Working Independently & Entrepreneurism
Many older adults have arrived at a time in their lives in which they can now work independently in service of their inner pathways after decades of grinding out their careers. In line with this independence theme, I will be featuring an Entrepreneurism sub-category within the Lifelong Working section. As part of that, I will weave in some of my own working experiences in the essays on this topic.
For instance, I’ve been an independent freelance writer and publisher for most of my career, with sporadic gigs with corporations as a full-time, bona fide employee, some of which were very decent jobs with all the right benefits. However, the full-time corporate gigs never worked out, always coming to some sort of crashing end due primarily to my always strong desire to go out on my own, or, in some cases not being able to acquiesce to a horribly bad boss (there are many out there). I might add, however, that going out on my own had its share of bad bosses as well – as, in many ways, your clients become your bosses. However, the major difference under this kind of circumstance is that you are the one controlling everything. You make all the major decisions on your timeline.
I remember once working as a marketing assistant director for a fairly large corporation. In my cubicle (hated that environment) I had a magazine cut-out picture pinned to a side partition that everyone could clearly see once they walked into my workspace. It showed a guy in a shirt and tie inside his own cubicle bent over with a shovel in his hands placed above a hole in the early stages of being dug deeper, the obvious metaphor being he was in a prison trying to escape. Co-workers – no surprise - would seem to get uncomfortable whenever they entered my cubicle.
I would also often get into debates with my superiors, primarily because I refused to the tow-the-line in lockstep with company mandates that I often believed were unethical, or untruthful, or obviously stupid. Of course, I paid the price for not being a good worker bee, as I walked out the door with no means to pay my rent, entering into monumental financial struggles.
Sometimes I think the severe struggles were not worth it - that I should have stuck out the good job and carried on, regardless of my extreme dislike of it, as many hard-working folks do every day of their working lives. Doing so would have certainly made living comfortably easier to maintain. But I was not built that way. “That’s life and I can’t deny it.”
There were many times when I felt like Ralph Kramden. If you are a boomer, you may remember him – Jackie Gleason as bus driver in the Honeymooners sitcom. He frequently had harebrained business ideas that he and his best friend Norton would get caught up in with hilarious regularity. Their wives, Alice and Trixie, were the wiser ones, tolerating their husbands’ antics and often admonishing them for their ridiculousness, yet tolerating them and still showering them with love.
Such can often be the life of an entrepreneur, which Investopedia
defines as “an individual who creates a new business, bearing most of the risks and enjoying most of the rewards … The entrepreneur is commonly seen as an innovator, a source of new ideas, goods, services, and business/or procedures… Entrepreneurship is highly risky but also can be highly rewarding, as it serves to generate economic wealth, growth, and innovation.”
Old Anima is an innovative, entrepreneurial investment that since its start in 2015 has not earned one cent. I continue to invest in Old Anima through what I call “sweat equity.” It’s a term typically reserved for real estate, but in this case the real estate is the Old Anima website and newsletter. Again, referring to Investopedia: “The term sweat equity refers to a person or company’s contribution toward a business venture or other project. Sweat equity is generally not monetary and, in most cases, comes in the form of physical labor, mental effort, and time.” Simply stated, it attempts to create value through effort and toil.
Eventually I hope to earn something from Old Anima, perhaps through garnering a sponsorship or by adding advertising revenue options to the site. I’m not looking to make a fortune or anything, but I do have a goal to garner some supplemental income from this work, as well as to sustain it for as long as possible. I anticipate plugging along on the sweat equity path with that goal remaining in place along the way. But I’m not sure how long I can last. If any of you have any suggestions along these lines, please email me at email@example.com