I met someone the other day who told me she wanted to get into acting. So what did she do? She got involved behind the scenes instead. Her plan was that she’d “fall into” being used on-set and on-camera by understanding the behind-the-scenes operations. Luckily, one time she did get asked to be a stand-in on set (a pretty cool paying gig that helps you get used to being on camera and on-set).
Bless her heart. How comfortable to want the rewards without taking the risk. And how easy to put the risk of failure on someone else (“But no one ever noticed me back there!”)
If you want to act, act. Don’t just be an extra, don’t be a production assistant….take some damn acting classes, get professional headshots and start auditioning for any and every role you can. If you want to start a jewelry line, start a jewelry line. Take a course, experiment with some designs, and see if you can start throwing living room parties or snag a booth at your local farmer’s market. If you want to launch your own consulting business, launch your own consulting business. Leverage the skills you’ve spent time, sweat and money developing, package them up into some irresistible offerings and just start networking.
Don’t say, “Well, I do this but one day I’d really like to (BLANK).” Start with “I’m a (BLANK) at heart, but I pay my bills doing X.” A big part of claiming your expertise is confidently embracing that you are something. Once you start leading with that, you’ll be surprised at the referrals or opportunities that can come your way. I am a writer, an actress and a branding consultant. That is what I am. That is what is in my blood. Do I get the occasional, “Oh you’re an actress! Have I seen any of your work?” Sure I do. But my answer is, “Probably not. I do a lot of theatre and the occasional short film project” (like I did this past weekend). But you know what? I am in plays. I am in short films. Ergo, I ACT! Just because my face is not plastered across tabloids or I don’t have a multi-million dollar movie deal with Scorsese (how sweet would that be?!), I still act Fame does not equate to doing the activity. I’ve never been to the Olympics either – does that mean I’m not “really” a skier?
When I opened my brand consulting business, I had to consciously stop defining myself by what I was and start embracing who I had become. No more, “Well, I used to be a Silicon Valley marketing director but now I’m doing my own thing.” It became, “I am a branding consultant with almost 20 years experience with clients large and small.”
No one is going to cast/hire/buy jewelry from someone who is not really committed to it. Why would they spend their money on someone who is not really quite sure they can deliver? Confidence and moxie attracts. You have the talent, the skills and the drive. If you don’t get out there and claim your space, who is going to do it for you?