Not-So-Alone on the Island

It is 1:28pm. At 1:10pm I began an effort to “verify” freeat50.blog with Google. It was a LONG 18 minutes, however, it was only 18 minutes.  The price of professional freedom is that you are on an island. You are the one ultimately responsible and you need to figure “it” out.

Thank goodness for my tribe. Unlike with Survivor, this tribe isn’t about using each other to launch forward and be the only winner in the end.  Some were chosen, some pushed themselves onto it by simply giving a s#!% and others have just appeared.  Some I’ve known well for awhile, some I haven’t seen or talked to in “forever” and others are new to my world. I’ve been surprised by some and known in my heart I could count on many.

Bottom line: find inspiration, courage, and support wherever you can; be open to it. For those of you used to being able to dial up IT, you somehow have to figure out WordPress or the “blue screen of death” on your own. Take the time to listen to people, be open to what they can teach you and don’t limit yourself, while also being disciplined about boundaries. Keep focused. Do one (or two) things at a time. Be honest with others of your goals and offer up help where you can.

Some tips and shortcuts I’ve found:

  1. Linked In: worth the 1 year “premium” subscription. You can see what jobs are out there and what companies are looking for, even if your goal is to freelance. This information can be valuable and is an inexpensive form of “market research.” Side note: I’ve been using Linked In Learning A LOT. Categories like blogging, grammar, writing techniques and WordPress training are some examples I’ve tapped into, but they offer so many types of training!
  2. Evernote: I set up the basic, free account and haven’t gotten past using it to categorize, note and track- but I know there is much more to explore. Conversations (as I mentioned in a couple entries now: people have great ideas and experiences to share), screenshots, links… it can all be filed in a way that makes sense to even the most scattered of us and found quickly when you need it.
  3. File an LLC in your state (you can do it super-fast online!) get a Federal EIN (mine took less than 4 hours to be sent to me…on a Friday night!) and open a bank account with some seed cash. Hundreds, not necessarily thousands. Let your accountant or book-keeper know (or find an accountant or book-keeper- hit me up if you need a recommendation) and use that seed money to pay for “business” purchases. This means anything from a laptop, to software like Adobe PRO (recommended!) to your domain name.
  4. If you know you want a website, check out WordPress or as some of my tribe has recommended: Squarespace. I did the package on WordPress that was under $100 and included a domain name. I’m using it for this blog and as a learning experience (note: bear with me on this blog- the technology is new to me – I always had access to an IT team!).
  5. Talk to people. Share ideas. Join Facebook groups that match up to your interests (I’m in one for the 4-Hour Workweek).
  6. Read the blogs and check out the websites of friends and potential friends! Shout out to Joyce, an old friend from my days at West Ottawa (yes, that’s High School I’m referencing) who I’ve reconnected with as we are on similar missions. Her website MosaicStarfish inspired me. It’s not anything like what I’ll be doing, but that’s ok- there was a lot to learn from! And she may inspire you as well. That is what she actually DOES for a living.
  7. Dip your toes in the water- even if it doesn’t equal an instant paycheck. I created an Upwork.com profile and started bidding on “jobs” that looked fun and would help me gain credibility as a writer: over the last few days I’ve reaped the benefits (not financially to be clear!) by having restaurant reviews I submitted published on a newly launched site: https://www.fooddrinkmagazine.com/ – this site may make it and it might mean that this time next year I’m on their go-to freelance team, making money. Or not. I could just be gaining experience and getting some exposure. And that’s ok too! The point: be willing to go outside the box a little and put some energy into your growth. Even if it doesn’t pay off in direct dollars, it will pay off in some way I’m certain!

Survivor is just a show us GenXers threw watch parties for, not so much reality as we actually experience. The reality of finding yourself on an island with a tribe is much less hostile, and much more rewarding. More to come- as I learn, I will continue to share! (Please do the same). An island can feel empty or be full of things to explore; that’s up to you. 

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