Category Archives: Career Planning

Tips and advice on planning your lifestyle on the shifting sands of the transition between the Information Age and the coming Technological Age.

Disruptive Technologies

Disruptive Technologies
Disruptive Technologies

Disruptive technologies will shape the future

If you’ve read our post on What Comes Next, you already know we are in an era of extraordinary social, technological, and economic changes.  In fact, the fabric of our society is undergoing an incredible transformation, one that humankind hasn’t witnessed in recorded history.

If you’re not familiar with the term “disruptive technology”, you need to read about it.  The term was coined in the book “The Innovator’s Dilemma” by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen in 1997.  .  By his definitions, sustaining technologies are those in common use that are being improved and refined more or less continually, for example typewriters before the introduction of word processors.  Disruptive technologies are those that are initially not widely applied, but end up supplanting sustaining technologies with exponential improvements in performance and production.  An example would be computer and word processing technology that replaced typewriters.

As the Technological Age comes into its own, we can expect to see a tsunami of disruptive technologies surge into the culture and the economy.  Examples of currently recognized disruptive technologies include genome mapping, mobile internet, 3D printing, and advanced robotics.  And we mustn’t forget self-driving vehicles, which seem to be bearing down on us at breakneck speed.  The total economic impact of just these 14 technologies could be more than $14 trillion per year by 2025.

For perspective, the steam power was a disruptive technology.  Whole industries grew up around it, both to manufacture and maintain steam engines.  Skilled steam mechanics were in demand.  When the internal combustion engine burst onto the scene, the manufacturing facilities that produced steam engines became obsolete very quickly, and the mechanics that were in demand when steam was the primary power source suddenly found that their skills weren’t useful in maintaining and repairing the new motors.  A radical economic shift ensued.

Because today’s economies are so much larger and far more interconnected and interdependent, disruptive technologies have much bigger impacts.  More workers are either displaced, replaced, or retrained, and whole economic sectors can be left in tatters.  Remember travel agents?  Computer and internet technologies devastated that economic sector in the space of about 5 years.

Preparing for technological change

Over the next 10 years, disruptive technologies will be responsible for more job losses in America than an economic depression.   Economists estimate that 20 million of todays jobs will no longer exist in 2025.  That’s just 9 years from now.

It is inevitable that each of us will be affected by this onrushing techno flood.  Some of the changes will include medical breakthroughs that extend and improve the quality of life for many of us.  Some will allow us to have more freedom than ever to pursue new opportunities and more free time to enjoy our favorite pursuits.  Unfortunately, some of these technologies will result in remarkable economic displacement as employers and employees are unprepared for lightening fast and seismic changes in demand for products and services.

Now is the time to take a serious look at your job or career.  Does it have longevity given what you know about technological advances?  This is not necessarily an easy question to answer, unless you are a commercial driver.  If that’s the case, you may have between 5 and 10 years before your job is either eliminated or your services are in much lower demand.

Nearly every job that requires repetitive action, even action that requires great dexterity and skill, is at risk from automated replacements in the next few years.  A friend that works in management for a large retail department store has frequently lamented the difficulty their bakery departments have in finding and keeping good employees, particularly cake decorators.  The corporation may now be months away from replacing several existing positions with robotic equipment that will increase their production with far fewer employees at less cost.  The problem for the company is deciding when purchase the new equipment since the technology is improving so quickly that the quality, efficiency, and cost could be much more attractive even within the next few months.

Before you lament the jobs that will be lost from technological improvements, you should also consider what will be gained:  New jobs will be created, although obviously far fewer than those that are lost.  The costs of manufacturing will be far less, which had darn well better translate to lower product costs.  And automated, precision manufacturing should improve the quality of just about any product you can imagine.

Even though predicting exactly how and when disruptive and improved sustainable technologies will impact your job or your career, or your viability as a job candidate in the future is extraordinarily difficult, there are some practical steps you can take now that will help you to make the transition from todays economic reality to the onrushing future.

