Kendel Kirkwood-Lyons
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Everyday millions of us out there dream of quitting our day jobs. Saying sayonara to the corporate lifestyle. Putting in our two weeks notice to that boss who may or may not be overworking us for the amount of pay we’re getting(or maybe not). And saying peace out to the colleague that always got on our nerves. Then stepping out as a free man or woman to do whatever and go wherever our heart desire…with complete autonomous control. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) , it is something not all of us will get to experience. While it can take excessive amounts of planning and strategizing at times to work for yourself, in reality, what keeps most of us from working for ourselves is simply….MINDSET. Fear of uncertainty has a much more negative effect on people along their journey than debt and income. You must stop thinking like an employee to be able to transition from that lifestyle. Mindset is key. For me it started with dreading getting up to go to work constantly throughout the week, and feeling completely drained after work. Even too drained to do “the fun stuff” like going out and hanging with friends. I didn’t know exactly what I’d do next but I had to make a change. What I did know, however, was that I always had a passion for fashion and I could start off looking for ways to jumpstart a career in the modeling industry. So next, with the entry level Sony DSLR camera I bought on eBay, I went and took a handful of headshots(which in hindsight were completely horrible) outside of my apartment. Then submitted them to all the “big-time” modeling agencies in Miami Beach. I just knew I was about to take off and they’d all be calling me up within a few days. So I waited..then waited..then waited…and………crickets. Not a single call or email came in. I even went in to one of them for an open-call believing I can win them over with my charm and smile, and was immediately turned away because I was an inch under their height requirement. As I walked out I was a bit annoyed and disappointed, but I thought to myself there was no way I’d let that stop me. So in that moment I made a decision. In order to really maximize my success on my personal road to glory, that I would become a ….. freelancer. In a nutshell, someone who simply works for themselves. Without committing to any organization long-term and maintaining the ability to work with whoever they want.

reasons to become a freelancer

  • control
  • career change
  • money
  • family time
  • lifestyle

There can be PLENTY of reasons , we as people , may prefer the freelance lifestyle. They can stem directly from dissatisfaction of doing whatever job duties we may be required to complete on the daily. Feeling like there’s no exercised control available to us. Or it can be from dissatisfaction of how that job(whatever it may be) is affecting everything else going on in our lives. The job may be nice, but the pay just may not be cutting it. Making us feel the only option is to downsize our lifestyle and cut back on the things we worked so hard to have.

Maybe it’s the time and hours we have to put in. Preventing us from going to that one , important , family event that we had to miss out on, taking that two week vacation to Lima (after round trip tickets dropped to under $300) , or making time to keep up with that one hobbie we have(which can be the only thing keeping us sane!). Yeah. That. Exactly that. Many times the hobbies can actually turn into the money-makers themselves. It takes preparation though.

things to do

  • find niche
  • learn new skills
  • build personal brand online

First things first. Money talks. And people usually don’t like to just give it up to just anybody. So for anybody even remotely interested in working for themselves, the most important thing you should focus on is….adding value. Sounds simple enough, right? But so many people seem to ignore this, which makes the process that much harder. We all have some sort of knowledge that we can make a living off by sharing with others. Just make sure that in whatever it is that it may be, that it involves some sort of fulfilling purpose. If your work doesn’t align with your personal goals and doesn’t allow you to make a meaningful impact, you’ll eventually get lazy, or worse yet, give up. Instead, this opportunity should be used for us to learn how to discover our true selves. So that we can learn who we REALLY are and this crazy person we – daydream about, well I did – all have the opportunity to become. For us to make that big jump in finally getting started all it might take is just sitting down, doing a bit of thinking, and finding a specific niche to become established in. For example, if you decide to pursue freelance photography/videography, your value comes in the form of the visuals(photos & videos) you provide to people and companies. Things they probably wouldn’t do such a great job at creating/producing themselves. But, things that they definitely know they need for business. In this case it’s the ability to create crisp photos and videos with a nice, personal touch of uniqueness to make them shine, that can make you so valuable and in demand. In this profession and many others that involve you creating your own brand ,  it is CRUCIAL to maximize your online presence. Which means not only being present on social media , but having a website as well. For us individials that aren’t expert coders who can build a website from scratch – using a web hosting provider is a MUST. Personally , I recommend using Bluehost to create your website. Bluehost offers limitless capabilities and 24 hour support. For other tech savvy individuals , the rising digital era has created the opportunity to become independent social media marketers. Allowing those who were already pretty good at using Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and whatever else to keep up with friends, to make a career just out of utilizing these platforms. The SKILL of knowing what content people would find interesting and how to find those people often leads to seemingly average, “common folk” (like me) to be able to make a living taking a less traditional path. The cool thing is that ANYBODY can learn these skills. You don’t have to be born a natural genius. There’s so many courses in person and online to help (and that are actually affordable). These are tailored for anybody to be able to jump right into whether your skill level is intermediate or you’re a beginner. For those that already know what it is they’re ready to pursue and have already built up a decent skill set to do so, the next step is to build an online presence. This step is absolutely crucial. Whether big or small, this step is what will really legitimize your business/service/ endeavors to others and make them decide to work with you or not. In today’s age simply relying on word of mouth and face-to-face encounters (which actually still are great ways to get business!) to get yourself out there is just too old school. Wayyyy to old school. Utilizing all the social media platforms I mentioned before and , for the right business model , even creating a website is how to really get traffic going to your business. Which if done right turns into money, freedom, and just maybe a few cocktails on the beach.

ways to prepare

  • save money / pay off debt
  • build relationships / network
  • create passive income

These things can take time to build up though. So before your side business or career can get off the ground it’s smart to maximize your resources to prevent your struggles once you get started. Which is why, first and foremost, anybody looking to step away from a traditional career path should be saving money and minimizing any debt. Why? Cause these are the two things that can cripple anyone if they aren’t properly dealt with. By no means do you need thousands of dollars saved up and to be debt free.

In fact in most cases this isn’t the case(pun intended). But the steps generally taken to come as close to this – that you should take too – are cutting out unnecessary expenses. Basically, downsizing the lifestyle that you lead..temporarily, at least. Cutting down on things like premium cable channels and holding off those monthly shopping sprees(ok, I’m also guilty) that seem like a necessity. Which doesn’t seem like much in the moment, but somehow over time does significant damage to your pockets. Anyway. Not only is it important to hold on to as much money as you can as you make that transition to full time freedom  self employment, but equally as game changing to create a stream of passive income. Money that after the initial dirty work is done, you don’t have to spend active time working on to bring in the dough. Personally, I chose to jump into stock trading as my first choice building passive income.. But there are an infinite amount of ways to build passive income, from online courses, to affiliated marketing , to whatever else your heart desires. Each method is really as effective as its execution. Lastly, it’s important to network network NETWORK. This cannot be stressed enough, and in my opinion, can be most crucial. Building and maintaining contacts and leads for your business can be the difference between sinking an floating. These friends/associates can provide you with knowledge you wouldn’t find on your own and even connect you with others who can grow your business. Nourish these connections so they can bloom into full blown relationships. We all don’t start with the same resources at hand, but the success and satisfaction we get comes from how well we work with what we’re given. All it takes is initiative and a sound game plan to achieve it. Subscribe below to stay updated on new content and to follow me along the journey…  stay tuned

-The Lion