When I worked in Hollywood, I met an actor who could, literally, play any part. He also had the “looks” to be a star. He spent his time as a character actor in supporting parts. He did get offers to go higher, but always refused the opportunity.
Why? He played his own game. As a character actor (and voice actor), he
had more opportunities to explore his talents and sharpen his craft. Being a star, he felt, would close those
When it came to becoming a
character, few could touch him. I
watched him develop a character for a cartoon project and was amazed at how
quickly he got connected with the voice and personality of the character. His transformation was almost instantaneous.
Being a character actor was a game
he could play and play very well. Being
a “star” meant dealing with a completely different level of Hollywood politics
We all do this. Sometimes we adopt a personality to go along
with the expectations of others. In private
we are completely different. Its rare to
create a business where who we are is expressed, almost without restriction, through
what we do to make a living.
It’s a matter of finding our
personal comfort zone and finding a way to stay within its protective bubble.
There was a local Seattle DJ who discovered that he could make a lot more money voicing commercials. He could often sight read the copy and do two or three versions in less that fifteen minutes. His fees and royalties provided a very comfortable living and on a healthier, more comfortable schedule.
What is your game? How well do you play it?
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Creating a business can validate
who you are. You can share your talents,
skills, pesonal experiences and accumulated knowledge with those who want to
share your journey and are willing to pay you along the way.
Most of us have some kind of talent. It can be something specific, like acting,
writing, carpentry, etc. It can also be
the capacity to learn something new easily and quickly. Whatever your talent or skill, build a
business around it, full or part-time.
Working at a 9 to 5, while
necessary to pay the bills, is not always fulfilling. You are there to do a job according to the
rules of the game set down by management.
If you are fortunate, the job can be fun, interesting and even
profitable, but who you really are may not be allowed to grow and develop.
I have a friend in Boise, Idaho
who worked for a major corporation for several years to pay the bills. He ran a side business, consulting small and medium-sized
businesses about cyber security. While
he had the knowledge and experience, the company he worked for would not
consider giving him a chance to use his expertise because he didn’t have the
When he retired, however, he moved
into the cyber consulting business full-time, based on his personal reputation
and has developed a substantial client base.
Is starting a side business
easy? Its like anything else we do in
life. Its as easy as we make it.
Starting small, making connections
and developing a scalable business model is the best solution. Create a list of 100 to 200 passionate
supporters, people who will buy your products consistently, then build that
relationship into a multi-million dollar project (if that’s how far you want to
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What do you like to do? Cook, enjoy wine, travel, review movies? What, after a hard day at work, reignites your
imagination? That subject, whatever it
is, is the key to creating a lifestyle business.
Speaking only for myself, at the
moment, I have a love of the Pacific Northwest, its history, its people and its
future. I’ve lived in several cities throughout
my journey, here, and have loved every experience, good, bad and
Ask me about my time in Medina,
Washington and I’ll tell you about the late John Frost, who owned the local store. Ask me about my time at Bellevue (Community)
College and I’ll tell you about the late Dr. Willard Geer and his color picture
How about my time in Vietnam? Most people there could speak their own
language and French. While not great at speaking
either language, I managed to get my ideas across. Of course, I would I just happen to meet the
one person in the entire country that insisted on speaking German (it didn’t
matter, the generator blew up anyway.)
Then there are also the local
special events. For example, Port
Orchard has the annual Seagull Calling event.
I tried it one year and kept getting the message “the voice mail is full
and cannot accept any more messages.” I
also got lots of busy signals (who could Seagulls be talking to for three
hours?) I finally gave up. Maybe next year.
My point is simple. Depending on your passion, there are hundreds
and, perhaps, thousands of stories. Take
pizza. How may ways can pizzas be made depending
on locations, cultures and personalities?
How about eggs? Are there really
one-hundred ways to cook them? Sharing
your passion for these subjects could turn into a financially viable lifestyle
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Recently, my wife and I decided we
wanted to move to a smaller community in south east Oregon. We listed our home and started the process of
qualifying to buy a new home. We even
picked out a home that was hard to sell because of its proximity to I-84 and
its traffic noise. Inside the home, it
was quiet and comfortable. Outside in
the back yard was a completely different experience.
Everything was moving along nicely
until Thursday morning, when all the financing collapsed. There were several contributing factors, so no
one issue stopped the forward momentum.
The goal to move hasn’t
changed. It has been set aside until
sometime next year. That will give us
time to get all the financing to move set in place in advance, along with the
logistics. With another ten months to
plan I may not be able to get all the ducks in a row, but I may be able to get
most of them heading in the same direction.
I am also hoping that home prices
may go down in a year. Boise, Idaho,
which is the closest major market, is hot right now with lots of people moving
in. That impacts home prices in
communities within a 200-mile radius and, as a result, has impacted the home prices
in the community we want to move to.
Over the next ten months I also
need to establish a business model that does not rely on the local
community. In other words, I no longer
want to be an employee. I also don’t
want to retire from the flow of life.
I need to create my own job as a
writer, publisher and seminar promoter.
Not easy, of course, but the challenges, once over come will make moving
to a new community a little easier and more comfortable. I’ve been told life is meant to be an adventure,
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I suppose that headline needs
We recently thought about
moving away from our home in the Pacific Northwest. The plan worked until, suddenly, the financing
fell through. Back to square one.
One of the goals for the move
was to change the direction of my life.
I’ve been an employee most of my life in some capacity or another. In fact, even at 72, I still go into work
every day. Lately, I’ve been feeling
like I’m on a Hamster wheel, doing the same thing everyday and hoping for a
different result (the classic definition of insanity.)
When I got news that our
financing fell through two things happened:
First, I decided that the next
time we do this (which may be within a year), all our financing will be in
order BEFORE we list our house.
Second, I decided to change
Hamster wheels. The difference is I own
the wheel and I can control how fast I need to spin it. The best way to make a fortune, or at least
live comfortably) is to own the wheel. I
can add as many gears and spindles (products and services) as I want, as long
as I can control the spin of the wheel.
As for the insanity of doing
the same things over and over I agree, a lot of that will happen. The outcome, however, will be different. At some point I can sell the business (or
just shut it down), put my feet up and enjoy the sunset (or Seattle overcast,
depending on where I end up.)
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