Why I’m no longer satisfied working for someone else and what I did about it.

For the past nine years I’ve been an Instructor for a major university. It’s been a fantastic ride. I’ve worked part-time, often from home, doing something I love. But times, they are a changing. Like so many industries higher education is having to reorganize, revise and restructure to try to keep pace with post-internet society. The result has been chaos. Seems the Titanic can’t turn on a dime and I may have been thrown overboard in the process. As the need for Instructors has dwindled I’ve had fewer and fewer contracts. I’ve been sitting by the phone like some spurned prom date, waiting for it to ring, until I finally got sick of it. Luckily I’ve developed a strong entrepreneurial bent in midlife so I’ve taken matters into my own hands.

End of JobsIn his book “The End of Jobs” (my latest read, review coming soon) Taylor Pearson examines this exact scenario. My job is ending. But the book isn’t a doomsday dissertation, it’s theme isn’t “be afraid, very afraid.” The theme is “wake up, pay attention, there are opportunities out there. Go get em.” I felt this way before I heard Taylor speak on Joanna Penn’s podcast “The Creative Penn” but he gave me the numbers to back up my theory and the cheer leading I needed to get started.

So what am I doing about my lack of teaching contracts? I’m teaching. This April I am joining together with another local self-published author to teach anyone interested how to self publish and how to market your self published books so you can actually sell a few. It’s a process I learned the hard way and I’d like to save others some of my frustration.

I can’t tell you how good it feels to be proactive. I’m juiced. I can’t relate to any of the Monday-sucks memes because I I love any day I make progress toward making this happen. I can’t wait to teach again. I feel like I’m flipping the bird to my absent prom date and going off to create my own dance. And it’s a hundred times more fun! I get to make it mine. I no longer have to worry that the energy and passion I’m investing might be for naught, overlooked on some annual evaluation.

Ok, so the downside, because there is one. I will not make as much in my first year as I did when I was getting one contract after another. But I will make more than if I continued to wait for another contract or if I spun my wheels hoping another University isn’t in the same boat (I’ve looked, they are.) I might not make as much in year two, possibly year three, but eventually I will. And in the mean time I will be a much happier person. I’ll no longer beat my head against the wall in frustration over inane rules and endless red-tape and paperwork. Being in control, having agency, is one of the greatest thrills in life. Another is making a difference in the lives of others. I’m killing both those birds with this stone.

And creating my own classes is only the beginning of creating my brand, my own multiple-income business. This is another theme favored by Joanna Penn, Taylor Pearson and scores of other forward-thinking people because the other huge drawback to working for someone else is the reality of no income when they say good bye. Without a back up source of income it can be devastating, life altering. For many this is the catalyst that propels them into the world of international e-commerce. It was my line in the sand. When I first published I  was still getting contracts and working them. I may still get more, but in the mean time I’m going to keep moving toward self-sufficiency, agency to make my own destiny.

Let me finish by not only encouraging others to read Taylor’s book and figure out their own path in a “jobless” world, but also give you a few resources I’ve found that make this trip so much easier and more fun. It turns out that many of these new e-entrepreneurs also want to help others have the success they do. For the price of a search you can find ideas and support galore. Here are a few of my favorites:

Marie Forleo – Her Marie TV channel on YouTube has over 200,000 subscribers because she delivers sound business advice in an upbeat, sometimes silly, manner.

Danielle LaPorte – Not only is she a business woman with multiple income streams to emulate, on her website she shares her philosophy, successes and failures in a very real way. She’s a fantastic example of succeeding by being yourself.

Sarah Morgan (XO Sarah) – When I add fantastic business advice pins to my Chick in Charge Pintrest board they often come from XO Sarah. Follow her on Pintrest and you will find answers to all your e-commerce questions presented in an organized, easy-to-use fashion. She’s my number one source for badass blogging advice.

Joanna Penn – As I mentioned her podcast, The Creative Penn is where I find not only great advice from a fellow author but guests, like Taylor Pearson, who help me keep growing and learning and motivated.

So who’s with me? Let’s do this midlife (or earlier) end-of-jobs thing together. I’d love to hear about your journey into being an entrepreneur or your hopes and dreams to do so. Comment below with your story or your favorite resources.

**Anyone in the Memphis area who is interest in my self-publishing class can follow this link to my FB page. I’ll be posting sign up information there soon.



I’m in the Mood for Love

Do you remember the feeling of falling in love for the first time? God I do. It was a completely blissed-out ride on a ton of happy hormones. It was feeling stupid happy with a really doofy grin on my face all the time. Damn that was fun. 

Sometimes I want to relive that, well, the feeling at least. (My husband might have something to say about me falling in love again with someone else.) But the cool thing is that I can get it and not rock my marriage apple cart. It’s not always easy to find, but sometimes I can find it in a book. And when I find one of those books, one that brings back that same fantastic feeling, I don’t want to finish it. I don’t want the feeling to end. I want more from that writer.

That was the kind of book I wanted to write. One that transported my readers back to their high school days and all the wonderful (and a few not so great) feelings that went along with it. I wanted to write something that someone would pick up after a particularly trying week that would make them laugh and sigh and bliss out and OK, cry some too. From all the reviews of “Burnouts, Geeks & Jesus Freaks: a love story” and “Popstars, Friends & Lovers: a dreamer’s tale” I think I accomplished that. 

Mood or feeling is one of the top reasons someone picks a book but it’s often overlooked in the writing process. 

As a writer I know it is easy to get caught up in the mechanics of what I am doing. I get focused on grammar or sentence structure or plot points and get all tangled up in the details and lose sight of the big picture, of the mood I want to create, of how I want my readers to feel. 

I’ve found a fantastic writing guide called, “Wired for Story” by Lisa Cron. It’s about the psychology behind what readers are looking for in a story, how the brain works when someone is reading a story, and how to develop your own story for maximum reading pleasure. I’m only halfway finished reading it but it has already made a major impact on the way I am creating and developing my next series. It has helped me focus more on the aspects that will pull my readers in and less on things that can be a distraction or even irritate a reader. I’ve had a few LOL moments when Ms. Cron points out common mistakes that I’ve made or read that leave readers wondering “what just went wrong here?

I love the fact that self publishing has given so many aspiring writers, like myself, the opportunity to offer their stories to readers. But in the crowded chaos stories can start to sound the same. One plot can sound a lot like so many others. When that happens the way to distinguish your work is through mood or feeling. There can be hundreds of stories about first love but the one that captures that giddy feeling and conveys it to the readers will be the one that stands out. 

So, what are your mood books? Do you have a favorite book or author that you always go to when you are looking for a certain feeling?