  1.  Leverage your earning potential to it’s highest level as soon as possible.  The means if you’re not working for the highest paying firm in the highest paying position for which you’re qualified, you should start taking steps in that direction now.  In 2016 and beyond, there is no such thing as a bond of loyalty between employers and employees.  CEOs, corporate boards, shareholders, and business owners act in their own financial best interest, which is only rational.  You must do the same.   If that means negotiating for a wage, or finding an employer that will pay you more, do it.
  2. Make yourself the most valuable employee that you can be.  If that doesn’t appeal to you because you know that means longer hours and harder work, then you’re probably in the wrong job anyway.  If you have plenty of savings, and you’re confident you can survive a lengthy period without the income from your job, then feel free to ignore this advice. Otherwise, be the employee you’d like to hire if and when you own your own business.
  3. Cut your expenses and save every penny that you can.   It may mean foregoing gratification now, but technology is improving so quickly that the things you’ll be able to buy in five years will likely be cheaper and far more capable than the ones you can buy now.  Mainly, though, as optimistic as I am about the future, there is no question that there are going to be some painful weeks, months, or years of transition.   Change means uncertainty, and markets don’t respond well to uncertainty.
  4. Stay abreast of changes that may affect your job, industry, or field of expertise.  If your position could be automated, learn all you can about the companies that build the robots or systems that may replace you.  You might be better off working for them.  Familiarize yourself with Google Alerts, and set up an alert for new technological and other developments that may affect your job.  Share them with management, because information is still a valuable currency.
  5. Take advantage of massive open online courses, or MOOCs.  These include sites like Udemy which allow you to take classes in pretty much any subject you can imagine.  You need to use a little discernment when selecting the courses, but you can dramatically expand your knowledge and skill base with MOOCs, and the cost is far less than university or even community college course work.  And many of the MOOC courses offer more relevant and marketable skills than traditional colleges which are often juggernauts that aren’t agile enough to respond to changing technologies within a useful timeframe.
  6. Find a source of side income.  Check the link for some ideas to get you started.  There has never been an easier time to do this, since you can offer your services on sites like fiverr.com, freelance.com, glance.com, craigslist, and many more.   This maybe the most important of the steps you can take to secure your income, and may be exactly the transition to freedom that you’ve been looking for.  For ideas and instruction on developing side income streams, read more here.

 

 

 

What comes next

Look who's here
Look who’s here..

The shifting sands of the modern job market

Carrier, an American manufacturer of HVAC equipment, just announced that they’re moving their Indianapolis, Indiana manufacturing operations to Mexico in the next year and a half.   Carrier’s senior management assured the 1400 workers that are going to lose their jobs that the decision to relocate is purely  economic, not personal.

In January of this year, WestRock Co. announced it’s plans to permanently close its Newberg, Oregon paper mill.  Only 210 employees will lose their jobs and careers, so the news didn’t receive national attention.

These stories, and many more like them, are becoming all too common.  Corporations and manufacturing facilities are more mobile than ever.  International trade agreements are creating  economic opportunities for corporations that require them to take advantage of lower labor and production costs, or to risk failure and collapse when they can’t compete with more aggressive firms that do take advantage of cost savings.

I recently heard the story of an Oregon man that’s been a small to medium sized business owner for most of his life.  His businesses have employed hundreds of Oregonians for many years.  He’s just now completing a new manufacturing facility that is fully automated.  It will require only 2 full-time employees to achieve the same level of productivity that formerly required 50 employees.  The owner has told associates that he’s vastly relieved to be less reliant on a large work force at this new facility and that his long term plan is to automate all of his operations so that he can reduce his human workforce even further.

Amazon has been a leader in automating their warehouse and shipping facilities.  In fact, many new automation technologies have been developed just for Amazon.  By relying more heavily on automation and less on employees, Amazon has reduced their unit costs and increased their efficiency, making it very difficult to effectively compete.

All of this is the tip of a very big iceberg that the American job market has already struck.  We’ve just begun to feel the brunt of the impact.  There aren’t enough lifeboats to save us all.  If you’re going to survive in the choppy waters of the new economic reality, you’re going to have to think fast, and be more creative that you  ever thought you could be.

