Being unemployed has given me the opportunity to consider making a living freelancing. At the moment, I’m certainly not making a living doing it; in fact, I’m not even making enough for it to have an effect on my biweekly unemployment check. But it has opened my eyes to the possibility that I might be able to grow all of my skills into multiple income streams that can replace the income I was making before.
If I were to pursue being self-employed full time, my plan would be three-fold. I would offer on-site computer consulting, possibly in affiliation with Nerds On Site, with whom I have already been in contact. That would probably be my main income stream. In fact, I’m doing some of that today, and I have five other consulting jobs either on tap or which I’m already doing on the barter system.
My second income stream would be writing. My relationship with ComputorEdge has been excellent thus far, and I look forward to continuing that relationship. In addition, I would like to add more sales to my writing résumé, especially fiction sales. I have a great idea right now for a short story contest hosted by Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest. It’s an ambitious idea, and if I can pull it off, I think I will be able to find a home for it somewhere, if not within the pages of Apex Digest.
The third income stream would be music. My band, Steel River Three, currently doesn’t have any gigs lined up, but our recent gigs have been a step up from the coffeehouses we have been playing. We are considering approaching a different style of venue in hopes of continuing the trend of better pay for our playing. If we do that, I could also consider doing a solo acoustic act, or putting something together with Lannette, as she has suggested a few times. If SR3 moves out of the coffeehouse circuit, maybe Lannette and I could get our feet in the door at those places.
Making a living on my own schedule and from my own talents is an intriguing concept, and one that I would like to explore. The big thing stopping me is insecurity. How do I make sure my family is provided for? How do I make sure my multiple income streams combine into a stable flow of income? It’s scary, but it’s also appealing.
I think I need to talk with some more people about how they have been successful following similar paths. I know several people who make a living from their creative talents. Maybe I should call them up, have lunch with them, find out what hidden gems and pitfalls exist on this path.