This blog began as a quest to make changes in my life, and to force myself to get past all of the road blocks that were standing in my way.
Years have passed since I was sitting in my office wondering what it would be like to travel the world and I’ve realized something…
I’ve done it.
Sure I still have a limitless number of places I plan on going to, but I’ve achieved the goal of seeing some of the world and building a business.
I can pick up at a moment’s notice and fly anywhere and know that my income will follow me. That’s a big portion of the puzzle right there.
Much of what I’ve written about over the last few years have been aimed at helping you make the mental shift necessary to start living a life that makes you happy.
I’ve even put together an entire program aimed at helping people conquer their fears and overcome uncertainty, it’s one of the parts of Location Rebel Academy that’s focused on mindset.
But I’m not there anymore. I’ve done that, and frankly, the blog needs to evolve with me and where I’m going.
I’ve found that for the last few weeks writing for this site has been difficult. I’ve been working hard to build my business and I have tons of stuff I can write about relating to that. The problem is, I’m still writing for the audience of a year ago when I was still looking to make a dramatic change.
Last week I did something I swore I’d never do again which was write about the term “lifestyle design”. A few commenters were very quick (and correct) to point out that it’s a made up word, and essentially means nothing. Yet, I wrote about it because I knew it would get across my point of American’s needing to travel more.
These days instead of daydreaming about travel and owning a business, I spend hours each day working to build something sustainable. In some ways I’ve probably taken on too many projects, considering many sit half finished or have taken way too long to come to fruition.
But I think that’s just due to my own demons.
That said, lately I’ve had a hell of a lot of awesome opportunities come my way, and it wasn’t all by luck. There are very specific things I’ve done in order to grow my business, and today I’m going to tell you about three of the easiest and most effective ways for you to do the same – regardless of your industry.
Network in Person
For the last few years we’ve heard just about everything there is to hear about social networking. It’s here to stay and there can be tremendous value in it when a sold, consistent plan is put together.
However, throughout the social media craze, the idea of networking in person and showing up at a networking event has been all but lost. This is unfortunate, as this is when it’s easiest to cash in on the real benefits of building a network.
For instance, less than a month after I got back from Thailand, I went to a big party for one of the social media organizations in Portland. There were a few hundred people there, and plenty of alcohol to go around.
That night I received three job offers.
One was for a pretty plush desk job that I almost considered, but knew it wasn’t right. One didn’t work out time wise. And one was for a fantastic SEO firm in Portland that I continue to do work for when they need it.
One event has the potential to mean thousands of dollars in revenue if you’re willing to put yourself out there. When you meet in person, you don’t have to let your resume do all the talking for you. You can build rapport, make friends, and put your qualifications somewhat secondary to the fact that someone likes you.
If there’s someone in particular you want to connect with, straight up shoot them an email. You never know where it might lead. One email to Chris Guillebeau eventually led to me working as his affiliate manager.
Getting on mailing lists for organizations within your industry is one of the best ways I’ve found to hear about upcoming events. Meetup.com is also a good resource, as is tip #2 for building your business below.
Utilize the Power of Craigslist
If there’s a better tool out there for getting freelance business I’ve yet to find it. Craigslist is essentially classified ads for the modern day, and can benefit your business in numerous ways.
If you’re simply looking for a new career, they’ve got you covered – in just about every single market in America. At the very least you’ll be able to find a place to send an application – but if you want a shot at your dream job, I’d suggest sticking with strategy #1 and meet people in person.
Where Craigslist really shines is the power for finding project based work. If you have any kind of computer skills someone, somewhere is looking for you. I’ve found Craigslist is best for people with programming knowledge, but if you’ve got SEO skills, an eye for design, or even know how to do data entry, you can find work.
I utilized this for years to find clients for my house painting business. I paid my way through school by building a successful business via word of mouth and Craigslist. One post advertising my services led to a dozen inquiries and 3 booked jobs. 25% success rate is pretty awesome for something that took 15 minutes to type up.
If you have a bigger business, you can find qualified people to do all of the jobs you don’t know how (or don’t want) to do. For many people that need work, Craigslist is the very first place they go when they’re looking for work. So a simple post could net you with dozens of applicants to choose from – both qualified, and probably many that just aren’t quite there.
Because there are Craigslist pages for so many different cities, it’s useful for finding work outside of your hometown. Maybe you want to work remotely, or perhaps you’re looking to relocate, regardless this is an excellent resource to consider.
Make an Investment
One of the most difficult things for me to do has always been to invest in my business. I don’t mind putting in the time, but as soon as it comes to putting money towards it I’m super reluctant.
I discussed this in more depth last year in “Would You Rather Have a Beer or a Business?”
Making an investment in your business will help you grow it a bunch of ways. For one when I’ve got my own money on the line, I try a lot harder.
Take my personal goal of running a marathon. I paid $100 to register, and haven’t missed a training day yet – I almost passed up free tickets to the Blazers game last night just so I could get my run in for the day.
Contrast that to my attempt at P90x in November, which I got from a friend for free.
I lasted about 5 days.
To this point, any time I’ve made a significant investment in a business (with one or two exceptions), things of paid off many times over in all sorts of ways. Money, happiness, and opportunities just to name a few.
Whether you’re looking to grow a small freelance business, or a much larger corporation each of these strategies can help to boost just about every aspect of your venture.
In the future many of the blog posts about business are going to be geared towards people who want to live and work from anywhere in the world. My happiness quota has gone through the roof since I became location independent. That said, I can’t wait to see what happens in your business this year.