While I know it’s scary to feel that we’re being cast adrift with no hope of rescue, we’re in a far better situation that the passengers on the Titanic.  For one thing, we’re much closer to a New World of opportunity that will open up possibilities that humans haven’t even dared to dream of before this moment in history.

The only constant is change

The Information Age is behind us.  We are now entering the Technological Age.  Information is still a vital part of our economy, but the real driving force right now is the flood of new technologies that are changing everything from how medicine is practiced to how we travel to how we produce our manufactured goods.

Because technology, particularly automation and robotics, is replacing people in too many employment sectors to count, all of our plans for the future HAVE to take these looming changes into account as we plan for tomorrow.  Planning for next year is going to be even more complicated.

The one thing we can say with certainty is that as changes take place in the world around us, we as individuals must either be willing and able to change along with the world, and we’d better be able to change as quickly as markets are changing around us if we want to thrive as this new era unfolds.

In their book Becoming Generation Flux: Why Traditional Career Planning is Dead, Miles Anthony and Mathew Wolf admonish their readers to become flexible, and to be prepared to change jobs frequently in order to stay apace with the Technological Age.  This is great advice.  The old model of finding a stable company and staying on as a lifelong, loyal employee secure in your golden handcuffs is long gone.  As Carrier proved to their Indianapolis employees, big employers don’t have loyalty to anything other than their bottom line.

At this point, I want to caution you (and me too) against becoming embittered or angry out of the sense that any of this is unfair.  Opportunities abound, and you can and should make decisions that are in your own best interest, just like corporate CEOs and shareholders do.  The fact is that we’ve become far too dependent on others to secure our financial futures.  In the Technological Age, you will have more opportunities than our parents and grandparents could have imagined.

But you will have to be flexible.  You will have to be willing to learn new skills and absorb new technologies.  Rather than the complacency that characterized previous generations, we’re all going to have to be vigilant in watching the changes around us, and adapting to them as they come.

It will be exciting, and it can be immensely rewarding.  You’re living at a time that most of humanity has longed for.  Make up your mind right now that you’re going to make the very most of it.

 

 

Can you love your work?

freedom and independence road signs

Are you happy at work?

If you have a full time job, you spend more time working than pretty much anything else you do other than sleeping.  Having a sense of purpose and fulfillment in our work, along with co-workers whose company we enjoy and a workplace that is comfortable and inviting are the ideals that we hope for when we set out to find employment.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t find those things.  A 2013 Gallup poll found that about 52% of Americans find little or no fulfillment in their jobs.    Another 18% actively dislike their jobs, workplaces, coworkers and/or bosses.  The main reason that so many employees give for their discontent is their supervisors.  Gallup estimates that nearly half a trillion dollars, or nearly 3% of GDP, is wasted annually just because bad or ineffective managers are creating tension and malcontent in their workplaces.

If there’s any good news, it’s that 30% of working Americans  actually enjoy their work and find some fulfillment in it.     These workers expressed a sense of connection with their employers and their jobs, unlike the majority of unhappy employees.

We tend to believe that professionals all love their work while skilled and unskilled laborers are nearly all malcontents.  The opposite is true.  Blue collar workers in the UK tend to be significantly happier with their work than white collar workers by a comfortable margin.   According to a survey conducted in 2004, skilled blue collar workers are far happier in their work than professionals.  The survey showed that even a much larger salary does nothing to guarantee workplace fulfillment.  The highest level of job satisfaction amongst blue collar workers was for “aid workers”, 40% of whom claimed to be happy in their work.  Only 14% of research scientists made the same claim.

If you’re working and unhappy now, or hoping to find a job that you’ll be happy with, these are not encouraging signs.  Don’t be discouraged, though.  There are at least 2 silver linings in all of this.  First, if you choose a career that focuses on helping others, you’re much more likely to find happiness in your work regardless of the working conditions.  Second, if you choose a white collar career and find that you’re making tons of money but are miserable anyway, you’ll find lots of company.  Misery loves that, right?

The joy of ownership

And now for the good news.

By sharp contrast to the polling data on employee contentment, a recent survey of small business owners found that fully 91% expressed at least contentment with their work, with 55% claiming to be extremely happy with it.

