personal brand at your day job? In other words, how do you consistently show up for your co-workers? What can they expect from you every time?  
•  Any passion projects you want to pursue on the side? Perhaps you maintain a personal blog or are obsessed with hand-lettering. Consider how these might inform the work you do at your day job. Or maybe these are creative endeavors you keep just for you. 

Now, I realize not every nine-to-five is quite so dreamy. So this week in our Letters for Creatives (our exclusive newsletter sent straight to your inbox) I’m going to be talking about when to quit and sharing my own story about how I decided to make the leap from senior art director at a cool ad agency to being my own boss for the first time ever. If you don’t already receive these free emails then sign up here. 

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Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.

photo via Unsplash

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