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Sometimes you have to do what you want to do

For freelancers and consultants, it’s pretty obvious (at least to me) that some types of work pay better than other types of work.

Specialized niches pay better than nonniched work. Niches in profitable fields pay better than nonprofit or hobby niches.

Work that you dig around for and actively pursue pays better than work you find on job boards. (That’s because there is less competition. A job board can gather tens or even hundreds of applications, creating a great temptation for those hiring to favor the lowest bids at the expense of quality.)

Of course, these are generalizations. While there are exceptions, generalizations are, well, for want of a better word, generally true.

However, just because one type of work in a certain type of industry, landed through proactive marketing, probably is more lucrative does not mean this should be the work you choose to do.

In my own career, I have made quite a few detours from my primary path as a copywriter in the insurance and asset management industries to glittering jewels that caught my eye. I have tried newspaper features and resumes, book publicity and public relations, textbook writing and children’s writing.

I also have taken assignments that weren’t right for me at the time but paid well. They were closer to my designated niche (though not in the bull’s eye). In particular, I have researched and written massive reports that did not inspire me. I flogged myself into timely, quality completion although the spirit was stubbornly unwilling.

In summary, I’ve done lots of different things: well-paid work in my niche, well-paid work that was not right for me in some specific way, and lower-paid work that appealed to me for various reasons. Sometimes that reason was purely and simply variety.

Work is not all about the money

Through experience, I have discovered that it is quite desirable to take on assignments that are not classically in my bailiwick. There is more to work than making top dollar.

Interesting and varied work is vital to nourish my creative spark. I favor assignments that energize me rather than drain me.

Spark is so important. It is not a luxury to be put aside for “later.” If your spark doesn’t get oxygen, it sputters. You can ignore it for years (I have!), but eventually the darkness in your soul catches up with you.

Don’t let it happen. Financial need can distract you for awhile, but someday you will have to face it.

Do you buy info products you never use?

The discussion above leads (eventually) to a question: Why do people buy information products telling them how to make money but then they never open them?

For years it was well known that most of the info products sold to striving coaches, consultants, freelancers and entrepreneurs never had the shrink wrap removed. They sat in a closet unopened.

Today most such products are purely electronic, but that doesn’t change the basic issue—it’s a waste of money to buy information but not use it.

I suggest that the problem is people being shamed into ordering products telling them how to do things they have no intention of doing. The problem is not the product itself. Nor is the problem that the seller doesn’t do enough follow-up to ensure implementation, AKA accountability.

It’s that people hoping to make more money are easily shamed into accepting other people’s goals that sound good but don’t ignite their own flame. They are told that they should want to earn six figures or more, whether to provide their families with more luxuries, fund charities or be as successful as their neighbors. They should decide to buy quickly, they are warned, both to take advantage of a temporary price reduction and because Source rewards decisiveness.

But it you buy instructions on how to do something that you don’t want to do, you won’t do it. Or you will start but soon get discouraged and give up.

Think for yourself. Get in touch with what you want to do and respect your own feelings.

This doesn’t mean you can always do exactly as you wish whenever you wish. But do listen to your gut and be selective in your business-development decisions.


Originally posted 1-12-15

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