The survey’s only criteria was that the business owners employed 2o people or less.  As with he Gallup survey of employees, the results weren’t broken out by the types of business.  Whether we can infer that business owner’s happiness declines as the number employees rises above 20 is a matter of speculation, but from my own experience there’s a huge direct correlation.  We’ll save that for another day.

These results are pretty startling, although they’re in line with what I’ve observed based on the employees and small business owners that I have known.  The size of the disparity is the surprising part, as is the fact that blue collar work seems to be more satisfying than white collar work.

If you’re looking for a job, or planning for a career, this survey of small business owners should be flashing in your brain like a neon sign.  If the Gallup data is accurate, and you pursue a job or a career that entails working for a salary,  you’re reasonably likely to be unhappy in your work.  And since your life outside of work can’t help but be shaped by the more than 2000 hours you spend each at your job, it’s entirely possible that the job or career you’re considering could make your a great deal of you life dull and difficult.

Small business ownership is not for everyone.  But because of the dramatic shifts in our economy, and the crazy pace of technological change, there are new, uncharted opportunities opening up everyday day.  Stay tuned as we explore them.

A tsunami of change is coming

Plan to follow or follow a plan
Plan to follow or follow a plan

 

Changes: Turn and Face the Strange

The world is hurtling into uncharted territory.  Technology is advancing too quickly to track, and the impact on our lives and careers is going to be incalculable but enormous.

Economists and trends analysts are projecting that over 5 million jobs in the US will be taken over by robots or other automation in just 4 years. And that’s only the beginning.   According to one study, up to 47 percent of the existing 138 million jobs in America will be lost due to technological advances in the years beyond 2020.

Hopefully, you find this news as exciting as I do.   You SHOULD find it exciting, even if, or maybe ESPECIALLY if,  your current job is included in the 47 percent.   The excitement lies not in the fact that you may be losing your job, although that could be part of it.  What is truly thrilling is that we are on the cusp of a seismic technological and economic shift that will bring with it a new world of opportunities that would have been unthinkable even ten years ago.  Be patient, because I’m going to get back to this in a few paragraphs.

Meanwhile, there will be few industries and economic sectors that won’t affected.  The pace of change is already overwhelming the abilities of government, industry, and education to adjust.  That means it’s up to us to decide how these changes are going to impact us, and whether we’re going to let this wave roll over us, or we’re going to wax up our boards and ride it to the beach.

Shrinking Wages

Before we get back to the looming wave of opportunities, here’s some historical perspective.  The average minimum wage in the US reached its highest level in history in 1968 at $1.60 per hour.  This would be the equivalent of $10.86 per hour in 2015.  In 2016, the average minimum wage is $7.25, or around $1.00 per hour in 1968 dollars.  So real wages and buying power have declined significantly in the last 35 years.

In the early 1980s, when I entered the job market, manufacturing jobs were plentiful.  I didn’t know anyone who worked for minimum wage.  I earned nearly $18 per hour working a night  shift at a plywood mill.  Gasoline cost around $1 per gallon, and my nearly new Toyota pickup cost less than $5000.

As a single wage earner, I had an enormous amount of disposable income.   In fact, using an inflation calculator, I would need to make over $50 per hour in 2015 dollars to match the buying power that I had in the 1980s.  According to government figures, only about 20 percent of Americans are making an equivalent income today, including well educated professionals.

I’ll discuss the reasons for this decline in real wages, and the impacts it’s had on America’s middle class.   For now, what you should probably take away from all of this is that our political leadership has shifted relatively evenly between both political parties while our real incomes were plummeting.  And while we may not be able to say that one party or the other made it particularly worse, we can say that neither party has made it better.  In other words, don’t expect government to make your life better.

Is College the Answer?

There is no question that the formulas that once created middle class lifestyles won’t work today.  If you have a college degree, you may have noticed that it was remarkably expensive, and that you’ll be paying for it for several years.  If you don’t have a college degree, you need to be cautious before you consider getting one.

