July 4 is Independence Day here in the States, which, for most of us, entails the risk of losing:
- Your fingers to cheap fireworks
- Your waistline to hot dogs
- Your liver
All of which, as a red-blooded American, I support wholeheartedly. But if you’re spending today celebrating the country’s independence, how about giving some attention to your own personal independence?
It might be independence from a day job, financial stress, or even a mindset that’s keeping you from making things happen.
Here are three of my favorite tips for declaring your own individual independence.
1. Expand your audience
Andy Warhol had it wrong. Now that we’re living in the future, everyone isn’t famous for 15 minutes. We’re each famous with 15 people.
So, what’s the secret to finding a wider audience?
Put more thought into what your village of customers wants and needs.
Sure, personal expression can be a good thing. But never forget the other side of that computer screen.
There’s something you can offer your audience that will fulfill their fondest desire or solve their most pressing problem. Think a little more about them and a little less about yourself.
2. Create a revenue stream
For most of us, freedom and independence tend to boil down to having enough money coming in the door.
It’s a lot easier to say goodbye to your nightmare boss or your crummy living situation when you’ve got some steady income rolling in. And there are improvements you can make or simple products you can build in the next six week to bring in more revenue.
The hardest part is getting started. You can start small and once you’re up and running, you can tweak and expand your offering to make it better and bring in more income.
Don’t let perfectionism slow you down. There’s no better way to see what works than taking action.
3. Never stop learning
In today’s economic and technical environment, the moment you stop learning, you’re roadkill.
It’s not always about learning the latest and greatest. Sometimes it’s taking the classic works in your field and translating them for a new audience. Sometimes it’s about making a completely new connection. It’s about staying curious and keeping your mental playfulness.
If you never add anything new to your intellectual mix, your content is going to suffer. (If for no other reason than you’ll develop a serious case of writer’s block.)
Spend a little less time on the trivial stuff (I love Twitter too, but no one needs to be there five hours a day) and a little more time educating yourself.
Knowledge is your greatest asset. It can’t be stolen or confiscated. It sets your intellect free. And when your mind is free, the rest of it is just a bunch of beautiful fireworks.
Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on July 3, 2009.
Image courtesy Hugh MacLeod.