This time last year, I was working for the head office of a clothing company in London.
I was earning a lot of money but; I was on call 24/7, leaving the house at 6am and getting back at 7.30pm and working alone in the corner of the office with only Spotify to keep me company. I can't even use Spotify now without the annoying advert lady's voice bringing back memories of sitting in the corner crying into my porridge and wanting to throw my Blackberry at the wall. Seriously.
I was desperately miserable but I got on with it because I was always being told that's what you have to do as a grown up. My parents have strong work ethics, so from the age of 16 I went to work to earn money to put away for the future, despite knowing that the corporate world was something I just couldn't do well in and would never feel satisfied with.
Unsurprisingly I've either left without warning or been sacked from every job I've ever had. Cue me blubbering all over my other half last December having realised I could not work in offices any longer, without having realised what it was I actually did want to do. I had no qualifications or experience in anything other than office management and felt I was destined for a life of lever arch files, office politics in the kitchenette and pervy-coffee-breath-IT-guys.
So you do you know what I did? I gave myself a kick up the arse, threw caution to the wind, and decided to make my own luck in life!
If you're stuck in the same rut as I was and are desperate for a change, follow these simple steps to get from where you are, to where you want to be.
1. Don't be scared. It will never be the 'right time' to take a risk. There will always be something stopping you, a niggling 'what if?' Don't be scared of taking a leap of faith and aiming high. No one ever achieved their dreams by plodding along in life and settling for something that they hate! You will only ever regret the chances that you didn't take.
2. Network. When opportunities arise, most of the time it's not what you know, it's who you know. Follow people on Twitter who are doing what you want to do. Strike up conversations with them and get to know them. You'd be surprised how many people will think of you when they know of any vacancies or opportunities in the industry that you want to be in, and if you promote your work hard enough, you may even be approached by someone.
3. Be persistent. Work hard. If it means writing all day and then working at night, or looking after the children all day and sewing while they're in bed, you want to be the best that you can possibly be in your field. Practice, practice, practice. Enter competitions, set up stalls at craft fairs, write a blog, do whatever you think it will take to get you noticed.
4. Be realistic. You won't achieve your dreams overnight and you more than likely won't make a lot of money in the beginning. Your first writing job won't be for The Telegraph and your first jewellery range probably won't be for Tatty Devine. You may even decide to offer your services for free to the company of your dreams as a platform to get your name out there- just be realistic, and understand it will probably be a hard slog in the beginning!
5. Dream big. There should be no limit to your ambition. The world is your oyster! The owners of the clothing company I used to work for were friends at University and decided to set up the company in their Summer holidays with a bank loan. They lived and worked in the first store and now they are millionaires with 52 stores all over the World- because they dreamed big!
Having followed these steps, I'm now in the perfect job for me and I'm also making steps towards my dream freelance career. My life has changed dramatically- the money might not be great, and I work more days than I used to- but I'm finally happy, and that's worth more than all the money in the World.
Image Via John O'Nolan's Flickr