I finished my B.S. degree in geology in the mid-1980s.  I chose the field of geology for several reasons.  First, my father and grandfather had both worked in the oil field.  My dad was a driller, and eventually left the oil field to become a water well driller.  He had no formal education, but was a very curious man.  He was always bringing home rocks and fossils that he’d found in his drill cuttings, and would study them endlessly.  Also, Mount St. Helens in Washington erupted in 1981, at a time when I’d all but given up on finding a suitable college major.  That eruption was a seminal event in many respects, but for me it ignited a deep curiosity about the secrets of the earth’s interior.  In the end, though, I couldn’t imagine a professional career that kept me chained to a desk.  Geologists did field work, and that appealed to me immensely.

These were probably not the best criteria for choosing a college major, but it was the basis for a career that I loved.  I did spend time in the field, and I spent time chained to various desks.  It was a good balance, in the end.  And it eventually paid pretty well.

I know that many of my class mates that graduated with degrees in geology never used their degrees, at least not in careers in the earth sciences.  Five years or so after I graduated, I ran into one of them that was working in a shoe store.  He told me he really had no interest in pursuing a geology career.  I was stunned to think that someone would invest the time and money to get a degree in a particular science and not use it.  Such is life.

The point is that a college degree that you can afford and that forms the basis for a career path that you’re pretty certain you want to pursue is a very good answer.  But in choosing the career and the degree, you’ve got to first know whether the jobs in your chosen career are among the 47 percent of jobs that are slated for deptruciont by the building tsunami of automation and artificial intelligence that is building just below the horizon.  This will take some research, and not just Google research .  You will actually need to talk at length to people that are currently working in your chosen field, and more than just one.

If you don’t have a very specific career in mind, but want to go to college for the experience or just to get a liberal arts degree that you don’t plan to use, I don’t recommend it unless you have a lot of extra money lying around.  And even then, I’d strongly caution you against it.

There are at least 3 very good reasons to be very cautious about attending a college or university.  The first is the obvious one that we’ve already covered – unless you know with a high level of certainty that the career path you’re pursuing through your planned studies will not be among the 47% of jobs that are likely to be eliminated in the coming years, going into student loan debt to get a degree will leave you with the debt and little else.

The second reason to be skeptical about getting a degree, even in a technical field that has good long term prospects is that many colleges and universities are not keeping up with changes that are taking place within many industries at light speed.  A friend that works as a graphic designer in a multinational firm was hired by the firm after he’d taken only a few classes at a technical school.  His facility with graphic design came from a combination of independent learning and native ability.  His success in landing his job was purely the result of his portfolio and his persistence with the head of the department that employed him.  He’s thrived in his position because of his passion for his art, and his ability to consistently exceed his employers expectations.  His firm provides financial support to a local university, and while they participate in their career planning, his employer has told him in confidence that they won’t consider hiring graduates from the university’s graphics programs because the university’s teaching methods and the technologies their students are mastering at 5 to 10 years behind what is now standard in the industry.  The university is producing graduates with outdated skillets, and they don’t even know it.

The third reason is that even in STEM degree programs (science, technology, engineering, and math) where graduates are earning the highest salaries in entry-level positions in their fields, the pay scales are still below the actual buying power that I was earning as an unskilled laborer 35 years ago.  There is also no question that the development of artificial intelligence will reduce the numbers of these positions.   My nephew got a degree in information technology.  He graduated in the early ’90s when IT was a red-hot field.  He immediately got a great job with a tech giant in silicon valley, had great pay, awesome working conditions, great benefits, and he loved the work.  Within five years, his position was eliminated because all the work in his division had been outsourced to India, a move that saved the company tens of millions of dollars, but dramatically reduced their domestic work force.  When he searched for a similar position, he learned that the move to outsource positions like his was more or less industry wide.  He had to completely change career paths, which entailed getting a second degree in an unrelated field.   This was not an outcome that he could have predicted, but it is a cautionary tale.  The BRICS are producing very well educated, competent, enthusiastic STEM degree holders that will work for a fraction of what an American can.   The trend to replace Americans with both skilled and unskilled BRIC and other workers with much lower salary requirements is still trending.  Meanwhile, BRICs are producing far more graduates with both graduate and undergraduate STEM degrees, so these are going to be very competitive fields.  I

I’ll delve more deeply into how we can make the best choices to integrate education and career without risking years of wasted time, and an enormous debt load.  You won’t want to miss it.  For now, I mentioned at the beginning of this article that this is an exciting time.  I’ve written far more about why it’s challenging then why it’s exciting.   Opportunities worth seizing are rarely handed out for free, and the opportunities that the rapidly changing technical and economic landscape is presenting are no exception.

