Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

Meditations of
Marcus Aurelius


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Verissimus News v1.00


From JfZ
Article: Could doing freelance work be for you?
Advice: Practical Networking: Make Your Own Luck

This Verissimus site is shiny brand new.  I'm re-reading Meditations on Verissimus verse-by-verse and noting people, places, or terminology that might be unfamiliar to the casual reader and creating entries for these things in the Glossary.  For regular words whose meanings may not be readily known by everyone I've also added a word searchable link to Visual Thesaurus on the left side panel as an aid and tool.

I've made a determination that the target reading audience for Meditations generally falls into two main categories of people.  First, students may likely need to read it as some assignment for a class.  I've created a Student Resources section in order to start to bring those appropriate things to the table of which a student might make use.  In that section, I've decided to start with topics covering general interest to students, internet research and the writing of papers, essays, and the like.  The second group of people are likely casual readers, or as I've identified myself as, a casual self-student.  Since Meditations is basically a look inside the mind of a Roman emperor, I decided to include a section devoted to Leadership Resources which may help students, people in the business world, or even government in their pursuits to explore, study and grow personally and professionally.  This group of people are perennially encouraged "to think outside the box," or as Morpheus told Neo in The Matrix, "Free your mind."  I imagine everyone could be categorized as those people that color inside the lines and those that do not -- and are encouraged to do one or the other at some point in their lives -- so, I'm hopeful that the growing Resource sections will develop into an area that is useful to all that visit Verissimus, in addition to the Meditations themselves.

Among the live oak trees in Florida,
- John Furie Zacharias

Could doing freelance work be for you?

There's nothing like the feeling of accomplishment -- doing a job and getting it done well.  Most people, given the opportunity, take pride in their work.  At the same time, surveys have shown that about 80% of people working these days would change their current job, if given the chance.   Why is that?  More and more, people are getting up early, enduring a long commute, and arriving at a job they despise.  Some people are simply working in a job they absolutely have grown to hate just to pay the bills.  And while it is honorable to be responsible and pay your bills, it is fantasy to continue to do this and expect that a better job will simply fall out of the sky someday.

Despite the promises of Work-At-Home advertisers, being your own boss has it's drawbacks like any other thing in life.  If dreams of making a million dollars a month while running around your house or apartment in your pajamas is your sole motivation, then you could be in for a shock.

Working at home ... let's think about that phrase for a second.  If you're so tired from the stress of road rage from your drive home everyday, or the daily grind as it's called, how much energy are you going to have left at the end of a long day?  Freelance work is still work.  People get paid for their time and their talents.  If you can't spend any time developing and using your talents, why would expect to get paid for it?

So how is it that people actually do it?  I had an interesting conversation with an old friend from the Detroit area about this very topic on the cell phone today.  Most people do some type of freelance work -- or as we regular joes from Detroit call it, side work -- but one thing becomes very evident quickly when you do it from home.  It takes discipline.

Stay focussed on the target

Sometimes, it takes more discipline than you first may or may not have realized.  As an example, my friend from Detroit works a 9-5 as the IT guy for a public school system.  It's a steady, good job to have and he actually has few complaints.  When he does side work, it's usually fixing someone's screwed-up box (PC) or something related to the same IT skills he gets paid for on the 9-5.  Even still, discipline can be a problem.  Why?  Because while you may be trying to stay focussed and disciplined about working, you're doing that in an environment that is your normal relaxing space.  You may work for an hour or so, get up to grab a beverage and then wham!  Like some typical kid with a 30-second attention span at an amusement park, you've wasted another hour screwing around with 10 different things in the rest of the house.  You could probably do your job at work in your underwear, but then there's so much to easily distract you at home, even if you live alone!

Whatever work you may plan to do from home, you can assist yourself in maintaining discipline.  Mentally say to yourself, "When I enter this space, I'm a paid professional".  Whether that space is your home office, a studio, your garage, your basement, or your temporary kitchen-table workspace -- mentally seperate it when you're working.

The pros of being a pro

While working for yourself at home may present some issues for you to overcome, the benefits are worth it.  For many years, I used to say, "I'm self-employed ... my boss is a jerk,"  (or worse).  That was after I developed the discipline to put in some very long days and nights working on various side jobs or freelance contracts.  While one of the challenges to being your own boss is time management, it is also a benefit simply because your time is your own.

Another benefit is that the work you do should be some work you like to do.  If not, why would you do it in your spare time, full-time, or at all?  Generally, freelancing is something at which you enjoy working and, if you stay focussed, you may just be surprised at the amount of work you will get paid to do.  Being able to get paid on a project-by-project basis, and developing your skills, talents, and ultimately your business over time is also a good thing.  You can often turn a hobby into a business or turn a skill or talent you possess that is not used in your daily grind -- your current 9-5 job -- into some serious cash.  You'll not only enjoy being able to buy some of those extra things in life you may want, but also you may actually start enjoying yourself while earning that extra coin, too.  If so, freelance work may be something for you to look into for a better future.

One place to help you hang out your shingle for freelance work is at the AF Work site.  They can assist you in marketing your business by putting your portfolio, or resume, on their network of sites that are heavily trafficked by potential employers looking for people with the skills and talent that you possess.  AF Work also has a wealth of helpful articles by experienced freelancers to support your endeavors.  Take a tour of their site to get started, and make a decision to do something for yourself today.


Practical Networking: Make your own luck

Whether you are a student looking for an entry level job, an entrepreneur or an established corporate executive,  Kevin Laws has some great advice for you about Practical Networking: Make your own luck.

Here is the first thing he says about networking:

Networking is about serendipity: making your own luck. We've all heard of some guy who just happened to have a friend starting a business and brought them in -- only to make a million dollars later. The reason the story is not uncommon is because that's how most positions are filled. I once saw a statistic that over 92% of positions are filled through extended networks rather than traditional means (classifieds, resume sites, recruiters).
If you are an established leader, networking allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of your company.  And while David Hornik makes a good argument for Old School Networking in the traditional sense you may be imagining, like at company functions, Practical Networking may also give you some tools to use in your every work-a-day.

Much like an entrepreneur who is familiar with promoting one's own business, the student seeking employment can benefit from learning some of the rules of networking that venture capitalist entrepeneurs use because the task is essentially the same -- you should be promoting yourself to everyone who will listen -- as if you were your own best product.

To some people, self-promotion is second nature.  For you and I, perhaps, we need to learn or be reminded of some of the more practical aspects of networking.  Kevin explains a half-dozen effective and easy-to-remember steps or rules in his article on VentureBlog.  It's a fast but informative read.


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