This is part 6 of a series in making the leap to self-employment
You may not think you are creative, but once you strike out on your own, you will begin flexing those dormant creative muscles, which have become stunted from working for someone else.
“Ideas are floating around in the air and they simply can’t find their way into corporate cubicles, so they go elsewhere,” jokes Barbara Winter, author of Making A Living Without A Job. “The creative spirit may exist in all of us, but it needs to be incubated in the right environment before it will come out and assert itself. The joyfully jobless tend to live and work in an environment that stimulates creative thinking.”
“Creativity is not a trait monopolized by a few fortunate souls,” writes Chic Thompson in What a Great Idea! “Every person is creative, because creativity is the trait that makes us human. Creativity is just another way to describe intelligence. To be creative is to have intelligence, to be able to gather information, and to make decisions based on that information. To be creative is to be able to perceive and recognize the world around us, to understand what we need or wish to do in response to it, and to set about changing it. To be creative is to find a way, a thought, an expression, a human manifestation no one else has found and to bring newly discovered possibilities into reality.”
Once you’re working for yourself, you will have no fixed rules to follow. Since no one else has done exactly what you are doing, you will have to discover what works for you.
Make a mistake, keep going
You will make mistakes and the capacity you demonstrate to creatively turn the mistakes into learning experiences will help determine how successful you will be working on your own. If you send out 1000 direct mail pieces about your business and receive not one lead in return, for example, pick yourself up and try something else. Think of it not as a mistake, but as a problem to be solved. In finding out that a direct mail piece does not work, you may have learned that you need to contact people personally to market your product or services.
Where will your ideas come from? Pay attention to your customers, your competition, your peers. Read books and articles. Surf the Internet.
“Dream up” ideas
You might get your best ideas after you go to sleep. If you are stuck on a solution to a problem, program your mind to let your subconscious work on it while you are asleep. You may come up with concepts for marketing pieces this way, or have a brainstorm about why something isn’t working.
Visualizing what you want to accomplish is a tried and true technique that is used by entertainers, business people and sport figures to create the results they want. Basketball players have become better shooters by visualizing the ball swishing through the net. Golfers visualize the putt sinking into the hole. Baseball players see themselves connecting with the pitched ball.
The technique of creative visualization is endorsed by none other than Oprah Winfrey. She says she has seen in her own life that creative visualization works. To put the technique to work, you simply use your imagination to create what you want in your life – in this case, satisfying work. Create a clear image, idea, or feeling of what you want to happen. Then regularly continue to focus on the idea, feeling, or picture in your mind. Eventually, you will actually achieve what you have been imagining.
It might help to take some time each day to relax into a meditative or prayerful state of mind. Imagine that you are making a living at the work you have created. Imagine yourself in the physical setting or environment that you like, doing work that you enjoy and find satisfying. Add details that are important for you, such as the hours you will work, the products or services you will sell, and so on. Repeat your visualization often.
The challenge will be to learn as much as possible about running your independent business in a way that still allows you to do what you enjoy. After all, that is the reason you’re becoming self-employed in the first place, isn’t it?
The good news is that virtually anything you need to know is available to you through books, tapes, workshops, seminars, public-education programs, consultants, and training programs. And all this information is available anytime you need it.
Take heart from this observation by author Jay Conrad Levinson, “Perhaps the most amazing thing about earning money without a job is how easy it is to do. The going is the toughest at the beginning. But after that, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to be your own person.”
Part 7, “Getting By Without a Job,” continues the series on making the leap to self-employment.