They tell you this when you get started, but most of the time it doesn’t sink in until later. It’s very exciting to strike out on your own—to do the thing that can’t be done, or to be one brave person in a sea of sheep. It’s incredibly empowering. There isn’t any feeling like it in the world. But sooner or later, this other thing happens—this not so great feeling thing.
Sometimes doing your own thing means feeling very scared and alone.
When you’re the only person who can get your rent paid, there isn’t anyone left to blame or appeal to or confide in. If you’re the person coming up with the ideas that allow you to do what you do, you have to keep coming up with the ideas—there isn’t someone to spell you and unless you plan well, there aren’t any vacations.
Unless you’re just stupidly lucky, your parents won’t swoop in and save the day. Or your aunt. Or your ex-boyfriend.
More than that, when you take the less-traveled path, very few people understand what you’re going through. It’s not just a matter of confiding; it’s a matter of another person knowing where you’re coming from, having actually been there themselves. Sometimes you have to push through by yourself, and man, it’s not easy.
But you have to have faith that you will get there—even when three weeks of income turns into one, and your support structure falls away. You have to have faith that this thing you’re doing is real and meaningful and worth it, that you have value and the world recognizes it (when you need it to do so now more than ever). You have to re-examine the details and turn out the cracks where you’ve made baseless assumptions and discover resources you’d forgotten. This is where the thin layers of fat get consumed, where you start to get stronger and come to know what kind of person you really are.
Can you do it? For real?
This is where you find out for sure.