You may be wondering why I’m taking a Gap Year when I haven’t given up my work as a publisher and book coach for business authors (cf Voxie Media). Aside from moving to the coast of Maine with Sam for the summer and fall, I haven’t radically changed what I’m doing professionally – at least thus far.
Let’s talk about that for a minute. What does “work” mean in today’s location-independent, 24X7 world where, ostensibly, anyone can work from anywhere, doing anything, as long as there is a market for it?
Chris tells us in his new bestseller, The $100 Startup, that you can “reinvent” the way you make a living if you can find that perfect congruence between what you are passionate about, what your purpose in life is and what people want to buy. I call this being a creative entrepreneur.
This is a way of working that occurs largely outside the corporate sphere. It requires building your own tribe of fans, followers and, ultimately, customers. It requires being intentional about your purpose and your goals (they go beyond making money, right?), it requires a certain transparency and it requires authenticity. It can be very successful.
A few examples are Seth Godin, Jonathan Fields and Pamela Slim. This is essentially the model that I am building. And yes, it is dependent on skillful use of the Internet to spread your work and your ideas and to connect with like-minded people. It doesn’t mean you never interact with clients in person or do live speaking events. But it does mean that you rely on creating useful content on a daily or weekly basis and distributing it via a blog or email newsletter or short video or LinkedIn or Google+ or Twitter or Facebook.
A more basic concept of “the new work” is to be a virtual entrepreneur, meaning you no longer sit in a cubicle. Instead you rely on the cloud to enable you to work for a big company on a contract basis. This is one of the ideas that mega bestselling author Tim Ferriss put forth in The 4-Hour Work Week. It’s interesting to note the subtitle of his bestseller: Escape 9 − 5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. Whereas the subtitle of Chris Guillebeau’s new, more recent book goes a step further: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future.
There is lots more to be said on this topic. But I wanted to dip my toe into this idea of a new way of working to tell you that I am fine-tuning my own model this year so that I can work less, work more purposefully and have more fun. And to point out that one of the things Sam is doing during his/our Gap Year is to look for his own version of a new kind of work. He pretty much nailed the “make the world a better place” thing by saving patients’ lives for 31 years. Now he’s looking for a “what’s next” that is aligned with his values.