“Get rich (quick)” — Freelancing in the Connection Economy (Revisiting Seth Godin, from May, 2014)

I’m always taken aback by people who assume that freelancing is a “get rich quick” career move. Recently, I met someone who defined “rich” as “making at least a hundred grand a year.” He defined “quick” as “within six months” of starting.

Viewing “riches” otherwise, however, as the marketing guru Seth Godin does in a recent blog, provides a mental checklist for the kind of “wealth” that  freelancers (in my experience) often desire. This kind of wealth would mean genuinely connecting with others over a long period of time. They might use one’s product or service over months and years, not days. This would not be about making a fast buck.

Freelance work enriches my life. It also enables me to enrich others’ by the alternative standards that Godin proposes. In the following statements, the bolded text is his. My thoughts follow, in parentheses.

 Enrich your world by creating value for others. (Write a blog or an e-newsletter that informs and entertains on a topic pertaining to your business.)

Enrich your health by walking twenty minutes a day. (Visit the local riverbank or better yet, a conservatory where plants and flowers bloom, even through a Canadian winter.)

Enrich your community by contributing to someone, without keeping score. (Share a nutritious lunch with someone who lacks one.)

Enrich your relationships by saying what needs to be said. (Speak to a somewhat difficult neighbour whose behaviour could risk others’ safety.)

Enrich your standing by trusting someone else. (Share some of your career experiences with a newbie freelancer, whose friendship you value.)

Enrich your organization by doing more than you’re asked. (Give something back to a mentor who regularly offers support to you.)

Enrich your skills by learning something new, something scary. (In 2015, write in a format and media that are new to you.)

Enrich your productivity by rejecting false shortcuts. (Read business building books to think and blog about current issues, instead of frequently repurposing others’ blogs. Note to self: the irony of suggesting that in this blog posting isn’t lost on me!)

Enrich your peace of mind by being trusted. (Hear a client say she’ll plan her work around your schedule, because she likes what you do.)

The connection economy pays dividends in ways that the industrial one rarely did. I can think of several local freelancers who contribute as much as I do, when I think over these points.

My call-to-action to you (even if you aren’t a freelancer) is to think how you can use your place in the “connection economy” to enrich your and others’ lives. In doing so, you’ll leave the post- industrial economy behind. The challenge is more demanding than ever, but so is the reward. (And that comes from me, although it sounds like Seth himself.)

[Bolded material posted by Seth Godin May 01, 2014]

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