February 5, 2013
I really wanted to name this post, “Have laptop, will travel.”
On a hunch (and as a good best practice), I did a little due diligence and found that there were over 100,000 people who’d had the same idea. I started to get frustrated, then defaulted to, “Well, great minds think alike.” So, before I say anything else, let me injudiciously spotlight a few other folks who were smarter, quicker, or both on the Have Laptop, Will Travel train.
After I give them props, I’ll explain to you what I mean, and how I’m living a Western:
But, all of that both is and is not why I’m writing this. I’m really writing this because of Paladin.
Have Gun – Will Travel (a snowclone phrase popular the first half of the 20th Century) was a TV show about a gunfighter named Paladin who walked the Earth, having adventures. (“Have gun. Will travel.” Get it?) I never watched it, but the Ballad of Paladin was a fair pre-Internet meme. It went like this:
Have gun. Will travel. Not on craigslist.
This is on my mind this morning because I had a moment of epiphany in appreciation of my life. Things have been stressful lately (join the club, amirite?), but I took a step back and assessed today. I liked what I saw.
You know what I do every day? I wake up, roll out of bed, hit my laptop, and work until I can’t stand not eating or not peeing anymore. (This morning’s new record: 3.75 hours! I won’t tell you for which.) Then, I go back to work, either going into my office (precisely 4 minutes from where I live) or at home, depending on the patent-pending Ron Marshall Distractedosity Index (p-pRMDI) – if I feel too distracted at home (or I need to interact with people at the office), I shoot over to the office. If I feel like the office will be too distracting (and I really need to hunker down on lockdown), I stay at the domicilic headquarters. I then proceed to work until I get brain-fry or hunger pangs (looking down, that’s too often lately). Then, I repeat. I keep up this cycle for 12-18 hours, 5-6 days every week.
The result? On my favorite days, it means checking things off of my list. Oh, the joys of list checking-off; if you don’t know them, you should. On lesser days, I add more things to the list than I check off. That increases the net task “surplus”, but I’m learning to better manage my people and resources to make that work, too.
And what do I do for a living? I find trouble. I solve problems. I make solutions. I have meetings – online, offline, on phone, in face. I listen to what my clients feel like other people think is impossible, and hear that they want me to do just that. I grind, I grab, I tussle with friends and foes. And I do it quiet like a ninja, because if anyone knew how the sausage was really made, it might make them sick to the stomach. They don’t need to know the process. They just need the delicious result – and I never use horse meat.
Everything isn’t perfect – if it were, people like me wouldn’t have a job. But, we work to perfect it – everything. We go where we’re needed. We don’t like to fight, but when we do, we’re in it to win. We look, we make, we build, we change, we remain …
“Have gun; will travel,” reads the card of a man …
April 6, 2012
So, you’ve decided to get in The Game.
In last week’s post, I talked about the realities of getting staarted as a freelancer, especially in a media or creative field. So, let’s begin you’ve had an extremely productive week, and you’ve done it. You’re a freelancer now. The freedom was seductive. You’ve started fresh, thrown off the shackles of wage slavery, abandoned the corporate rat race, and determined once and for all that you’re not going to play by their rules anymore! ATT-I-CA! ATT-I-CA!
Not so fast, hotshot.
The life of a freelancer in any field, especially media and creative, is full of adventure. It always has been. These days, however, it’s much more likely to be fraught with the dangers of tax filing than swordplay.
Operating as a working freelancer
A big part of success in starting any business is networking with like-minded people. Even more so with freelancers in creative-related industries. Taking a look at how other freelancers are handling life as a freelancer can yield some pretty good insights. Here are some from some Michigan indepreneurs with things to say:
- Milda Bublys, co-founder with Sarah Schrift of (aptly enough) Sarah and Milda Jewelry, at 8:33 a.m. on a Friday morning describes the freelance life as, “exhausting. Hopping from job #1, to job #2, and then finally, job #3 today.” I’m a big fan of The 4-Hour Workweek, but even (perhaps especially) Tim Ferriss will admit that getting to a place where a small, solopreneurial enterprise doesn’t require you to put in double-digit hours on several days in a given week is a process.
- There’s no doubt that there are easier ways to make money. In fact, Darren Cardinal, owner of Detroit Agapes Harder calls the lifestyle, “Hit or miss. Some days/weeks/months I’m sit fairly comfortable. Then [I] have periods where I’m glad I have a sense of saving.” I can relate to that. I can better relate to days when I wish I had a better sense of saving. When you’re operating without the (perceived) safety net of steady paychecks, things can get harrowing pretty quickly if the bills get behind and the accounts receivable dry up.
- But, it does have its rewards. “It is the hardest work I’ve ever done, but by far the best,” says ghostwriter and blogger Sorilbran Stone, “I’ve had to stand on my own two feet. There’s no cushion between me and my successes or my failures and at least for me, it’s a better life. I don’t mind the ups and downs, what I do mind is having Michael Scott for a boss. So, there.”
So, there, indeed. My best pieces of advice: Surround yourself with people who get it. Find other players in The Game. Seek out great mentorship. Look to those who have done it to get insight into how to do it. What may seem like an impossible dream becomes much more of a practical reality when we follow in our forebears footsteps.
Online, check out the following links. I won’t tell you what they are here. Go find out for yourself! (But, do come back and comment!)
Next week: Moneymoneymoney — MONEY! Funding fun!