So, Kabbage, is this really great company that is highly supportive of small businesses. Not only are they a small business loan provider, but, they are constantly providing free advice via social media, and their website. Kabbage approached me to write an article about my goals, and what I needed to do in order to accomplish them. Um, I love writing, and I’m overly obsessed with people following their dreams, so I was like, “Heck Yes”. I have written about my goals many times before, on my blog, and on social media. If you know me, you know that I also talk a little too much about my goals, and your goals. Ugh, forgive me for asking you what your dreams are. I am just so passionate about the topic of “following your dreams”, because I believe we should all be striving for that. However, it’s important, that our goals are not out in La La Land. You cannot just sit around and say, “Oh, my dream is to be an actor”, but do nothing about it. I mean, how crazy is that, to think that dreams come to you? They don’t. The idea may, but not the act of obtaining those dreams. Dreams are goals, that need to be pursued. Following your dreams is hard work, and risky, and must be well planned. So, inspired by the article direction Kabbage suggested, today, I am writing about the specifics of following your dreams. In fact, I call this little blog article, “The Specifics of Following Your Dreams”. So fitting. It’s a message to myself, and to anyone else following their own dream. A warning to you, I use the word “specific”, and the phrase, “following your dreams”, a lot.
Also, fun fact, almost a year ago, I posted THIS post, so writing this today is quite fitting. It was titled, “Happy Birthday To Me. And My Business.” What up #TBT.
“The Specifics of Following Your Dreams”
1. Financial Planning. Be specific about what you must contribute financially, and not even necessarily within the realm of following your dreams, but just in general. What do you need to contribute to yourself, or to your family? Come up with a number, and consider anything above that number, a bonus. Not a bonus like go crazy with your Christmas shopping, but a bonus, like save this for when you need it, and maybe splurge on an expensive bottle of nail polish.
For me, there is a dollar amount, that I must contribute to my family each month, in order for like, you know, bills to be paid. Stupid bills. Finances are a very important aspect of “following your dreams”. In some cases, you may not need a financial plan. Let’s say, your dream is to be a mother, and to be the family manager. You may not be contributing financially, but you are contributing in other ways. It is still important, to list exactly how you are going to contribute. Like an actual list, on an actual piece of paper. Not some invisible list in your head, that you “write” five minutes before sleep. A real tangible list is called self-accountability, says me.
I’m not going to share the dollar amount that I need to contribute, but I will share my plan. My main and dreamy plan, is that Interior Design clients will allow me to pay all of my bills. Is that a reality? No, not right now. So, my back up plan to pay the bills, is to substitute teach. I’m not in love with the idea, but my financial plan says that I have to. I HAVE to give a certain dollar amount, and so do you.
2. Start Today. You must not really want it, if your too busy, to sit down, and come up with a plan today. It might mean that you skip the gym tonight, or the half priced wings, but if you are not willing to re-arrange your schedule today, then I’m not so sure you really want, what you are saying you really want.
3. Be real, and narrowed, about what you want. Like, yes, I would so love to have my own design TV show, but no, it’s not my direct focus. (Right now, at least) Also, it would be super cool to have my own studio space, where I could meet with clients, and design houses, and order Chinese takeout while emailing people, but again, not right now. My specific narrowed plan as of right now, is to focus my business on creating online interior design for clients near and far. There. I can’t be all over the place with my plans, because then nothing will get accomplished. I do however, have in my plan, to re-evaluate my plan in a year. But for this year, my plan is to focus, and grow, in my specific area of E-Designs. For this step, write down in one sentence, what do you want to do? What in the world fires you up and makes you want to live each day to the fullest? WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?
My name is Lauren Dahl, and I want to be able to make money, doing what I love, which is creating beautiful, yet affordable spaces for clients, and curating objects and colors within homes.
4. Consider what your days, weeks, and months look like (while you are actively living out these dreams you have). I came up with a very specific vision, of what my dreams looked and felt like. This helps to bring these ideas to a reality. Here it is.
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I work on designing spaces for my clients. I would work from home, and work from 8-5. I will go on a morning walk with my son before daycare, and at 8am I will be ready for my work day. I will make time to fix an awesome lunch, but other than that, I will be in my office working. At 5, I will pick up my son, and put away social media/design work. Part of “following my dreams”, definitely includes more time with my son. So, on Thursdays, and Fridays, he stays home. We play all day long, and working during his nap time is optional. Each month, I contribute a design or motherhood related article to a magazine. Also, each month, I teach a youth art class.
I’m very close to this dream schedule, but not quite. So, going back to Step 1: Financial Planning, I have to work my way to this schedule, but first, making sure I am contributing financially to myself and my family.
5. Come up with a generalized plan, and set dates for specific plans. Oh my gosh, real quick, side note, is it super annoying that I’ve used the word “specific” like 25 times already? I’m so sorry, guys, but I warned you. Anyway. What do you need to do in order to reach your goals? For me, and my dream of having my own interior decorating business, that specialized in online interior design, I needed to have a website. Right away. So I turned my blog, into a better website, and bought a URL. Then, I needed a portfolio. So, I wrote down in my calendar, which days I was free to take photos, and then, which nights I was free to edit and post those photos. Over many months, I slowly worked at photographing spaces I have completed, and writing about them. I needed a better website, so, I listed what I could do to make it better. Professional photos of myself. Clearer services. Aesthetically pleasing. So, again, I scheduled time, to focus on each aspect of making a better website. Then things got real exciting, I needed to quit my job. Just kidding, that’s when things got scary. But, I made a plan, and prayerfully, and thoughtfully, I quit my job, and here I am. All I’m saying, is that you need to write down Generalized plans, and then get specific with timing.
Another example might be, if your goal is to own your own brick and mortar. Write down specific dates and tasks. “One month from now I will search for local businesses that are renting their space,and write down the average cost to rent a space of my taste. Two months from now I will begin saving money. Six months from now I will have enough money saved.” And so on.
6. Follow through, and hold yourself accountable. So, yeah. Do that.
7. Constantly reflect, and re-evaluate. Every few months ask yourself these questions. Is this all I am capable of doing right now? How can I expand my goals, to be a more successful me? Is this working for my family, and my personal life? It’s important to evaluate, and re-evaluate your plans. For me, a year ago, I was working full time as a teacher, then coming home, and working on E-Designs for clients (not many I must add, but still), I also had a new-ish baby, and a husband, and things were becoming quite overwhelming. It was then, that I knew, I needed to re-evaluate my current situation. What needed to go? What needed to stay? How can I make this work? Obviously, the full time job needed to go, in order to make room for everything else that I love more.
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