Creating the Life You Want to Live

August 22, 2011 · 30 comments

The universe sends us opportunities when we least expect it. Sometimes those opportunities are veiled as disappointments, and sometimes we miss them altogether.

But when we recognize them and jump, an amazing thing happens: the opportunities multiply.

Which is why, when an appealing client came my way recently, I decided to go for it.

Not just for this client. I mean really go for it. Head out on my own, as an entrepreneur, an independent consultant, an innovator with time to follow through on all of the projects she’s outlined in her head. Because if I make this jump, the opportunities will multiply, right? (This is where you nod and tell me I made the right decision.)

So Friday was my last day at the media company where I’ve worked for the last year. I met some lovely people there and learned skills (like the power of SEO) that I’ll carry with me to my next venture. But I want my career to be about professional and personal growth, and heading off on my own is the best way to continue on that path.

Can we stop and raise a glass? I’m a FREE AGENT!

I’m not one of those people who shuns full-time jobs. I appreciate the stability of a paycheck every two weeks and health insurance, and I see myself back in a full-time position in the future.

But everything is about timing, and sometimes the non-traditional route is the smart one, especially when you have ideas coming out of your ears.

This client is an innovative company I’m psyched to work for, and my blogging and editing skills are a perfect match for what they need. But here’s what sealed the deal: they wanted me for 2-3 days a week. That means I can have a steady paycheck (albeit not a full-time one) and time to focus on my own projects. I can cobble together an income doing all the things I love.

When friends hear I’m making this move — that I’m working remotely and challenging myself in new ways — some will say I’m lucky. (Others will think I’m nuts.) I know to expect this because they said it when I spent six months traveling in Africa and when I landed the full-time job I just left and when I said my side biz brings in $2,000 a month (never mind the failures along the way). And there is an element of luck to everything, of being in front of the right door at the right time.

But you know my mantra: We make our own luck. If you want to create a different life for yourself, you can make it happen. There are always opportunities to make your own luck if you dig hard enough to find them. You might not be able to make that luck immediately, but if you chip away at it over time, it will be there when you need it, even if you didn’t expect to need it.

Unfortunately, making your own luck is more difficult and, quite frankly, more terrifying than staying in a good job.

Yet risk brings reward, and now I have a huge opportunity. I have more time to complete exciting, money-making projects like my social-media consulting guide. Time to freelance as a journalist and finish my second book. And I’ll be able to take on new creative opportunities that come my way, work-related or otherwise.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll tell you more about my plans for generating income, factors that went into this decision and what I’m hoping to learn along the way. I’ll also share tips for how you might be able to make a similar move if you want more flexibility in your career. But for now, I’ll leave you with this:

I’m available for hire! WOOT!

She looks psyched, but also kind of like a deer in the headlights, which is pretty much how I feel. (Photo credit: Flickr's skippyjon)

 

Friday was my last day with the media company where I’ve worked for the last year.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather Sunseri August 22, 2011 at 7:26 am

WOOT! Congrats, Alexis! And I love how you’re always ready to step out of your comfort zone and go after what you want.

I’ve worked so many different schedules in my career since I started having children, that I know exactly what you mean. You forge your own path, and things just seem to work out. Often times when you take those chances, other opportunities just seem to come out of it.
Heather Sunseri recently posted…There is no room for complaining on a short-term mission, or anywhere reallyMy Profile

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Alexis Grant August 22, 2011 at 8:42 am

Anybody else having trouble leaving a comment? If so, please email me: alexiskgrant@gmail.com. Thanks!

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Leslie Forman August 22, 2011 at 8:58 am

Congrats!!!

