by Robert L. Gisel
Being a writer means working and making a living without being somebody's employee, in my mind. Being not an employee but genuinely an entrepreneur. This web site of Barbara Winter that lends support to the idea.
At one trying period of my life I went off purpose taking up a state government job. This for sure took no creativity but the warranty of a regular paycheck versus the insecure returns of self-employment income was cozy, like an electric blanket in a bitter cold night.
Sooner or later the secure steady job will reach the limits of tolerability for the entrepreneurial minded.
If you have an avenue towards the attainment of income, exchange of products for funds that does, or will, realize subsidence it can be as creatively variable as people are different. There are commonly several mileposts you will have to accomplish to be "joyfully jobless" as Barbara flaunts above.
1) Create The Bright Idea. The new idea creates from thin air. Somewhere I heard someone say inspiration only comes around just so often you have to take advantage of it when it comes along. Not true. Decide to think of something new and do it.
I wanted to make a friend of mine laugh this morning. She is a Doctor of Dermatology so the idea was simply, how could I un-define Dermatology. At first hadn't a clue how to make a play on that term. With help from the dictionary I got inspired:
Dermatology is the field making kishke (from derma: a wrapped beef dish stuffed with a flour mixture). It is the reverse of "Where's the beef?" that being epitomized by Beef Wellington.
It's strange I don't see that in her office...
There was another example of this where I was explaining to a friend how to go about the game of creating and licensing patents. Just for example, I said, what if you wanted to come up with a better mouse trap. On the spot, out of the blue, I invented one. I elaborated a box cage that triggers a guillotine trap door when the mouse approaches the cheese inside the box. Voila! A better mouse trap.
From nothing to something is the province of the artist: the new idea from thin air, the written word on a blank page, the painting on a empty canvass. All starts with a decision and that is easy. Just decide I am going to...
2) Physical Demonstration Aids Imagination. Sometimes when the ideas just won't gel into a variation what you're trying modify or originate it can help immensely to literally put it out there in front of you. Rather than molding it in your head put it in the physical universe using scraps of things from your desk drawer to shape a demonstrative model.
In the example above you could fold a piece of paper into a rectangular box. On the floor of the box fulcrum a strip of cardboard over a pen cap. Wrap a stack of credit cards with a piece of tape and slip it through a slot in the top of the box to form a trap door. Unwrap a paperclip to create a rod coming from the entrance side of the end of the ramp and upwards through the top of the box. Play around with a lip and a hook configuration on the trap door that holds it up in the open position until triggered, at which point it drops into place. Lay a piece of "cheese" at the far end of the ramp and await the mouse.
Demonstrating something in the fashion with bits and pieces of anything is a terrific aid to invention.
3) Checklist the Practicality of the Bright Idea. Make sure it withstands the tests of feasibility: it has to be something that fulfills a real need in a practical and usable fashion. This is simply done by considering it all the different ways that a consumer would regard it. Write these ways down for quick reference or as checklist.
In one's own area you have probably been thinking in this light automatically. It is your forte'. Where you don't quite visualize it, here again you give this beingness by actual doingness. Form the considering points into a checklist. How can I think differently about this? What is a different point of view? Is this a brand new idea or does it improve upon an idea? Who would buy it? Why would someone want this? Is there anything else like it on the market? These are just a few of the questions that might be on your checklist.
4) An Economically Feasible Product Makes Good. The product should be able to be sold for 3 times what it costs to buy/make/deliver the goods. Whatever that price comes out to be has to be a value that a public will buy. The lower priced burger at McDonald's is offset by quantity, while the higher priced burger at Applebee's sells for more as it has a quality that people want and will pay more for.
A friend mine does quite well building and installing, at a much higher price, the same cabinetry middle America might buy for their homes, as he deals exclusively with wealthy publics who are willing to pay more for the same product. Consideration and market has everything to do with the exchange.
With a product like writing it is your time that is valuable. Working all year on a product for $20,000 or one month for one that pays $10,000 and leaves 11 months open for more products makes it easy to see: you can only spend so much of your time at something.
5) A Lot at Bargain Prices Versus Little at a Premium. Writing, sculpting or painting alike face the same quality versus quantity issue. You should have both. The larger ticket item when sold pays a lot of bills accumulated but a steady flow of smaller introductory items keeps bread and butter on the table daily.
The biggest reason for both, why this is essential, has to do with new public versus the established clientele. You must always, always, always develop new publics to keep up an expanding client base.
6) 2% Inspiration and 98% Perspiration. This delineation of genius by Edison speaks sooth.
You could potentially sell your ideas and never have to be involved in the manufacturing or marketing. You can license patents and the purchasing company takes care of all the implementation and can get a flat fee or may negotiate a percentage return. Whatever it is it is less than the return if you yourself manufactured the invention and put it on the market as did Edison.
Even selling the idea it takes some hard work to package a bright idea that it can be sold. It may only be typing it up, drawing it out, naming it, prototype making, testing and surveying. Then you have to sell it to someone or a board of someones and may have to defend it from all manner of ploys to get without buying.
7) Administration is Too Often Foreign to the Artist. A number of my friends are the most outstandingly creative in the field but when it comes to the practical skills of administration and marketing the product they flop miserably. This is particularly true in art where the aesthetic mind stands by itself and produces exceptional product.
Where you have experienced this of yourself the answer is to get trained and educated in the skill areas lacking or hire a manager or outsource the activity.
8) Give Due Consideration to Operating in the Red Long Enough to Succeed. How much capital you will actually need to start a new activity or how much reserves will keep you funded while the returns build enough to put you in the black is more often than not underestimated. It is a different amount for each activity.
It is best to have some form of regular proceeds, monthly income or royalties while establishment occurs.
9) All Your Eggs One Basket Can Lead to a Nasty Surprise. When the fox breaks into the chicken coop if all the eggs are in one basket the loss may be total. When there are numbers of baskets he isn't likely to get into all of of them. Especially if there is more than one chicken coop.
It is a wise idea to have more than one source of income. While this applies to anyone it is extremely viable for the self employed. It might be large white eggs, brown eggs and turkey eggs, each having its own market share. It might better be from different areas altogether like eggs, goat's milk, cheese, Christmas trees and garden boulders.
10) Be Consistent. Whatever it is you do for income it has to be regularly done. One time deals tend to be just that: a big spurt of income, then a drought. At some point success will roll over into floods of income you couldn't stop if you wanted to, but until that time comes a regular output of creation is necessary.
These are from within the realm of my experiences and observations. I welcome other viewpoints and exploration of other ideas. Leave your comments or ideas you have about this.