What “La La Land” Teaches About A Career Path To Dream Jobs In Real Life

Can you start working on your dream job now as a side gig?

Can you start working on your dream job now as a side gig?

It’s OK to eventually quit your day job and go for your dream job. At least that’s what happens in the movies.In her acceptance speech for best actress at the Golden Globes recently, actress Emma Stone saluted everyone who ever faced rejections and challenges chasing a dream as a career path.“To any creative person who’s had a door slammed in her face, either metaphorically or physically, or actor who have had his auditions cut off or have waited for a callback that didn’t come or anybody anywhere, really, that feels like giving up sometimes, but finds it in themselves to get up and keep moving forward, I share this with you.“True, not all working women are actresses or endeavoring in creative fields, but the lessons learned from “La La Land,” the winningest musical in history and possibly the most talked about movie in 2017, are applicable to anyone who has a side hustle and aims for something larger.Life may not always imitate art, but in some instances, it sure can.[bctt tweet=“Life may not always imitate art, but in some instances, it sure can #womeninart” username=“takeleadwomen”]As part of the gig economy, that is reportedly blooming, many women and men are finding that by working on a dream career on the side, they are eventually able to launch the dream full-time and change their career paths forever.According to Lydia Dishman of Fast Company, “Findings from Adobe revealed that as many as one-third of the 1,000 U.S. office workers they polled had a second job and more than half (56 percent) predicted we would all have multiple jobs in the future. The annual report from Upwork and the Freelancers Union found that more people than ever are choosing to freelance, up to 55 million this year, or 35 percent of the total U.S. workforce.”Having a side gig can include something creative, or even something in a different field, one that you are interested in, but want to learn more about before jumping in full time.As a writer, I have always had side gigs separate from my full-time job, each done transparently to my full-time employer and on my own time. I give writing workshops, have a speaking business, editing business and maintain a career as an author and journalist in addition to work I do regularly on staff.This 21st century trend toward multiple revenue streams as a career path is about multiple interest streams and passions as well. And it can benefit not only individual women leaders and entrepreneurs, but companies as well, hoping to grasp talent that may be looking to expand assignments and projects.Dishman writes: “Stacey Engle, executive vice president at Fierce, a global leadership development firm, says that employers can start by using the idea of the gig economy inside of companies. ‘For example, providing opportunities for employees to choose assignments in different areas,’ she notes.”The gig economy is particularly suited to women entrepreneurs, especially those in search of flex time and a career path that is malleable.[bctt tweet=“The gig economy is particularly suited to women entrepreneurs #womeninbusiness” username=“takeleadwomen”]Marisol Catchings, founder of Azteca Negra, told Otis R. Taylor, Jr. of the San Francisco Chronicle, “’Out of my frustration, I built my business,’ said Catchings, a former analyst for an economics and public policy publication. ‘I will never go back.’”As a creative entrepreneur selling her work at Show & Tell, a California boutique, Catchings’ attitude is similar to that of  Juliette Acker, founder of Furious Flower Designs, also selling her work there. Acker relishes the freedom of having her own gig on the side.She told Taylor: “There is something to be said about going as far and as fast as you want to go and not having to ask permission of anyone,” Acker said. “Whatever happens, it’s on me.”Three trends are emerging in the gig economy, according to Kristopher Jones, founder of LSEO, a full-service SEO Company, and co-founder of APPEK Mobile Apps, a mobile app development agency. Jones identifies those as transportation and residence offerings like Uber and Airbnb; small business expansion into gig economy and hyperlocal services and businesses.“Up until now, the majority of growth in the gig economy has been centered on the B2C industries – businesses offering an intriguing alternative for consumers,” Jones writes. “Where I see more evolution is professionals offering up their time to small businesses in a way that hasn’t been done yet. For instance, influencer marketing company Intellifluence launched over the summer as a way to connect small businesses needing social influencer reviews with working professionals that have underutilized social influence to offer.“What this means for you if you are considering a new career path completely or are wading into a new career path on the side, is you have to decide if you want to abandon the job you are in or the business you are doing. Call it a gut check, a happiness check or a career check-in.“How can you tell if what you feel has less to do with the occasional workday blues and more to do with the fact that you’re simply in the wrong job?” Dorianne St. Fleur writes in The Muse.“Although it’s never as cut and dry as jumping ship just because you’re not singing from the mountaintop every time you arrive at work, here are four important questions to ask yourself if you’re not sure whether to stay or go,” St. Fleur writes.According to Str. Fleur, these questions are: Are you learning? Does the job meet your expectations? Are you bored? Does the work matter to you?“The average person spends more than one-third of his or her life at work, so it’s important to be constantly tuned in to what motivates you and allows you to do your best work. Taking the time to ask yourself the tough questions aimed at getting to the bottom of what you want professionally is the first step to leaving the wrong job behind and finally finding the one that’s meant for you,” she writes.The first step in trying to decide your side move before your next big move might be if you are passionate about a dream career path.“Everyone daydreams about going out on their own. About controlling their own hours and working on something they’re truly passionate about. We hear success stories of those who took the leap and made it big. Stories inspiring enough to make even the happiest office worker want to put in their notice and start brainstorming twee startup names. But more often than not, we remind ourselves that we’re comfortable where we are, with the stability of a consistent paycheck. But what if you’re not happy with your job—and you actually have an incredible idea for a business? Should you go for it?” writes Michelle Pellizzon in Sporteluxe.Above the Glass co-founders Heather Serden and Danielle Yadegar told Pellizzon that while many women plan methodically and are sure to have everything in place before launching an idea, they suggest otherwise. “We don’t really believe you can tell when you have a unicorn idea. We think you should just get out there and start, have a side hustle, test the market, test the product, once you see a really strong indication that people need what you have to give them, dive in,” Serden and Yadegar said.A side gig can also be passive income, or what I call, money for play work.“For hobbyists looking to take their passions to the next level, it can generate enough capital to launch a new business, laying the foundation for eventually ditching a day job,” writes Arianna O’Dell in Fast Company.“Sharon Tseung, founder of Digital Nomad Quest, built a passive income stream to support her travels.” O’Dell writes, “I love doing graphic design work on the side. After discovering that Etsy allows you to list digital products, I created editable Photoshop templates, such as media kits, greeting cards, and resumes, and published them on the platform.““Whether you’re looking for a way to monetize a side project or create an additional revenue stream in order to fund a business, setting aside time now to create passive income can help you rest easier in the future. You may even be surprised how even a few extra dollars a month here and there can start adding up,” O’Dell writes.Sure the success stories are everywhere. Women entrepreneurs have monetized make-up tutorials, fashion blogs and thousands of other side gigs and ideas.Emily Weiss’ beauty blog, “Into the Gloss” was one of those side gigs. “Started in 2010, the blog quickly grew to a massive internet community of beauty aficionados — from there, a pivot into products was inevitable. What sets the brand apart is its “two-way conversation” between the product team and the user community, who tell Glossier what types of products they’d like to see,” according to Avery Hartmans, writing in Business Insider. “The company is now backed by $40.39 million from Forerunner Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, Thrive Capital, David Tisch, and others.”Hartmans details Weiss’ story, along with 20 other female entrepreneurs to watch in 2017, all who started off slow and small. Side gigs. Big dreams.Not everyone can have a magical story like Emma Stone in real life, or the fictional character, Mia,  she portrays in “LaLa Land” who goes from barista to mega movie star in five years. Still, the lesson is clear. Even if the dream career does not pan out, as she sings in the movie,  “Here’s to the ones who dream/ Foolish as they may seem. Here’s to the hearts that ache/ Here’s to the mess we make.”