Your 7 point plan to financial and professional freedom



In the old days, employees had job security and freelancers charged high fees to compensate for the risks of self employment.  These days employment can be much less secure and freelancers are much more likely to be competing in a global marketplace, which can make it more challenging to find well-paid work.  Putting this together means that regardless of whether you are employed or a freelancer (or a combination of both), you need to be prepared to manage your financial and professional wellbeing.  So here is a 7-step plan to do just that and I’ll be covering these topics in much more detail in forthcoming posts.  I’ll also cover practicalities such as effective planning, how to manage your time and how to get the best out of people, including yourself.

Get on top of your finances right now

Hopefully you always, or at least generally, find yourself with more money than month, but even so you want to keep tabs on where your income is going, partly to see if there are any changes you need or just want to make right now and partly so that you can be quick off the mark to make any adjustments if your circumstances change.

Make sure you have adequate protection for if the worst happens

What adequate protection will mean will depend on your specific situation, but as a minimum you need to make it a priority to have some emergency savings, which you leave untouched unless you are genuinely desperate.  You may need insurance, even if you are employed.  The insurance cover you receive from your employment could be much less than you need and you almost certainly want to avoid being in a situation where you have to rely on state benefits.

Trim down your possessions to what you love and what you need

This has nothing to do with minimalism per se, although it’s certainly in line with the minimalist ethos.  It’s just a reflection of the fact that the more physical possessions we have, the harder it is for us to find a place to put them all, which means our lives and thought become more cluttered, and the harder it is for us to move from one home to another, even over a short distance, which means our lives become less flexible.  Also the more physical possessions we have, the more risk we take on, since physical possessions can be damaged or stolen.  Marie Kondo advised us to keep items only if they brought us joy.  In all honesty, a fairly large percentage of what’s in my house brings me nothing whatsoever in the way of joy, but I keep it because I need it.  I’ll therefore talk about what I consider to be a more realistic way of trimming down your possessions.

Keep on studying, even if it’s only informally

Understand the reality that the job market is always changing.  Some jobs disappear, others are taken over by machines, still more change their nature over time, which means that anyone who wants to (continue to) be successful in that area need to be ready to adapt to the changes.  Meanwhile, new types of jobs are created and need people to fill them.  The ability to learn a new skill starts with the ability to learn in general and that is basically a habit based on a willingness to absorb new information and to accept new approaches and ways of behaviour.  If you really want to be in control of your life, to be your own door, then you always need to be open to the new and a commitment to regular self-study, even informally, will go a long way to achieving that.

Be serious about a side hustle

It is my strong opinion that everyone needs a side hustle they can (or do) monetize, even if they’re in what they consider to be securely employed or a successful and happy freelancer.  In the former case, repeat after me, “I can lose my job”.  That may sound brutally harsh but it’s a fact.  In the latter case, repeat after me “My circumstances can change”.  If you’re in employment and want to avoid the complication of filing tax returns, then create a side hustle, which you enjoy and work to putting it in a place where you could earn money from it if you needed or wanted to.  If you are a freelancer then look for a side hustle which dovetails with your main area, so that you can potentially offset downtime in your main role by upscaling your side hustle.

Manage your online presence

These days, when people want to know about you, the chances are they’re going to look online.  Do everything you can to leave a good impression.

Commit to positive networking

The word “networking” can have negative connotations for some people.  It can conjure up images of cynically cultivating acquaintanceships just for personal gain and in truth it can be like that.  It can, however, also be a perfectly ethical way of building up a support network of people who will help you and people you are prepared to help.  That’s the essence of positive networking and in my opinion it is 100% ethical.

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