But compared to the last huge shifts in economic and social paradigms, like perhaps the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution, the huge opportunities today are more widely available, even to the least prosperous among us, than any historic parallels.  The fact that there are countless millions of people using the internet to facilitate their incomes, either through telecommuting or e-commerce of one sort or another is a wholly unprecedented development since it provides a source of income that does not depend on your geography, and significantly reduces the advantages that wealthy corporations have always enjoyed over smaller competitors.

There are plenty more reasons to be thrilled with the brave new world we’re entering, and we’re going to thoroughly explore them.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

The Essence of Life

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” –  Bruce Lee, Martial Arts Expert and Actor

alarm_clockThere’s some wisdom for you from what may seem like an unlikely source.  But then you know what they say about books and covers.  Whatever your opinion of  him, Bruce was definitely on to something pretty profound.  Life itself is made of the seconds, minutes, days, and weeks that we take too easily for granted, and thus they all too quickly turn into months and years, and then decades during which we often fail to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves to us every single day.

That time is the stuff of life is a concept we all struggle with, the more so in our youth when a real gut-level grasp of it could change the directions of our lives.  We know that “time is money”, and that “a stitch in time saves nine”, and that “time flies when you’re having fun”.   But in general, life is long enough that when we’re young, or relatively young, there seems to be so much time available to us that we are comfortable filling our “free” time with all sorts of amusements and dalliances.

One of the toughest concepts to teach children when we have plenty of food, plenty of money, and plenty of time, is that gratification delayed almost always leads to a greater reward and greater satisfaction than instant gratification.  This is a principal that applies to time as well as to money.   A fellow named Malcolm Gladwell wrote a fascinating book called “Outliers“.   In it, he explores the relationship between practice and mastery.  In one of his examples, a group of budding young violinists was studied over several years.  After age 8, the time the individual violinists spent in practice began to diverge until, by age 20, the most accomplished violinists had practiced an average of 10,000 hours, while their less able counterparts had practiced only 4,000 hours or less.  The violinists that devoted the most time to their music were masters, leaving those who had devoted less time behind them in relative mediocrity.

The most fascinating aspect of Gladwell’s research was that a “gifted” set did not emerge, instead the most able players were those that devoted themselves to improving.  In other words, no one in the study group appeared to have been born with so much talent that they could get by on less practice than the masters.  Get it?  Practice really DOES make perfect, and the way you spend your time determines your abilities.

So 10,000 hours of watching your favorite TV shows won’t make you an outlier.  But 10,000 hours of practicing your serve on the tennis court could put you right up there with Roger Federer and Serena Williams.

Making the transition to freedom

Swimming with the school or running with the herd comes naturally to us.  It feels comfortable  to jostle about inside the flock.  The spot in the middle of the school can feel very safe.  There’s safety in numbers, right?

Sometimes following the crowd isn't the best choice
Lions love flocks

Not exactly.  Predators love crowds and schools and flocks and herds.  It makes predation lots easier and more productive.

I’m not suggesting that we’ll be devoured by lions or eaten by sharks if we conform.  Some aspects of our societies are held together by conformity.

The danger arises from following so closely behind our peers that we fail to see the freedom that comes from stepping away from the crowd.

Slavery can take more than one form, and while the cruelty and brutality of pre-Civil War slavery hopefully hasn’t been matched since the Emancipation Proclamation, there are far too many “wage slaves” struggling to survive in today’s uneasy economy and it’s time to set them free, too.

fed up with work

Before we go on, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea here. I’m not about to tell you that you can quit your job tomorrow and retire on some tropical beach if you just follow a magic formula.

