Aaron was working a full-time job as a sound engineer when he decided to pursue his interest in audiobook narration. He had a great deal of recording studio experience doing voice-overs, commercials, and even a few local audiobook narrators. Coupled with his deep love of books, audiobook narration seemed a natural outgrowth of two loves.
A quick Google search revealed that it wasn’t necessary to be in one of the bi-coastal entertainment meccas to become an audiobook narrator. Pretty soon, Aaron was narrating from a closet in his home. He’d be the first to tell you those were not his best recordings, but he loved it.
And as he learned more about this new venture, he upgraded his equipment to a portable voice over booth. In the meantime, he picked up more work putting in 10-20 hours a week, which swallowed up his evenings and weekends.
To those on the outside, it might’ve seemed crazy to sacrifice precious downtime to pursue this new thing. About a year, he began making solid connections, getting to know industry insiders, then someone who coached him and someone to advise him. When his audiobook gig hit 40 hours a week, he opted out of his day job to pursue narrating audiobooks fulltime. How crazy? He’s been in it for over two years now and is one of the rising stars in the industry.
Every day people awaken to their dreams and passions and break out to pursue their full potential. But these opportunities are not handed to any of us. They are sought out and different decisions are made to affect the outcome. Those outcomes are dependent on decisions that we make hundreds of times a day.
• Am I going to play Candy Crush or send five prospecting emails on my break?
• Will I stop off for a beer after work Friday or invest that money in a Facebook/ LinkedIn/twitter ad?
• Do I listen to my favorite music on my commute or learn a new skill with a podcast or audiobook?
Knowing which sacrifices to make is also important. You can spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars “getting ready.” It might seem like a great idea to wait until everything is perfect before you start. My dad used to call that “waiting for all the lights to turn green.” The perfect time is never going to happen. Your success comes down to taking action, doing something now, being flexible and learning along the way.
Aaron gave up precious sleep to work overnight recording when his environment was at its quietest until he was able to finally build a soundproof recording studio. He found a way to do what he needed to until he could make it ideal. That’s a good sacrifice. It leads to a good end result. And because he made careful sacrifices for about a year, he was able to reap a new career.
What does this mean for you?
The time is now. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. Every moment counts and if you’re not living the life you always dreamed of then your next job is to make that happen. It is a rare occurrence for any of us to have a great idea about our future and have rich uncles waiting in the wings to fund it. Even rarer still is that Fairy godmother with a fat bank account who can’t wait to put in your care. Until Aaron earned enough to buy his portable voice over booth, he kept working, he got advice, he got coaching.
Sometimes your sacrifice will be money, and sometimes it will be time. To create the life you want, you can start out small and slow and persistent. Aaron recorded in a closet. He used what he had available to begin that day. By adopting a long-term mindset, you can keep taking forward steps.
Aaron had some experience in the recording industry and that provided a foundation he could build from. He knew those first recordings weren’t the best. But he learned from them and kept moving forward. If, at any point along the way, he’d stopped making sacrifices, he would have lost valuable momentum.
The time to do something is when you’re excited about it, when the energy is pumping and you feel invincible. After you have a couple of small wins, those will encourage you to keep going. In your early phases, keep track of the wins. When you hit those days that make you wonder why you ever started, you’ll have the wins to get you through those dry patches.
What can you do with what you have right now? What sacrifice can you make today to keep the momentum going?