But not just yet.
You need a plan, right? Something to keep you afloat while you toil away working for the man?
BB, we feel you. And that's why FCF is dedicated to helping other artists and entrepreneurs GTFO of their day jobs and into their dream jobs.
But if you want to be a full-time #dreamer you need a plan that's dope af. You can't leave your life up to luck and timing. That's irresponsible. And leads us to our first part of Plan A:
Plan A - Getting Out Without F*cking Up Your Life
Part One: DON'T BE IRRESPONSIBLE.
If your plan consists of the noble trial that is saving up a bunch of money - and we do mean a BUNCH - and moving to NYC to be an actor, auditioning for three months straight, nailing life, getting picked up by a top-tier agency, getting cast on Broadway or in the next Scorsese film, then you aren't a dreamer.
You are delusional.
Which is GREAT in small doses, when tempered with responsible action and pragmatism. Delusions of grandeur are a great motivator as long as you understand that you are still living in a reality based on trading cash for shelter and food at the very least. Cash is king in this world. You're going to need a plan to get some green stashed away and get some more when you eventually decide to leave the day job behind.
Thus, you need an actual plan and actual paying gigs to start your career. Not just a dream.
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a pretty great book called Big Magic in which she describes the limiting effect on creativity that stress has on the brain.
If your mind is constantly worrying about how the bills will get paid, it can't tackle things like an epic poem you are dying to write or that script that will make you famous. When you're well and truly stressed the f*ck out, you aren't going to be able to access the emotions that will win you an Oscar someday or sell that song about heartbreak that will get you a Grammy nod.
None of that is going to happen until you can take a minute to catch your breath. And if rent and the lack of cash flow in your bank account is acting like a constant stopper to your creativity, then how the heck do you think you're going to build that epic career? Winging it? Praying? A viral video of you dancing on the train?
No, baby cakes. Nah. You need a plan.
DON'T BE IRRESPONSIBLE. Resolve to make a decent go of your dream by figuring out a plan that could work for you and your individual skillset and then stick to it like your life depends on it. Because, pumpkin, I've got news for you: it does.
Part Two: MAKE A BUDGET.
Charts and graphs scare the sh*t out of people. Why, I will never know. But they really do. People get scared to make budgets for themselves, even simple household budgets, and instead of living within their means, they consistently overspend.
This is how credit card debt happens.
The best way to avoid this is to make a very simple spreadsheet detailing your monthly expenses vs. monthly income. You can download our free copy here.
In this spreadsheet, all you have to do is jot down what you make per month and all - ALL - of your average bills, rent, food costs, travel fees, insurance payments, etc. Then, total the costs of your expenses, subtract that from your total monthly income and find the difference. If you're in the red, you'll know how far beyond your means you are currently living.
If you're in the black, you might like to put your extra bits of cash directly into savings for a rainy day. My mom taught me to do that. When I worked in Corporate Land, I had a nice chunk of around 5K in savings at all times or I went into FREAK OUT MODE. Now that I work for myself, that savings account saves my ass all of the time. All extra cash - even quarters I find in the couch - goes into that account for slow months. Is it anywhere near my nice 5K/month from before?
Nope. But it is something and that something is sometimes EVERYTHING.
So save your sh*t and save your life.
Part Three: BREAK UP WITH YOUR CREDIT CARD.
It's not real money. You don't treat it like real money. And it's fucking you in the butt every time you don't pay it off in FULL every month.
Credit cards are sometimes the only way to get by in a month. I get that. But if you are consistently living off your credit cards because you cannot afford your lifestyle, you are basically enslaving yourself to the credit card companies. And the only way to set yourself free is cut that sh*t up, throw it out, and slowly pay it off. Bit by bit.
If you have so much debt that you can't foresee any way to pay it off within the next two years, then you need to make some significant overhauls in your life choices. You can't keep doing the same action and expect a new outcome. You need to realize once again that you might be delusional.
Some debt is unavoidable. You can't get a job without a decent education and an American collegiate education is expensive. You are going to go into debt at some point for some reason. It will happen. You'll buy a house or a car or a diploma and you'll be in the red. You might fall into consumer debt, which is incredibly common and annoying because why can't we all just have NICE THINGS? The magazines lied to us as children! IKEA is a cruel mistress! Instagram is a facade!
But once you've gotten into debt, it's up to you to get yourself out. You can pick up extra work. You can stop going out on weeknights. You can cease the Starbucks addiction (it's a thing, and I have it. Stop judging me.)
What did I say about the judging?!?
Anyway, quit worrying about my caffeine issues and worry about that credit card company snatching all your money away and chaining you up in debt forever! I've been there. Em has been there. It's the devil. Just cut it up and remind yourself that Pinterest outfits aren't real life just like Kim K's butt is not a real butt.
Part Four: CHILL.
You aren't going to achieve any of this quickly. It's not happening. It's going to take a minute.
When people feel anxious or stressed, they make bad decisions. It's like going to the grocery store when you are hungry. You wind up buying six things of chocolate almonds, a rotisserie chicken, and five bags of pita chips in all different flavors because STARVATION. Also, very expensive French cheese that gives you gas does not make a meal, Susan.
So, when you are stressed the f*ck out over your finances and how you're going to dig your ass out of a debt hole... wait. What did I just write?
...Let's try that again.
