Article written by Adrian Gentilcore
There’s a well known quote by Denis Waitley “It’s not who think you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.”
I’ve seen this time and again. One of my friends will come up with a thrilling new dream to start a new career. They’ll be really excited about it. But then they will put the brakes on, sometimes for years, because they feel like they need to have a particular degree or receive a certification from some organization before they will start pursuing their new dream.
That makes perfect sense if your dream is to be a brain surgeon, or something that requires a high degree of precision and skill. But when you are an entrepreneur or a freelancer, experience speaks much more loudly than a piece of paper.
I’ve been a freelancer in several different disciplines for more than a decade. Number of times a client or potential client has asked me for a degree, a certificate, or even a gum wrapper? Nada, zilch, zip!
What the majority of clients are looking for is results. And how do you get results? By wading in and doing. These types of endeavors do require skill, smarts, determination and quite a bit of persistence, but you don’t NEED permission from anyone to start down a new path.
Yes, your first, second, and even third efforts will be garbage, but you’ll get better as you go, and you’ll learn a lot more and much faster than you will by spending a ton of time and moolah going through a formal course.
Of course, you don’t want to do poor work for your clients or use them as guinea pigs, so I use my early skill-building attempts for myself, or as a freebie for friends or relatives. Then I’ll do half-price rates for my first few clients to build a portfolio and testimonials. I’m not going to launch a full-priced service until I am totally confident that I can deliver a quality product for my client.
Maybe it’s just my brand of out-of-the-box thinking, but when I have a new dream – which is often, my first thought is how can I make this work with the least amount of time and money invested. ‘Cuz I’ve got 53 things on my to-do list right this minute!
What skills are actually necessary? Obviously, I’m a big fan of taking imperfect action and it’s paid off for me in many ways over the years. As a rule, men don’t hold back from going after what they want. It seems to be more of a female thing that we feel we have to be WORTHY before we’ll allow ourselves to take that first step.
And besides – how many times do you come up with a big wad of cash, sign up for a big course some guru is pushing, and then lose steam after the first few sessions? That can be a big dream-buster.
Another situation that can derail your dream is to start discounting your circumstances. You start telling yourself – I can’t do that because I have young kids at home, I have to stick with my full-time job to pay the bills or I have a chronic illness.
These are absolutely legitimate situations. But are there people who have managed to find a way to make it work even while dealing with limitations and difficulties? Absolutely and there are many of them to prove that if you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen as long as you aren’t putting roadblocks in your own way.
I had my youngest son pretty late in life, so I was a tired 40-year-old with a hyperactive 2-year-old, a teenager, a full-time job, and a fledgling business as an eBay seller.
Once he was established in school, I started my VA business while working a demanding 40-hour job and being an active Scout leader in his Troop. I did that for 6 years while I built my skills and clientele.
I finally got up the nerve to retire from the job to go full time, but 3 months later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2020. Talk about a one-two punch! But, some things magically fell into place and I managed to double my business from 9 clients to 22 in my first year. Yeah, I don’t know how either.
Does that mean I’m superwoman and deserve a medal or something? Definitely not. In fact, I think it says that I’m ridiculously stubborn and have some serious workaholic tendencies that should be looked at.
But the point I’m trying to make is – don’t sell yourself short.
If you really, truly WANT to do something new, find a way to do it. Don’t talk yourself out of it.
Decide if you ACTUALLY need special training and a fancy certificate. Or not. Decide if the circumstances in your life are really a brick wall. OR if you can find a way over it, under it, around it, or shove through it.
The results might surprise you. It certainly surprised the heck out of me! I look back and realized I created a full-time freelance career out of nothing much more than a laptop, thin air, and my 10 stubby little fingers. What might you do if you thought it was really possible?
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