Many years ago when I was working full-time in call-center Hell, my father once said to me: “Most people need to be told what to do and when to do it. You’re not one of them.”
At that time, I was thinking about quitting the full-time job (and my highest-paying one at the point in my life) I had because I was burning out and headed for a huge crash. Also, they were talking about a ‘reorganization’ and my gut was telling me that wasn’t going to be a good thing (I later found out how right I was on that). But that’s not quite where the idea of wanting to have my own business began.
No, it really began right after my mother died in October of 2002. I probably wasn’t thinking too straight at the time as I’d been on a seven-year roller coaster from Hell but I did have an idea of starting some type of business I could do off my recently-purchased laptop. I’d read about Virtual Assistants and also looked into learning how to do creative work like graphic design. But reality crashed in on me along with a shit-ton of fear and doubt and I eventually went back to call-center Hell (I’d lost my first call-center job in the summer of 2002) and stayed there minus one break from 2010-2011 before I left that world for good in May 2016.
But I’ve had a dream that goes back much further and that is to be a full-time published author. That dates back to about junior high for me, or before the Internet was even a pimple on some techie-bro’s butthole in Silicon Valley. I also had a dream after I graduated high school about becoming a screenwriter and going to film school and maybe becoming a writer-director of movies. I put that dream aside when my mom got sick and I don’t regret it.
The world has changed since all those failures to launch. The internet has truly revolutionized our world (and just amplified the shit-show the world has always been, too). Since 2016, I’ve been trying to figure out how to earn enough money to live on without taking on a day job. And right now with the economy at the bottom of the sewage treatment plant like it is, I honestly don’t know if I could get a day job. But I can hustle in the meantime and live on next-to-nothing. I’ve got a laptop, an internet connection, and a lot of ideas.
A couple of years back now, I created a few YouTube videos. They were pretty basic narrations of PowerPoint presentations but I really liked doing them. And I discovered I’ve got a good voice for narration and creating content. And I’ve finally begun to accept I’m a pretty good writer and can bang something out in less than a thousand words that’s short and sweet and makes a point. Also, with some good software help, I’m not half-bad at creating graphic designs and slogans.
The biggest obstacle I’ve had to face with making my dream come true is shoving the asshole-voices out of my head that hiss at me that I don’t know what I’m doing, and that I don’t have what it takes to make this work. Here’s a newsflash for everyone: no one has all the answers or knows everything. All I know how to do is take things one day at a time and work on one thing at a time. I can also keep my eyes open and look for opportunities to work with, too. Most of all, the days of putting all my eggs in one basket are over and done with, and have been for a very long time.
I know I’m doing this on a seriously-minimal DIY budget and mindset but last time I checked, there weren’t any laws against that. And most of all, I’m totally aware and have known all my life that there is no such thing as a sure thing. My problem has been giving up too easily.
What I want to do now is get a decent noise-canceling microphone so I can re-do my YouTube videos (the material needs a serious rewrite), squeeze out a few bucks for advertising and promotion, look for promotional opportunities that don’t cost money in the meantime, and most of all, work my ass off to create content. It’s the creating of content, which starts with writing that’s the easy part for me.
In the past, monetary capitalization was the big issue with getting a personal venture off the ground. But with technology being what it is today, things can be DIY’d on a very thin shoestring to get started with. Decent hardware is nowhere near as expensive as it used to be (my first laptop cost me $1200, my current one was about $300 used). I also learn pretty fast and yes, eventually I’ll probably upgrade my equipment and software but for now, I’m going to make what I’ve got work for me.
And I’ll let you all know how I’m doing it and how it’s going.