First, there IS no magic formula (or if there is, I don’t know it).  Second, we all need to be productive. For our own sanity, we need to know that the work we do matters, and that’s one of the biggest reasons that so many of us are sick the 9 to 5, or 8 to 6 rat race – we’re literally killing ourselves working at tasks that we’re not really sure have any value or meaning.

What I  can tell you is that you can work at something that DOES bring value to both you and your fellow-man, while at the same time providing you with more money and more time to enjoy it.  It won’t happen tomorrow,  but it won’t happen at all if you don’t take the time to read this, and then to act on what I’m going to tell you in the following paragraphs and posts.

A Little Background

I graduated from a reputable university with a BS in geology in 1982, and quickly put that degree to work as a Wellsite Geologist in the oil fields of southern California, the Gulf of Mexico, and Alaska. I loved the work! Always interesting, occasionally exciting, and my commute was often aboard a helicopter. But it’s a career that can’t support any sort of family life, so I reluctantly left the oil field for the booming environmental regulatory and groundwater cleanup industry in 1987.

Again, it was interesting work, but not exciting, and dominated by sometimes mindless and pointless regulations. Frustration set in, as did a longing for tropical beaches. I ditched the cubicle for Hawaii, where I taught some high-school science and math courses, and started a business selling purified water.

And at last I learned what my father meant when he told me years before, “You’ll never be satisfied working for someone. You need your own business!” He’d been right, and it had only taken me a decade or so to figure it out.

Without knowing or planning for it, I’d stumbled into a niche market that had a surprisingly strong demand. It allowed me to earn far more than I’d ever earned before as a degreed professional, and gave me the freedom to travel and enjoy my family and far more free time than I’d thought possible.

And that was before I realized some important facts about how e-commerce and the seismic economic shift that has exposed untold financial opportunities for anyone with the determination and desire to take advantage of them…

There’s Gold on the Streets (If You Just Know Where To Look)

Or so a successful friend told me one day. He lives on a 12 acre “estate” in Hawaii where he runs a large and growing niche business. I don’t know exactly how much he makes, but he’s comfortably in to 7 figures. He’s surprised that more people don’t see the niches that he does, and find ways to fill them for fun and profit.

Have you ever looked at a street and seen gold paving? Probably not, because in the sense that my friend meant it, most of the gold is in the cracks, not lying on the surface. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find it, or even that it’s hard to find, only that you have to know how to look. That may mean that you have to change your financial paradigm.

Paradigms are the lenses through which we see and interpret the world around us. We have different paradigms for different aspects of life. They start forming before we’re born and follow us right to the grave. And they can be hard to change, even when the benefits of doing so are enormous.

We’re most familiar with the paradigms that shape our politics and religious views, but there are many other ways that our paradigms shape our lives and behavior.

I’m telling you all of this because the odds are that you are going to have to change the paradigms through which you view the financial areas of your life, or you’re not going to see the glinting gold in beneath your feet.

Shifting your financial paradigm is probably going to be the hardest part of making the transition from “wage slavery” to the financial and personal freedom that this blog is all about. Is it worth the effort?

From Lead to Gold

As someone that’s had a huge paradigm shift, I can tell you without hesitation that “working for yourself” is liberating on too many levels to count. But what I observed over the years is that most people never consider “self employment” – most are focused on finding “good jobs” with “great benefits”, never suspecting that the best jobs and benefits are the ones that they could create themselves.

If your paradigm has you looking to your current employer, or to a better one down the line, to give you enough money, time off, flexible hours, or what ever you’re missing now, JUST STOP.

Imagine instead that YOU are the one:

  • Making your schedule;
  • Assigning your job duties;
  • Approving your vacation requests and pay raises;
  • Choosing your workplace.

It’s ok if that sounds a little scary right now, as long as you can also agree that it sounds VERY appealing.

What I can tell you is that there are millions of people that were just like you that loved the idea of taking their own reins SO MUCH, that they changed their paradigms, and found gold where no one else could see it.

Here’s the thing: I don’t know whether you WILL take the steps that I’ll lay out for you below and in some following posts that can transition you to the sort of freedom that I think every one longs for on some level.

But I do know that you CAN do it if you MAKE UP YOUR MIND that it’s worth it.

