Monday, November 5, 2012

Living and WORKING Free . . . Revenue Generating

By now, I hope you've noticed that I've added the word Working back into the title of this blog. While I still refer to the blog as Living Free, I felt that there are few of us who can actually live free without doing something that will generate some revenue to support our lifestyles, how ever we have designed them.

Recently I did a couple posts on a couple of my recent "revenue generating" road trips to illustrate one of the ways I generate some of my supplemental revenue. I also know that there are numerous part-time and full-time RVers, vandwellers and other nomads who tune in and read the Living Free blog. Most of the RVers and probably a good many of the vandwellers know what "workcamping" is and participate in that revenue generating activity. Many of the nomads are "location independent" folks who choose to travel the U.S. and the world as nomads and earn income to support their travels from whatever location they happen to be, whether for a short period or for a longer duration.

Some of us are, by some good fortune and usually involving some years of focused and concentrated efforts toward a decent paying career or one or more businesses, financially independent. Financially independent can be defined as having enough money set aside in some solid investments or savings that yield decent dividends to support a frugal nomadic lifestyle. It can also mean that someone has accumulated a sizeable fortune from the sale of a very successful business or, perhaps, a huge inheritance or very healthy trust fund. And, of course, there are those who may be retired and have their Social Security stipend every month and possibly supplemental income from a regular pension or 401K, IRA and annuity plans they faithfully funded for years.

The reality is, though, that most of us want and need to supplement our incomes to some degree. The exception is a very small percentage of folks who are truly financially independent and can enjoy their RVing, vandwelling or nomading with no concern or need for additional income. So, with that in mind, I'm going to begin creating a series of regular posts illustrating the numerous and probably countless ways that any of us can adopt and adapt to our lifestyles to generate whatever amount of additional revenue we feel we require to live our dreams and enjoy our living free lifestyles.

And, it's important to remember that most of us already have skills, talent and experience we can exploit to our own benefit. As a matter of fact, most of us have the ability to select two or three or maybe more ways to generate multiple streams of income, including some that may be passive or may involve bartering. I'll explore and discuss all the possibilities I can think of. Additionally, I know there are many of you who each have created some unique revenue generating ideas and techniques of your own. So, if you won't mind sharing them with others, please let me know what you're up to and allow me to interview you so I can share what is working with you.

A Bit of My Story

As a bit of an introduction, I'm going to list all the things I have skills, talents and experience in doing. I may be a bit of an anomaly. I have often said to friends and colleagues that having as much knowledge, skill, talent and experience as I have accumulated in so many areas can be a curse as much as it can be blessing. I began my revenue generating and entrepreneurial pursuits at age 12. Yes! Like many folks, I was a "Paper Boy" delivering my hometown evening newspaper (we didn't have a morning paper). I had one of the largest paper routes in the Herald News home delivery distribution system with about 110 customers. I delivered six days a week and had to do all my own door to door collections each week. We were all independent contractors and worked for ourselves. I learned a lot from my paper route at a young age about dependability, customer service and commitment. I also learned a lot about the value of money.

I will also say that I gained vitally important knowledge and skills from every small business and every part-time job that I've ever had. But, most assuredly, the foundation was laid during my junior and senior high school years and my college and graduate school years.

I am fortunate enough to have had the opportunity of earning both a bachelors and a masters degree before the age of 24. My bachelors degree is in Education, more specifically, Industrial Arts. There has never been a day of my life that I have regretted majoring in Industrial Arts. I was certified to teach Kindergarten through 12th grade in some 14 areas of industrial technology. While I've never taught in a public school environment, I've applieid all of that knowledge throughout my lifetime and I've been teaching, primarily adults, for that same period.

I earned my masters degree in television and radio. Again, while I have never officially held a job in a TV or radio station, the knowledge has served me well all my life and I've used it in more ways then I can describe. I do not have an MBA, or at least not one with a piece of paper sporting a gold seal from some accredited institution of higher education. However, I dare say, I had already earned an MBA in multiple areas of business through the school of "on the job training" and real world experience by the time I completed my masters degree in TV and radio.

My college and graduate school years were during the volatile Vietnam era. All U.S. male citizens were required to register with the Selective Service System (aka the "Draft Board) at 18 and carry our "Draft Card" with us at all times. Unlike today and for the past 40 years or so, that little card in our wallet was basically like a ticking time bomb back then for men between the ages of 18 and about 25. One of the major discussion topics of that era was draft deferral or how to obtain and maintain any draft status other then 1A. As long as I was a full-time student, I maintained a 2S student deferral. But, as soon as I completed graduate school at the end of the summer of 1968, I immediately reverted to "draft bait" or 1A status. Very few of us wanted to be drafted into the military during the time of a very unpopular war.

I did my best to avoid being drafted and going into the military and I managed to put off the inevitable until the late spring of 1969. But, alas, my number was up and I chose to enlist in the U.S. Air Force voluntarily. Prior to actually enlisting, I went to the trouble of finding the precise job/duty assignment and location where I wanted to serve my country. Most people didn't believe one could do this, but I did whatever I had to and locked in my own assignment before I signed the enlistment papers. Obviously, it was in a location where I could serve my country well, do a job that served the Air Force mission . . . AND served my future objectives well also. And, just to be clear, no, I didn't "know" people in high places. I made my own connections.

