Three years ago I was working 100 hours a week, hating my job and sliding deeper and deeper into $30,000 of credit card debt despite being amazingly frugal. This brought an ever present exasperation and deep depression. I was building Ritz Carlton's and the nicest homes in Malibu (if not the world) yet I was a financial disaster, bitter and unhappy man. I didn't know it at the time, but it was because I hated what I was doing.
Dealing daily with that sort of desperation I came to realize that since I was failing, I might as well fail doing something I love. So I made a list of things I'd rather be doing and at the top was building furniture. I've always had a list of things I want to make so I picked ten to make prototypes of by the end of the year.
Now, being in debt means having no money, so I modified the list to work with materials I had on hand. This meant mostly materials we were throwing away from other jobs or things I had collected. This might sound ultra challenging but in reality America's landfills are 2/3 construction debris, so I actually had quite a bit to work with.
The first prototype was also a birthday present for my girlfriend at the time; a heart marquee light. She loved it and in December hung it in her pilates studio. Later that same day I had 3 orders from her clients. That same day I was invited to show at a coveted spot at the Rose Bowl Antique Market.
It took me another six months to clear my schedule of prior commitments and so two years ago I went full time into this profession due to a handful of orders and an extreme amount of faith and determination.
I never took the phrase "follow you heart" or it's philosophy seriously. It was greeting card advice that didn't apply in the real world. This summer I invested in a friend's business and am buying a house. I've never felt more joy daily and my schedule is a life I've dreamt of. 99.95% of my clients make me feel like Santa Claus at Christmas and my shop is one block from the beach. The American dream is still alive and I'm proof that the key to unlocking it is dreaming. Be your dreams!