Several years ago I worked in Corporate America as an Insurance agent.
In my office in SW Portland there were about 25 of us. And one day, I’m not sure why, I decided I was going to start writing an inspirational “Quote of the Day” on my whiteboard that hung over my computer at my cubicle.
I thought this would be a good way to, you know, “make a difference” in the office.
I’m an introvert so this strategy fit me well, much better than trying to encourage people in person, which would feel draining.
So I did this for a while and at first it got a lot of attention. But then after a couple months it really lost it’s power. It got old fast.
Even the cubicle dwellers closest to me, the ones I talked to the most, sometimes forgot to look up at the potentially life changing words scribbled on the whiteboard near them.
Then one day I decided to do something different. I liked writing on the whiteboard and publishing it for the world to see more than I liked the quotes I was sharing. So I didn’t want to quit my new positive publishing business.
So I decided to start a “trivia of the day” game.
It was night and day difference. With the “inspirational quotes” I felt like I was this little boy scout kid selling scarves in summer to raise money.
People didn’t really care but they would stop by my booth, pat me on the head and maybe buy something now and then so I wouldn’t feel bad.
Trivia on other other hand was a completely different story. It’s like I was giving away free Starbucks at my cubicle. Maybe it was because I said I would keep score and that there would be a prize at the end of the month (it was like a $25 gift card or something).
It got very competitive, which I like. And I had to institute some ground rules, like “no googling.” But then smartass people would be like, “Well I’ll use Bing. Or I’ll ask a friend.”
So I had to rush new legislation through Congress that said, “The answer must come from your own mind. And you must answer the question as soon as you read it. No walking away and coming back 15 minutes later with your guess”.
I think my favorite part was when the Claims Manager, Scott, would come by, look at the question and rub his bald head in agony as he crawled into the depths of his memory to find answers.
Scott was a serious, no-nonsense type of guy. He seemed to always be very on task. I only ventured into his big corner office probably 3 times in the 4 years I worked there. I remember it being a little dark but completely immaculate with perfectly hung pictures and awards on the wall.
So when I saw him come and waste 5–10 minutes everyday on trivia, I knew this was better than inspirational quotes.
It got a little out of hand though.
People would make secret arrangements with me if they were taking time off.
*“Josh, I’m going to be on vacation next week, would it be possible if you could text me the trivia question each day?”
“Only if you respond within 2 minutes I said with the look of an Olympic Judge.”
“Oh, I will. I won’t google it.”*
I never learned who was cheating and googling it but I learned a valuable lesson about people:
Most people don’t want to be inspired. But they will play a game that has a prize and where you keep score and define the rules.
And I totally get it. I also refuse to play games where nobody keeps score.
I once found myself at a local Chamber of Commerce meeting where they were planning the annual Harvest Day Celebration for our small town.
Someone next to me proposed the idea of having a community kickball game where you don’t keep score. Instead people would be judged on the costumes they wear.
That was the first – and last – Chamber planning meeting I ever went to.
The reason this is on my mind today is because I’m in the early days of this new blog. And part of me, the naive Boy Scout part, is tempted to “inspire” people with this blog.
But the competitor in me, the real me, wants to invite people to play a game. A game with a reward and where we keep score and have defined rules.
I call this game freelancing.
You may call it work or business or entrepreneurism, and that’s fine too.
This game is way better than Halo, Starcraft or Warcraft because when you win you get checks in the mail. Like real money you can use to buy food, pay your bills and maybe go on a trip.
And I really want to help freelancers and people who want to quit their job like I did so they can work from home and be in more control of their time.
So today I’m making a conscious decision to focus more on helping people win at the game of freelancing and less on inspiring people to freelance.
Once you know that freelancing is a viable option and you really want to do it you will naturally “be inspired” to take action. At least, that’s what happened to me.
The way to keep score is to look at your monthly income.
What do you want that to be?
And if you’re already freelancing how many points do you have on the board now?
If it’s $0 that’s ok. At least you know how to keep score now.
But what will you do to get to $1,000?
When I started I made close to nothing my rookie year.
And now, five years later I’ve had months over $10,000. But now that I’ve decided to put myself a fixed salary I pay myself $7,000 a month ($84,000/yr ). My goal is to increase that to $8,000/month ($96,000/yr) over the next few months.
I definitely do not have this all figured out. But I’ve learned some things over the last five years and I know I’ll learn more over the next five.
So I may as well “learn out loud” so I can build a community and help others while I do this.
And that’s what I’m doing. If you would like to stay updated please join my email list as soon as I give you the option to! lol. I need to set that up like yesterday. I’ll do that this week and then update this sorry “call to action.”