7 Tips for Creatively Funding Your Unconventional Life
I’ve alluded to it, and it’s probably pretty clear through my actions and lifestyle… but right now, I’m going to come straight out and say it.
The conventional life?
The one we’re pointed straight down in order to achieve security… you know. Nine-to-five job with a fancy title and benefits, 2 weeks vacation per year, living life on someone else’s clock? A solid third of our life sold for a price that’s nowhere NEAR what we’re worth?
Not for me.
And more than that? I’m pretty strongly convinced that it’s not for plenty of people.
Now just to be clear – if that’s your jam, then you rock that sh*t! Whatever you want to do – do it with FLAMBOYANCE and FLAIR. I completely support people living in alignment with their passion.
But I’m also perfectly aware that this type of conversation brings many people’s defenses flaring up to the surface – because a life determined by someone else ISN’T actually their jam.
So what’s that about? Sure, I hear how life involves plenty of obligations, and there’s this path that’s presented – offering up solutions, a clear and certain path and a feeling of safety that can be frankly irresistible.
And many of us go down that path… (myself definitely included!) We test it out… because guess what – life is ALL about experimenting. It’s about trying things on… checking in with ourselves… and making changes if we’ve grown, or making changes TO grow – life is a flow, a constant rewrite of reality…
So back to the conventional path. I tried it out, and rocked it for 2 years. I simply discovered after that time that it wasn’t for me. Plain and simple.
Nothing wrong with it inherently.
That life just didn’t allow me to create and thrive and serve the world in alignment with my unique values and gifts.
So I walked away. And do you think that I expected to be on this crazy adventure, 5 years later? Do you think I had a SINGLE INKLING of an idea of where I would or could be, 5 years down the road?
Not a chance.
I’m not saying that quitting your job to travel the world is for everyone. It’s probably not even for most people.
But living a life that rings with YOUR truth and lets YOU shine through every day, in your greatest vibrancy and radiance?
It’s your BIRTHRIGHT.
And if you’re living ANY other way – I IMPLORE you to question: WHY.
Don’t get caught up in the excuses. Hesitate before reciting the same spiel about student loan payments, car insurance and your 401k.
And ask yourself: am I THRILLED to be living the life I’ve created?
If the answer is no – please, take responsibility for that. Because this life is NOT to be taken for granted. I don’t care what your boss says, what your parents say, or what your insurance company says.
You CAN create a life full of abundance, that provides for all your needs and more – and most importantly – that gets you giving your REAL GIFTS to the world – without going broke, I swear.
I’m here to tell you that you CAN create a life that makes your spirit sing – and not only that – but you MUST.
Because it’s your purpose. And if you withhold that – and settle for a life of mediocrity – then you’re depriving the world of something amazing – YOUR unique gifts.
Yeah, this might piss some people off. And I don’t care.
So I’m not going to get into the in’s and out’s of speaking your truth to whoever needs to hear it, in order for you to start living your most unique, creative, made-for-YOU life that’s serving the world remarkably. I trust you’ll find the words when your soul’s calling is clear enough.
I’m simply going to provide some realistic tips for the transition, so that you can fund your life while turning your passion and purpose into your life’s work.
** Note on this: I’m NOT just talking to people who want to travel. These tips are for ANYONE who’s seeking to transition into a life that fulfills them Monday to Friday, Saturday and Sunday… every hour in between. I just don’t GET the whole, dreading Monday thing… guys, life is too short for this….!!! **
1. Capitalize On Your Native Language
Before I moved abroad, I saved up some cash at my corporate job so I could enroll in a TEFL program (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) in Prague – and from there, ended up teaching English for the next 3 years. This job is so rewarding – you’ll get the chance to connect with people in the local culture, and create such fantastic connections and friendships. There are SO many countries where native English teachers are in high demand, and I can’t recommend this path highly enough. Such a perfect way to start out your adventures abroad – and don’t worry, if kids aren’t your thing, you can tutor adults in language schools, work for companies… the options are nearly endless. If you’re interested in more info on teaching English abroad, please contact me!! I love connecting people to this incredible adventure 🙂 🙂
And if your native language is something other than English – great!!! Find people/schools who are looking for teachers! I can also recommend offering your services online – verbalplanet.com and buddyschool.com are 2 resources!
2. Keep Your Mind SO VERY OPEN!
If you’re truly committed to the path of exploration, one thing is for sure: your skill set will expand, and you will find ways to hustle and keep yourself going.
Case in point – the following is a list of things I’ve gotten paid to do over the past 5 years of traveling and living abroad:
- Preschool teacher
- Elementary and high school teacher
- Retreat planning/facilitation
- Travel writing
- Web design
- Copy editing/proofing
- Food and wine photography
- Product label/graphic design
- Summer camp leader
- Private tutoring
- Virtual assistant
- Customer support
- Life coaching
- Teaching yoga
- Writing Amazon reviews
Some of these have been life-changing and still comprise my current work-life and income… others totally forgettable! The point is, many of these opportunities came to be simply because I was open to new experiences, and to learning new skills. (I literally bumped into a few Czech guys on Charles Bridge in Prague while carrying around my SLR camera… and got hired as their food and wine photographer, and paid to travel around the Czech Republic shooting bottles and meals!)