I can also tell you that it was more than worth it for me – I’ve lived in New Zealand which is one of the most lovely and inviting places on earth, the Solomon Islands, Hawaii, Europe and the UK, and spent lots of time in Australia and many other places that I would never have visited if I’d “kept my day job”. I’ve treasured every moment of these experiences, and I’m enormously grateful that I wasn’t tied to a desk or factory waiting for my precious two or three weeks of vacation time to roll around again next year.

Travel may not interest you. But FREEDOM should.

Here it’s time for an important side note: Freedom and liberty are not abstract or unattainable notions. They are concrete principles  built in to the very fabric of the human heart. We may find comfort and security in our jobs or careers, but most of us don’t find FREEDOM there. Trading our liberty for security is not a good bargain, especially when it’s really only the illusion of security. Don’t make this trade, and if you already have, don’t be satisfied with it. Trade up and transition to freedom while you still can.

Making the Transition to Freedom

Thanks to technology, it’s never been easier to find income streams that will help you move from debt and wage slavery to freedom. I’m going to share with you a few relatively simple ways that you can start the transition.

Because we are now electronically connected, we have opportunities to make money that are nearly unbelievable in their simplicity and availability. They are so available, in fact, that it’s amazing that ALL of us aren’t taking advantage of them in some way or another.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Affiliate marketing programs like Clickbank allow ANYBODY to sell “information products” for commissions of ranging to 75% or more. Clickbank claims that more than 100,000 of their members are successfully selling their products.
  • Amazon and other fulfillment centers allow entrepreneurs to advertise and sell their products directly through their websites and then handles payment, shipping, and customer relations.
  • Etsy and related sites cater to artisans that create their own handmade products. They handle payments and order processing for their clients.
  • E-publishing is giving aspiring writers in every imaginable field a format for publishing, promoting, and selling their own works to the enormous online marketplace.

There are lots of others. And if you haven’t noticed, if you can find a niche within the electronic sales wonderland that the internet has become, you’re income won’t be tied to geography and neither will your potential customers. That means that you can develop a portable income.

Consider that for just a moment. A PORTABLE INCOME. An income that travels with you. That doesn’t care if you live in Hawaii or the Antarctic, as long as you have access to a computer and the internet.

More than portability, a whole new generation of entrepreneurs is finding that their online incomes are SCALABLE. That means that YOU, not the human resources department or the union wage committee or the state legislature decides how much you want to make.

I personally can’t imagine a more appealing way to make a living. If you’re not impressed, maybe your paradigm hasn’t shifted, or maybe your dreams and aspirations are just different than mine. But if the prospect of a portable income that you can scale to fit your needs and desires is as appealing to you as it is to me, I’m going to share with you some of the ways I’ve found to make it a reality.

But before I go on, here’s a little disclaimer: Building an online income takes work. Real work. And it takes time, patience, and perseverance. It’s not a scheme to get rich, and it’s not a scam (although there are lots of those out there). Online businesses are every bit as real as the “brick and mortar” businesses that preceded them.

With that said, let me introduce you to a very low cost way to get started. Keep in mind that low initial costs may mean it takes longer to achieve the kind of results you’re looking for, but it also means that you’re not accruing debt, and that you’re giving yourself the chance to find out whether a portable, scalable income that expands your freedom is REALLY what you want. It’s hard to imagine that you’ll find out that it’s not, but you just never know…

One of my first forays into online income streams was through materials produced by Eric Holmlund. He’s got years of experience in both successful and unsuccessful internet commerce. And both his successes and failures are equally valuable, especially if this is all new to you.

 

Eric is a good guy. He’s not a scammer, or a relentless marketer that will “up sell” you at every turn. His family is his priority, and his business practices and quality training materials reflect that. If your ready to shift your paradigm, and start building a portable income, Eric’s materials will get you on the path.

 

His introductory training course is very comprehensive, and only costs $39.00. You can find it here: REAL GUYS No cost income stream.

 

There ARE some up selling add ons that come up as you make final payment. You don’t need them, at least not yet.

 

Buy the course. Study it. Take the actions steps that the course recommends. Meet me back here for more information, and more ways to transition to freedom. And don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.