How Do You Find Your Plan B?

I wrote this for an opportunity that didn’t work out, but I didn’t want those words to go to waste! Huge thanks to Chris Harrison for some nifty editing!

Nowadays it seems that being a full-time employee is just as risky as starting your own business. You can devote your life to a company, yet if you find yourself out of the job you’re trained for and experienced in, what do you do?

If Leigh Dall’Osto and Gavin Dunne are any example, the answer would seem to be keep doing what you were already doing – just find different, even unusual ways of doing it.

Leigh Dall'Osto
Leigh Dall’Osto

“Anyone who wants a good weight loss or fitness regime should take up door knocking,” Edmonton resident Leigh Dall’Osto says of her time campaigning for the District 2 seat in the Cairns Regional Council elections earlier this year. “I met some incredible people who just wanted someone to listen to them.”

Even though Leigh lost the election, she didn’t let her enthusiasm wane. “I thought about the things that I had heard from people,” she said. “There wasn’t anywhere on the south side that people could just gather, whatever your situation.”

So Leigh decided to give her community that place, securing the former site of a retail store and converting it into Plan B Cafe. “I designed the cafe… to be a place for everyone in the community regardless of age and circumstance.”

Enter Plan B Cafe and you’ll find shelves of products created by local craftspeople, a display case where small businesses and franchises display brochures, a book swap complete with comfy couches for reading and a large gated play area for the littlies.

The cafe has been an unqualified success, with people from all over Cairns finding a second home there. “The local government organisations and offices in the area are also using us quite often for their lunches,” Leigh says.

Leigh recommends flexibility as the key to her success. “There will be a lot of things go wrong,” she says. “You will sometimes feel like, ‘this is all to hard.’ You have to be the kind of person who can look outside the box and go, ‘Okay, what’s another way to get there?’

“There are lots of that times you’ll have to re-think, and you have to be capable of doing that without worrying about what you’ve lost.”

Gavin Dunne holding his Gibson Les Paul
Gavin with his Gibson Les Paul. Image sourced from the Miracle of Sound Facebook page.

Advice that Irishman Gavin Dunne may well have followed two years ago, when he faced restarting his music career from scratch.

“The age-old cliché, The Band That Almost Made It,” he says of that period. “We got signed, we got a record deal and everything fell apart.” Worse, the contract with the record label forbade Dunne to perform or make money from the songs he’d written for the band.

“I wrote ‘Gordon Freeman Saved My Life’ to cheer myself up, because I’d been playing a lot of Half-Life,” he says. Half-Life is a hit game where the player guides scientist Gordon Freeman out of a research facility teeming with aliens and hostile soldiers.

Gaming editorial website The Escapist picked up on the song after Gavin uploaded it to YouTube. “It went semi-viral by itself,” he says.

Gamers around the world have embraced Gavin’s project, Miracle of Sound. He supports himself entirely on contributor’s rates from The Escapist, where he uploads a new song every month, and sales of his songs on iTunes and Bandcamp.

On top of that, game company BioWare asked Gavin to compose a song to help market last year’s smash game, Mass Effect 3. The result, “Take It Back,” is his second-highest selling song to date.

“I love it,” Gavin says of his full-time vocation. “I consider my job a luxury because I’m doing something I really enjoy. At the end of every work session I have something I can put on and listen to.”

Leigh Dall’Osto and Gavin Dunne each held onto their dream when it seemed denied to them, and each found their own plan B for achieving it – which led both of them to success that they never expected.

Want to hear more about Leigh and Gavin’s stories of success? Listen to their interviews on The Paid to Play Podcast!

Are you curious?

What was your plan A for achieving your goals? How did it not work out?

How did you come up with your plan B, and how did it succeed?


Plan B Cafe (Facebook)

Miracle of Sound

Chris Harrison