Three Tips for Creating Your Own Independence Day

American Flag

July 4 is Independence Day here in the States, which, for most of us, entails the risk of losing:

  • your fingers to cheap fireworks;
  • your waistline to hot dogs;
  • your liver.

All of which, as a red-blooded American, I support wholeheartedly. But if you’re spending today celebrating the country’s independence, how about putting some attention on your own personal independence?

It might be independence from a day job, or financial stress, or even a mindset that’s keeping you from making things happen.

Here are a few of my favorite tips for declaring your own individual independence.

Expand Your Audience

Andy Warhol had it wrong. Now that we’re living in the future, everyone isn’t famous for 15 minutes. We’re each famous with 15 people.

Each of us online, whether or not we’re technically selling anything, has our own little village of customers. Customers for our products, our ideas, and our funny pictures of cats.

And most of us would like to expand that village, at least by a little bit. Especially if we want to build a business around it.

So what’s the secret to finding a wider audience?

Put more thought into what your village of customers wants and needs.

Sure, personal expression can be a good thing. But never forget the other side of that computer screen.

There’s something you can offer your audience that will fulfill their fondest desire or solve their most pressing problem. Think a little more about them, and a little less about yourself.

Create a Revenue Stream

For most of us, freedom and independence tend to boil down to having enough money coming in the door.

It’s a lot simpler to say good-bye to your nightmare boss or your crummy living situation when you’ve got some steady income rolling in.

Whether it’s writing an ebook, building a membership site, starting a coaching program or setting up a part-time freelance business, there’s something you could build in the next six weeks to bring a little revenue in.

The hardest part is getting started. Once you’re up and rolling, you can tweak and expand your offering to make it better and bring in more income.

Don’t let perfectionism slow you down. There’s no better way to see what works than to actually get out and do something. Start small and build on what works.

Never Stop Learning

In today’s economic and technical environment, the moment you stop learning, you’re road kill.

It’s not always about learning the latest and greatest. Sometimes it’s taking the classic works in your field and translating them for a new audience. Sometimes it’s about making a completely new connection. It’s about staying curious and keeping your mental playfulness.

If you never add anything new to your intellectual mix, your content is going to sputter out and die. (If for no other reason than you’ll develop a killer case of writer’s block.)

Spend a little less time on the trivial stuff (I love Twitter too, but no one needs to be there five hours a day) and a little more time building your understanding.

Knowledge is your greatest asset. It can’t be stolen or confiscated. It sets your intellect free. And when your mind is free, the rest of it is just a bunch of beautiful fireworks.

picture credit: Hugh

About the Author: Sonia Simone is Senior Editor of Copyblogger and the founder of Remarkable Communication.

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Comments

  1. “Andy Warhol had it wrong. Now that we’re living in the future, everyone isn’t famous for 15 minutes. We’re each famous with 15 people.”

    This is the quote by which you will be known for all eternity. You know that, right?

    Also, hot dogs!

  2. Ya … “Knowledge is your greatest asset” everyone out there are looking for information, and if you had the answer to their question, most probably your audience will expend bit by bit…

  3. what’s the best way to create a revenue stream with blogging .. working on a single blog concentrating on it, or creating multiple blogs covering different topics ?

  4. @Colleen, of course I know it. ;)

  5. Really feel inspired after reading this. I have got a couple of projects simmering inside my head and I think I should start giving them a 3-D, directional shape :-)

  6. My thumb is already purple from getting burned and popped too many times. :P I doubt I’ll ever grow up. Great article, btw.

    Out of curiosity, wasn’t that the image used on Copyblogger right before voting day in 2008? Or is my brain playing tricks on me?

  7. Sonia,

    Unrelated but here is quote Brian and I talking about re: 3rd Tribe on Twitter right now, from Ogilvy on Advertising:

    “‘Most good copywriters’ says William Maynard of the Bates agency, ‘fall into two categories. Poets. And killers. Poets see an ad as an end. Killers as a means to an end.’ If you are both killer and poet, you get rich [page 32].”

  8. Great points, I’m realizing early that ads alone are not going to cut it. Although my traffic is steadily growing, I know that ad revenue will probably not pay that much.

    It’s great to realize this only a couple months into blogging, to have a more grounded outlook on thing. I see so many sploggers out there posting about how to make money online and SEO and then you read their blogs and they’re full of irrelevant ads.

    I’ve already created one e-book, though I distribute it for free. My goal is to begin creating lengthier, more in-depth e-books for my audience.

    Thanks for the great article.

    - Jessica

  9. Losing your fingers, your waistline and your liver sounds like an average Aussie BBQ experience to me. ;)

    I’m all for personal independence and have never enjoyed working for someone else. It’s not always easy but it’s worth it.

  10. I love this post because sometimes you don’t know your niche until your customers and readers tell you what they need. Pay attention to emails, comments, and social networks to get in the head of your biggest fans.

