[Creating Fame |

My first big fallback plan was Aldi.

Have you ever been to Aldi? There used to be one right near my house in my old neighborhood: Chicago’s Wicker Park. Aldi is this discount grocery store that piles your goods into leftover cardboard boxes instead of plastic bags, and barely even has any shelves – it’s mostly enormous piles of weird, off-brand products, all stacked on top of each other.

(If you’ve ever been there, you know that it’s also cheap, cheap, CHEAP.)

When you shop at Aldi, you can eat for like, 10 bucks a week. So way back when, I always used to tell myself, if all else fails, there’s always Aldi!

So yeah, basically, a discount grocery chain was my entrepreneurial fallback plan when I first got started. I was 22, and I’d just quit my job so I could work full-time for myself – with a whopping NO clients and NO leads. (Okay, maybe in retrospect, it wasn’t the world’s most brilliant plan.) But honestly, I was always realistic about my fallback options, in case I couldn’t make enough.

I could eat only from Aldi.

I could get into credit card debt.

I could move back in with my parents!

OR… if I was REALLY desperate… I could go out there and get another job. (This was the last resort, in-case-of-emergency-break-glass sort of fallback plan.)

Were any of these options ideal? ABSOLUTELY NOT – but they weren’t the worst things I’d ever heard of, either. I mean, my worst case scenario (aka, finding another job) was the one I had just gotten out of – so I KNEW things couldn’t really get that much worse by quitting!

Of course, as I learned, there were plenty of things I DIDN’T know, too…but we’ll get there.

So there I was – unemployed, clientless, and surviving on weird groceries purchased on my credit card. All I had was a year and a half of career experience as a junior designer and an advertising degree that I’d started and finished before ANYTHING Internet-related had even been introduced to the curriculum. (NOT the easiest way to become a self-employed print and web designer.)

So what did I do? The only thing I COULD do – I started learning as much as I could from the experts.

I spent hours at the library, gobbling up advice from writers like Michael Port (I STILL recommend his “Book Yourself Solid” to any freelancer starting out). I tried my best to do what he and all the experts told me to do.

(Side note: Never underestimate how INSANELY AWESOME it is that you can just go to the library and read about how successful people have accomplished all the things you want to do. Seriously – thank you, Michael Port, and thank you, Chicago Public Library System!)

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