Quit your job. Stop being scared. That's right, I said it, scaredy cat. Make a plan, I mean, nothing just gets handed to you. Unless you get something handed to you, then that last sentence doesn't apply. Seriously though, if you stay in societies standards and hate your life, you're slowly killing your soul and inner child. You will never know if you don't try. Failure happens, it's a part of life, and it's ok. Own it, take responsibility, block yourself from the nay sayers. You're going to get the nay sayers and the people who will put you down. Expect that also. You will be dragged through the dirt, rained on, held down, and feel stuck at some points. It's not easy, and if it was easy, than our society would not be the way it is. You're expected to go to college, get a "real job" and live your life like everyone else. A lot of people are not cut out for that mold. There's nothing wrong with that mold, it's just something that isn't meant for everyone. "But what about a 401 and health insurance, and retiring?" There's so many questions that run through your mind. Everything falls into place, and there is always something else you can do. Invest your money wisely, and follow my parents saying "No cash, No splash"! For example, your friends are going out for a night on the town, and you have $20 in your pocket and nothing in the bank, don't go and charge a night out for one night out with your friends. Stay home and hone in on your skills, research things for you business, plan on what you can do to keep yourself afloat. Missing out on some things, and having friends that understand are the best things sometimes. I'm not saying miss out on ALL opportunities, but be very aware.
Have a support system. A real, genuine, empowering support system. This may mean a best friend, a spouse, parents, a mentor, or someone who will be there when you fall and never judge you. When I first started my business, I was 23, and I had no idea what to do. No one knows what to do- this is life, and it's impossible to know everything. However, when I quit my job to just be a glass artist at 26, I was so afraid. My fiancé at the time (now husband), was the best support besides my two parents who encouraged me to be an "artist". It has to be hard to be a parent, and let your kid do what they want, even if it's not a six figure paying job. I had just bought a fixer upper home with my fiancé, moved away from my parents, and was thrown into an area that I had never really explored or cared to explore for that matter. It was fight or flight. Tough it out, make a living, or go back to the securities I had, like a steady income, the same schedule, etc... Once I was thrown into that fire, I made sure not to let myself burn. I was not going to give up on my goal to be a full time artist. I struggled for a little, but then the ideas, and things that I never got to do because I had another job, started happening. You start to evolve and go against what the norm is. Yea, I make my own schedule, I work weekends, I can take off when I can take off. I work more hours than most people. But I don't have to answer to anyone but myself. It's amazing. Without the space and time to make things happen, you won't do it until you fully engulf yourself in what you love. Love is scary, but not loving is the biggest loss you could ever have.
Never stop learning. I am not a huge fan of the way our school system works, but that's my opinion, and you probably don't care about that. The best thing is to keep learning about new mediums, art, history, culture, you name it. It may open up a door that you never thought to add to your business.
Yes, I live differently. I don't own a tv or a microwave. I stay up learning new things on the internet. I love books that teach you something. I have failed and I have succeeded. The most successful thing I have ever done, was go against the grain, take the leap that everyone is afraid of, and do what I love. It's the best gift I could have ever given myself.
You need to give credit where credit is due. I can't thank all of the people who have supported me in everything that I love. My Aunt Ginny who had 94 years of knowledge, my parents and Jack, my cousins and their friends who have encouraged and helped me, my friends who support me and give me ideas and push me to do things, and everyone and anyone who has ever shown support to the art world. Thank you for letting me love what I do. You can do it too, just throw yourself into the fire and don't get burned.