Also? I’ve somehow been able to save more money per month getting creative and living in countries (with low cost of living but high QUALITY of life) like Thailand and Czech…. than I did back at my salaried corporate job in Seattle.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Look for opportunities to learn about what other people are working on. And look deeply at what it is you enjoy doing… see how those things can align! How can you be of SERVICE to a project that INSPIRES you?!
3. Make Learning Your Hobby
You have free time, right? 🙂
Spend some of it learning a new skill. Something you’re interested in, for sure… (that’s the whole point of this lifestyle design thing!)
Graphic design… video editing… writing… photography…
All of these are skills that can earn you cash, in really fun and interesting ways. Spend some time really sharpening a unique, niche skill that’s in demand. Make your life a constant learning process, and I promise you – you will get paid to do what you love!
4. Talk to Strangers
Yeah I know, it goes against everything you learned as a kid! But the fact is, soooo many of life’s amazing opportunities come through new and often unexpected connections.
For example, I’m heading to Costa Rica in a few months for a fellowship program to work on my business and intern with 2 amazing entrepreneurs, all due to a conversation I had with a Belgian guy (hi Niels!! 🙂 in a co-working space in Chiang Mai. It never would have happened if I hadn’t been open to a new connection that day.
You NEVER know where a conversation or connection will lead – so try to stay open, and don’t try to do it all alone!!
It’s so often the connections we make in life that guide the flow of our life, and open up doors we never would have seen.
Today, commit to being open to new connections with people you might normally walk right past.
Get INTERESTED in what people are working on. I promise… if you are GENUINELY INTERESTED in what other people are passionate about… you will learn so much more and experience opportunities that you would have otherwise missed!!
5. Fail!! Over And Over Again!!
Yes, sometimes you’re going to flop! This is the nature of the exploratory, creative life. We take off, we soar… and then we dip and dive, and wonder if we’re actually going to crash. If you’re committing to the path of an extraordinary life, you MUST be prepared to face challenges and roll with them – and use them to your advantage! What does this mean? You learn to LOVE those times that things don’t work out perfectly in your favor… because dun dun dun… YOU GET TO GROW!!!
See the learning situations in EVERYTHING! Take on a position or challenge you’re not ready for. Promote your services before you feel “ready”! Your so-called failures are going to end up as the building blocks of your WILD success down the road.
6. Eat Uncertainty for Breakfast (…Lunch and Dinner)
It’s the hero’s journey, my friends. And on this journey – there is one constant source of fuel and vitality….. let me tell you about it…. UNCERTAINTY! Yes, it’s that one thing that we often learn to fear while we’re being conditioned by society, but give yourself some time to listen to the stirrings of your own heart, and you’ll develop a whole new relationship with this miraculous being. Uncertainty will take you to places you’ve never been, places you’ve never dreamed of…. it will push you farther, take you higher, scare the crap out of you and turn you into the person you’re actually meant to become.
I know this one has seemingly nothing to do with “funding your unconventional life”, but I don’t care. I just want you to know it – (and guess what.. it actually has everything to do with CREATING and LIVING your ideal life. 🙂 )
7. Ask For What You Want
The conventional life is great for people who are happy being taken what’s given to them, and aren’t really looking to push the boundaries of comfort by asking for more. But if you can learn to overcome that conditioned reflex to avoid “overstepping your bounds”, you will find that the universe is begging to give you everything you want and more. Oh and believe me – I’m still in the WAY BABY stages of this one. BIG time. It’s scary as HELL asking for what you really want – claiming your worth, and taking a stand for what you desire.
And remember – ASKING for what you want means first KNOWING what you want! So your action step for today is to spend some GOOD time with yourself, writing and reflecting on WHAT that is!
– – – – – –
Now I want you to know….I get it. It’s easy to cling to the societal notions of what we’ve learned our whole lives…. but I’m just telling you what’s worked for me – and most importantly – what’s CONTINUED to work and facilitated growth and consciousness beyond what I ever could have imagined.
This is not lucky. Some of us are not BESTOWED with the LUCK to have an incredible life.
It’s ALL of our responsibility to CREATE a life that helps us FLOURISH and serve the world PROFOUNDLY.
Again…. THIS IS NOT ABOUT LUCK. THIS IS ABOUT TAKING ACTION!!!!!!!!
This is for YOU. To take your life into YOUR OWN HANDS. I know I’m obnoxiously using capital letters here… but it’s time. I’M TALKING TO YOU.
Is your current life situation allowing you to show up in EXTRAORDINARY ways?
What would you do, today, if you knew you could not fail?
Awesome. I can’t wait to see you do SO MUCH of THAT.
All my love,