For today’s post I want to get into some of the awesome aspects of running a business on your own terms, being your own boss and making money your own way. I’m also going to touch on what is a dream for lots of readers – travelling the world making films.
YOUR JOB; IF YOU HAVE ONE
We have to start somewhere with this.
Do you have a job? If you do, this section of the post is especially for you. If you don’t have a job, or you already work for yourself, then you can still get something out of this section, as well as the rest of the post.
Firstly, I want you to write down a list of pros and cons about your job.
You can write this on paper or in a digital format. You need two columns. In the left column write “good things about my job.” In the right hand column, write “bad things about my job.”
You guessed it – see if the pros outweight the cons. If you’re an entrepreneur already, then you have probably already done a similar exercise.
What would some “job cons” look like? Obviously ones are things like: working for somebody else, having to commute to work, office politics, etc etc. How about job pros? Depending on your line of work currently, things like: job satisfaction, fulfilling and feeling like you’re improving the world, guaranteed pay check every month, etc etc.
WORKING FOR YOURSELF
As I’ve discussed in other posts, people start out working for themselves for a whole range of reasons. For the purposes of Filmmaking Lifestyle and the readership here, I’ll discuss filmmaking as the “working for yourself” option throughout most of this article.
However, I’ll keep it open in this section to discuss alternative modes of working for yourself to cater for anyone who might be reading this with different career aspirations, as well as filmmakers who already work for themselves and might be looking for alternative streams of income.
Find an alternate source of income. Look for things that you’re passionate about. Start working on side projects whilst you’re still working your day job. It’s an incredible way to break free from work and gradually make the transition into being an entrepreneur. If you get good enough at this alternative income, then you can eventually change gears into making it your primary income.
A great starting point if you don’t know where to go from here is to read MJ DeMarco’s excellent book Millionaire Fastlane. He details a track towards becoming a producer rather than a consumer. It’s certainly not for everyone, but this is a path that many of my audience may be interested in eventually (if not already), so I include it here.
Also, consider changing your mindset from someone who complains about problems to someone who solves problems. Become a Solution Magnet. Seek them out. Opportunity is everywhere.
Bad service in a restaurant? Opportunity!
The guys that put your new floor down were slow and not entirely polite? Opportunity! How about starting a flooring business. You now know what kind of people not to employ.
How about that pair of shoes you’re forever polishing? Potential opportunity!
Obviously, this is getting more into an invention mindset, but I’m just throwing out random ideas. The point is, we all have different opportunities around us, depending on our unique set of circumstances and location. Seek them out! This is a game changer!
For me, it took a while to gain enough confidence to go out on my own. I started making videos for local companies and gradually built up a small name for myself. From there, it eventually became a full-time income and I was able to leave my day-job.
WHY YOU SHOULD PROBABLY QUIT YOUR JOB AND BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR
I say “probably” in the title of this section because there are a whole host of considerations before taking the jump into working for yourself.
Yes, it’s true. Not working for someone else and owning your own business is the best way in the world to become wealthy. More and more people, in this day and age, are realising that job security is a myth. I, myself, lost a job when the recession of 2009 hit, and I lost another position elsewhere (in a really cool digital role) when the company had to downsize in order to pinch pennies.
Couple that lack of security with the ever-growing opporunities in various forms of digital business, and it’s no surprise that people are waking up to a reality that often doesn’t include a 9 to 5 job.
There used to be a well worn adage about how you should go to school, go to college and a job would be waiting for you. They often called this kinda position a “job for life.” But I’m afraid the security of a “job for life,” moving your way up through a super-secure company, is no longer a safe option for people. Whilst the comfort of knowing you get a regular pay check every month used to be a calling card for 9 to 5 businesses, it’s now an unfortunate reality that so many of these once dependably secure companies are going bankrupt.
Whilst this happens, we’re slowing seeing a shift in society towards smaller businesses and people going out on their own, and the internet is greatly aiding in this revolution of sorts.
But don’t jump into anything yet.
Here are a few pointers to consider before quitting your job:
– Make sure you have (at minimum) 6 months living expenses saved. If you do quit your job, you better make sure you have living expenses saved to a) live on and b) as a backup incase your business plans don’t work out.
– Are you really cut out to work for yourself? Yes, it’s true. Many people believe themselves to be entrepreneurs and think they have what it takes. That’s until the rubber meets the roads and many people realize they’re just not cut out for this life. Yes, things will be hard, especially in the early going. Ensure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into (whatever your business might be) and make sure it’s what you really want before you make the plunge. Due diligence is key here.
– Have a date set for when your savings run out. This is the date that your business needs to be making money by. If it doesn’t, then you won’t have money to live on and you might find yourself looking to work for somebody else again.
– Have a plan. Like everything else discussed here on Filmmaking Lifestyle, planning is key. Don’t just dive into a new business venture. Plan exactly what you’re going to do and what it’s going to look like. If you can’t envision it, then it’s probably not going to work out the way you hope.
This advice might seem harsh, and might not be exactly what you were expecting to hear, but it’s time-tested and will hold you in good stead.
THE GREAT COLORFUL WORLD OF TRAVEL
Besides its obvious and much talked about benefits, travel is incredibly important when it comes to business and filmmaking, as well. I’ve travelled a lot myself, and I feel it’s one of the best ways to boost your confidence in all areas of life. Getting put in alien situations and having to pull through time and time again – incredible confidence builder.
