I’ve freestyled life since I was 15, and in the most truest sense since starting my full-time vagabond life in July 2009.
However, the change that is coming on is different.
The decisions I am making are different. I’m about to fly solo.
I have promised to leave this anti-sabbatical business behind. No more working shitty jobs in exchange for travel funds.
I quit my current anti-sabbatical job in PR a few weeks ago; my last day is on January 31st 2012. That’s about six weeks away, of which about two I’m on vacation. So four weeks left of working for someone else. (Still too long.)
In the meantime, I'm left hanging in mid-air.
Like in my dream I had the other day: I was on a plane and the plane started accelerating on the runway, it kept on accelerating and going and going and going…but it never took off! This reflects prett well how I'm feeling these days.
My Personal Revolution
Soon, I am starting a new era in my life. An era where I will live my passions and dreams 24/7 without any more compromises.
This is going to be my personal declaration of independence.
So having made my public promise a few weeks back, I thought it would be a good idea to write about
the questions I've been asking myself – wondering and worrying about. They are questions I would advice anyone who is planning on flying solo to consider. Answering them will make everything a bit clearer.
let you know how I’m dealing with the current situation of having quit my job and finding myself a bit in limbo.
So here we go:
My ten questions. Recommended exercise for any aspiring solopreneur or freelancer.
1. What the fuck am I doing?
Does this make sense? Are all these people who are ‘making’ it online and in the blogosphere really real and not just faking to be making it? Do I have the same success-genes as them?
I can really only believe in myself and my projects because of all these amazing and inspiring people out there in the blogosphere, who are doing it, rocking it and helping others do and rock it too (let’s just think Chris Guillebeau, Jonathan Mead and many more).
If I was to depend on my personal life in the touchy world (as I like to call it), then I would have probably given up a long time ago. I might not have gotten the idea in the first place. Actually, I think I would have called myself stupid and unrealistic if I had – which would make me highly conventional and normal.
I am also fortunate to have a mum and a partner who both believe in me and my plans and any crazy idea or dream I happen to follow. It’s important to have at least one anchor in the touchy world that gives you feedback and support. Which is why you read so much about “surrounding yourself with the right people”. I totally get that now. Because if not, if you are a one-man/woman island, you might not pull through. The rest will pull you over to the realistic side and you will realise that everything was just a dumb idea after all and then forget about it. How sad would that be? I can’t even think about it.
2. Can I handle the business side of being a solopreneur?
How much do I actually know about business? To be honest, not very much.
I never thought I would be going down this road. Rather despised everything business and corporate and capitalist. I seriously never considered becoming an entrepreneur. Never. Insane actually, thinking about that now.
I’m trying my best to catch up on business knowledge (rewards link), reading and reading everything I can get my hands on from business principles to (online) marketing and being a entrepreneur and freelancer.
It’s fun and I’m enjoying the learning process, but I won’t be overdoing it. I don’t want to build a Fortune 500 money-making slaughterhouse, just my little one-woman show.
3. Do I have the discipline?
The keyword here is the big P-word that ends with rocrastination.
I know I have a mountain of motivation and enthusiasm, and I know I was disciplined enough at uni to write a bloody massive 300-page grade-A Master’s thesis on my couch while going out drinking four times a week.
So yes, I believe I can do this.
Can I be sure? Fuck no. I’m gonna have to find out.
If anything, I’ve go Steven Pressfield's The War of Art to fall back on. His words always manage to kick my ass back on the working treadmill. My own personal passion treadmill I love running on by the way. Makes it easier to be disciplined.
I’m disciplined enough to work a full-time job and start and run a blog after-hours, for which I publish at least twice a week. Apart from that I'm pre-planning my solopreneur life. I’m already working long hours every day. And I love it, cause I love what I’m doing.
4. Can I handle the paperwork and legal stuff?
I’m gonna have to, won’t I? With a little help from my friends I can pull this MoFo off too.
The plan is to deal with it as it comes up. Gladly I have a few people in my social networks who I’m sure can give me some advice. If not, I’ll just read some more books and blogs, right?
5. Is this going to stress me out?
Life-work balance comes to mind. And you know what? This concept makes me want to vomit.
I’m not gonna have a life-work balance, because I will have a 100% life-life. That’s what I’m doing this for. The moment it starts to stress me out is the moment I have to quit this all and claim unemployment or social benefits, man. Seriously.
Life-work balance is a lot of BS in my world. What a sad world is this anyway where a concept like this even exists.
I won’t do more work and take on more clients than I can handle period. And since I don’t need much to live and since I won’t be living in Western countries, I won’t need to work my ass of. Easy.
Apart from that, there is always Yoga.
6. Can I organise myself well enough?
I’m a massive organiser actually. I’m German duh!
At the moment I’m already in the process of structuring my tasks and strategising my plans.
Since I feel overwhelmed really easily, I have to be very organised, as otherwise I get paralysed and start procrastinating heavily.
7. Can I actually make money? In the long run too?
I certainly hope so! But with all my skills and product ideas I have up my sleeve, seriously, how could I not? I'm pretty confident on this one. Not that this is always easy, but it's all I have sometimes.
Of course these questions worry me, but that’s just my inner critic trying to pull me down.
8. Do I have a backup plan?
What if I run out of money before my plan becomes profitable? Definitely a thought to consider, ey!
I’m actually a tiny bit prepared (comes with the German organisation package).
I have a couple of small safety nets which I'm confidently relying on:
- I’m a scuba dive instructor and can always find a full-time job or freelance (planned option while running my business) doing that. It’s work in paradise doing what I love, so that’s cool. I don’t think I would ever want to give this up completely anyway. I love being underwater and teaching others to do it as well.
- I will be helping my mum and her small business out a bit, as a relaunch is planned early/mid 2012. She wants me to do the PR and Social Media side of it, so that’s some safe money in the bank right there.
- I will have a bit of money saved up by the time I start flying solo and leave Germany. It’s not a whole lot (~ 4000 Euros), but because of #1 and #2 above, it doesn’t have to be.
9. What is my plan really?
You’ve probably been wondering about that for a while now.
I plan to have several different income streams, which don't have to be all running at the same time, but possibly could.
So here it is, this is how I intend to make a living:
- Freelance PR Consulting & Social Media Management. For anyone who is interested (my mum being my first official client, yeah) – I will be advertising my services on connibiesalski.com and mention it on this blog as well (but not prominently)
- Freelance Scuba Dive Instructor. Off to Indonesia end of April 2012, back to the island where I lived and worked before (Gili Trawangan, Lombok). High season starts June-ish (till September-ish), which gives me the confidence that there will be plenty of freelance work available and thus money to be made.
- Write (e-)book(s) and/or a paid subscription letter for A Life of Blue readers. Writing is becoming a bigger and bigger part of my life (again), and with the million ideas in my head it would be a waste to leave them to rot away. I want to be of help to my readers and anyone else who is interested and provide them with the greatest value possible.
- Other possible income streams: freelance (article/blog) writing, wordpress blog setup, translations, travel consulting…
And then I step away.
I think: Screw this, screw all the doubts and worries. Shut up you useless inner critic.
How will I be able to answer any of these questions without going for it?
I’m gonna jump no matter what the answers to all these questions are.
I call this the FYF Principle.
FYF = Fuck Your Fears = Do something no matter what. Hold your breath and jump. Jump despite not knowing where you will land.
I know what I want and I’m gonna go and get it. FYF!!!!!
And if the fears come back, I go and watch Jon Jandai's crazy inspirational TEDxTalk:
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