Updated December 12, 2012
What makes the difference between those who make a good living at the work they love and those who do not?
Whether or not you make a good living is a function of one key pattern
The difference between those who under-earn and those who make a good living comes down to one key structure or pattern. Under-earning is an oscillating pattern. As soon as you get a bit ahead, you stop working on your business. You lose focus and momentum and fall behind.
Making a good living is an advancing pattern. Focus and momentum increase with each baby step toward your goal of successful self-employment.
The under-earning pattern has a problem focus
The pattern of under-earning begins with focusing on the problem of not making enough money. You know what you don’t want. You don’t want to get a day job. You don’t want to give up the flexibility and autonomy of self-employment. You don’t want people to say you couldn’t hack it.
You don’t want to fail.
The focus on what you don’t want, on the problem of making a living, generates anxiety, which we sometimes mistake for motivation.
Anxiety provokes reaction
Anxiety is motivating only insofar as it motivates you to get rid of discomfort. You react by doing something to feel better about your situation. Maybe you revive your blog. You might ask a few clients for referrals.
The things you do to reduce anxiety are necessary evils. You do them until your anxiety abates. When things get better, you relax. You slow down or stop working on your business.
When you stop working on your business, the problem of how to make a good living begins to grow again. You’ve created an oscillating pattern of starting and stopping to grow your livelihood. You oscillate between scarcity and sufficiency. Between worry and relief.
To make a good living, begin with a creative focus
The pattern of making a good living begins with focusing on what you want to create. In this pattern, you envision the outcome you want, including a financial result. This focus generates enthusiasm, which is motivating in the truest sense.
When you are enthusiastic, it is natural to be intentional and deliberate about creating what you want. Add focus to enthusiasm, and you generate baby steps that take you nearer and nearer to the outcome you want. And the closer you get, the more enthusiasm you have.
Unlike focusing on what you don’t want, focusing on what you do want draws you forward. The closer you get to your goal, the more committed you are to your path.
The creative, advancing pattern still takes work
Focusing on what you want to create doesn’t magically produce abundance, despite what you may have heard. You still need to do what it takes to create what you want.
When it comes to self-employment, that means learning how to market and sell and then doing that consistently. It means choosing to be an authentic and effective advocate for your work in the world.
Sometimes it means taking a risk, doing things that aren’t comfortable, but you do them for the sake of what you are creating. That has an entirely different energy than doing them to get rid of anxiety.
Sh*t still happens
The creative, advancing pattern isn’t all sweetness and light. Sh*t still happens. You have bad days. Your best efforts fail to produce results. But when you focus on the outcome you are creating, you regroup and learn from experience. Frustration is short-lived as you orient yourself to what you can do to get from where you are to where you want to be.
So how do you invoke and maintain the creative focus?
The keys to invoking and maintaining a creative focus are structure and support.
- A structure that helps you declare your goal and map the path between where you are and where you want to end up.
- A support system that provides just-in-time know-how, cheerleading, and appropriate kicks in the pants.
I’ve never, and I mean never, met a successfully self-employed person who didn’t have both. It hurts my heart to see people try to make it on their own, or try to make it with only the support of well-meaning friends and family who don’t know the territory.
The Profit Alchemy early application deadline is December 18, 2012.
Because support is critical for self-employment success, I’ve created a realistic and grounded system for making a profit from heart-centered work. It’s called Profit Alchemy.
Profit Alchemy is a lovingly crafted nine-month program that guides you step-by-step through what you need to make a good living at self-employment. It includes:
- Practical how-to tools including tools for getting clients, setting prices, and managing your time.
- Small mastermind groups for intensive support and brainstorming.
- Methods for dissolving resistance and blocks to doing what you know you need to do in order to make a profit.
- A vibrant online community.
- A mentorship option (six people only).
Profit Alchemy begins in January. Search your heart. Take an honest look at the path you are on now. And if you could use help closing the gap between where you are and where you want to be, click here to learn more. If what you read resonates, apply for one of the remaining spots and schedule a complimentary Purpose and Profit Strategy Session.
Photo credit by: amy.gizienski via Flickr