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Right now I have been taking a few people new to self-employment under my wing.  I am not a big business queen pin but I like helping people who’s work is in transition.

As I have had many incarnations in my business.

For example:

When 911 and then SARS hit and all the improv teaching work went bye- bye. I was a trainer at Second City but overnight I went from earning great money to earning no money. Although I was self-employed,  I had put all my eggs in one basket and when my one and only client dried up I freaked out.

Night and day I was  haunted by two pests: Hurry and indecision. You know that chaotic state of mind? when you don’t know what to do but you want to do it in a hurry? So I ran around throwing ideas up against the wall, hoping something would stick, and pronto!

It was then by some stroke of luck, ( or some degree of humility ) that a couple of people from St Lawrence College stepped in and  gave some great ideas and knowledge.They said I needed to adapt my offering.

They suggested I take my comedy and make it innto a motivational speech.

These people in the business sector taught me to work efficiently and effectively when my business changed.

So I would like to share some of the things I learned.


  • 1. Take two actions a day you hate. Do them off the top of the day. For me I hate marketing. And I hate asking for work. I do those first. And then they are done!
  • 2. Say yes to offers if they will put you in front of people that will hire you. I am not talking about working for nothing all the time. But sometimes a networking event is a chance to tell people what you offer and that can lead to work. Plus you get to meet people. People hire people they know. Don’t sit in the corner drinking say hello and hand out business cards. Hand out 5 business cards per event!!
  • 3. Ask For Help: Being self-employed you often feel like you have to spend more cash before you can earn. ( One more headshot, another class, the big web page, another blog) but some things are free. And one of those things is advice!  In my 40 years in business I have found having a coffee with someone with expertise is a great way to unblock my resistance. The only caveat: Ask positive people with more experience than you what “they did”. Do not ask them to get you an agent or how they can get you a job. Do not ask them to recommend you if they don’t know your work. That will just piss them off.    Ask them something that is easy to say yes to:  “Do you have a minute?   “What did you do? What steps did you take?” Learn for free from people with knowledge. ( P.S. Even if you are broke buy their coffee and  thank them in writing for meeting with you.  You are not just picking a brain you are trying to build relationships!!!)
  • 4. Earn $$$. Look there is not a perfect job when you are self-employed. For years, I sat around dreaming of a client who would simultaneously love and pay me.  This sometimes happens but not often.   Instead of this ideal vision, look for where you can earn money right here right now. Money doing something you are talented at.  You need to be able to pay your rent and be self-supporting. You need to pay your way. So look for the low hanging fruit as coaches like to say. Where can you earn some money, now!!     This thing called money will fund your future vision. Because you should not be going into debt in order to work. And if you have a big dream take a percentage of that money and put it into your dream! 


  • 5.Do the Next Right Thing: Yes you have tons of ideas. And they are amazing. But your talent is not some complex phenomenon that no one understands.  Its not a mysterious thing. The universe didn’t hide the Easter Eggs on you. You can get work. And its usually doing something staring you right in the face. Something you already do well. Something people compliment you on.  Often people over-complicate their business by thinking there is a magic moment when you’re ready to be seen by the world. But take it from me. Its good to get out there and try some things on for size.


  • 6.Log Your  time:  I would have said this at the beginning but I know it would have pissed you off. Start by tracking your time you actually work on generating income. This sounds basic but often we self-employed types think about how brilliant our idea is and this wears us out so need a nap.  Log your hours. And see how much time you actually work on the dream you say you want. Spend time on creating billable work!!!!   Proof is in the numbers! And after , if you have put in a lot of hours and its not working you can either alter what you are trying to do or talk to someone from # 3 Tip and they can make suggestions. P.S. I have found I often skimp on doing the things I hate ( refer to #1) which is why I was not earning.


  • 7. (Yes, I know I said six tips. But I am avoiding work.) Time takes time. I know this is easy for me to say. I am an old crone sitting here saving up for the retirement home, but let me repeat. Time takes time. Your business will take time to get going. Especially if you are new to being self-employed you can forget ideas takes time to develop. Some ideas are long roll out ideas. And it is an evolving thing that may have to be adjusted so please,  be patient with yourself. After you have logged your hours, do something else. Walk, run, dance, make whoopee  because sometimes when we are having fun we find answers too!!


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