how to be an idea chaser: 7 girlboss skills to practice

I have a sort of obsession with idea-chasers (aka cool people who do cool things). I follow all kinds of bloggers, photographers, and writers on Instagram and drool over their lives. I watch vlogs of young, creative entrepreneur-types trying to make it in NYC while I do my makeup in the morning. I spend sleepy Sunday afternoons researching (read: stalking) the creative, independant go-getters of today, and wondering 'how the heck did they get to where they are?" What are the steps? How do you get from "trying" to "success?"

Who knows.

I'm not an expert here, unfortunately. I'm still in the 'trying' phase. But once I come up with a concise list of guaranteed steps towards becoming a successful go-getter, I'll be sure to write a kick butt blog post about it.

Until then, I do have some ideas about skills that I think are important to practice in order to be a girl who works for herself and creates stuff and runs her own life. These are things I've definitely been trying to do over the past year (and to some extent, have done).




start a completely independent side hustle

So chances are you're a normal person going to school or working a normal job. That's your main hustle. But in your free time (even if you have basically none of it) go create a project for yourself. Something that nobody wants or expects or asks you to do. Just something you want to do. And then get used to calling the shots and coming up with all the ideas and feeling awkward and keeping it going even when it doesn't feel like it's going anywhere. That's what idea chasers have to do. 

start a side hustle for your side hustle 

Okay, stay with me here. So I'm guessing a lot of the people reading this have blogs of their own already (hey blogging buds), and are wayyy too busy as it is. But if you're ever feeling kinda stuck or unsure about your blog or current project, I'd encourage you to try out another opportunity as well. This year, I've started writing for my school newspaper and thelala.com in addition to my personal blog. And it has done wonders, people. Aside from making me feel like a wonder woman for being so #productive, I've also been gaining new skills. At The Lala I've been writing unashamedly political articles, which has made me feel less timid about my writing in general, and at the newspaper I've been conducting interviews with strangers, which makes me eager to reach out and possibly collaborate with more people in the blogging community. 

Research marketable skills 

Whenever I stumble upon any kind of website, organization, association, publication (any other -ation words you can think of) that I find really, really cool, I do two things: 1.) I explore their content and read about who they are, and 2.) I look at their job listings. Now, as a freshman in college I'm not really in the market for serious jobs. But I like to see if they accept interns (starting a mental list in my mind for the future) and what qualifications they look for in applicants. Writing experience? Got that. Photography? I could work on that more. Web design? I should learn that. Coding/ computer stuff? I should learn some of that, too. If you're not entirely sure what you want to do but you do know what kind of place you'd like to be a part of, this is a good strategy. And then put it in your mental calendar to start slowly learning those things. 

Come up with ideas. Talk about them. Write them down. 

I've been thinking of big ideas up the kazoo lately, and I typically dump them all on my mom whenever I go home on vacations. I have a running list of ideas in my brain that I'm constantly adding to: ideas to update and expand my blog in crazy ways, ideas for films and videos, ideas for research projects... I even have an idea for a business (and I think it's a pretty good one.) Now, these things are obviously very hypothetical, and most of them won't happen. But thinking about them (and planning them, discussing them, and writing them down) is good practice for any of my future ideas that could, one day, become real life. 


Research people who inspire you and figure out how they got there 

I think that getting from "trying" to "being successful" is a series of knowing the right people, and doing the right things. That is obviously very broad, and not exactly helpful for somebody trying to figure out the steps. But whenever I find a new inspiring idea chaser, I like to hunt for the specific path they took to where they are. I like attending lectures and Q&As with people who come to my university (filmmakers, authors, business people, creatives) and trying to pin down exactly what experiences led them to where they are. A successful businesswoman who helps run Disney? She started her career by taking every single arts administration opportunity that came to her college.  One of those opportunities happened to be some afternoon volunteer work for a regional Disney audition. A documentary filmmaker explained how an organization gave him a scholarship to apprentice for a successful filmmaker. These things are still broad, but they give you a more specific idea of where you could start. Are there any volunteer opportunities at my university that I'm interested in? Are there any scholarship organizations for my field? 

Participate in what inspires you, even if you don't feel like you belong. 

I have a sort of irrational fear of twitter, but I know I've been missing out on the blog twitter chats that exist over there. I've been avoiding them for two big reasons: 1.) I'm not an expert on using twitter and 2.) I'm definitely not an expert on blogging. I don't know what I would possibly contribute, and I know I wouldn't feel experienced enough to 'belong.' Similarly, I recently attended a photography meet up in Indianapolis. I was afraid that it would be full of professional photographers whipping out their fancy cameras. Guess what? It was. But my friends and I had fun anyways, and I took lots of pictures on my bright red starter dslr. Who cares if you're qualified? Who cares if you 'belong'? Everybody's a beginner at some point. The only way to stop being a beginner is to keep doing it. 