When you're stressed about finances, you make poor financial decisions to distract yourself. You hate your job so you treat yourself to a nice sweater or a new haircut for putting up with it. You hate your apartment so you put a down payment on a much nicer, unfurnished sublet and regret it almost immediately. You might be going through an unfortunate divorce and are also cash poor since the attorney fees are sapping you dry. But still, you decide to sign up for Soul Cycle classes and work out all of your frustrations on the bike.
These are all fine if you can afford it. My homegirl, Kaitlin, likes to say that it's fine as long as it's a mistake you can afford. A $5 cup of coffee is fine if you don't do it every day and calculate that into your budget. It's not okay if you can't afford your rent and the sweater and the coffee and you never bothered to go to that Soul Cycle class you paid for in full.
The sweater or some variation of it will still be there in a few months. The next iPhone 3000x will come out in another two years to defeat the old iPhone's sorcery. And maybe that one will even have a better camera.
If your marriage falls apart, you're still dope as hell. You two weren't meant to be, and that's OKAY. People like to believe in permanence because it gives them a false sense of security, but that sh*t isn't real.
Life is a temporary, beautiful, messy garbage pile of butterflies.
So chill out. Life is going to happen anyway and being uber stressed out about it isn't going to save you. You're just going to wind up crying in a bathtub full of pita chips.
The best thing you can do is take a breath, sort out the pieces of your life one at a time, and make a list of feasible and achievable micro-steps toward your goals.
Part Five: MICRO-LIST YOUR LIFE GOALS.
The key to any workable plan, even this bizarre one, is preventing overwhelm. Look at any resolution you've ever made on January 1st. Look at it. No, really, look at all of this junk you were going to do for yourself.
You didn't last a week with that one about the dishes. What about those missed opportunities at the gym? That big ol' plan to take out the trash every day... I mean, what were you thinking?
The issue most people have with their yearly resolution is the same thing that they have with every resolution: they get overwhelmed.
To combat overwhelm, take a large goal like losing ten pounds and break that goal down into manageable and trackable steps.
Goal: Lose Ten Pounds
1) Make a food diary and track calorie intake. Note that 3,500 calories = 1 lb.
2) Calculate one week's average calorie intake.
3) Since 1 to 2 lbs. per week is the highest and most stable recommended weight loss by experts, we know that you can only reduce your dietary intake by 7,000 calories maximum.
4) Increase water intake and decrease weekly diet by 3,500-7,000 calories.
5) Eat the right foods for your body at the right times of the day. Carbs in the morning, lean protein throughout the day, and plenty of leafy greens with occasional fruit snacks.
6) Increase your level of exercise at a safe pace for your current fitness level.
7) Realize that weight loss is silly if you're doing it for someone else and you were fine to begin with, but your butt looks dope, so keep going.
8) Level up your fitness routine because now you're addicted to Starbucks and endorphins and you've somehow started to like all of these pop songs you used to hate. The beat really amps up your thunder.
9) Why did you start this in the first place?
10) You've lost 9 and a half pounds and also are really tired. But you basically did it!
See that shit? See how easy that was for you? Success!
You get the idea. Every big goal that you have in life can be achieved with micro-steps. Write it out and get to work. Stop making excuses like things are out of your control. Find a loophole or make your own damn loophole. You can do it. I believe in your damn ass.
Part Six: GET TO WORK.
You've made a plan. You're sticking to your plan. You're really going to stick to it this time because you despise your job that much.
Obviously you are saving a ton of money and working to get yourself out of debt right now. And I'm very proud of you.
But now you have to find work that you really love to do.
Because, as I explained in the beginning, you can't just quit with a bunch of money and win a Tony or whatever within six months. Not happening. It would be so freaking cool if you did that, and I'd want you to tell me if you did, but it is so totally unlikely that I wouldn't pin all my hopes on that miracle taking place.
Instead, you need to make ANOTHER list. I know. So many lists and charts! What is this, school?!?!?
School of life, b*tches!
This time, you'll make a list detailing part-time, freelance, and one-off gigs that you can begin now. Build them into your schedule now so that you can start gathering clients before you quit your job. Work through the weekend or a few extra nights a week. If you're a web designer and can work from home - bully for you. If you want to be a carpenter but have a job at a bank, you're going to have to sort out a new schedule or work on your days off. If you're an actor with a 9-5, you need to pick up a new skillset like being a pro-organizer on TaskRabbit or working part time for Apple so you can buy me that iPhone 3000x with the dope camera.
Just find at least five gigs that work for you and will give you a fighting chance at paying rent and feeding yourself for a year or more. Dog walker, nanny, waiter, Etsy seller, TaskRabbit-er, Retail, Dominatrix - whatever. Just sort it all out, put in on a list, and tape it to the inside of your front door. That way, every time you leave the house, you're confronted with your future. Every. Day.
As Shia LaBeouf would say, JUST DO IT.
After all, there is no Plan B; I fooled you and I'm sorry. You've got two choices: Plan A or Stay Stuck. There's also one that reads: Be Homeless, Starve, Have Flesh Eaten by Street Cats. But nobody ever chooses that one, so I just don't offer it anymore.
If you're struggling and want some one-on-one advice, leave a brief description in the comments. Either myself or one of our brilliant readers is bound to offer up some nuggets of wisdom.