  11. Thanks Sonia, for another thought provoking post. A good way to “Put more thought into what your village of customers wants and needs” may be to make more frequent use of the often neglected ‘You’ word, and less of the ‘I’ word.
    For example: When I upgrade my website to Web 2.0, instead of “I specialize in designing beautiful, eco-friendly, cost effective, low maintenance gardens”, I’ll ask: “Would you like a beautiful, eco-friendly, cost-effective, low maintenance garden?” Or something similar.

  12. Shawn, I’ve used that great illustration from Hugh MacLeod for the last election, two 4th of Julys, and the 5th anniversary of 9/11. I absolutely love it.

  13. I love the reminder not to let perfectionism slow you down. My new favorite quote: “Better is the enemy of good.” (Voltaire) I’d rather live with mistakes than stagnation. (Could someone send me this like, oh, 5 months ago?)

  14. All three of your points are so accurate. The one about always learning especially hit home for me. I’ve spent time almost every day since I was 16 (I’m now 21) learning the ins and outs of online entrepreneurship. I’m just now starting to really apply it and share the knowledge I’ve picked up. Taking time to learn is a GREAT thing.

  15. geeh! i am the fifteenth commenter here. when one stops his zest to learn, he should keep of his hands from his keyboard and blogging.

  16. “It’s a lot simpler to say good-bye to your nightmare boss or your crummy living situation when you’ve got some steady income rolling in.

    Whether it’s writing an ebook, building a membership site, starting a coaching program or setting up a part-time freelance business, there’s something you could build in the next six weeks to bring a little revenue in.”

    This is great advice and comes at a great time. Even with the busiest schedule, 6 weeks is a big enough time span to put my mind to work and get something done that will affect the rest of my life. I’ve always said, “it only takes ONE thing…what is MY one thing?” Time to find out & take the steps to achieve it! Thanks for the motivation!

  17. “Whether it’s writing an ebook, building a membership site, starting a coaching program or setting up a part-time freelance business, there’s something you could build in the next six weeks to bring a little revenue in.”

    Those really are the best ways for individuals to make money online right now. Make a quality info product or piece of software that solves a problem, and market it. There’s no money in blogging, lots of traffic, but you’ve got to monetize it with other peoples products or your own(your own will make you 10x more money than promoting other people’s products).

  18. Very powerful post.

    The statement about being famous
    for 15 people is very, very true.

    Brilliant!

    Igor

  19. I like your point on freeing your mind. If it doesn’t come back, it was never really yours.

  20. Really enjoyed this creative and meaningful message – and, of course, the image! Thank you for giving us something to think about – looking forward to creating my own tradition!

  21. Very inspirational post Sonia. I think this are main key points I have to think about whenever I’m overwhelmed. This can really help me relax and focus. Thanks a lot.

  22. Super ideas and thoughts. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    One of my favorite quotes is from Ron LaGrande, “I honestly believe that the biggest obstacle to financial freedom in America today, is the job that you’re holding.”

    Rasheed

  23. Love it. Another ripper. You could get on the radio with this sort of stuff, Sonia! Best regards, P. :)

  24. Enjoyed reading it. Especially the part where you said that we don’t need to spend too much time on Twitter. We should be spending that time wisely to build our businesses. Thanks for a great post.

  25. Great post. I did have my personal Independence Day by unchaining the boss from me. BTW, I just found this blog and I appreciate all the info you give. It is great.

  26. Excellent post Sonia–Your points are perfect. There is so much out there to continually be learning and improving yourself and then sharing with others to help them too. You don’t have to get a PhD to gain knowledge, one of the best ways is just by constant reading, studying up on your area or an area that interests you. Books, blogs (like this one!), trade magazines, etc. the avenues to knowledge are limitless!

  27. Very powerful post.

    The statement about being famous
    for 15 people is very, very true.

  28. I’ve been reading this blog for a couple of weeks now and I absolutely love your posts.

    The points you made are true even for telemarketing. We always have to ask our clients what they want/need so we can give them highly qualified leads/appointments.

    If you don’t know what they want, how would you know what to sell?

  29. Great tips and I love the flag.

  30. Love it! Happy {belated} 4th!

  31. Sweet post! First time stumbling onto this blog but I really like the posts you’ve got on here, and seems like CopyBlogger is doing pretty well for itself :)

  32. Inspiring :)
    thanks

  33. Oh Boy, I wish I had read this earlier. I love LOVE this post. I find myself in the “muck and mire” and I cannot think straight sometimes. Then something else happens to me personally and I am just breathless. This is a perfect post. Maybe we should have a personal independence day once a month!

  34. @Steve Averill, you made me dive back into Ogilvy on Advertising, which is always a treat. It makes perfect sense that DO was a Third Triber.

  35. Sonia, DO not a bad legacy to inherit;-)

  36. Loved the twist on the Andy Warhol quote.