how to get started when you don’t know what you want to do

I got an email from Anna with a common question. Sometimes this question speaks up loud & clear, as it did to Anna. And other times it shows up as a never-ending quest of research, consulting, and false starts.

Anna wants to know what she should do if she wants to make Art her life but isn’t an Artist in the traditional sense. She says, “I am not that good at it. I do not knit that well and I certainly do not draw as an artist. I just love to do it.”

I can relate, Anna. I can relate.

People are starting businesses at an unprecedented rate. The changing economy has created an ideal environment for experimentation. The need is great.

And I applaud all those who are trying.

But I’m sick of seeing aspirational entrepreneurs waiting at the sidelines while they try out new skills, develop products, approve drafts of shiny logo images, purchase multiple domain names, and hone their brands. Now is the time to start!

If you think know you have something to offer the world, even if you have no idea what that might be, you have to put yourself out there.

You can’t further your dream in a vacuum.

You need the encouragement, support, and give-and-take of a community.

My guess is that you don’t already have this type of community. You might have some close friends & a loving family but there’s a distinct possibility that – through their love – they won’t “get” what you’re trying to do. In fact, they’ll even discourage you.

So you have to build this community.

You build it around you, your imperfections, your passions, and your big ideas. And you reserve the right to change any of those at any time! You are transparent, exploring, and growing.

People will respect your journey more than they would a misguided stab at entrepreneurial perfection.

That sounds great, Tara, how the heck do I go about doing that?

First, you realize that there are no instructions that I can give you that will make the process of experimenting & exploring easier. That’s all on you.

Next, you get yourself set up with some sort of digital publishing platform (blog) and some social media profiles. But instead of setting them up with a finished product or business in mind, you start them with the mission of learning more about what’s out there and sharing your journey with others.

Document your journey. Share your story. Don’t apologize.

The initial benefit is that you push yourself to talk to creative entrepreneurs – doing interviews, talking casually, and networking… – and learning what they do. You’ll discover opportunities you didn’t know existed! But the subsequent benefit is that you can actually build quite a following whilst exploring your options because people really identify with the unfinished story of your journey.

Then, when you decide to try something more professionally, you already have a waiting customer base. You also have the opportunity to explore writing & affiliate marketing along the way.

There is no need to wait until you have all your ducks in a row. Start now and see what happens. There are more options & opportunities out there than you can know. The only way you can find out about them is to try.

PS. I’ve got a new ebook available. It’s short, sweet, and power-packed. It’s called Making Motion: 7 Steps for Doing More with Your Creative Life. If the ideas make your heart beat a little faster, this book just might be the thing to get you moving.

{image credit: Alice Popkorn}