5 ways to keep the dream alive

Do you have a dream you've been chasing after a while? One that you can't help but think about daily? Hourly? All.The.Time? Well, I do, and while at times it can be super exciting and give me life and purpose, sometimes it's just downright intimidating. Here are just a few ways I keep focused and determined about achieving my goals.

1) Find out first hand if what you want is actually what you want before you go all-in.  For me, it was when I was studying abroad in London when I finally felt everything click. I took a chance and found a craft-related internship instead of the costume/theatre one expected of me to see if my little crafty fantasy might actually be something real I wanted to pursue. I worked with a woman who founded her own craft market in South London that catered to a younger, hipper crowd than your typical craft market. She curates the designer-maker vendors, has her friend DJ, and drinks and cake were available to purchase. Crafty heaven, in my opinion. Being around this woman, her friends, and the community she created made me realize that the craft community is where I feel the most happy/genuine/excited.

When I got back to Portland, I looked at everything within a new lens of my dream of owning my own creative business one day.  I sought out crafty things, and decided that I should probably get a retail job to find out if owning a store might actually be my calling (also I needed the money!). Lil' introvert me quickly realized that YES, I do love retail.  I started to daydream about my own store, and make mental notes.  My imaginary craft store that only existed in a mostly-joking Pinterest board became my #1 professional goal.

2) When people ask you what you want to do with your life, know what to say. I struggled with voicing my dream for years, and when I finally told it to the people I loved and respected the most in my personal life and finally my academic/professional life, all I got was an overwhelming wave of encouragement. It makes me want to tear up just thinking about it! Knowing you have a support system is crucial in chasing any way-bigger-than-you dream, and will make you feel more confident in your dream.

3) Do your research. It's hard to get out of the daydreaming phase.  I remembered the moment it hit me that MAN, THIS IS GOING TO BE A WHOLE LOT OF WORK. It was Christmastime, and I was catching up with an old high school friend who is an Econ major.  When I mentioned my dream craft shop/workshop space/cafe, she mentioned something about needing a sink.  To use a pun openly, that's when it really sunk in.  Starting a business isn't all ideas, pretty branding, and imaginary events. There are sinks, people! Spreadsheets, budgeting, paying bills...the whole scary enchilada.

But yes. Research. The one thing I kept reading about over and over again in my research about starting a small business was FIND A MENTOR. I took that to heart after reading it about 39472948 times. I started emailing local craft stores that might identify with my dream. I was lucky and only had to email two people before ending my search. One didn't reply, but the other did almost immediately. I knew I had made the right move. I set up weekly meetings with this small business owner all summer. It started out as doing odd jobs around the shop in exchange for 15-30 minutes interviewing her, to helping out with classes, feeling like part of the family, and eventually being offered a part-time job! Ya just gotta go for it! Surprise yourself.

4) Picture it. I'm a very visual person, so being able to see ideas in front of me is crucial. I have a Pinterest board of resources that I might need as a small business owner. Some are serious, like "Tips for Self-Promoting" and some are literally cake recipes.  It's all about the balance, y'all. You have to think about the fun little details too! It's not all sinks and bills. There are fun things too!

Another thing that I did recently was use a free Squarespace trial to create a mock-up for my dream business. It sounds frivolous and completely silly, but honestly, it was a great way to force myself to fill a page with content that I identified with. It also helped me notice new things, like colors that I think might be best for branding, or words I might want to avoid as to not turn certain demographics off. Pretty crazy, right?

5) Observe others (or businesses) that you admire. I admire so many businesswomen out there doing their thang (I'll share a few in a later post). It's inspiring, and sometimes intimidating.  But just remember that they were where you are once upon a time.  You'll get there (my current mantra).

Personally, I find a lot of inspiration and food for thought when I'm browsing storefronts--particularly ones that do more than one thing (for instance, a tea shop that has a vintage shop downstairs or a warehouse that's a restaurant/bar/soda fountain/recreational center/retail space--like WHAT! So inspiring!).

Well, that's it for now.  Let me know if you have any other pieces of advice! WE CAN DO IT!


Dillon said...

Love this list Kaylie! Keep on keepin' on, I'll be in your shoes soon enough.

Keri Hatos said...

I have never worried about you. I have always know that you will be a successful young woman! xoxo