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The 'Do What You Love' life motto has never failed me, but I doubted it many times...
In 2016, after a failed relationship that left me absolutely broken, I decided to move back to the U.S. after 16 years of living in Melbourne, Australia.
Then Trump won...
So I decided not to take the complete plunge, but to just pack my things in storage and go live as a pet-sitting digital nomad.
The problem of how to visit home to see my family in the U.S. and indulge my love of travel without wrecking my lifestyle in Melbourne had come to the forefront of my mind...
I had hit rock bottom in my life. I'd lost a relationship. I'd lost my job. And I knew that it was time to ditch a business that had never done much more than pay bills...
I had run Hexotica, my handmade jewelry and accessories business, for nearly 7 years by then.
But the Do What You Love motto had led me into a toxic life pattern:
- Got some sales momentum going with a steady stream of orders coming in. Life would start feeling meaningful - even though I often needed some crappy part-time job to supplement my inconsistent income.
- Close all shops to take a trip overseas or to visit my family.
- Return home, broke, sometimes in debt.
- Get a full-time job.
- Re-open shops.
- Wait for weeks to get the sales ball rolling again.
- Have barely enough time to manage it as well as before... life would start feeling meaningless.
- Quit full-time job
- Repeat the cycle again!
In 2016, after the end of my full-time job, I decided enough was enough.
It was time to quit the dream of Hexotica ever fulfilling the lifestyle I wanted. I was SICK of being chained to my craft desk every day!
My lifestyle dream was about being free.
It's why I left the U.S. Why I wanted to work for myself. It's why I've never wanted kids, and it's probably why I'm still not married...
My love of FREEDOM was everything to me...
I wanted to do what I love - but I needed a less self-destructive lifestyle!
I had always dreamed of becoming a digital nomad, and being able to work while traveling.
But I had no idea how I could make it happen!
I also, strangely, always knew Hexotica was not what I wanted for the long term.
I somehow always knew that starting a passion-based business - ANY business - was just the starting point. That it was more about moving toward a long-held belief, I had. (And now, upon reflection, is utterly the American in me!!):
And that is that we must DO WHAT YOU LOVE!
I'd read the famous book by that title by author Marsha Sinetar when I was 17 years old.
Thanks to that book, I got a degree in English Literature because I love writing.
I traveled for most of my twenties because I love travel.
I did a lot of crazy things I do not regret because I love experiences over material things.
And I started Hexotica because I love making jewelry.
Consequently, stayed completely broke most of the time - which I definitely do not love!
Thanks, Marsha!! 😂
So many times I questioned Marsha. I thought I was just making my life more difficult with my stubborn refusal to 'just get a real job.'
Why wasn't it easy for me to hitch a ride on the material acquisition and child-sprouting bandwagon everybody else accepted?
Thank goodness, I surrounded myself with supportive friends and partners who also had not chosen that path. I never felt alone.
But it was time for the Money To Follow because I had done quite enough of Do What You Love.
And then, (after many drunken nights of solitary wailing in my living room), I had a life epiphany.
I realized that freedom was the core of the dream I had always harbored.
And that by centering everything around that core value, I could begin to have the life that I truly wanted.
And then, bam!
THE MONEY FINALLY FOLLOWED!
I took the skills I had developed while running Hexotica, my work experience, my interests, and a few online courses. Within four months I was fully self-employed, at last!
I became a social media manager.
I also did a lot of virtual assistant-type work for my clients, including graphic design, blogging, copywriting, and editing.
All the things I learned from pursuing the things I loved came together!
It was all worth it. Even the 5 years it took me to get that B.A. in English Literature.
So, this is my advice for those of you who are also now on the Do What You Love path:
Do it. Just Do What You Love.
If you are persistent you will make it in life.
Keep working hard at it and improving yourself, and you will make it.
If you've got thick skin to deal with the ups, downs, shame, and self-doubts, you will make it.
Say to yourself, "If (so-and-so mentor) can do it, so can I." Like I do, every day.
Because guuurrrl, if someone like me can do it, so can you. Trust me.
But you must surround yourself with supportive people who believe in you and your path. People who are on their own unique paths, doing what they love. This is so important.
I have been very fortunate to have supportive partners and friends over the years. My family never understood--and that's OK.
The intentions of critical loved ones are often just coming from a place of looking out for your best interests. Their words are often wrapped in their own fears and self-doubts. It's rarely about you.
But you've got to believe in what you love, hard-core. Even if you're really not sure what you are doing, or where you are going.
'Inspiration is divine guidance.' ~Sufi proverb
Even if you don't have thick skin, you'll develop it in time. You have to do so, to survive.
I joked with friends at the time, ''Now that I have become jobless, my next goal is to be homeless!''
I spent the next 7 months increasing my income as I got more work and more clients. Then in January 2018, when my lease ended, I packed everything up in storage. I became a full-time cat, dog, and house sitter.
It was an extreme lifestyle change
I decided to take it on for a number of reasons:
- I had no pets of my own, no kids, and no mortgage.
- I could work from anywhere
- I wanted to have less distractions from work
- I wanted to save on rent and start making up for many years of not putting anything into retirement investments
- And of course, I wanted to be free to travel when and wherever I wanted!
I'd like to inspire you to Do What You Love too.
I am living proof that The Money DOES Follow. You just have to keep learning and looking for creative ways to make everything work out FOR you.
That's a VERY different mindset from believing that your life will just work out, and you should 'see what happens.'
If you want more LUCK in your life, you need to take more CHANCES.
I turned my life around from being a broke-ass, broken-hearted woman...
...To being one who could afford to live her (admittedly low-key!) dream lifestyle!
So, for anybody who may have read all of this, what is it that you love to do? And are you pursuing those things yet?
And most importantly, do you know what is your core value in life yet?
I would love to hear your stories.