Give yourself opportunities to be criticized. And then brush off the criticism. 

 I, like many young ambitious people, try really hard. I put a lot of effort into everything I do, and when somebody tells me it's bad? Well, I take it to heart. I might cry in the shower a little bit, write an emotional journal entry, question my existence. But here's what I know: every time you 'put yourself out there' (publish a blog, share an idea with someone, post a photo on social media, etc) you're giving people opportunities to criticize you. And they will. Maybe it'll be direct, like someone telling you that your idea is just ehhh when you though it was holy-smokes-fantastic. Or maybe it'll be indirect, like posting a blog that nobody comments on, or only gets 20 repins on Pinterest. But either way, it'll start to matter less and less. You'll still feel the 'I'm bad??!?!' feeling inside of you, but it'll go away faster and faster. The fact that you aren't perfect will be old, boring news. Everybody already knows that, after all. No need to cry in the shower.

Whew, that was long. But you know me, when I give tips I like to give all the tips.  
Do you have anything you've been doing lately to be more of a girlboss or idea chaser? Let me know in the comments! 
♡ Julia  

31 comments

  1. OMG that pic is soooooo cute!!! It will bring out the girly girly in me. You will like to see more fashion from here.

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  2. such an inspiration. I'm currently still building my way to success and feels like your advice inspires me <3

    xoxo
    https://monicaptanzil.wordpress.com/

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  3. Researching on people who inspire you is a great tip, thanks for sharing!

    Camila,
    My Vogue Style | www.myvoguestyle.com

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  4. Very helpful! And inspiring as well. Definitely needed this read. x

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    1. Aw thanks I'm glad you found it inspiring, Julia :) (ps I like your name)

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  5. Such a great, inspiring post! Thanks for sharing :) xo, Vivian

    www.viviantse.net

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  6. I've been working hard on putting myself out there (that was one of my 2017 resolutions!), even if it leaves me open to criticism, and it's honestly done wonders for my confidence and my social skills. I'm still working on brushing off that criticism, but I'm learning to be okay with it! It's all a work in progress. Great post :)
    - katrina // Yours Truly, Katrina

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    1. It's one of my goals too, Katrina! We are on the same wavelength all the time, I feel. Thanks for your comment, girl :)

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  7. This is all so true and exactly where I am right now! I work a job that supports me and helps me save, and use my spare time to work on my side projects and goals. Have a wonderful weekend! xx

    Sending light & love your way,
    My Lovelier Days

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    1. Aw I'm so glad you've got that kind of job. Seems like a perfect system :) Thanks!

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  8. This is such an inspiration! x

    https://ohmissmoore.com

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  9. This is such a well-written article! Loved it and got so much motivation now. Thank you for this! :) x

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

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  10. learning a marketable skill is such useful advice, thank you for sharing such a great post full of helpful insights.

    Abigail Alice 💕

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  11. The last one doe !! Great and helpful read darling. Thank you so much for sharing this with us! Dominica from London, www.its-dominica.blogspot.co.uk xXx

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  12. These are some lovely tips! I love your blog it is so chic :) http://www.bauchlefashion.com/2017/03/80s-power-dressing.html

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  13. Really loved reading this post and my god, it inspired the hell out of me! A while back I was doing a few things on the side along with my blog and I felt so productive all the time and when that ended I kind of just forgot that feeling and haven't started anything new. I think I'm going to take a swing at doing some freelance work and seeing how that goes for me :)

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

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    1. Awesome, Julia! I'm glad this inspired you and I wish you luck with your freelancing!

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  14. Definitely have done almost all of these haha. After reading Girlboss too, I was so motivated. I really took all her tips to heart. Now I am more motivated than ever. I am always googling things and researching other bloggers, and what has made them successful. Great post! I think this could help a lot of girls. You definitely, above all else, have to have that drive and passion though. :)

    -Emily www.coatandcoffee.com

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    1. So true, Emily! Drive and passion is definitely key. I loved the book, too! Glad it helped you.

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  15. All great and wonderful advice! Might I add to also not be afraid to network with not only other bloggers but companies as well. If you see a brand you love and would love to work with, go ahead and email them. The worst they can say is no and you move on.

    Stacey, thebambieyes.com

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    1. That's so true, Stacey! I haven't done much work with brands, but I definitely want to at some point. And that's definitely a girlboss move. ;)

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  16. This is such a fab post Julia, so beautifully written and I couldn't agree more with it too! Creating and working on your own project is the most rewarding thing and teaches you so much!

    Elle
    www.theellenextdoor.com
    xx

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    1. Thanks, Elle! And yes I think so too-- starting my blog and creating content that is all my own has really inspired me to go after other opportunities.
      Thanks for reading!

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  17. This was so interesting and inspiring post. I've been always curious about how the people who inspire me, got where they are now.

    Nina's Style Blog

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