Moving On From the Cubicle
This is a guest post by Kaneesha of DIFFUSED ATTENTION. On November 7, 2014, she was rudely and unceremoniously laid off from her secure job of eight years. From that afternoon on, she began to refer to herself as self-employed. Her new life mission is to help others (as well as herself!) earn a living through their skills, talents and abilities as a creative.
Are you a laid-off creative? Land on your feet!
Welcome to the new year! It’s 2015 and if you’re like me, your job has kicked you out. You might not view this as a wonderful, blessed, opportunity but trust that it is. The world has given you a combination of circumstances to start a new year, a new career and a new journey in life on your terms. Did you even like your cubicle? Did you enjoy getting spec sheets so well laid out you wondered why in the heck they even call it creative? Well, now all that nonsense is in the past. Welcome to your new life!
Be prepared though. Hunting and gathering (our purpose as self-employed individuals) is scary and the only cure for that kind of fear is money. I never, ever want to see a cubicle again, and I’m assuming you don’t either. But, with time and an understanding that you now might have to forgo the $5 latte you got on a daily basis with your regular paycheck, you will learn to create your own income. Here are a few things you need to do to make sure you reach ultimate success: time, creative, and financial freedom.
1. YOU NEED A CONTENT HUB
I used to go work everyday and long for life on my terms. Guess what? All that dreaming and wishing didn’t build my website. It didn’t write any blog posts and it didn’t build any networks.
I should have had a content hub. Don’t worry if you don’t have one yet, but get on it. Thankfully, in 2015 you don’t have to have a website to be legit. As long as you have a good bit of content on the internet in one place your hub can be anywhere including YouTube and the iTunes store via podcasting. The only thing is you have to be able to capture and keep emails. Which brings me to #2.
2. YOU NEED EMAILS
An email list in 2015 = money. You don’t even need hundreds of thousands of email addresses. Just make sure you manage your list with companies like Mailchimp or Aweber. If you choose to have your content hub be somewhere like Facebook you will pay Facebook to show your content to the people on your list. That’s a fail. You can’t adequately market, engage with, or sell to anyone on a list you don’t control. That being said, you still need to complete #3,
3. PUT YOUR CONTENT EVERYWHERE
The internet is an immense black hole. Everything goes in, nothing comes out. And although you are awesome, you’re as small as a speck of dust to the interwebs. So, if you write; write. Publish on LinkedIn (anyone can publish now), Medium, Facebook, Reddit, Quora, Elephant Journal – there are so, so many places. If you’re a graphic designer, there are hundreds of graphic design forums for you to join and contribute to. Of course use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to drive traffic to these sites. Just be everywhere so that you can do #4,
4. BUILD YOUR NETWORK
Have you heard the phrase, your network is your net-worth? Well, its true. Offer your writing, design (web or graphic), or video services to any number of people without expectation of pay. You will build a network of good-will that will pay dividends. I’m not saying work for free, but be strategic about charging for your skills in the beginning. If you become someone’s go-to to solve their problems that free service will pay off for you in the future. Speaking of;
5. PREPARE FOR YOUR FUTURE
You’ve got a bit of time now and that’s wonderful. But self-employment is a choice, not a given even in 2015. Most people will look at you with arched eyebrows if you tell them, like I have, that you have no intentions of going back into a job. So don’t. Just make sure you’re properly preparing now for 6 months, a year, to infinity. Please, be on a budget. I’m sure you’re on one now because you have to be, but even when money starts to come in stick to it. Save the rest. Start to build avenues for residual (passive) income. You have skills. Share them in an ebook, online course, webinar, etc and charge for that knowledge. It will only become more valuable the more you can prove yourself a successful creative entrepreneur.
So that’s it! No, I’m lying. That’s just the beginning. There’s so much more you will have to learn about self-employment. You will be constantly fighting fear of all kinds: fear of failure, fear of success, fear of going broke, fear of working too hard…prepare to always fight fear. I’ve had to learn new programs (what’s an invoice?) and I don’t think I’ll ever be in my comfort zone again. But then again, was that cubicle that comfortable to begin with?