Category Archives: the way we work

Going Freelance – 5 Tips For Entering The Freelance Economy

5 tips for entering the freelance economy

Photo Source: Kaboom Pics

A few weeks back I gave a talk at The Alley about my experience in joining the freelance economy. The evening was filled with personal stories and powerful tips for getting started. I learned a lot from the other presenters and had a great time sharing my experience so far. Below are key takeaways from that talk.

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Becoming Antifragile – How To Gain From Disorder


Image Credit: Andre Faria Gomes

Image Credit: Andre Faria Gomes via Slideshare: Antifragile: Lessons Learned

“Wind extinguishes a candle and energizes fire. Likewise with randomness, uncertainty, chaos – you want to use them, not hide from them. You want to be the fire and wish for the wind.”

-Nassim Taleb

Last week I gave a talk at the monthly Catalysts Collective event here in San Francisco on the topic of antifragility. The following points are highlights from my talk.

To understand the premise of Antifragile – Things That Gain From Disorder there are three key areas to consider.

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Getting To Inbox Zero In 3 Hours Or Less

Photo Credit: Liane Metzler via Unsplash

I always thought “inbox zero” was an urban myth. How is it possible that one’s inbox could have literally no emails in it whatsoever?

The last time I checked there were around twenty-thousand messages. Incoming ones starred for later, bookmarked newsletters going back to the beginning of time begging for acknowledgement — the dutiful read, watch, response, purchase or listen that may or may not make our lives slightly more whole.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a hoarder of information. I’m pretty much obsessed with emailing myself several times daily — links to recipes, lengthy thought pieces, cute shoes — never to be opened at the fabled moment for where there’s actually time. Let’s face it, emails generate more work than pleasure. And if the case was in fact pleasure, my pocketbook surely wouldn’t be pleased.

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A Case Against The Status Quo


The Grind. The day-to-day. Reality. For some, this is a fantastically comfortable and ideal way to live. It’s what we do, and it’s not that complicated.

In a decade when things have been tough, having a secure job is a wonderful thing to have. It provides steady income and allows us to take care of our responsibilities – for ourselves and for our people.

Interestingly enough, having a secure job doesn’t always fulfill everything. It doesn’t fulfill the need to do what we’re designed to do as individuals; to satisfy our need for the contribution and giving back to the society in which we live. It would be nice to leave the world a slightly better place – even in the tiniest regard – after we’re gone.

There seems to be a positive influx of well-being in the past few years that has arisen post-depression.

After Obama’s “Change” campaign, it’s safe to say that not much has actually changed in the world. Now the people, especially those who were strong supporters of this campaign, are standing up and realizing that we can, or have to, be the instruments of change ourselves.

Regardless of the overuse of the word “epic,” change starts small – and can continue to exist that way.

There’s a scale of doing good versus telling everyone about the fact that you’re doing good. One drives results and the other, in theory, drives business which should drive results. This method has created some wariness among the do-gooders out there.

And really, it’s not about that.

It’s about discovering what you can do. What you were made to do. What you can do to the best of your ability, on this planet, to fulfill why you’re here and what will exist as a result.

Life is short. Why go through the motions?


Life Essentials: Core Values + Relationships

If you’re like me you’ve probably had many jobs over the course of your career. And as the first generation to grow up truly digital, we live in a hyper-connected world that allows — and even encourages — the ability to try many kinds of roles in a relatively short amount of time.

Even within specific types of work, titles and set responsibilities are changing. They’re becoming loosely defined — either due to the adaptation of technology, or the evolution of industries acclimating to change.

We’ve gained the freedom to break from the mindset of keeping a job for two years or longer, an informal rule created to establish credibility in the working world. We also have the ability to take on our own clients, work with friends, and start companies with little overhead — provided we’re willing to break from our personal comfort zones and venture into the unknown to do so.

The great news? The unknown is where incredible things happen! And now is a great time to go for it.

Ultimately, it’s up to us to create this change. And if creating change were easy, everyone would go about it. Yet whether we invoke it or not, change is inevitable.

During shifting times it’s important to stay steady and focused, whether you’re going out on your own for the first time or seeking direction in your present position. After all, someone wise once said that everything comes from within.

I’ve found that in my own journey so far, these two little things help.

1.) Have a set of core values.

Core values are, simply put, the words you live by.

Pick 3-5 words that you sincerely believe are key to who you are and what you stand for. You’ll notice that these words inform your interactions with others and your day-to-day working process.

They can be anything. Love, perseverance, influence, peace…you get the idea. If you’re someone whose core value is money, then you’re willing to do anything for money. Live by a set of beliefs, or values, and it becomes easier to prioritize everything in your life. You’re also setting a moral compass to help navigate through tough decisions.

For what it’s worth, mine are Respect, Honor, Passion, and Integrity. I’ve left jobs because actions made on behalf of the leadership team were not something I agreed with based on these values. If your heart isn’t in the game, the resulting output won’t be great. And who wants to do anything less than great? Life’s too short for that!

For me, having respect for others – and respect for myself – helps to build better relationships. I often feel that it’s my duty to honor the passion in others. I also try to work with integrity, which in turn makes the quality of my work better.

2.) Build and maintain core relationships.

Core relationships are the relationships we have with others. They are personal, professional, and sometimes a combo of both.

Grow these relationships and nurture them without any expectation of return. When you hit a roadblock, your network will be there. These people are a deep well of knowledge, support, and connections to help navigate through tough times.

When I lost my previous job, I was overwhelmed with gratitude at how quickly folks in my network came calling. I was amazed at the incredible support I received — simply from putting forth some effort into building relationships over the years.

Here’s the most important part: Put the needs of your network first. It’s never about you. Help them. Find out what they need and what you can do to help. Check in regularly. It may sound too much like The Secret, but it really is true — after you put it out there, you’ll be helped in more ways you can ever imagine.

I’ve always experienced overlap in my personal and professional life simply by finding ways to network and being curious about the individuals I met along the way. These relationships come in different shapes and sizes and often don’t reveal its true meaning until later on.

For example, a casual Friday afternoon meeting once yielded a good relationship with a client. Over time, we began to meet regularly for happy hour and began including others, too. This created a little network that eventually expanded and gave everyone involved a sense of community and professional connectivity. And as it turns out, one of these connections led me to my next full-time job!

The point of telling you this is to underline how individual philosophies are helpful in bridging the gap — not only across personal and professional environments, but in reinforcing our personal goals and objectives in a changing working landscape.

We must know ourselves well enough to know what drives us.

It can sound tempting to take a job with a company with a cutting edge product and forward-thinking staff, but if you don’t agree with their underlying philosophies it may be better to wait and research other options — then, consider a position with a company that does.

If you adhere to these two principles, you’ll find your way regardless of path or circumstance. Having them will give you solid ground to stand on and support your underlying goals. It’s critical that we connect with the passions that drive who we are as individuals — and as workers in today’s changing economic world.