I just finished reading a most wonderful book by Barbara J. Winter entitled Making a Living Without a Job, revised edition: Winning Ways for Creating Work That You Love. I can’t recommend this book, and the companion website Joyfully Jobless, highly enough. Not only does Barbara offer wonderful information about becoming an entrepreneur—complete with lots of ideas, tips, and tricks about getting there and staying afloat once you’ve arrived—she also turned my entire mindset about work completely upside down.
I’ve been on a rather intense diet of entrepreneur books lately, but this one really connected with the place I have been stuck. Even as I have thought about finding a way to work for myself and finding a way to do the work that I long to do, I have always approached the thought of it from the mindset of an employee. I still thought of it as having a job, even if I was hoping for better work, better conditions, and myself as the boss. So the whole idea of finding a way to be joyfully jobless—to make money doing what I love to do without it being a “job” as I’m used to thinking of it—has absolutely revolutionized and revitalized my thinking.
One of the key strategies she talks about is developing what she calls multiple Profit Centers. This is a strategy of finding multiple streams of income from things you love to do; these things may for a cluster of closely related things or may be an eclectic collection of things that represent your many interests. I love the idea of having that kind of variety, of not having to chose to put it all in a single basket. Just think of the joy of not having to define myself narrowly to fit in a single job that’s defined by someone else! I love the flexibility involved in having multiple ways to bring in income so I can use them to balance each other out as each area goes through its normal cycles of highs and lows. I love the freedom to choose what things I want to be part of my set of profit centers at any given time; I can add, delete, or change my list at any time. Best of all is the creativity involved in finding ways to use my skills, talents, and knowledge to meet the needs of others in ways that will also provide an income.
I’ve suddenly gone from nervously approaching the idea of being an entrepreneur as much as out longing to escape the work life I’ve experienced to date as from wanting to do work that’s meaningful to me to being passionately excited about the idea of living a life joyfully jobless with all of the variety and creativity that can entail. Yes, I am still nervous about the idea of not having a regular paycheck and not having all of the benefits to which I am accustomed (health insurance, retirement plans, etc.), but I see those now as challenges for my creative problem-solving to find solutions for rather than reasons to hang back and wait. Now I’m ready to begin the real work of brainstorming and researching options to put together a plan for which profit centers I want to start out with and what I need to do to get those moving before I leave my job. The risk is all part of the journey.
In the meantime, I’ve completely changed the way I look at my current job. It is just my current largest profit center. (Actually, it’s my only one for the moment, but that’s about to change.) It’s no longer my financial lifeline or my career or my security blanket. It’s just my primary profit center at the present time. What a freeing perspective!