For centuries, artists as varied as Mozart, Pablo Picasso, and Harper Lee have been able to create art because of benefactors.
Benefactors are people who provide artists with financial support, resources, or whatever else they need so that they can create. These men, women, and foundations come in all shapes and sizes.
These days, creators like bloggers, podcasters, writers, or musicians have different kinds of benefactors to support their work. These include fundraising websites, artist retreats and workshops, or scholarships and grants established by foundations.
Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to have my own benefactors. You may be thinking: Must be nice, Antonio! I’d love to be in your shoes.
Well, today is your lucky day. Because you see, my benefactors are your benefactors, too – They’re called full-time and part-time jobs.
How To Be Your Own Benefactor
When I first went out on my own as a speaker and coach, the truth is that for quite some time, my income from this work wasn’t always enough to provide for my family.
So, at times along the journey of building my dream job, I essentially worked a full-time gig on top of all my speaking and coaching engagements.
For a few years, I headed up the higher education division of a startup. For a while, this meant a weekly commute to San Francisco from my home in Los Angeles, on top of my travel for speaking.
After this, I led the narrative strategy team for a top e-commerce agency for health and wellness brands.
I’m grateful for those jobs because they were my benefactors while I got my own business off the ground. It was a bonus that I enjoyed the work and the people at both of those companies.
My only regret was that I hadn’t publicly shared this truth about my life earlier. The Internet can make everything look glamorous, when the truth behind the scenes is a 14-hour shift of hard work.
So many people, people I know, are in the position of building their dream job while working a full-time job, driving for a ride-share company or delivering groceries in the evenings to provide for their family.
There should be no shame or stigma in this.
Of course, I was once reluctant to disclose this side of my life—but not anymore. Building a life you love takes courage and hard work.
As Mitch Matthews, the success coach and founder of Big Dream Gathering, once told me:
A dream job is a job that you love or a job that allows you to do what you love.
In other words, you already have what it takes to be your own benefactor. Chances are you’re already doing the work. You just have to reframe it.
Being your own benefactor means believing in yourself, investing in yourself, and treating your day job, your employer, and the income that you earn from it as an opportunity to do what you love.
It means taking a leap, putting yourself out there and not being afraid to fund your dreams with your own commitment.
Crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe, Indiegogo, and Kickstarter help people and organizations raise money for important causes, businesses, and other projects. They could be a good resource for you, too.
Unfortunately, some people have allowed platforms like these to paralyze them into believing that they can’t start a company, write a book, shoot a short film, or embark on a new journey without the financial support of others.
As individuals, we can learn a powerful lesson from these platforms: we can kickstart ourselves. What did people do before these platforms existed?
They invested in themselves—not financially, per se, but with hard work, dedication, and a willingness to stick through the tough times. It all starts with seeing yourself as your own benefactor.
Starting today, kick-start your discipline, your accountability, and the people you surround yourself with.
Kick-start your commitment to what you say is most important. And on those days when you’re hating your job, your boss, or your commute, always remember it’s for a greater cause. You.