Q&A: How to do what you love (and get paid handsomely for it)
Doing what you love (with a paycheque included) is pretty much the dream of everyone on the planet, right? Whether you want to make a living playing with Transformers on YouTube or write fantasy novels from a dark corner in your wardrobe, we’d love to cash in on doing what comes effortlessly to us. More flow-time, less office cubicle, and enough dollar to eat tonight while we’re at it. Wahey!
For advice on how to make this humorous pipe-dream an actual reality, I turned to the very lovely Lisa Robbin Young. She’s known as both the “singing business coach” and courage catalyst, creating real results for creative entrepreneurs like you. She also happens to be super friendly, incredibly articulate, generous and clearly motivational, too. I adore her, and her work!
Lisa chats to me about when we can quit our day jobs and ride into the sunset, how to deal with Comparisonitis (and other “not enough” gremlins) and how to be more creative today.
So if you’re wondering where to start with your creative career, are stuck in a muddy rut or just need a pep talk, you’ve come to the right place my beautiful and ambitious amigo 🙂
Hi Lisa! Tell me a little about yourself.
I’m a talker, so it’s hard for me to say little about anything! I’ll start with being a multi-racial woman who grew up in a blended family in Flint, MI. I was taught a strong work ethic, and my career as an entrepreneur and performing artist spans more than 20 years. I recently founded a business incubator fr creative entrepreneurs to help them build profitable, sustainable businesses. I penned the international business best-seller “The Secret Watch” and In January I launched my 3rd album into the world – a collection of pop-infused jazz and blues tunes as part of my 300 Songs project. I have two sons, (10 and 19), and I currently live in a tiny town in Michigan.
You’re known as “The Courage Catalyst” – what’s that about?
I’ve had lots of monikers in my business career. This one came about because the one thing my clients consistently told me was that they felt more confident and more courageous after working with me. Here’s the thing: I don’t create courage. It’s already there, latent within you. We’re all courageous in one form or another, and I seem to have a knack for inspiring it in others. And whether I’m on stage, in a classroom, or working one on one with clients, invariably they tell me I inspire them. I just do my best to show up as me. THEY are the ones demonstrating the courage. I just catalyze what they already have within them.
What’s your backstory? How did you get to where you are today?
It’s a LOOOONG backstory! I’m 41 and I’ve done a lot of concentrated living. As I mentioned, I grew up in the inner city, Being multi-racial, I faced discrimination in a variety of ways, but my parents taught us to suck it up and be the best we could be regardless of the obstacles. As a result, I excelled at academics and developed a passion for music and performing. All that went on the back burner when I became a single mom. Raising my son was the toughest, most glorious challenge of my life. I became an entrepreneur almost by accident, out of the need to care for my kid and still earn a living. When I got married, we agreed that it would be best for me to continue working from home, so my business became my focus as music slowly faded from my life.
It sounds sadder than it was. Believe me, I was plenty busy. I’ve worked with some amazing clients over the years: best-selling authors, performers, executives, and multi-million dollar business owners. I’ve learned a LOT about what it takes to be successful in business and still have a life.
A few years ago, after The Secret Watch was published, I was in a car accident that didn’t harm me at all. It left me wondering why I was still alive. What purpose was I meant to serve? That’s when music started calling me with a vengeance, and the 300 Songs project was born.
Also during this time, we financially lost just about everything. due to a series of traumatic family experiences, I had to close a business and we filed bankruptcy. In starting over, I needed more clarity on my market. WHO exactly was I serving, and how? The road to clarity took months, and in the process I discovered what I call the Creative Freedom Entrepreneur Type Spectrum, which helps creatives better understand their strengths and blind spots as a creative entrepreneur.
And now, my work focuses on helping creatives build profitable, sustainable businesses doing what they love.
Can we really do what we love and get paid for it handsomely?
Yes. If a guy who loves to open, critique, and play with transformers can make a living doing YouTube videos, I firmly believe there’s an audience for the things you love. It may take time to find them, but it’s possible. I believe that wholeheartedly.
What’s your best tips for budding creative entrepreneurs?
1. Stay consistent. You don’t have to be the best at something if you keep showing up and doing the best you can. Consistency is more important than perfection. You can’t quit just because it’s hard. That’s why consistency is so important.
