Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Freelance Chronicles

by Skald

Im going for it. I am finally going to build a 100% freelance income. No more wage slavery and no more bosses. Enough bitching about the problem, time to work on the solution.

Over the next few months/years I will chronicle my efforts. The failures. The inevitable difficulties and frustrations. The tactics. The strategies.

I hope to be as specific as possible about my efforts to build an independent income and live an independent life. Thus far, Ive focused on the simplicity side of the equation.. reducing needs.

But Ive taken that as far as I wish to go... Ive found my "enough" level. Its a level that still demands some income. So my efforts now will be on getting that income as a freelancer.

The rough plan:

Freelance Teaching: Long term.. I hope to build a sustainable living income from teaching English to foreigners and immigrants. To maintain and promote my nomadic lifestyle, I plan to build much of this through distance learning.... using the internet, Skype conferences, and other tools to serve students all over the world.

My aim is to build a group of international students... and connect with them from anywhere in the world via high-speed internet. Thus, if I want to move to South America... I just go, get a high speed hookup, and continue as normal.

This will take time to build. Ill chronicle my efforts here. In addition to distance students, I will recruit independent students in whatever city I happen to be living in.

Freelance Teaching Strategy: For Hobopoets, traditional "business" strategies dont make sense. We dont have the cash for mega investment. No one wants to loan us money. We can't afford advertising.

We must be bootstrappers with a capital "B". We must start with absolutely nothing (sometimes this means starting without even a home).

So forget retail shops. Forget restaurants or traditional schools or anything that requires a building with a lease and rent. Forget anything that requires lots of upfront money (and for us, "lots" aint much).

Forget anything with large startup costs. Forget anything that depends on selling large volumes of "stuff".

The Hobopoet way is not BIG... its small. Micro. TINY.

I will focus my teaching efforts on a tiny micro niche (net-savvy subversives and misfits who want to learn English.. people who hate traditional education) These are the folks that traditional schools label "strange", "loners", "difficult", "contrary", "troublemakers", "don't fit in".

I will focus solely on customized courses for these people. That is, I will create a course for each individual student or semi-private group (4 students max). I will not have classrooms... I will teach via the net... or in cafes.. or in homes (ideally over a cup of coffe or a beer).

I have no need to compete with mega schools or programs... By offering hyper-customized courses... by being human, personal, and real... by using methods completely at odds with traditional education... by seeking the students they fear... and by having low financial needs... I eliminate the ability of these schools to compete with me. Indeed, they have no need or desire to do so.

I aim to serve what my friend Shiori calls "Blue Ogres"... the weird, the independent, the deviants, the creative, the odd, the sensitive (ie. people like me).

I aim only to provide remarkable courses to remarkable people.

Ill leave mediocre students to the mediocre schools.

Thats the freelance teaching strategy in a nutshell.

The first trick, of course, is finding these students. The second trick is attracting a few to give me a try. The third is to kick ass and win them over.

Meanwhile, I have to eat. So in addition to this noble sounding plan... I will be bartering, finding odd jobs, taking Part time work, donating sperm :), writing freelance articles... and scrounging income any way I can.

To be continued......


shenandoah student said...

Return of the Jedi!

And the revolution begins ...

CrowMagnum said...

Sounds like it might be time for ten days of dhamma.