Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The Faith Based Plan
Employee or Entrepreneur: Who Are You? Who Do You Want To Be?
I'll never forget the day when a friend of mine learned that I did not have a "real" job. He jokingly said, "What are you on, the faith based plan?" He was laughing, but the more that I thought about it, the more that it made sense. I am on a Faith Based Plan because I don't have to know where my next check is coming from to feel a peace beyond all understanding.
When I made the somewhat impromptu decision to leave my job, my employer at the time could not fathom how I could possibly survive. "What will you do for health insurance?" he asked. My response was, "I didn't even need health insurance before I started working here." That's what we often fail to realize, we jeopardize our mental and physical health more by being in environments that are not fulfilling because stress will make you sick, literally.
Now I don't encourage anyone to just up and quit without a plan. First and foremost you must have faith, but you must be creative in how you bring in income because whether you have a job or not, the bills still need to get paid. I have been without full time employment for over two years now and I have yet to be homeless or hungry. Sadly there is no longer any such thing as a safe or secure job. I feel that I am in a better position than most because my livelihood in not in the hands of another human being. If you are contemplating taking a leap of faith like I did, let me recommend a few basic principles that I practice.
Planning, Patience and Persistence
I am not the type to plan years in advance, but I try to plan at least a month in advance to make sure that I am able to cover my monthly living expenses like rent, car payment, and communication (home phone, cell phone and internet). I also make sure that a certain amount of money is set aside every month for self -care, Investing in my vision, and entertainment.
While living on the edge like this is fulfilling beyond measure, notice that I did not say it was easy. I saw financial expert, Catherine Eagan speak last year and she said something that really resonated with me... "Where you are right now is not necessarily representative of where you are going." You are going to be everything that you hoped and dreamed to be if you see it and you believe it, but it may not happen overnight so patience is an absolute must.
There will be times when you can't eat what you want, there will be times when your work is rejected or criticized, there will be many roadblocks along the way, but never ever stop. That is a mantra that I tell myself constantly. Never stop. No one who is anyone ever got anywhere without being persistent. Did you know that Walt Disney filed for bankruptcy? You may not have known that, but you do know that he never gave up because even in his absence his legacy lives on.
Believe In You
If you don't believe in yourself and what you do, no one else will. Why should they? You train people how to treat you so if you believe that your dream is the best thing since sliced bread then trust and believe that the world will too. Make yourself a HUGE DEAL. People often think that I spend thousands of dollars on marketing and promotions, or that I have some marketing or publicity guru behind me...the truth is that I just spend a whole lot of time believing in me. I constantly and consistently put it out into the world that I AM a HUGE DEAL, and wouldn't you know, other people started believing it too.
Get Your Legal Hustle On
When you don't know when or how you next check is coming, creativity is key. Tap into all of your talents and skills because there may be times when it feels like your true dream is not bringing in the cash that you desire. Let me give you a few examples. Over the years I have taught myself to do hair and nails. It's not something that I am head over heels in love with doing, but best believe it gave me tons of extra money during my college years. In addition to writing I also teach dance and kickboxing. I am still operating in my purpose of adding value to the lives of others while making some extra dollars. The possibilities are endless...dog walking, landscaping, selling your books or artwork, freelance writing, rent parties, selling plates of food...shall I go on, or do you get the picture? When you are creative, there are tons of things that you can do to supplement your income without engaging in any questionable or illegal activity. And in most cases you have a ton of fun while you are at it.
Invest in Personal Growth and Development
I have been able to operate so many legal hustles because I always invest in my own personal growth and development. While it may be challenging, it's never too late to invest in a new skill. Many classes and resources are free and readily available; we just don't take the time to do our research in order to realize that these opportunities exist.
Learning gives you the time and space to think and grow which in turn allows you to realize your true potential. So I encourage you to take the money that you spend on the club, or eating out, and enroll in a life coaching session or a class at a local college or university that will help you to hone your craft. I personally plan to set aside some money to take a creative writing course at UCLA this spring or summer.
Downsize to Maximize
Sometimes in order to get ahead, you have to leave some things behind. Do you really need four different gym memberships when you barely attend any of them? That was me. I had a membership at three different gyms until I decided to start teaching fitness classes which not only brought in extra money, but it also came with a free gym membership. As a result, I ended up saving at least $150 per month. Now that is an extra $150 that I can use to order my books to sell, or for that personal growth and development that I spoke of.
How can you downsize your life to maximize your dream? Can you move into a cheaper residence? Can you do your own hair and nails instead of going to the salon? Could you host a Girls Night In instead of going to a Girls Night Out? Think about it and adjust accordingly.
Sacrifice for Success
With success comes sacrifice. During your time of building, you may not be able to live the lifestyle that you are accustomed to. For instance, I have discovered several delicious options that I can prepare with a bag of potatoes.It goes back to being creative. You may not be able to eat how you like to eat, dress how you want to dress, or party like you want to right now, but the benefits in the not so far away future are well worth it.
Sacrifice doesn't always mean giving things up. It just means adjusting the way that you do things so that it helps you to build your vision. For instance, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to travel. So I have incorporated that into my business. When I want to visit a city, I set up some speaking engagements, consulting work, book signings and book club appearances so that I am still bringing in income and working toward my dream, while having fun at the same time. They say don't mix business with pleasure, but why not? I work hard, so I like to play hard and as long as business is getting handled, I don't see the harm in that.
In conclusion, I want you to ponder few pertinent questions. Are you en employee, or an entrepreneur? Are working to make someone else rich, while you make ends meet, or are you working to build your own empire? Where are you now? Where do you want to be?
Take it from me, living your dreams is possible. It just takes believing in you and what you do...faith and work. The Faith Based Plan is a package that has infinite perks and benefits. Let me know when you are ready to sign up.