A note from Tom: the following is a guest post written by Alexis Grant of The Traveling Writer.
Whilst I am not currently accepting guest posts as a general rule, Alexis has produced the kind of article here that I couldn’t not feature on Leaving Work Behind. She covers a topic that has been on my mind for many weeks, and one that I was planning on covering at some point myself in the future. Now there is no need to, as Alexis has done a wonderful job.
Take it away Alexis!
When it comes to earning a paycheck, we often stick with what we know. We stick with what we know works, because we can’t afford to not have money coming in every month.
That’s one of the reasons so few people make the transition to working for themselves - because they’re not sure it will work. Instead, we stick to what we know, which, unfortunately, is usually the status quo (and often a full-time job working for someone else).
But what if we gave ourselves permission to experiment? What if we pushed ourselves outside our comfort zone?
What if we tried little experiments first, ones that wouldn’t upset the paycheck, experiments like building a side gig to pad your bank account or learning a new skill to make yourself more marketable? Once those small experiments start to work, you’ll feel more comfortable expanding into bigger experiments – ones that have the potential to take your career to new levels.
Because as I’ve learned over the last year – as I’ve transitioned from my day job to working for myself - experimenting is vital to making a living doing what you love. Experimenting has allowed me to figure out that I love creating digital guides and courses – and that I can actually make money selling them. If you don’t give yourself room to experiment, you’ll never discover the true gems of your career.
Here’s why experimenting is the best thing you can do for yourself, no matter where you are in your career.
1. It Helps You Grow
Sometimes my business experiments work out well, and sometimes they don’t. When they succeed, I see an obvious benefit: I figure out what works, and often that means discovering a new revenue stream.
But even when the experiment doesn’t succeed (for me, that usually means an eBook tanks), it’s worth it because I learned something. I learned something that will help me move forward and succeed next time.
Learning is key to feeling satisfied in your career, whether you’re working for yourself or for someone else. And the best way to learn is by experimenting.
2. It’s a Challenge
Let’s face it: doing the same thing every day gets boring, even if you’re your own boss. The most effective way to get out of a rut – or to make sure you never fall into that rut to begin with – is by trying something new.
After all, that’s why experimenting really is, right? Trying something new. And calling it an “experiment” means you’re not obligated to keep doing it if you don’t want to.
3. Smart Risks Could Mean Big Rewards
Experimenting is a risk. It puts you in the position to fail, which is why most people avoid it at all costs.
But taking smart risks, calculated risks, also sets you up to create something great – something that’s far better than what you’re doing now. You could find a job you love. Or realize you can make a living selling that widget you’ve dreamed of creating. Or, if your dream is to work your way up your company ladder, maybe your experiment will make you look like a hero to your boss or client.
If you stick with the status quo and never step outside your comfort zone, if you don’t take those smart risks, the chances of that kind of success being within reach is slim-to-none. Experimenting is what makes it possible.
4. You Could Discover Your True Passion
Guess what taking smart risks could lead to? You could reach your true potential. You could discover a career you’re truly passionate about, one that helps you learn and grow. You could find a way to earn your next paycheck that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning.
It is possible to make a living doing what you love, so long as you’re open to the experiments that will get you there.
And if you love what you do, you’re even more likely to reach that next level of success, right?
Alexis Grant is an entrepreneurial writer, digital strategist and author of How I Surpassed My Day Job Income in Just 6 Months of Self-Employment. She also offers a free newsletter.
Creative Commons image courtesy of zhouxuan12345678