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Chelsea: Hi I'm Chelsea.

Lauren: And I'm Lauren.

Chelsea: And we are...

both: The Financial Diet.

Lauren: and today we're going to be continuing the discussion about building the financial freedom to follow your dreams.

Chelsea: But no matter what those dreams are, whether it's being a professional artist, or starting your own business, or being super wealthy or whatever your dreams is, you have to learn how to start small and narrow them down.

Lauren: you can't just wake up one day and say "Hey, I'm gonna quit my job and live my best life" because that's what some you know, inspirational coffee mug told me to do.

Chelsea: It'd be nice, but it's just not the way things work, you need to have a concrete plan.

Lauren: First off, you have to home in on what your dream actually is. For me, when I was in college it was paying off my student debts and making a living as a working artist, and in order to achieve this, I broke the process into several mini-dreams that were easier to tackle.

To tackle my student debt and pay all my bills on time, I took a full time job after college, and while it didn't consist of the most exciting work, I was learning great design skills, making a steady paycheck, and the hours were reasonable which meant I could come home after work and continue on side projects. After college, I continued to live at home for a few years which allowed me to save money.

For my dream of becoming a graphic designer, I made a plan comprised of several mini-goals that I knew would take me to where I wanted to go. To do this, I gained experience, improved my technical skills, learned valuable long-term skills within the design world, and worked on side projects to diversify my portfolio.

Chelsea: And with each of these little mini-dreams, it's important to take the time to celebrate each little achievement along the way, even if it's just like... you know, a glass of wine by yourself in your bathtub. It's important to recognize what you've done and how far you've come, even if it's just a little step, and like my mom always says, you gotta know when it's good.

So once you have a more realistic idea of what you want to achieve and a timeline of how you think you're gonna achieve it, the next step that's so important is putting in place your safety net. Now we always talk about, just in general, everyone should have an emergency fund, which is like 6-9 months of your regular bills, so that if something happens, the unexpected, you lose your job, whatever, it's not the end of the world and you can protect yourself. But if you're planning on like following your dreams or even like quitting your job like we did, you're gonna need way way more than that comes both in terms of professional flexibility and financial security. And eventually you're gonna have to take a leap no matter what you're doing, and you need to make sure you have that safety net in place to be able to do so.

Lauren: For me I worked on saving a lot of money while I was still at my advertising job full time, which meant that I could take a leap on an opportunity for a passion project when it came up.

Chelsea: And for me it was a little different. I was in a job when I started writing full time, I was nannying, and it allowed me to write, you know, when the kids were asleep, or during my down time, and it gave me the flexibility to transition into writing full time before the full time wages were really there.

Lauren: Once you've mapped out a game plan for your career goals and your mini-dreams and you've put the work in to make them a possibility, the hardest part is going to be breaking into the industry.

Chelsea: ugh. Once you know what you want to do, and you've figured out how you're gonna do it and everything, the next part is that you have to figure out how you're going to do it professionally, how you're gonna make money off of it, and like she said, break into the industry.

Now for me, when I started writing I had no idea how professional writers made money, I had no idea how to even ask for money. So what I started doing was I became a really frequent commenter and unpaid contributor to some of my favorite websites, and you know, once I got kind of friendly enough with the staff to start asking them questions and talking to them, I asked a couple of my favorite ones if I could take them out to lunch and kind of pick their brain and ask them how they broke into the industry and more importantly, how they started making their money. My first goal at the time was just to have one client that paid me and it was through trading yummy food for people's interesting information that I was able to make it a reality.

Lauren: And when I wanted to find my dream design project, I started by reaching out to creators whose work I admired and--

Chelsea: Like moi!

Lauren: And that I wanted to join in on. So, in the case of TFD, I reached out to Chelsea and I asked her if she needed help writing her website, giving it a visual identity, and it ended up being like a really fruitful partnership that benefited both of us.

Chelsea: Yay!

The point is that you have to start, no matter what you're doing, by offering something, whether that's an internship, an apprenticeship, a cup of coffee, or even some free work. You can't follow your dreams until you know what those dreams look like in practice while you're working them.

Lauren: And while giving your work away for free is not sustainable for the long term, I think it's beneficial to look at yourself at the start of any professional career, as an apprentice.

Chelsea: Nearly every dream is possible, both professionally and financially, but you cannot look at the world as if it owes you something.

Lauren: You have to start very small, plan ahead, and be very prepared to face some level of rejection. See what you can offer the world and don't get discouraged if it doesn't work out right away. We believe in you!

Chelsea: We be-- aww.

Both: We believe in you! *high five*

Chelsea: So thanks for watching and don't forget to hit the subscribe button and to go to thefinancialdiet.com for more.

Both: Bye!