It is said that we are entering a creative economy. The old economy has gone kerflooie and a new one is in the making. A creative economy where creative businesses and creative minded people have the potential to earn a living on their own terms. A chance to redefine success and what it means to each of us individually.
It’s been almost three months since Warren lost his job and I’ve been doing lots of thinking about how things have changed for us. Thinking about what has changed, what we’ve learned and how the changes and lessons will affect us in the future.
We have embraced this new economy and we are not looking back. We’ve decided that the corporate life is no longer for us. Putting years and years into a business for someone else’s gain, or misuse, is no longer a part of our thought process. Owning multiple houses and cars are no longer part of our dream (We have a house in Eastern Pennsylvania to sell if you are looking for one.)
It’s a new, scary landscape but we’ve learned quite a lot in the past few months. We are not only surviving in this new economy but thriving and today I’m sharing some tips with you.
1. Invent or reinvent yourself. Learn new skills, improve upon the ones you already possess, advance your knowledge base, get really good at several things. Find out what makes you unique, what you have to offer the world, and make a list of your talents. Warren took a welding class last year and I’m taking a silver smithing class this year. Classes aren’t cheap but we find that we can still do it if we are taking turns and spreading out the expenses.
2. Use your talents and skills to become good at lots of different things. Social media, writing, editing, desk top publishing, marketing, fixing cars, welding . Things you did as hobbys may now be ways to happily earn income. Expand your skills so you can us them in your own business OR hire those skills out to others to create income. Warren has used his talent for fixing cars to save us thousands of dollars over the years and even though he’s really good at it I think he learns something new with every repair he undertakes.
3. Be a gypsy. Choose your own path and how you will travel. Learn to enjoy spending time with your tribe but also enjoy solitude. Being able to work alone and in groups is key to creating income from different sources. Be willing to move about, you are no longer stuck in one place (take this figuratively or literally, however it applies). While we weren’t keen about the idea of moving several states away for a job (he didn’t get) we are totally open to trying new things, meeting new people and exploring new ideas.
4. Define yourself, don’t let others define you. Don’t go into business to please your parents. Do what makes you happy, what feels good or what is important to you. Don’t forget to do what you LOVE. We have both spent lots of time doing things for “the right reasons” that have left us feeling empty. Now we are trying to do things for the right reasons that also make us feel good.
5. Be a magpie and collect bright and shiny ideas. Collect ideas, insight, knowledge, experiences. It doesn’t matter where you get ideas but it does matter what you do with them. If you’re bored, do something else. Take risks and do unnecessary things.
6. Be kind. Always say, “Please” and “Thank You”. Kindness begets kindness. Kind people are invited back, invited to the gathering invited to the opportunity.
7. Be enthusiastic. Be passionate. Make things happen.
8. Have fun. Dance, sing, go to the movies, see a play. Make every day special, fall in love with your life, fall in love with your family. Laugh. A lot. We’ve had some amazing opportunities to see live plays at Kent State where our youngest son is a theater major and we’ve been invited to several other concerts and outings. There was a time where we might have turned them down for lack of time or energy but now we are embracing all of the new experiences we can.
9. Mix dreams and reality with a big hunk of flexibility to build your future.
10. Look, look, look. Look at dogs in the park, the sky at night, dust on the dresser, fabric in the thrift shop and the foam on your latte. You never know where your next idea will come from but you’ll never see it if you aren’t looking.
11. Determine what is important, needed, necessary. Lattes every other day aren’t needed. New brakes on the car are definitely necessary. One of the hardest things for us to give up was cable but we hardly miss it at all now. We did give up organic produce to cut expenses but have determined that they will definitely be back on the shopping list as soon as our income allows. You have to decide what is important to you.
I hope my tips help you if you are also in a transition phase like us. I know there are hundreds of thousands of people out there in the same boat we are in. Job loss and few prospects for jobs tend to encourage us to be creative about how we make a living.
What tips would you add to the list?