Professional Storyteller

Share a Story - Change the World

So how do you know? At what point does the line become clear between here and over there?

I am tired. I work 50 hours Monday through Thursday at a desk and then hit the road on Thursday afternoon.Travel, tell, and travel back. Sunday night I stumble through the door and at 6am the alarm goes off. Back to the grind.

My job is great...but the time has come. I can feel it.I have some friends who tell full time who are urging me to make the jump, but they are in way different places than me and bookings come to them in droves.

I can't stop saying what if? What if suddenly the bookings stop coming? What if I get sick and have no insurance? What if I can't meet my bills? What if...what if...what if?!!

I want to hear from those of you have crossed over to full time telling. Tell me your story.

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Comment by Kim Weitkamp on May 1, 2008 at 3:57pm
Well, just to close (or continue, your choice) this discussion. I think I am going to be taking a job with the radio station I used to work with. Still pondering. They called and offered me a very flexible, work from home, position. Talk about perfect timing. Did they read this blog??
I have till the end of May to decided. It would be the perfect fit for weaning myself into full time telling. We shall see. To be cont'd...
Comment by Sean Buvala on April 24, 2008 at 12:42pm
The world does not reward the timid.

You have to answer the question: What is my niche? What can you do that any other teller on this site can not do? The world does not need one more generic, full-time, "ancient art of storytelling" storyteller. Why should I, when I wear my producer hat, hire you? What will make you stand out? If you can't answer the niche question with crystal clarity, then it is not time to jump.

Maybe it will never be the time for you to jump. It is okay if you aren't a full-time storyteller. There's nothing to prove. You can be a talented, gifted, creative storyteller and still have a day job.

The bookings will stop coming in. You will get sick with no insurance. You will have times that you can't meet your bills. You will have moments of complete insecurity when the warm fuzzy feelings of doing a nice show are not enough to keep the electric bill paid. It will happen if you don't do this carefully. You will LOVE being a full-time storyteller and you will wonder what is wrong with you that you left that full-time, insured, retirement planned job behind.

And yet, if you know what you are doing, this will be the most rewarding thing you have ever done.
Comment by Sean Buvala on April 24, 2008 at 12:33pm
Get to the Outside In Marketing Camp and learn what yer jumpin' in to. Read the reviews of the camp here and here. I'll post the audio of the follow-up conference call later this week so you can hear what folks have done with the camp content just a few weeks out.
Comment by Dianne de Las Casas, Founder on April 24, 2008 at 6:34am
David Joe & Buck:

Thank you for your kind words. One more thing, Kim... In September, my new book, The Story Biz Handbook, releases by Libraries Unlimited. It's 30 chapters on the business of storytelling. And it's chock full of awesome advice from tellers world wide. Best wishes, Kim. I'm pulling for you!

Comment by Dianne de Las Casas, Founder on April 24, 2008 at 1:00am

I have been telling professionally for 12 years now. When I first jumped off the cliff, I did contract work for attorneys and temping. I left a nice $40,000 job to go to $10,000/year the first year. It was tough but I had support. Build a support network of people who believe in you and market yourself like crazy.

I am now 3 books (5 more on the way), 3 CDs, and one part-time assistant later... I travel worldwide and don't sent out many mailings because business is steady. You can do it. A life worth living is one where you take risks. But take calculated risks and follow all of the above advice with regard to planning and finances.

You have one life. You can always get a full-time job again. I say that living a life of regrets is worse than living a life of rejection. It's better to know that even if you hear the word, "No," you at least tried. If you don't try, you will always wonder where your life could have gone.

You can turn your passion into profit! You can!!

Dianne de Las Casas
Comment by Granny Sue on April 23, 2008 at 6:10pm
Add another storyteller poised at the brink. I'd say marry a rich man, but you probably wouldn't consider it! Joking aside, I find that what holds me back is 1) health insurance and 2) my husband's on-again off-again income as a brlicklayer. My full-time job is the rock we rest on, but I'm getting very tired of it and also tired, like you, of the constant running from job to storytelling--even evenings are devoted to storytelling work and crowding in all the home stuff to make time for storytelling on my days off. I often wonder, what if? what if I just...jumped?
Comment by Pam Holcomb on April 23, 2008 at 2:34pm
These are such good discussions. Kim, I too am at a jumping off place. I've taught school for 29+ years. I have a secure retirement, but.... there are always extra expenses to think about. I actually retired and was retired for a year and loved it, but was lured back by the money. Let's face it, greed took over. But now I'm at a place where I'm really ready to see what comes my way with storytelling. After all, that's where my heart lies. We'll see...

Comment by Kim Weitkamp on April 23, 2008 at 7:01am
Wow, great advice. I really have a lot to think about. Seriously...really great comments and advice. Thank you.
Comment by Don 'Buck P' Creacy on April 23, 2008 at 6:26am
Hello Kim;

I know about the fatigue. My job is regularly 48 hours a week. At night I write... send packages to the nice folks who are buying my CDs... answer email... court bookings... work on my "stuff"... cook, clean, laundry, all of that stuff too.

But isnt' it great?! We have health insurance... we have steady money... and we have time to choose where and what we want to do.

Buck's rules for himself about going full time. (merely a suggestion to think about)
1. don't hurry to worry. (if there is even a little uncertainty... wait a bit... How many months are you booked ahead? 12? How far can you book ahead? Where are the gaps?)

2. If anything can go wrong? Fix it.. the heck with Murphy! Don't let your desires overwhelm your good sense. Set yourself up to succeed by planning ahead and following a planned path.

3. Ships are safe in harbor... but that's not what ships are built for... at some point you can and will... sail... but you shouldn't sail with an empty hold or at a low tide. Note to self: Buy (pay for) a year's worth of health insurance in advance and then make monthly payments to yourself on the next year's fees... at the end of the year pay in advance. If you have a slow month you can hedge a little... give yourself some financial breathing room.

4. Tires and Gas to Last. How's your vehicle? Do you owe on it? How's those tires? Engine? Striking out... means needing a dependable vehicle that causes minimal stress. Once your car is paid for... continue making payments to yourself for the next few years... while driving the "old" car. When you get to the end of the road with the old car... pay cash for a new car... wave the money... you will get a great deal. Then keep making payments to yourself, so you can have a new car when that "new one" is worn out. Plus... if you use the numbers quoted to you by the dealers for payments... you will earn that interest you would have paid to the dealer... Money made not money lost.
Comment by Layne Gneiting on April 23, 2008 at 1:40am
Thanks for posting a rather scary question, Kim. I haven't made the jump quite yet, but yearn to. In fact, I'm eager to hear others chime in as well. I'm especially curious if/how much recordings add to the financial "security." Will post a richer response later, but now sweet sleep beckons me into her arms. Ahhhhhhhh . . .



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