Today, the idea that you can follow your dreams is more prevalent than ever. It’s true. You can follow your dreams. The only thing standing between you and doing so is you and whatever baggage you’re carrying. While for some the idea of following your dreams prevents contentment, the reality is how can you find contentment by staying in your comfort zone and refusing to stretch yourself?
It’s difficult to imagine how you can chase your dreams and desires when all of the inspirational stories are from people who walk away from high paying jobs to live the dream. They may be “poorer” now because of the decision they made. They’re very likely happier, too.
However, it’s difficult to overlook the fact that they had the money to fund that dream in the first place. Half of the baggage in chasing your dreams revolves around finances or, a lack thereof. Not everyone can quit their job, invest in a B&B and start running their dream business.
Many of us struggle to decide what to study in college, and then if we figure it out, we feel a little lost after graduation. What’s next? You may have chosen a major, but did you really know what career you wanted? Did you really have a handle on your passion? Unfortunately, many of us follow a certain path, one that we’ve been guided to walk.
Rarely do we have a handle on our dreams and desires in our youth. It’s a rare ability and those people are lucky. Just because you didn’t know what your passion was then, doesn’t mean you have to stay stuck where you are now.
If you want to pursue your dreams and desires, you can! To make life a bit simpler, we have put together 30 ways that you can support yourself while you do so.
30 Ways To Support Yourself
Don’t Stop Working
When you realize your dream it’s difficult to imagine doing anything else. It’s completely understandable that you’d want to dive in headfirst. However, before you can really pursue your dreams and desires, you need to think practically.
Don’t stop working your day job unless you are financially secure enough to do so. If your dream is worth it, you’ll find a way to balance the day job and your pursuit. It won’t be forever, but it will help you provide for yourself financially.
Take a look at the steps you need to take to get you to where you need to be. Know how long you can realistically continue working and at what point you will need to quit.
Maintaining a day job while preparing for that end goal is going to keep the pressure off. You won’t feel as pressured to succeed, you’ll have steady income, insurance, benefits, and you can save while you’re at it.
As you begin your endeavor, take stock. How much will you need to pursue your dream and where is it going to come from? As noted above, keeping your day job is a good idea. You have to consider your living expenses, as well as business expenses.
Take a look at your personal monthly outgoings and what you expect to expend in business spending. You’ll need to add these totals together and multiply it by 12 to get an idea of your yearly costs. You see now why we suggest holding onto your job.
Your business expenses will all depend on what your dreams and desires are, of course. If you plan to be a freelance photographer, then you won’t have many ongoing monthly costs.
However, if you intend to open a cafe, there will be a lot to purchase. Determining how you plan to fund your venture won’t just provide you with financial support, having a plan in place is going to support you emotionally and mentally as well.
Explore Revenue Sources
Your dream may have an obvious path to income, but as you embark on your journey it’s wise to explore other revenue sources. For example, say you do plan to open a cafe. How else can that business generate cash? You could sell branded clothing, host events and parties to increase income, and even allow local artists to showcase their art.
Beyond exploring other revenue sources within your dream or business, it’s also wise to look at how you can generate a passive income source. For example, if you maintain a blog or have a business blog, then you could look at affiliate marketing within your blogosphere.
You can also earn ad revenue by allowing companies to advertise on your website. If you’re a photographer, there are websites where you can post generic photos for people to buy/use. It’s always great to have income that takes very little work, this is just another way to support yourself when chasing your dreams and desires.
Uber, Lyft, Uber Eats, Deliveroo, there are plenty of options. There was once a stigma around side gigs. However, with the rise of these delivery and rideshare apps, it’s become more common for people to have side hustles. You might find that this is the perfect solution for your income problem.
You can work when you’re free and earn additional income to support yourself while you chase your dreams. It might be that you choose this route for supplemental income or embark on it as your regular job to be completely flexible in pursuing your dream.
There are a lot of companies that offer gigs as online tutors. All you need is a bit of expertise in a specific subject and you can earn money for every question you answer on a live chat. Or, hold timed tutoring sessions with students in need of help. You will need great communication skills, but it’s easy enough to set the schedule you want, to work the hours that fit your life, and this allows you to do what you need to do to pursue your dream while still earning.
This option is two-fold. First of all, you can freelance to earn additional income to pursue your dream. Or, you can freelance to fulfill your dream. The latter allows you to flexibly pursue your dream while still working your day job. This will allow you to continue earning while you build up experience and a client base. Once you have experience under your belt you can apply for permanent positions. Or, you may find that freelancing is the right move for you.
Again, this is another two-fold way to support yourself. If you love animals and working with them is your dream, then dog walking is a great place to get your start. It’s also a flexible way to earn additional income.
