Taking the leap to soloism and remaining true to your dream
In her first column for Flying Solo, acting editor Lucy Kippist shares the story behind her childhood ambition to become a journalist. And her genuine belief in the power of following your dreams and taking the leap, no matter what…
Somewhere in my parent’s archives is video footage of me at seven years-old, staring defiantly into the camera, announcing my intention to become a journalist. I’m baffled by why this idea struck me so young: nobody we knew was a journalist and the concept is too specific for a little person’s mind to just simply “understand”. Most likely someone suggested it to me (I always loved reading) and it stuck. And while I’m yet to thank them for planting that seed, the power of that moment still excites me.
The journey was not short, cheap or easy. It took 10 years, lots of travel and approximately one million job changes before I finally completed my journalism degree. But the minute I did, my life turned around. Despite what felt (back then) like an epic juggle between fulltime work and part-time study, countless hours pitching and writing in the hopes of getting my name out there – I almost always felt energised and on the right path.
That “magic” of believing in your dreams and daring to cultivate them is what inspires me most about the soloist life. Finding the courage to dive into the world, holding only your idea and the determination to make it a reality, because you want to live the life you choose, not just fell into… Well, sign me up for that!
Of course, a great business needs more than just a great idea and bucket loads of courage. But how do you get from that place of vision and daring to operational success? How does your long-held passion become a reality?
"That “magic” of believing in your dreams and daring to cultivate them is what inspires me most about the soloist life. "
If the answer doesn’t jump right out at you, that’s ok – join the club! Perhaps like any other life-altering decision, the solution is as simple as breaking it down into tiny parts. With this in mind, here’s three actions to help kick things off.
1. Get moving on all the basics
For this part, look no further than our own Flying Solo forums – they’re a virtual hub of ideas and support, with hundreds of different conversations around a series of straightforward questions and answers, from real life soloists just like you. Make your first stop the introductory post curated with great care by former Flying Solo forum curator, Jayne. It’s basically a how-to guide for starting out as a soloist and includes links to all the “first step information”, like how to get an ABN, where to find tax advice and choosing the best business structure for your idea.
2. Imagine your business and customers. What do you they look like? What will you give them?
Fiona Adler’s most recent post for Flying Solo speaks directly to this step. In nine bite-size and practical steps she encourages you to tease out the true calling of your particular business, identify your customer and construct a heavy duty to-do list. Fiona’s suggestions include making a list of the hardest questions you currently have in relation to your business. She also advises tracking down a potential customer for your service or concept and throwing your business idea their way. This allows you time to discover if your idea appeals to the right person and what to tweak before you continue. I particularly like Fiona’s suggestion of stripping back to basics and cutting down to bare minimum what you think it will take to attract and retain your first 10 customers. This is fantastic advice for people starting out who typically feel overwhelmed by just how much work lies ahead.
3. Clear some space in your head by looking after you
Starting a business means taking a leap of faith and this can be both mentally and physically exhausting. So while you must be prepared to loosen up and challenge your thinking and the nuts and bolts of your idea, the passion and reason for doing what you love must be kept alive!
One of simple way to do this is by looking after your health. I love this idea from Danielle Kent, of a strategic retreat for one. Carving out a bit of space away from the other demands in your life (hello, childrenJ) to sit down with yourself and get real about your business goals.
But if time and money don’t allow you could achieve the same result by incorporating a daily meditation or yoga practises. You’ll find some terrific suggestions on exactly that from this Flying Solo podcast interview with Robert Gerrish and mindfulness coach, Tom Cronin.
The best part about editing for Flying Solo (aside from joining such a dynamic and energetic team) is the opportunity it provides to connect with your stories. I’d really love to hear about your “aha” soloist moment. What was it that drove (or is driving) your dream to be a soloist? What story did you tell yourself all those years ago, and what story are you telling yourself now as you dig in your heels and create not just your “job” but also your ideal way of life?
So as I continue learning the ropes at Flying Solo, I hope you’ll add a comment or get in touch and share your story with me.