They call it Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone. And what better way to do it than by packing your bags and getting away from where you’re currently living.
With that said, of course, travelling is optional – it’s certainly not for everyone! Nowadays, you can run a business from your laptop. There are all kinds of small businesses and freelance projects you can get involved with from in-front of your laptop…anywhere in the world! I take my laptop and camera equipment with me, and I’m able to edit client’s projects as well as shooting new stuff on the fly. I’ve structured my life so that I’m able to travel anywhere in the world in order to shoot client projects.
Word of discretion – I’m not yet at the point where I’m getting calls to fly out to shoot client projects in Bermuda, for example. Not yet. But I know people who personally are at this level, and make a great living freelancing as everything from directors to camera operators to editors and everything in-between.
You can own a business and not travel, but where’s the fun in that?
PROXIMITY CAN HOLD YOU BACK
Too many people seem to be caught up in proximity.
What do I mean by that?
They grow up in a small town, go to school there, get a job there and then settle down with a partner and kids there! The only time they see a place outside of their hometown is on their vacations, and those are few and far between. Some people never even leave their hometown!
Now I’m not trying to totally knock living in the town you grew up in and raising a family there. Each to their own, and I know many people who have done this and still been successful. However, those are nearly always people who have gotten out of the comfort zones, seen the world and decided to raise a family where they grew up themselves. They’re also people who still regularly travel and investigate the world with passion.
Thing is, for so many people, what I described above is marriage by proximity. It’s settling for something because it’s right there and easier than going out and finding your calling – whether that’s a significant other, a career or a project. What are the chances of finding an incredible person (that you eventually marry) in your hometown? Think about that for a while. Have you explored enough of the world to know what’s best for you and what you really want?
Food for thought. I’m not trying to knock anyone’s lifestyle or belief system.
This really resonated with me today. I stumbled upon a chart showing the world’s populations by country. Next to the population, it showed the % that country’s population made up of the world’s whole population. The UK (where I live) represented less than 1% of the entire world population! Incredible.
So if you never left the UK, you’d only ever meet a tiny portion of the world’s people! Obviously, if you stayed put, you’re likely to meet people from overseas that travel to your country, but you’re not putting yourself in the best position to meet new people and be proactive in choosing your own destiny.
There’s so much out there, guys. Get out and see the world!
THE WAY FORWARD: DIGITAL NOMADISM AND THE NEXT FRONTIER
In our modern technologically astute present, more people than ever before are tuning out of their jobs and plugging into the opportunities that exist in the digital world. People are realising more and more than there exists a path to financial success outside of working their hands to the bone in an office, whilst clocking in at 9am every morning and leaving as soon as the clock hits 5pm.
Behold the Digital Nomad.
Digital Nomads and entrepreneurs regularly work as freelance writers, photographers, online marketers, web site designers, software development engineers, graphic artists, along with other sorts of information workers who are able to perform work responsibilities irrespective of actual place. That is to say, they can work from anywhere!
They make use of ever-developing systems like laptops, smart phones, wireless web, and cloud based programs to make a living wherever they reside or travel. Digital nomads are also known to use co-working areas and shared workplaces in cities throughout the world. This presents great networking and socialising opportunities for film and video professionals the world over.
There’s nothing stopping you from working as a freelance filmmaker/videographer in the same way.
STYLING, DESIGNING & TRAVELLING
We’re also seeing Digital Nomads taking advantage of cheaper living costs in countries like Thailand and the Philippines, where they can live a luxurious life for a fraction of the Westernized cost of living.
As discussed in Tim Ferriss’ excellent book The Four Hour Work Week, there are now opportunities, also, for workers to work independently of their companies whilst still being employed by them.
This remote work is heralded by Ferriss, and others, as a new era of worker power, where an office worker can leverage his talent by demanding that he work from where he feels best suited. This has given rise to top workers plying their trade in foreign lands whilst their bosses monitor them digitally from across the world.
So what does that mean to you?
With the rise of social media and the continued emergence of blogs as a very viable platform for building an audience for one’s business, the world really is your oyster. No longer should you only see one way to make a living for yourself (working for a company), in the modern world there’s now an abundance of opportunity.
Whether it’s creating your own digital business which you can run from anywhere in the world, working as a freelance filmmaker, or breaking free from the constranits of your 9 to 5 job, the world is ever-changing – don’t be left behind!
So what do I recommend you do? Here are some ideas:
- Book a trip. Seriously. If time and money isn’t an issue, then book the best trip you can imagine. The people you’ll meet, the places you’ll see and the things you’ll do (that you never even dreamed you’d do!) will be worth it!
- If time and money is an issue, then scale back a little. book a weekend away locally, or a week on a budget vacation. It’s up to you, but book something now! Just throw caution to the wind and do it! The stars will align and the practicalities will be worked out once you’ve done it and there’s no turning back!
- The time of your life! Plan, plan, plan! With your new found knowledge, plan some cool trips, excursions, weekend breaks and projects! it may be a good time to take out your list of goals. Some may need updating or adding to after reading this post. Have fun!
I hope I’ve inspired you! Drop a comment below with any thoughts – I’d especially like to know which trip you just booked!