When I was fourteen years old, I vowed I would never be a waitress. I have the utmost respect for women and men who work in the restaurant field, as well as those who sell shoes, pick up garbage, walk dogs, babysit, or are telemarketers (just please take me off your call list). But as a creative artist, I knew at an early age that those jobs weren't for me.
So instead, I started juggling and eating fire professionally. I delivered singing telegrams, was a professional fan through a business I started called "Rent a Fan Club," became an unwitting rock star with a cult hit song, a writer, visual artist and multimediaist, with many more oddball jobs and professions along the way.
One enormous problem with being a creative soul is that usually means your strengths aren't so much on the business side. So making the leap from doing what you love to do to SUPPORTING yourself doing what you love to do can be confounding and daunting.
Here are some tips to help you not have to work totally type A jobs (what I like to call "straight" jobs):
1. Joke around.
It's funny how humor works. Believe it or not, your sense of humor could make you a fortune. Take Zack Danger Brown for example, who put on Kickstarter a plea to help him raise $10.00 to MAKE POTATO SALAD. Not only did he parlay his creative idea into the 4th most successful Kickstarter of all time with nearly 7,000 backers and over $55,000 raised, but he also got corporate sponsors (Hellman's Mayonnaise, the Idaho Potato Commission, and Hampton Creek) for his next gig, a festival called "PotatoStock."
2. Stop dreaming and just do something.
Many pre-internets years ago in an improv class, I came up with a character named Angel who, while serving time in county jail, saw the light in TV reruns. I decided to take it all further. I wrote a song for her called "Buffy Come Back," (a sad tale about a child actress from a 1960s rerun, who had OD'd), put together an "all-girl, all ex con band", recorded the song, hand delivered it to KROQ, a well-known radio station in L.A., which turned into airplay, then became the most requested song, which led to a cult hit, and appearances on TV and in movies, one starring Tom Hanks.
Nowadays there are endless opportunities, so be creative and THINK BIG: Today there are literally billions of ways to get yourself and your talents out there — and an equally large audience looking for the next big thing. You can easily make and share your music online, start YouTubing advice and tips, create a web series, write an eBook, blog about random things you love, and generally make a name for yourself in countless ways. The key to breaking through is to come up with something totally ORIGINAL and be persistent and consistent.
3. Take weird jobs (they're out there!).
The freaky oddball jobs are just as easy to find as "straight" jobs are, thanks to Craigslist and other online employment listings. Some of the weirdest Craigstlist job postings include: Beard Mentor, Dragon Slayer, Super Hero Sidekick, and Cat Holder-Downer.
4. Shake it up and keep things fresh.
Even though I've managed to always support myself by being creative, I'd be bored out of mind if I did the same thing over and over. So I vary how I express myself. If I hit a wall when I'm writing, then I'll switch over and make some art, which is more of a mindless activity to me. Similarly, the five books I've written are all in completely different genres — non-fiction, memoir, art, etc. And now, with my latest project, Find Me I'm Yours, I've incorporated fiction, art, web design, screenwriting, and so much more into what I call a CLICK LIT® novel, which is an eBook at the core of a multimedia extravaganza.
5. Don't just try to be "different."
A long time ago I heard a song sung by an '80s girl group, the Bangles, and written by Jules Shear. A lyric really summed up how I choose to live my life, and still inspires me to this day.
"Some have a style that they work hard to refine / So they walk a crooked line / But she won't understand why anyone would have to try / To walk a line when they could fly."
Don't just try to be merely "different." Kick it up a notch higher than that, and fly with something so original. You'll never have to have a "straight" job again!