Ditch the security blanket: You don't need a Plan B

in life •  3 years ago 

When I left job security behind and started my design label, I told myself that I was never going to be employed again. From now on I was going to make my own way. Good bye office cubicle, hello new creative world.   

At least this is what I told myself   

Deep down (if I was completely honest), I carried with me a few security blankets, in the form of back-up plans. If it didn't work out for me, I could always do such and such or even return to my previous profession.   

In the early days, I sold my designs at markets. Markets are a hard gig and not a reliable source of income. Often I landed a winner but other times it was soul crushing. What was invaluable about doing markets is the people I met. I became part of the culture and learnt from my interaction with other stallholders. This is where I met Olive. One morning while waiting to be allocated a stall site, Olive said something that resonated with me. I have never forgotten it. She said that for her there is no plan B. She was not talking about the market. For her Plan A was to make a living from her own creativity. Olive had bought an old letterpress printer, a giant beautiful machine. She and her partner were reviving this traditional printing method using their own designs.   

It was at this moment I realised that my plan B had been holding me back. I had allowed failure to be a considered option. By removing plan B, when times got tough and vision faltered I forced myself to find a solution to keep moving forward. 

Of course you need to be flexible, adapt and walk through new doors of opportunity. Removing Plan B does not mean you can never change direction. Life changes, we change and so do our plans. There is a difference between simply realigning plan A and defaulting to your secondary option. Plan B is not what you wanted, it is the second best. So get rid of it.

Over the past four years I have watched Olive take her business to new heights, achieving design success and create a thriving business. Her designs and products have evolved as has the scope of her services. But she is still on her Plan A. Her original and only plan. 


There have been a number of times I have been very broke. My design label was not producing enough income to make ends meet. For a short time I consider picking oranges in 47 degree heat. But then I remembered what Olive had said. So I started brainstorming ideas -  How could I make this work?

The cloud of negativity obscures opportunity

It is amazing how scrappy and resourceful you can get. Instead of giving up you are forced to find another way. The negative feelings associated with defeat are replaced by hope. New ideas to try, people to call, blogs to contact, clever left wing marketing tactics to employ. This hope, keeps your head high, you find resolve. Ideas flow more fluidly.

If you are struggling to get your business over the profitability threshold - tell yourself you can do this. Think. Look at the problem again. Looking to your back-up plan wastes time and shifts your focus the wrong direction.   


I love this Steve Jobs quote

Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again.

There are millions of people around the world making a successful living off their own creativity. People no smarter or blessed than you. If they can do it so can you.


Have faith in yourself. Stay true to your core plan and vision. There is no plan B. You've got this in the bag. 

xx Isabella

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Thank you as an artist who only recently started to see my work pay off and often has thought about if it's going to pan out, I needed this. :)

Those first few years working as an artist are the most liberating but also the hardest. I have been working at my design labels for 4 years now and it has only been in this last 18 months that all the hard work is starting to produce for me. I think a lot of small businesses fold up just before they reached the top of the hill. So glad to hear it is paying off for you now @lauralemons

I am current in "Plan B" mode so I find your article inspirational and informative. Great job.

I spent years of my life in Plan B mode too. Thanks heaps for reading my post, glad you found inspiration.

In sports and politics, often people who diminish a possible negative outcome plant the seed of a negative mindset, and end up losing. It only makes sense in business also - with the stakes so high you wouldn't want anything holding you back!


Thanks Vincent, you are spot on about the seed of a negative mindset.

A great viewpoint on how to ditch the conventional thinking and focus on what works for you. Work hard on perfecting Plan A and you'll be in a beter position to prosper. Nice job!

Thank you @vegascomic. I guess it is another way to say "Never Give Up". It was over 4 years ago that Olive told me that. It has helped me immensely through quite a few challenges.

My wife loves the bags!. They remind her of some that are on the shopping channel here in the States. They're very unique.

I called them Georgie Bags. I made up 20 of them for a festival, they were a hit so I kept making them, although I have made many improvements over the years. Georgie has been a best seller. That photo is of the original Georgies. I stopped making them this year, just to take a break as I have made hundreds. Each one unique from the next, and unrepeatable as they are made with recycled materials such as tea-towels, coffee sacks, table linen, scarves, blankets etc...

Are you up North in the UK? Seems like it from the pictures :)

I am in Queensland, Australia. The region I live in is known as "New England" or the Granite Belt.

Have you put together a website to sell them on Etsy or another online craft marketplace or maybe featured them on a Pintrest page? I think they are beautiful and would imagine there could be solid demand for them here in the States.

It reminds me of when I lived in Manhattan for a number of years. A friend of mine worked in a store called Sustainable NYC, which featured a number of items made from recycled and re-purposed material. They sold things such as purses made from recycled keyboard keys, and sandals which used recycled tire tread for shoe soles. It was located in Alphabet City and did some brisk business. I admire that you are sticking with your passion.

Oooh I like the sounds of Sustainable NYC @ipfaust. Great idea about pinterest. My physical shop here has demanded a lot of my attention but this year I plan to put more of my stuff online. I have a shopify store. I have been thinking about making my dear little Georgie bags again. All these comments about my Georgie bags has given me the boost that I needed so THANK YOU!

I love Brave people like yoy that decide to make his own way. Thanks for Sharing this history with us :)

You are most welcome @efrageek.

Amazing photos and good article
Thank you.

Cheers @belkins. I like to only use my own photographs. I have started carrying my camera with me everywhere as it takes a better photo than my iPhone.

Your welcome. Im do photos on iphone 4s :)
Check my post about abandoned bobsleigh track, mb you like it too:)

Wow they are awesome pics for an iPhone 4s. The inclusion of a camera on a mobile phone was a genius move!

