I Don't Know, But I'm Figuring It Out

March 19, 2024

Hey dreamer friend,* Emily here.

Last week I had probably my favorite podcast interview to date.

That's saying a lot because I'm enjoying these conversations a lot more as I've taken steps into this next chapter of whatever it is I'm doing.

It won't air for a couple months, but I wanted to share one of my favorite parts from it because I suspect you'll appreciate it like I have.

The magic of the unknown

The host (David) and I were talking about leaving corporate and the magic and the uncertainty of what we're respectively doing now.

People have allll kinds of questions for dreamers who start doing something about their dreams. Questions like, "Are you making money?" or "What's your plan?"

His answer? "I'm figuring it out."

And if it doesn't work out, he'll figure it out.

"I'll figure it out."

I could spill forth volumes on how much I love those 4 word answers and the self-reliance, hope, humility and confidence and letting go of the outcome contained therein. But won't, here at least.

There's a lot I'm (still) very much figuring out. Wanna know a big one?

Challenge: Making money in a way that doesn't put pressure on my creative work.

Truth be told, I'm still totally figuring out what I want to do with my writing and creative endeavors, and how to support myself fully as an entrepreneur now that my vision has shifted.

On a recent afternoon, I basically devoured Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Late to the party, I know. Multiple friends have encouraged me to read it, and for reasons I'll elaborate on at some point, I resisted until just barely.

Here's a snippet of what she had to say about making money off creative work:

I've always felt like this is so cruel to your work—to demand a regular paycheck from it, as if creativity were a government job, or a trust fund...Financial demands can put so much pressure on the delicacies and vagaries of inspiration.You must be smart about providing for yourself.

It's not a new recommendation to lessen the burden on creative pursuits by removing income expectations from it. And this is part of why I set out to be a super successful financial coach.

That was basically my self-employed career choice. But that's quite evolving into a more creative, life-long vocation of writing and creating stuff. (Elizabeth Gilbert makes this helpful distinction).

Right now that looks like Book #2 (Dear Fellow Dreamer) and sketches but it will absolutely include more books of multiple types and maybe short stories and essays who knows what else as I follow the threads of my curiosity.

And this shift brings me to a point where I am figuring out what it looks like to make money now and how I can take income pressure off my creativity.

I've pretty well ruled out corporate at least for now, and this leaves me with freelancing, or putting my skills to use for others on an hourly basis without trying to grow it into my main thing.

Make sense?

I don't want to build a money coaching or web designer/technical consultant business.

But I'm pretty darn good at both of these things and am finally happy to trade some of my hours for dollars to do the things I know fellow dreamers need at least occasional help with:

  • Money stuff: Creating or finessing your budget, YNAB clean-up, making a plan for getting out of debt or leaving corporate.
  • Tech stuff: Building/running a business and need someone to help with systems and tech and website stuff. I did this in corporate for a solid decade so know a thing or two.

I have 10+ years with tech and about the same with money coaching. And you can now directly book a sounding board/working session on my calendar. And then I help you. It's that easy for both of us :-) At some point I'm sure this will change, either in availability or price, but this is what it is for now.

Book time with me

I share all this for 2 reasons.

First, I share it in case you've wanted help with one of the above and it's been unclear how you could work with me. It totally has been, for both of us, and I'm sorry about that.

But the second and bigger reason I share it with you is to show you my evolution in decision-making in case it helps you in yours.

Maybe it will also give you permission to let go of something you've been holding on to.

To change your mind.

To be more open to opportunities that might come your way.

To muster the courage to leave somewhere comfortable and trust that you too will "figure it out."

To stop doing what the experts say you need to do, and do what you know you need to do, or do what is good for you and your business.

And making money to pay for your life is always good for you.

A closing story:

My friend Jeff has made a living being a professional photographer and textiles consultant and a jack-of-all-trades in the professional photography world.

Sometimes he does unglamorous work (which he happens to love) like driving a moving truck with props to sets, sometimes states away.

Is he overqualified for that work? Uh, yes.

But he's not good for any related work that comes his way.

He loves working for himself and these jobs provide a mix of mundane and really creative stuff. His clients love him, refer him to others, and pay him the same daily rate regardless of what he's doing.

He told me about an interview in which Ice-T was asked why he sometimes takes gigs that he's overqualified for. His answer made an impression on Jeff and it made it an impression on me:

A player never turns down a job.

My interpretation of that is taking jobs that come means you get to stay in the business of doing what you love.

And the business I love is writing and creating stuff. I'll keep figuring out the multitude of things that make it so I can keep doing just that, and hopefully you'll do the same.

If this inspires thoughts or ideas in you, would you let me know with a quick note? Your messages are beautiful fuel in the creative journey and I'm so grateful for them, and for each of you being here.


*I don't love emails that start with "Hey friend" because it often feels fake. But "dreamer friend"...that's a different story. A friend started a recent text to me this way, and I totally dug it. Thanks, Stuart!

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