All you need is a smartphone because there are on-demand apps that allow you to set yourself up as a dog walker. Rover and Wag! are two examples. You can charge $20 an hour for dog walking, but it’s also possible to board animals or pet-sit at other’s homes.
Fiverr and Taskrabbit are good examples of odd job apps that will help you earn additional income. The idea is that you list as many abilities and skills as you can and tackle odd jobs for people willing to pay. It could be that someone needs a hand moving, but it might also be that they need help crafting their dating profile.
Flexible Working Hours
If there is no way you can work your day job while chasing your dreams, then you should find a new job. There’s a good chance you won’t walk into your dream job so, take a job that provides you a regular income and offers flexible working hours. This will allow you plenty of time on the side to pursue your dream. Many part-time roles come with health insurance and other benefits.
Sell it On
Consider downsizing and streamlining your material possessions by selling off the things you don’t need or use anymore. A little nest egg is a handy thing to have for a rainy day, whether you need to draw from it to live or to support your dreams. If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room, then consider listing it for rent to create an additional source of income.
Mentally & Emotionally
Develop Your Plan
If you want to support yourself mentally and emotionally, then before you start chasing your dreams and desires you will have a plan in place.
Your dream may be to be a business owner, it could be to work for yourself, but not every dream is job-related. A business requires a business plan. You will need a plan to set yourself up as a freelancer working for yourself. Likewise, if your dreams and desires lay outside of the working world, it’s still wise to put a plan together.
There are all kinds of dreams, idealistic ones where you imagine yourself changing the world, career dreams that you want to pursue, destination dreams where you want to get to a certain point in life, romantic dreams about the person you end up with, and material dreams that revolve around pursuing possessions. Even these types of dreams require a plan.
If you’re in a position where you don’t feel fulfilled, then a new job may be on the cards. You may have identified your dream, but your job isn’t related to that field and you’d like to make the move.
Look for a job that will provide you with some relevant experience while also providing you with a steady paycheck. This will allow you to start the journey of pursuing your dream without putting your financial situation in too much peril.
Now, you may not be able to walk away from your salary. So, if your dream is to open a bar even though you have no experience, see if you can pick up odd shifts in your local bar.
Some dreams we hold without realizing the work that’s required. It’s always good to get an insight into that world and gain experience before diving in headfirst.
If you want to change the world, well, you don’t have to quit your job to do that. You can start by volunteering in your local community. You may be able to carve out a career from there, but you have to get your foot in the door and gain experience first.
Perfect the Craft
What’s your dream? How can you become an expert in every part of it? If your dream is to be a fashion designer, then you can learn the tools of the trade. You can practice your sketches, work with fabric, research and test the relevant computer programs, and experiment with your designs.
Every dream has components you can learn, research, and practice. If your dream is to play the Grand Ole Opry, then you had best practice and perform as often as possible.
The idea behind perfecting your craft is that by the time you get to live your dream, you don’t need to worry about wasting money and time learning it. You’re already there. You’re essentially preparing yourself to live your dream while you chase after it.
If you want to achieve your dreams and desires, then you have to put yourself out there. How is networking supporting yourself? It’s improving your chances to succeed which is effectively supporting your dreams. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself is to be in the right place at the right time. When you are, take the opportunities that come your way if it’s related to your passion in any way, shape or form.
Did you ever dream of being a movie star? Did you ever take it to the extent that you hired an agent and went on auditions? Did you avoid taking a job with a steady income because you were you convinced that you would be starring opposite Jake Gyllenhaal? Did you eventually take a job or follow a career path, but you never let go of that dream and you’re desperate to quit and chase it?
Being a movie star is a big dream. Not every successful actor stars in blockbusters and gets nominated for prestigious awards. When you think of movie stars or famous actors you think of the multi-millionaires who have dominated the big screen for years. The reality is that the average Screen Actors Guild salary is just over $50,000.
The majority of SAG members earn less than a thousand dollars every year. For all the millionaires, there are those just making a living. You have to be realistic about your dream.
So, if you do want to be an actor, then you should keep your job and go on auditions. You can invest in acting classes, audition as often as possible, and live your dream while still maintaining your day job.
There’s a little bit more to being realistic when it comes to chasing your dreams. So, before you go any further, you need to really question your dreams and desires. Use the questions below to get realistic.
- Do I have the extraordinary talent necessary to fulfill my extraordinary dream? For example, do you have an opera-singing voice that backs up your dream to be an opera singer? Will investing in voice lessons improve your chances?
