It has been pretty quiet on this blog lately, but that isn’t because I haven’t been doing anything. Mostly it’s because I have a whole bunch of ‘secret projects’ going on which I want to post about but am not quite able to yet. Some of the projects are secret because they aren’t ready to launch. Some of them are secret because they’re a business idea that I don’t want to broadcast. Some of them are secret because I haven’t got everyone on board that I need to before announcing them to the world. Rest assured that I am working hard back here…
What I wanted to post about today was my time and money design. I haven’t written about it for a long time, but I have been thinking about it constantly. At it’s most basic, it’s a design about how I support myself financially, but it’s also about what I spend my time doing and how resilient my income streams are to future change.
Since I posted my time and money design nearly two years ago some things have stayed the same, and a lot of things have changed. What’s stayed the same is that I am still making 2/3 of my income from working part time at Brighton University and I am still teaching scythe courses. What is different, basically are my knowledge and ideas. I have learned so much about business in the past two years and about building things for the future. Two years ago I thought about my income streams as a collection of small scale ‘momentary’ ventures. I did them, and then they went away. I wasn’t thinking about how to build them into something that would last. Now, I still think of my various ventures as small-scale, but now they are connected and part of a plan to build something bigger and more sustainable. That ‘something’ might well be a career!
The direction that I want to take now is to design my income streams (ok, let’s call it a career, even if it’s a crazy one) to work with starting a family – and, dare I say it – home schooling them. This design has turned from ‘how do I make money,’ into ‘how do I make money over the next 20 years…’ Welcome to adulthood, Beth!
I can see the parents I know sitting there with a wry smile on their face… Balancing kids and careers, especially for women, is in the news so much because it’s a massively hard problem to solve, and honestly, I don’t know how I will solve it. What I do know is that my self-employed income is going to count and the more of that that I can do from home, the better. At the moment, my biggest self-employed income stream is scythe courses, which are another thing that it might be tricky to do a lot of whilst encumbered with a child. I am looking at ways of working with other people (actually, employing other people) so that my business can continue even though I might not be able to teach the actual courses. This means letting go, which is a terrifying prospect…
I am also working hard at developing some products (some of the ‘secret projects’) which will mean that I can have an income stream from home. I’ve got enough of these ‘secret projects’ in the pipeline to keep me busy for a good few years. It feels really nice to know what I am doing for the foreseeable future, to have stuff to get my teeth into. I realised a few days ago, that I didn’t have to be innovative for a while… Now I just had to knuckle down and get on with all of these opportunities I had created for myself.
Despite my excitement about these projects, I realised with a bit of a bump yesterday that there is no magic bullet that is going to give me financial security and a flexible working life. I can’t sort it out by spending a lunchtime drawing charts in my notebook. I can only do what I am doing right now – keep trying. I also realised a couple of other things:
– I can’t grow my scythe courses right now because I have other priorities (the secret projects). I’ll have to let them develop at their own pace and employ people help me with them so that they can continue when I can’t teach them myself.
– None of my secret projects are going to bring me meaningful income for 2-3 years
All of which means that I am not going to be able to earn much more than I am earning now for the next 2-3 years, and possibly much less! And, all of these things are a punt. None of them might work. That’s the scary part… I might be a poor church mouse forever. But I really don’t feel like I have a choice. Firstly, I’ve committed to this road and feel like it is the one that I should be on. Secondly, present circumstances and decisions I have made in the past mean that doing something else would be difficult. So, I have to do my work and hope that some of it sticks! Here’s hoping!