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How to Go Pro without Quitting Your Day Job: Part 2

© 2010 Avocationist · December 18th, 2010 · 4 Comments


Note: In the last post, I introduced the idea of Going Pro without Quitting Your Day Job. In this second part, I cover the benefits. Part 3 will show how you can Go Pro.
My palms were sweaty and my voice was about two octaves higher than normal as I dialed the phone. I was just hoping that I wouldn’t sound like a total idiot.

I had landed the first big interview for my new website Avocationist.com. In a few minutes I’d be talking to an author who had sold more than 2 million books. He was someone I had watched on TV. His financial advice had helped my wife and me learn how to save for retirement. And he had agreed to talk to me!

His phone rang. And rang. And rang.

And then I got his voicemail…

Gulp. “HeyDaveIt’sAllanBaconI’mcallingforourinterview.”

Now I had to wait for him – would he call? And – oh crap – I can’t record the interview if I don’t call him from my skype account!

Welcome to the world of Going Pro - moments of panic followed by intense learning and massive satisfaction…

What did I get from this experience? Flash forward to an hour later.

The interview was safely recorded. And even though I had been nervous and still had a lot to learn, I realized that I had broken through some invisible barrier I had previously created.

After this experience with Dave, I began to believe that I could interview anyone – maybe not that day or the next, but I could see myself getting there.

But that was just the first of many other benefits. Here are some of the others:

Just by taking action, I opened up other opportunities.

The interview with Dave wasn’t some bold move on my part. It really came about through some unwarranted cockiness on my part. After I finished an interview with one of my friends, I was feeling good, so I started started thinking big about who I might approach.

Dave’s book was on my bookshelf, so I Googled him to see what he was up to. I found out that his career had taken some surprising and unusual turns since I had read the book. I emailed him on a lark to see if he would talk with me.

Ten minutes later, he responded by email: “sure.”

I was stuck.

I have experienced a momentum that ramps up if you let it. Call it synchronicity, purpose or a higher calling, but I got pulled to do something that I would never have believed that I could do (and it went fine).

My skills increased very quickly.

From my first to my second to my third interview, each one got easier to do. I was more comfortable and less nervous and more able to go with the natural flow of the conversation.

I loved parts of it – even some that I didn’t know about.

I loved doing the interviews. I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise but there was a good reason that I was interested in interviewing people – it felt a lot like what I did all the time when I met people. Going Pro just helped me to consciously start to build some additional skills on top of what I already had been practicing my whole life.

I hated parts of it – even some that I didn’t know about.

One of the biggest lessons of Going Pro is that you can’t skip any of the required steps.

One of these was transcription. I loved doing the interviews, but hated dealing with them afterwards. First I tried for an automated system – until I found out they don’t exist yet. Then I found out about elance.com and hired a few transcriptionists. I ended up with a great partner (who ended up transcribing my entire book).

You will quickly find that some parts you will like, some you won’t mind, and some you will need to work around.

Going Pro is a starting point, not a destination.

Going Pro doesn’t mean that you will necessarily stay with what you started with.

Some things you will try just won’t work. My original idea for the website was to publish the full interviews in a Q&A format. I assumed that others would be interested in getting to “meet” these cool people I was talking to. But what I discovered was that people really were looking for me to distill down what I had learned for them.

That led to writing which led to a book and talks and this post.

Going Pro is a necessary stepping stone to things you will love that you can’t even imagine now.

That interview with Dave was also a watershed event for me. It was the first time I was exposed to the business of writing and speaking. A big part of our interview was on how he developed and grew his business. It planted a seed in my mind that would grow and morph into what I’m doing now. But I could never have gone straight from where I was to where I am now without this step of Going Pro.

Going Pro isn’t all about work.

I began to realize that the people I was interviewed really enjoyed the experience, too. They were learning about their own lives in the process of talking with me about them. My interviews were a kind of gift to the people I was talking to.

And I was creating new friendships. Since I started the site, I have met several of my interviewees after our initial phone calls. I even had dinner in California with one of my Avocationists and his wife. I’m still in touch with most of them. It’s been a great way to expand my experience to include a greater variety of people.

I could fit in a lot around my job if I was patient and willing to be creative.

It was much easier than I thought to work in my interviews. It took planning. It also took patience to realize that sometimes the website would need to be dropped for a couple of weeks while I was busy with work or family. But I was having enough fun and positive feedback from the experience to keep plugging away at it.

How can you Go Pro? In Part 3 of this series, I’ll present the 3 essential parts of Going Pro and give some ideas about how you can get started.

Photo courtesy thorinside via flickr.com

Tags: Career Change · Mid-Life Career Change · Personal Growth

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Avocationist // Dec 18, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    have you ever gotten somewhere surprising by trying something new?

  • 2 What Are You Working On? | Avocationist // Dec 18, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    [...] = onCatChange; /* ]]> */ ← How to Go Pro without Quitting Your Day Job: Part 1 How to Go Pro without Quitting Your Day Job: Part 2 [...]

  • 3 Matthew Peters // Dec 28, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Great post Allan. This is the most uncomfortable part of the process, but as you stated you can't skip a step.

    We need to keep failing forward.

    I'm looking forward to your next post in this series.

  • 4 Ryan Johnson // Mar 6, 2011 at 2:01 pm


    This is great. Keep it coming. I love your writing style. I feel as though, I am completely in the moment with you. I will be reading more.

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