Resume: Master's degree in economics (well, in less than two months). Experience from student analyst positions in market research, both on the consultant side (both qualitative and quantitative research) and the client side (FMCG).
Successes: I have an idea that I plan to pitch to a local wealthy philanthropist. I have made initial contact with said individual, and he was receptive.
Failures:*2. I'm not Extroverted enough to (enjoy) be(ing) a consultant, and corporate life both bored and scared the life out of me. I'd totally do a Ph.D. but 1) I really don't want to teach (which is a requirement for internally financed positions at my university) and 2) offhand I can't think of any research I could do that someone in the real world would pay me to do. I do know I'm looking for a way to make a living that involves lots of writing.Can't seem to find any jobs that I would love to have.
Another failure: I have had the aforementioned idea for 15 months now. I have twice attempted to write the pitch, but I was only too happy to let my master's thesis take priority both times. I rather think I must be psychologically blocked. Stay tuned come November when I will give it my next shot!
Current Status: Thesis-writing.
Strategy and next steps: I will attend a networking event in October for would-be Ph.D. students and companies and organizations interested in financing them. Also, see Failures. Failing both ph.d. and pitch, I'll probably try corporate life again (if I can resist the shameful temptation to just collect unemployment benefits (which are generous in my country)). Even if my last job kind of sucked, at least I experienced firsthand that there's nothing like job dissatisfaction for generating new ideas!
Yes, all you experienced folks get to roll your eyes at my ambition to actually enjoy working (even in my first job(s)). I get to be naively hopeful for a little while longer.