May 2, 2022.
Just a couple of days ago, I was talking with Polona, a member of Aurora Coworking, about struggle and entrepreneurship.
The conversation concluded when we realized that we decided to act as independent professionals because of the freedom it provides, but when do we exercise that freedom?
"Being my own boss should not translate to me behaving like the kind of boss I want to get away from."
When we see our wallets getting thin, or when we see uncertainty in the future, we start burning the midnight oil, and we forget about the freedom we are supposed to enjoy. Instead, we decide to sacrifice it until the right conditions arrive. More than thirty years of independence and entrepreneurial activities have taught me that there are few short-lived moments when "the right conditions" are met.
If we keep postponing the freedom we work for, we soon will feel that our entrepreneurial activities aren't worth it, and we will quickly think: I better get a job. We might get used to ignoring our inner call for freedom and live in a perennial mindset of urgency and sacrifice.
What do you do to exercise your freedom muscle?
A change is gonna come.
I mean, not the fantastic interpretation by Brian Owens, but a real change in what I do. Would you send me your comments and suggestions?
For most of the last decade, I have volunteered most of my time and resources, focusing on the topics I care about: social entrepreneurship, personal development, and Coworking. The problem is that monetizing my activities is pretty tricky.
If I focus on one topic, I lose my generalist point of view. If I charge for my services, my usual beneficiaries would not be able to afford them. If I follow the standard business practice, I become standard.
My assumption has always been that through the process of running my initiatives, they will develop enough to provide a source of steady revenue. They do generate revenue, directly or indirectly, but rarely consistently.
So I asked, are there other examples of initiatives that offer value but are difficult to monetize? The answer was a deep, thunderous, and proverbial godlike: Oh Yeah!
The most exciting finding is that today the concept of crowdfunding has transcended Kickstarter (funding startups) and Kiva (micro-lending), expanded to GoFundme (Fundraising for specific causes) and evolved to Patreon (supporting content creators) and Discord (community building).
In front of my nose, a whole new way of working was thriving while I was still pushing my past century's business paradigms.
There is an excellent example of a company using crowdfunding in Slovenia. Pod Črto is a media outlet focused on maintaining its independence. Many people and organizations support them because they believe in the importance of a free press and democracy.
I'm planning to follow their example. Together with my team, we are evaluating how to transform ourselves into a crowdfunded non-profit organization to support freelancers and entrepreneurs in developing their unique strengths with a sense of community.
Ideas? Thoughts? Please reply to this message to share them with me. Thanks!
Last but not least
"An experienced gardener finds joy in weeding, mowing, and pruning. Unexperienced ones complain about the burdens of weeding, mowing, and pruning."
Our friends from the Ukrainian Coworking Association published a page with curated resources, check it out.
Dear friends, take time to look at your loved ones, share a smile, and make them feel loved.
Jose & Jernej.