I spent most of the four years I was in the Air Force in Washington, DC working for the Secretary of the Air Force producing radio (primarily) and TV programs and materials, writing, voicing and producing recording sessions for the highest office in the Air Force. I received an award for Meritorious Service and added much to my personal knowledge and experience in my chosen fields of recording and broadcasting. I created industry contacts and networks. And, needless to say, like everything prior to my short Air Force career, I have used all of it for the rest of my life. Once again, I turned what could have been a negative experience and four years of lost time into a massive positive for myself. And, while I never saw combat, which was one of my objectives, I'm still proud to be a veteran and have served my country when called upon. I guess post people would describe it as a Win-Win situation.

The point is that whoever you are and no matter what level of education you have achieved, you were born with certain talents and basic abilities. Add to those a lifetime of gained knowledge and experience, regardless of how long your lifetime is to this point in time. You are a valuable commodity when you add a dash of ambition and self-motivation.

So, beginning at age 12 and progressing for a period of 55 years at this point in my life, I have accumulated a massive amount of saleable knowledge, abilities, skills and experience. Everyone of them saleable or barter-able. Everyone of them providing an unlimited assortment of revenue generating opportunities. Going back to the 7th Step of my 12 Steps for Living Free, Avocation, I don't choose to pursue revenue generating opportunities in many of the areas I have knowledge and experience. So, I have selectively chosen a number of areas that I enjoy, feel extremely competent in and accordingly, while not necessarily marketing myself in all of these chosen areas, keep my eyes and ears open for revenue generating opportunities. This approach also avoids becoming stereotyped and bored. Variety is still the spice of life.

My Personal List of Revenue Generating Skills

Here then is the list of fields in which I look for opportunities to generate revenue for myself.

Audio Production (my knowledge, experience and skills are extremely broad based in
            this field)
Video Production (my primary skills and experience are in training and industrial
Voice-Over services (blessed with a rich deep voice, a reasonable command of the
            language and well over 30 years of experience I can handle a broad variety
            of assignments)
Professional Audio Systems Design, Acquisition and Integration (I am not only an
            audio producer, but also an audio engineer with nearly 50 years of experience)
Professional Speaker (I have spoken around the U.S. and overseas and conducted
            everything from 45 minute keynote addresses to multi-day seminars and
            workshops for diverse audiences on a variety of topics)
Business Consulting (I'm particularly well-versed in small businesses and home-
            based, family businesses ranging from single employees to multiple
Book Publishing (I can even add small magazine publishing to this category since
            I have over 12 years of trade book publishing experience, started a small local
            magazine and also created and marketed an audio magazine internationally)
Audio-Visual Technician (I have years of experience coordinating various facets of
            audio & visual presentations, equipment and staging for meetings from coast
            to coast)
Meeting Planning & Production (This is another skill I developed over the years of
            working with a number of meeting planners. There are so many skills involved
            in pulling all the elements together for a successful meeting with tens of
            speakers and hundreds of people attending the meeting. My interest is in
            looking for smaller meeting opportunities).
Writing (I've been writing all my life and have had articles published numerous times,
            but this blog, the series of books I'm working on and I've recently been
            contracted to write a blog for someone else, means I've entered the realm of
            paid writers - a new field for me)

As you can probably tell there is an overlap between just about all of these specialized fields. In addition, there are many facets to each of these fields. It's impossible to get into each of the many possibilities and opportunities each of these offers me here. Additionally, there are many other areas in which I have knowledge, skills and abilities. They are areas that I'm not as interested in pursuing as revenue generating possibilities. However, I have and will provide some of these other skills and abilities on a barter basis for various things or on a volunteer basis.

So, this is my list for generating revenue as a location independent, vandwelling, professional nomad. What does your list look like? Every single reader of this blog has talents, knowledge, skills and abilities that you can put to work for yourself and love what you do. That's my definition of an Avocation. Some of you, perhaps, most of you have full-time jobs or professional careers. A small percentage of you love what you're doing. Most of you are doing it because you are wage slaves and need the jobs or careers to support your current lifestyle and debt load. To put that another way, you are not living free or working free.

I could easily make a full-time living (and have) from everything I've listed (except writing, which is my venture into expanding my personal horizons). I neither want to or need to do any of these things full-time to enjoy my living free lifestyle. That's what working free is all about. I pick and choose the projects or assignments that motivate and challenge me. If something doesn't look like it will be fun, I can choose not to accept it. How about you?

Opportunities for You to Learn

Over the upcoming months I'm going to take each of these fields on my list, one by one, and dissect them. I'm going to show you where there may be new opportunities for you in some of my chosen fields and give you pointers on how you can get involved yourself. But, I'm not only going to discuss my own chosen fields. I'm also going to explore the myriad opportunities that that exist in many diverse fields of endeavor. I'll interview people who are generating revenue in these fields. I'll give you tips and pointers on how you can explore these areas for yourself and provide resources you can tap into.

Once again, I want to remind you that I've started this blog to help others, anyone interested, in finding their own way to live their own dream, living free lifestyle. That's my mission in life. I created the 12 Steps for Living Free as part of this blog and very soon it will be an ebook and then a print book. Those 12 steps are all right here in this blog. Just go back several months and you'll find each of them. Utilize them to help you define your own living free lifestyle and take the necessary steps to realize that lifestyle.

With the current and future economic and political conditions in the U.S. and the rest of the world, being trapped in the "system" will not guarantee you any lifestyle and your personal freedom will continue to erode. You own your life and you should own your personal freedom. More to come, get ready!   

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