This week, I saw an alert pop up on my LinkedIn profile: “Congratulations on your work anniversary!” Beneath it, it read “8 years, Self-Employed.” To be honest, the day snuck up on me. I thought, really? Has it been that long? Where was I 8 years ago?
Flash back: 8 years ago. It was 2007.
I had a day job, marketing DVDs for an entertainment company. During the day, I helped plan release slates, exclusive goodies for retail partners, and events for Comic-Con and Wonder-Con. But every night after work, I was in class. Improv classes. Acting classes. Voiceover classes.
For over a year, I had been living this double life: marketing during the day, student of the arts by night and weekend. I recorded VO demos. I taught myself to build a website. I built a very rudimentary home studio. I started auditioning.
And on an ordinary day in late June, while I worked on launching other people’s content, a bit of exciting news hit my inbox: “You booked a job!” My first VO job! (!!!) I felt excitement and pride.
I had turned pro.
Turning Pro isn’t always a cataclysmic event full of multi-million dollar contracts, signing events and huge press releases (like the NBA Draft). Sometimes it’s just a small event that changes the course of one person’s life. The job was small, voicing a narration to welcome new users to a business called Toothly.com. The business doesn’t even exist anymore. (Ah, start-ups!)
It didn’t pay much, but it paid. I didn’t go running into my boss’s office to quit in spectacular fashion, for sure. That first paid job was my indication that my hard work was starting to pay off – literally.
It would be several more years (5, to be exact) before Turning Pro brought me to my next milestone: leaving my day job.
But I had Turned Pro.
What does this mean for you? Some of you have expressed to me your own desires to “Turn Pro” – to create a business of your own, or to explore a brand new discipline that’s radically different from what you’ve spent most of your adult life preparing for. Maybe you want to create your own start-up. Maybe you want to leave the food industry and work in entertainment. Maybe you’re tired of project management and want to create your own content.
In our conversations, you expressed your frustration with your day job – the long hours, the politics, the thankless bosses and lack of raises. But you told me you weren’t ready to Turn Pro. You needed more…
… more learning
… more preparation
… more clarity on what you love
… more money in your savings account
There’s a secret to Turning Pro: it’s getting started. It might take you a year… it might take you 8 years… but you have to start somewhere. So start where you are.
Make the choice to
…take a class
…practice a skill
…meet with a coach, therapist or trusted friend to get clarity
…take a side job, save more, pay down your debts
…so that you can Turn Pro, sooner rather than later.
Eight years ago, I had no idea where that first VO class would take me. It was just a way to explore a topic I had always loved and been fascinated with.
What’s holding you back from getting started? Tell me how you’d like to Turn Pro, and one thing you’ll do today to get you on your way.