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Leslie Forman August 22, 2011 at 9:04 am

Your comment feature just worked for me, and now I’ll leave a more substantial comment. :) Kudos to you for taking the time to figure out how to build a business off your skills, while in a visible position with a larger media company. YAY!!!
Leslie Forman recently posted…New Name, New Design, and a New MissionMy Profile

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Andre Blackman August 22, 2011 at 9:24 am

This is fantastic news Alexis! Glad to hear it – it’s been something that’s been going in and out of my own head for quite some time. Can’t wait to see what your next adventure brings!
Andre Blackman recently posted…Happy One Year Anniversary, Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media!My Profile

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Heather Rae August 22, 2011 at 9:25 am

First. Yes. That picture is perfect! Second. Congratulations! That’s wonderful news, and I’m so excited for you! I look forward to hearing more about all your plans, the projects you’re working on and how it’s all going. This sounds like a perfect leap at the perfect time. I, too, have been putting a lot of thought into reprioritizing and doing something creative with my ‘work’ life. I’m going back to school full-time and the thought of doing that while working full-time *yet again* sort of makes me want to vomit. So it’s really awesome to see another person out there that is successfully designing a work life that fits what THEY need. Again, congratulations!!
Heather Rae recently posted…In Search of: A Little Self-CareMy Profile

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Andi of My Beautiful Adventures August 22, 2011 at 9:50 am

Super de super exciting, congrats!

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Keli Gwyn August 22, 2011 at 10:04 am

All the best to you, Lexi, as you embark on your new adventure.
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Peggy Frezon August 22, 2011 at 10:56 am

I’m lifting my glass of Diet Coke to toast you! I know you’ll be involved in many exciting ventures.
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Andrea James August 22, 2011 at 11:50 am

Really well said. Congratulations!

Your clients are lucky to have you!
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Nicole Basaraba August 22, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Congrats on going freelance! I hope to be able to do the same one day. I just need to learn how to break into.

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Lee Cart August 22, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Congrats! Glad to hear you’ve made the leap into a new realm and it’ll be fun to see what you have to say about the whole process in your upcoming posts.

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Shannon Young August 22, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Congratulations on this opportunity! I’m hoping to branch out on my own when I complete my current contract next year. I’m not sure yet what form that branching out will take, but it is encouraging to see you doing it first. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with your newly available time.
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Alexis Grant August 23, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Awesome! Hopefully I’ll be able to pull out some nuggets that are helpful for you :)

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Prime August 23, 2011 at 1:00 am

Congrats!!!! Nothing beats being your own boss.

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Patrick Ross August 23, 2011 at 8:03 am

I’m very happy for you, Alexis! It’s exciting, and great that you will have a steady part-time client to help your transition! Congratulations on making your own luck!

Again I’m struck by our parallels here, journalists in D.C. writing travel memoirs who are braving self-employment.
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Alexis Grant August 23, 2011 at 8:25 am

Patrick — Yes! I read your blog regularly, always excited when it comes through my RSS. Did I realize you were in DC? We should grab a drink sometime!

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Patrick Ross August 23, 2011 at 8:39 am

That’s a great idea! I’ll follow up next week; heading out on a family vacation now, and if you look at my blog you’ll see this is one of the places I told my readers they should hang out while I’m gone. :)
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Alexis Grant August 23, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Sounds great! And thanks!

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Kate | Transatlantic Sketches August 23, 2011 at 12:46 pm

SO AWESOME!! Congrats, congrats, congrats!

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alisha August 23, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Congratulations, this is awesome news! Way to make your luck. :)

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Torre – Fearful Adventurer August 23, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Congratulations! How exciting. I’ve been working for myself for 4 years now and it’s awesome. Welcome to a life of wearing your robe until noon. :)
Torre – Fearful Adventurer recently posted…Why I Don’t Like Ten Year PlansMy Profile

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Lois Farley Shuford September 18, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Lexi,
I am so impressed with what you’re doing and so happy that you’re doing what you love. Only good things can come from that!
Just bookmarked your blog and will be a frequent reader.
Cheers,
Lois

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Alexis Grant September 18, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Thanks so much, Lois!

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Brandy Booth May 28, 2012 at 11:23 am

I googled “blog about creating the life you want” and yours came up about four items down the page. Good job. My interests and dream are the same as yours (writing for a living and owning my schedule and location), but our backgrounds are different. I am interested to see your progress and will contribute and learn whenever I can.

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