Hi @bridgetbunchy - I am so inspired by your post. As a fellow artist and mom to multiples, we have much in common. I'd love to get to know you better! Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

Oh lovely @fairytalelife. Yes! I am following you now. There are some things only a parent of multiples would understand, I love meeting them :) I must say waking up this morning and seeing all these comments to my post has truly made my day. thank you

I quit my job and travelled the world with my wife for 3 months. Best time of my life. Now I'm back to the security blanket.

That sounds like the adventure of a lifetime @johnnyyash. You have the wanderlust twinkle now so you just wait.... I bet you do something radical again :)

:D ... I hope I'll do something radical again. You only live once...or so they say....

I have two dreams that keep me awake at night and drive much of every decision I make. I dreamed up a peer to peer network system that would work as a total decentralised internet, with file sharing, discussion forums, an agorised anonymisation and internet connection payment system, a credit market, insurance, digital legal estates and numerous other things. The other dream I have is of building a machine that allows everyone to space travel. A device for producing super-efficient propulsion that works within our atmosphere and anywhere in space.

I don't know how I am going to garner the funds to start this but basically, it is not an expensive endeavour, I just need to be able to feed and house myself and spend maybe a few tens of thousands on building the experimental devices in my workshop, and obviously, having also some time to work on the programming and design.

I am really just waiting for capable collaborators and then to set up an investment pool for people to bring the funds required to make it happen. I am personally lost as to how to do this and with my 9-5 it's nearly impossible to devote any time to it.

Wow that sounds pretty ambitious - I like! It is hard to balance 9-5 and working on creative dreams on the side without getting burn out. Most people who go it alone have done that at some point. I am all for making the leap at the right time. My only advice is don't wait for all the stars to align, there is never going to be a comfortable transition point. The best time is when you feel ready for the challenge.

I think that time is now, but it is going to take a little work in my journalist capacity and maybe a little entrepreneurship as an organiser of trade to make it happen. All the ingredients are in play and now I have the free time to to really make these projects start to happen. I need to find some investors as well, the business projects are pretty sure bets but they need a little more funding to really get up and running. I am very optimistic and for sure, what has gone before, is absolutely not the way forward. It was a stepping stone from the past needed to get me into a position where I am actually living in a house, with a computer, and the rest, I think is coming soon.

"If you love what you do then you will never work another day in your life."

I love the advice you are giving people.

If you really want make a splash, you can't just dip your toe in the water and "try it out" you need to jump in. If you jump in and start drowning you have to work with all your might to stay afloat.

Having backup plans is not unwise, but pursuing making sure you pursue your passion with 100% effort is key. Putting too many eggs in one basket is never wise, but that is more from an investment point of view for me.

Instead of trying to be good at a lot of things at once and instead being mediocre at all, dedicating your full effort pays dividends.

I really liked the insight from your friend Olive too. For her there is no other option. She is going to be successful or die trying. The people with that mentality are some of the most driven people I know. They don't blame circumstances or others when things aren't going well for them. They just continue to pour their heart into what they have in front of them.

I see what you are saying @benjmiller222, There are always things outside of your control, so back-up plans A(a), A(aa) etc.... are wise. But like you say, you need to pursue that passion 100%, don't create back-up plans for yourself that ultimately deviate from that passion.

Great post. Inspirational and motivational. Best of luck to you, with that mindset I'm sure you'll succeed!

Awww shucks @the-bitcoin-dood

Great blog. As soon as I started reading it, I began applying it to the expat life. The new expats who give up when things go wrong in a new country tend to be those with backup plans. Several of the events I mention in this first blog could have made me give up, but we didn't really have a Plan B. https://steemit.com/@steemerpat

Brilliant. I loved your first post! Well done.

Hi. I just posted a link to your blog on Twitter (@PatriciaBray). I hope it helps, but looks like your blog is already getting traction. Good for you!

Gorgeous! I do markets too, and the atmosphere is amazing. I am currently kicking plan B out the door

Good on you! Markets can be hard, but for the most part I loved it. I hit the market circuit pretty intensely at the beginning, racking up more than 100 in a 10 month period. I have a shop now and the my busiest days are on the weekends so no more markets for me. Besides the addition of twin girls kinda wiped that out of the picture too. I learnt so much, met so many amazing people and felt part of different communities. Good luck with your venture. I checked out your latest poem, you have a way with words @kaykunoichi

Thank You ^_^

My Plan B's proved to me that Plan B is a bad choice and a waste of time.

Good thing the past does not equal the future.

So, so much this!! I quit my full time job with $47 in my savings account and haven't looked back. Life is so much better when you go with your gut and dreams.

Oh that is awesome @jennamcamis. Go out on a limb - that is where the fruit is!

I like your images... But it is a pleasure to read, well written.
Thank you!! I wait for the next post.

I love it! So inspiring, @bridgetbunchy, and your photos are beautiful. Ditching my own Plan B sounds like just what I need to move my dream of making a living writing novels past just making a few dollars each month on it and writing for business clients I can't stand to make ends meet, to really making my second book (which I'm working on now) stand out, and to push it to the success I envision with a powerful marketing strategy. Then, do it all over again for the next book, and the next, etc. Thank you for giving me some much-needed inspiration today.

You are welcome. It inspires me and keeps me believing when other people share their journey and desire to make a living with their creativity. I think writing novels would require a new level of discipline, so if you have it - go for it.

Very enjoyable post I am struggling to get my business over the profitability threshold. However there is a part of me that never quits. I may lose money investing in this and that but I will never quit. Thanks for inspiring post!

  ·  3 years ago Reveal Comment