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The Chicken, the Egg, the Balance

There’s nothing wrong with just having a job.

It’s more stable, less risky…it’s good! The indie ambition is a powerful beast though, and those who succeed have it made. How do you find the time to grow that ambition while paying the bills another way — not to mention life’s other commitments? That’s the million-dollar question.

Reality states that most of us aren’t sitting on a pile of riches. We can’t just do whatever we want at first without concern for in-the-meantime survival. The problem is, surviving in the meantime takes away necessary time needed for the goal. Day jobs prevent musicians from touring beyond vacation days, apparel designers from vending beyond a weekly farmers’ market, writers from tight freelance deadlines…you name it. The day job helps financially, but hinders beyond that.

Forget just doing your craft, your other job (s!) also takes time away from networking. Don’t you love sending some cold emails and doing social media right before bed? Cram it in baby!

It’s hard at first, and I speak from experience. When I had a full-time job I was trying to grow my freelance writing, and that included maintaining my own music blog. Now, Points Cobra has replaced the full-time job but I still work beyond it because — while I admittedly want to anyway, since I have multiple interests — I don’t currently have a choice.

I’ve got a great ambition to die of exhaustion rather than boredom.

Thomas Carlyle

Eventually we get to a point where we have to choose. You can’t pay the bills without steady work, but you can’t further your dream without the time taken away by that steady work.

I really believe those who succeed do so with a combination of skill and luck. Sometimes you meet the right people, or you’re in the right place at the right time, or what you do becomes trendy, and you need that luck to bolster your skill. There are tons of people who don’t get very far despite immense talent, because they never get that lucky break. Sometimes, we have to make a risky choice and help create that break ourselves.

I’ll tell you what: Trying might not work, but it will definitely remove the regret of not doing so. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and when I started freelance writing I got a taste of independence — working when I want, being able to just go run an errand, the promise of higher-ceiling employment, and the safety net of not being tied to one job if things go sideways. I don’t know know how ultimately successful Points Cobra will be, but giving it a shot is definitely worth it.

If you live with a supportive spouse like I do, take advantage of that. Get a roommate if need be, or move somewhere cheaper. The world needs more ambitious, creative people. We all need to find the initial balance between actual and desired reality, and many of us ultimately won’t be among the lucky ones. The answer to “How do I do this?” is elusive, but regardless of how it works out, you’ll have left it all on the table. That in itself is success too.

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