So to help us all out, I started boiling the lessons I’ve learned down to one or two-liners (okay, sometimes a third line sneaks in).
Now, I’m doing some market research to see if maybe these bad boys are sellable. I’m thinking 6″x6″, on letterpress. They’re not cards. They’re not posters. They’re just little squares of stuff. If you want to see these things go to market, weigh in on the Sarah Leaps Letterpress Facebook page. No hard feelings if you don’t; paying rent is overrated anyway. But should there be enough interest, I might figure out how to bring these to market. I’m not sure how I’ll do that, seeing as how I have absolutely zero cash to front on this, but whatever. Either way, this little list is alive, so I’ll add more as the journey continues. But for now, here’s the launch of “What I’ve Learned So Far (in three lines or less).”
- Doing it will be hard. Not doing it might be harder.
- It’s going to fight you. Fight it back.
- If you need a break, take one.
- Read whatever inspires you – every day.
- Learn things for free.
- You’ll be terrified in ways you weren’t ready for. It’ll be okay.
- Guilt, shame, doubt, and creative drought will be lobbed at you. Have a mental racket ready and just keep swinging.
- Step away from the computer and get off your phone. Stop consuming media long enough every day so your brain can produce its own. I promise the emails and social media updates will be there when you get back.
- Do your homework. It’s possible you’ll find a shortcut, but it’s more likely you’ll just need to work. Incredibly. hard.
- At some point, your goals will probably feel crazy, unattainable, and maybe even detrimental to your own financial (or mental) well-being. It’s totally normal.
- Don’t pad your resume or make up qualifications. What you’ve accomplished has been enough to get you this far–no need to lie about it.
- Be willing to explore all opportunities–keep the ones you want, and walk away from the ones that aren’t for you.
- Enjoy the freedom of being able to work anytime, but don’t work all the time.
- Have a few different projects going on at the same time. That way, if one thing isn’t working at the moment, you can work on something else.
- Have a good handshake.
- Put visual pep talks, notes, and reminders out for yourself to see every day.
- Dogs generally make everything better.
Money & Resources
- The money doesn’t always come. Be ready for some very lean times. Think now about what you could cut if you had to.
- Never pass up an invitation for free food, drinks, or rides…or free anything, really.
- Money isn’t the only way you can pay someone.
- You don’t need to pay for PR, business cards, or meeting space.
- It’s okay to give people a deal, but never sell yourself short.
- Don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth.
- If people really want what you’re selling, they’ll find a way to pay.
- When times are tough, cut your pay. Don’t cut your employees’.
- Take stock of every skill you have–even the seemingly irrelevant ones–then price them out. You never know what you’ll need to do to keep you afloat.
- Sometimes, you’ll only take a gig for the paycheck. Perfectly acceptable.
- Find ways to make money while you’re sleeping.
Working with others
- When you find someone who believes in your vision and does something better than you, find a way to bring them onto the team.
- When you need it and it’s offered, accept help. And ask for it if it’s not.
- If they really want to talk to you, people will leave a message.
- Your parents will probably worry about you, so don’t tell them everything – like how you haven’t eaten a real meal in 3 days.
- When you find people who are who or where you want to be, spend as much time as you can with them.
- Always thank people for their help–and if it can be publicly, even better.
- Share what you learn–it’ll help others and be a reminder to yourself of how far you’ve come.
- Call bullies out when they’re being mean to you, but keep your response focused and professional. Never fire back–especially if you’re not face-to-face.
- Find ways to collaborate with people you like, even if the connection isn’t apparent at first.
So there you have it. Another little effort to help others (and myself). If you like what you see, visit that Facebook page (you can feel free to comment here, too, but the Facebook page is really where I’ll be measuring interest).