2. Don’t quit your day job. By that, I mean there are a lot of people who just leap blindly into doing the thing they love and pray that it will make them enough cash to live on. Don’t be that person if you can avoid it. Obviously, some situations are horrible and unbearable, but following your passion doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” response. Take a few steps toward your dream and see what happens. Make some adjustments. Then take a few more steps. At some point you’ll have to step away from the “day job” completely, but it’s usually not as soon as you think.
What can we do about the “I’m not enough” gremlin?
1. Own it. In my book, there’s an inscription “Good enough rarely is. Not enough usually is.” By this, I mean we often say “good enough” when we know we didn’t give it our all. Likewise, anytime we say something (including ourselves) is not enough, we mean it. You can’t argue with a mind that’s already made up.
The truth is that you’re priceless, you’re always exactly enough – even if what you were hoping for is more than you were able to bring to the moment. But the truth is irrelevant because your mind is already made up. So why fight it?
Instead, recognize it for what it is – selling yourself short in the moment. In the moment doesn’t mean forever. If you missed this opportunity, commit to showing up in a better head space for the next. Awareness is the only thing that will set you up for success when the next opportunity rolls around.
“Why did I think I wasn’t good enough this time? What can I do differently next time?” Put your focus there, instead of beating yourself up about not measuring up this time.
2. Take bigger risks. If what you’re doing doesn’t make your pulse quicken a little, you might be recognizing that you’re capable of a lot more than what you’re currently up to. When you step into a “bigger risk” moment – like when I auditioned for The Voice (twice!), it makes the other day-to-day attempts at awesome seem much easier to navigate.
What about the “I’m not getting results fast enough?”
See the “not enough” commentary from above. You can substitute “fast” for any adjective. Thin, rich, white, black, famous, popular, fast, slow, etc. If you are only comparing yourself to YOU, this kind of negativity tends to subside. Comparisonitis is a BIG deal for Fusion creatives, because we’re always comparing our results to the people around us who are further along the Linear or Chaotic spectrum than we are. In general, I advise my clients to look at where they were a year ago and where they are now. If they’re making progress – even if it’s not as fast as they would like – it’s still progress to celebrate. Too often we get hung up on what other people are doing and have no real idea what’s going on behind the scenes in their lives and work. What did they have to sacrifice in order to get the “success” you see? Keep your finger in your own Kool-Aid and don’t worry about everyone else!
So – shall I quit my day job? How long til I can ride off into the sunset…?
Ha. If your day job’s killing you, then you’ve got some decisions to make. But if you can see your job as your benefactor, your patron, then you’ll have a better time of it. Most entrepreneurs starting out follow a similar trajectory (read “Predictable Success” by Les McKeown to really understand this growth cycle). The first couple of years are about finding an audience, getting traction and bringing in consistent revenue. The next couple of years are about establishing yourself, gaining profitability and turning the expensive hobby into a thriving business. Then, it’s about sustainability, being responsive, and creating something that allows you to have the life you love while it serves others in the way you envisioned. I don’t know many people who can do all that in a single year. More like 3-5. And obviously, the more time and energy you have available to put into it, the more likely you can hit the sunset trail closer to year two or three.
What can I do today that’ll give me an instant creative lift?
Do the opposite of what you usually do. If you’re a Chaotic creative, read a business book, or work with linear concepts – like word searches, crossword puzzles, or watch a mystery on TV. If you’re a Linear type, do a coloring page, sing a song, or take a walk (or a nap). If you’re a Fusion type, like me, do NOTHING (that’s pretty hard for us to do!). You don’t have to do it all day, just give your usual routine, habits, or patterns a break for a few minutes and see if you can come back to your work with a fresh perspective.
Do you have any tips for those who want to be in your shoes?
I wear size 12. You might want some extra socks for padding. 🙂
In truth, I hope no one wants to be in my shoes, but can find comfort in their own. Explore what moves you. Get to know YOU more. Not the “you” that the world expects you to be, or the “you” that you think you should be, but the you – warts, sparkles, and all – that the world needs you to be.
It sounds cliche, but there’s only ever going to be one you, and if you won’t be it, who will? Every moment you spend denying who you are doesn’t just rob you of the rewards, it robs us of your service and your gifts.
What if YOU are the solution to the world’s problems but you never show up? THAT is the ultimate tragedy!
Make sure you head on over to the LisaRobbinYoung.com.Did you like this Q&A? Let me know what tip resonated most with you in the comments below.
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