What Do You Provide? Assignment from Seth Godin’s Freelancer Course

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I know, I know…the path on the right

Seth Godin’s Freelancer Course on Udemy: Lecture 8 – Exercise: What do you provide?

Question: What do people buy when they buy something from you?

 
This question stopped me in my tracks because it made me recognise that this really needs to be articulated and put on the table before going any further.
 
They would be buying a method to help them achieve what they thought they couldn’t; to become solopreneurs. They would be buying a blueprint towards their success. They would be buying an opportunity to me mentored by the stories of people who have accomplished this before them.
 
Question: Leave out the easy, repetitive, generic stuff… What are you doing that’s difficult?
 
The homework. I’m doing the research about what the steps to success are – finding the common denominators. I’ll be knocking on doors – cold calling noteworthy individuals in our category. I’ll be turned away many times before a remarkable yes comes along.

I’ll be learning and failing until I find the right methods to interview people, to podcast, to drive traffic, and to write in such a way that:

  1. People will learn 
  2. People will be emotionally connected
  3. People will believe in themselves because someone before them did. There will be social proof that someone they can relate to was prosperous.
  4. People will feel like they are part of a unique community
  5. People want to come back for more

I’m questioning how generic or difficult any of the above is, but then realise that the difficult part is that not everyone is willing to do the work and accept that failure is part of the process. I think I’m ready for some let-downs in order to find and distribute some treasures.

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How to Turn Your Bosshole into Your Muse

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Er, perhaps switch to white wine, sir.

I have a bosshole. He has some redeeming qualities, but his faults have been screaming so loud lately that I can barely concentrate at work.

What makes him a bosshole? He has a drinking problem, becomes arrogant when intoxicated (the guy likes his long lunches), he is having an extramarital affair with a colleague (his second co-worker that I know of since marriage) and has become so vocal about his cynicism that it’s demoralizing. It’s been so hard to ignore that I even contacted the company psychologist to try to learn to detach from his idiocies.

Today I decided that enough is enough. I’m not the moral police. I wasn’t hired to judge this guy. I will just allow him to dig his own grave and promise myself to not be here to go down with his ship. Now his bossholeness and wine teeth will be fuel to start my own venture; he will be my muse.

I have been doing a load of research lately on lifestyle businesses, listening to podcasts, have joined facebook groups with like-minded individuals and am doing a lot of interesting reading. It’s all so inspirational and it’s time that I delve into a success plan, so I’m going to take a leap and talk about one of the things that I want to do.

I am going to find entrepreneurs within my demographic – those who have started from nothing, who didn’t have handouts, and who perhaps made some major mistakes along the way. Converse with their humble beginnings, they realised that there was something out there that gave them a charge, something out there that they could share with the masses, and then they took that idea and rose above their cubicle like a resurrection to bring it to life. Did you hear the heavens open up when that last sentence ended? I know, I know – you also want to be that person with the gumption to do what they did. That’s why I’m going to find them, interview them, study their formula and give it to you.

There. I said it. Now I have to do it. I’ve never interviewed anyone before. But I will. I will trip while doing it, but at least I can say I tried.

Maybe you also have a bosshole. Or a spousehole. Whatever kind of ***hole they are, rather than being your deflation, let them be your inspiration.

The Straw That Broke the Subordinate’s Back

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Grin and bear it. For now.

What is your maximum limit of capacity before you break? How long before doing something about your work problems becomes your number one action item? What work problems? The problem is that you’re working for someone else and you don’t really want to be there. That’s our common denominator.

My back isn’t quite broken, but I can feel that if the cracks keep on crackling, I may do something rash like accept one of the other job offers I’ve received instead of holding out to start my own venture. If I do that, then I won’t have the time that I pilfer in-between my work projects to plan my exit strategy. If you’ve been at your current job long enough that you know your tasks so well that it feels like you’re in a hypnotic trance by the time five o’clock rolls in, then you can find time somewhere in there to map out your future. Stay there long enough so that you can squirrel away some knowledge, a fistful of start-up cash, and enough clients/dependable income to sustain you.

I have always wanted to do something other than what I was/am doing for work. Year after year. Paper push after paper push. File after frigging file. Ditto for you, right? My straw started to splinter during a performance review with my boss, which was going swimmingly until I told him that I had planned to apply for another job within the company, but due to a change in my health, I decided to hold off until things were more stable. His swift response was, “Oh, you wouldn’t want that position anyway…it’s not a cushy office job.”  <insert car crash sound effect> Knowing that my reaction could profoundly influence my upcoming bonus, I had to swallow that jagged pill immediately.  After years of working for this guy, my suspicions that he has no idea what my capabilities are, outside of being his underling, were suddenly validated. Therefore, he will never promote me. We have two choices in this situation:

  1. Accept it and get peed on through to retirement, whilst wearing a bogus smile all the way. If you choose this, you are also opting to renounce your right to ever complain about it.
  2. Pretend to accept it and use your time wisely to find a source of income that feeds your soul.  If you chose this and actually work towards it, you earn the right to complain.

You may think I don’t like my job and boss. That’s simply not true, but since said review, a lot more splinters have surfaced – some almost too painful to turn a blind eye to. These are the pesky reminders that I need to gear for above selection number 2.

Fellow cubicle conqueror, how is your straw looking these days? Please share your story.

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.

– Maya Angelou

Cubicle Interrupted: Let’s Resolve to Resign

I’m in my early 40’s and am still trying to find a way to be myself and get paid for it. Now that that has been typed, it seems kind of desperate.

I’ve been doing months of research about marketing myself – how to doll up my skills into a product that everyone wants to buy in order to start my own business so that I can flip the bird once and for all to my day job. However, I’m starting to question the legitimacy of this whole, trendy “personal branding” shit and am leaning on just being myself instead in order to validate to others, like you, that being our creative selves is enough. Sugar-coating our true identities and proficiencies will inevitably combust. Magna est veritas et prævalebit.

Cubicle Interrupted is going to be an experiment in formulating an exit strategy to rise from employee to entrepreneur. An accountability experiment in being ballsy* enough to choose ourselves. And in the meantime, also a place to pen survival tips/office hacks while we’re still minions because we do need to try to stay stimulated in order to maintain our sanity, as well as upholding some pride in our work so that we don’t get fired before we quit.

Join the exodus. Undoubtedly, it will be your most richly deserved celebration when you do it, finally. Our call to action: Let’s start planning our party immediately.

*Would “vagi” be more fitting? After all, their elasticity combined with their post-childbirth resilience seems way tougher than balls, no? Vagi it is.