- Do I require specific training, experience, and qualifications to live my dream? So, do you want to be a judge or an astronaut? Do you have the qualifications to chase that dream? If not, do you have the will, desire, and finances to obtain those qualifications?
- Is my current position going to allow me to take major risks? For example, if you’re a single parent, you might not be able to take as many risks as you have children to support. If you’re dealing with an ongoing health issue, you might not be able to risk the loss of insurance.
Understand, the way you answer these questions doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up your dream. It simply means you have to work on your plan. If you can’t hold a tune, then you’re not going to be an opera singer. However, you may have a voice that will improve with professional lessons. You might not be in a position to be a judge right now, but schooling and experience can change that.
Now, if your dream is to be an actor… you might not be on the path to an Oscar, but there are plenty of character actors that make a decent living from pursuing their passion. Sometimes, you have to adjust your expectations.
So what if you’re not going to win an Oscar, your dream doesn’t end at letting go of an unrealistic dream. As noted above, you can still carve out an acting career if you’re prepared to put in the work, attend acting classes, and audition until it goes your way.
It’s all about adapting, identifying strengths, and then using them to pursue your dreams. It might be in a different way than you imagined, but the best way to succeed in your dreams is to take your strengths, combine your passion, and go for it.
Encouragement Not Discouragement
Taking risks is scary, you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel petrified at the thought of chasing your dreams. It’s important that you constantly encourage yourself and avoid the people and situations that discourage you.
When you set a goal, set a path to reach it and learn and grow as you navigate those steps. If you don’t make it in time, don’t beat yourself up. Tweak your goal and go again. Make note of the things that encourage and motivate you the most and draw on them when you need to
You can hold onto painful memories of failure or you can set your sights on chasing your dreams. You should learn more failure and move forward, never let it hold you back.
Don’t continue living in denial about your current situation. If it isn’t ideal, then you need to acknowledge it. You can’t move beyond the obstacles you’re dealing with it if you deny them. You won’t move closer to your dreams and desires if you ignore your situation. Accept your circumstances and determine what you can do to change it.
Procrastination can be deadly. You can’t recover wasted time. If you want to succeed in chasing your dreams, then you’re going to have to put the hard work in. This means that you have to account for how you spend your time and focus on achievement.
Don’t Neglect Yourself
You’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself. You are chasing your dreams, you’re working a day job to maintain a steady income, you’re busy. It’s easy to get sick and break down when you put yourself under pressure. It’s difficult to move forward when you’re struggling mentally and/or physically. Always make time for self-care. Eat well, keep a consistent sleep pattern, exercise often, and look after yourself.
Don’t Wait For It
Don’t wait for a door to open, knock the door down. You can’t wait for things to go your own way; you have to make your own luck. Don’t wait for friendships, go find friends. Don’t wait for romance, go out and find it. If you want something, you don’t have to wait for it you can go out and chase it.
Don’t Take Things Personally
People might judge you by your looks, your way of life, your diet, your job title. Who cares? The reason people judge is because of their own insecurities. You can’t take things personally when you’re chasing your dreams, you just have to go for it.
Don’t Dwell on the Negative
You might not be able to remain positive all the time, but you can prevent yourself from constantly dwelling on the negative. Negative thoughts imprison you, and they hold you back from pursuing your dreams. You can cry through the negativity, you can allow yourself to feel it, but you can’t let it overtake you. Let those negative feelings out and focus on the positives.
Don’t Make Comparisons
Don’t torture yourself by comparing yourself to others. It doesn’t matter that Jared from HR just bought a boat. Who cares if cousin Abbie upgraded to a bigger house? You don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, but even if their lives are picture-perfect it should make you happy. You have to focus on creating your own life and happiness. Don’t worry about what other people are doing.
Don’t Seek Approval
Think of your dream like you do your car. You’re the one sitting behind the wheel and driving. It’s up to you to decide the route, not your passengers. Don’t worry about the approval of others. You should only worry about getting help from people who encourage you and support the mission you’re on.
Always Be True To Yourself
Don’t force something that forces you away from authenticity. You can chase your dreams till the cows come home, but if you aren’t acting in line with your values it’s going to be an impossible journey.
You’ve been working hard to pursue your dreams, don’t forget to take a break and reflect on your progress. This is your opportunity to tweak your plans, change your tact, and learn to adapt.
Don’t Give Up
No matter how difficult it gets, no matter how frustrated you feel, no matter what happens… don’t give up. Once you start the chase, don’t stop until you get what you want.
Gives Yourself Time
Yes, it’s important to set a timeline and work on it. However, it’s just as important to allow yourself to take the necessary time to chase your dreams and achieve your goals. Don’t be too hard on yourself.