Fire Dammit Fire

Inviting “Orders” is diametrically opposed to the idea of Freedom.

Recently I have decided that to be truly free, my life (or more accurately my income generation methods) should be free of order taking.

It’s not by chance that the term we use for everyday business transactions is “taking orders” or that we say a customer “ordered” something from us.

These apparently harmless and everyday phrases reveal the unsavoury fact that many people who are in business, or working for themselves,  are tethered in a far stronger way than any 9-5 office worker.

From experience I know that it is all too easy to fool myself into thinking that I am free when actually I’ve created a rather tedious and routine job for myself.

Regardless of how glamorous your role in your business is it’s easy to fall into the trap of working long hours, forever driving around and forever not being home when you really want to be.

For these reasons I have tried to untether from all aspects of income generation that result in me taking orders.

In the future I intend to make things (physical or digital) that people want to buy instead of having a range of work or creations that people order. Of course the less tangible items like eBooks or writing of any kind are the obvious ones here, but even best selling authors get stuck in the order taking trap and find themselves tied to the writing desk for large parts of the year due to the pressures from publishers, editors and the big book retailers. We think of artists like this as free, but they are securely bound up in the order taking world and surely must question themselves when it comes to defining their work as art?

Having the strength to think of your work as art regardless of how mainstream or commoditised others in your line of business have become is the first step to wrestling back your freedom from the world of commercial order taking.

Making your own rules for doing business isn’t as hard as it sounds, just do what you do well and the rest will happen automatically. Building demand for your work is the important thing here, and there is no better form of that than ecstatically happy customers passing on the good news about your work to friends and family.

So how do you do that in reality when there is so much noise in the world; how do you make your work famous, even if it’s just with a few people?

By being exceptionally good at what you do and more importantly making a big difference to your customers/clients/fans, in other words Over Delivering. If you’ve read my Micro MBA you will know that this is one of the vital steps in making your business successful.

Self praise is no praise, and self promotion in terms of social media is generally counter productive. Continually worrying and fussing over your Facebook likes and search engine optimisation is nothing more than a distraction from doing the real work that results in your art being manufactured and ready for your audience to buy.

Time spent on social media and SEO trying to force a reaction from the unsuspecting public is just another form of what many artists know as resistance.

This is not to say that you must be a kind of Luddite and eschew all forms of modern promotion, merely that the best type of social exposure for your business is that generated willingly by ecstatically happy customers.

Over delivering on value and benefit to the customer should be your main promotional focus and is easy once you get in the right mindset for it. And the main advantage of this mindset is that once you are in it, you can pretty much run things your way and have the maximum freedom while still generating a generous income for yourself. It also serves as a quality check for what you are happy to ship out the door.

A common trap for freedom seekers is to try to copy something they have seen elsewhere and have only fleetingly worked through. These enterprises invariably fail due to the fact that they are not what inspired you to seek freedom in the first place. Remember “Make your life your work; don’t make your work your life”!

See your work as art and build demand by massively over delivering on value and
benefit to your customers. Limit supply to the level that makes you feel like an artist and not an automaton and you will soon have a freedom business. More importantly you will have freedom from order taking!

Don’t take orders!

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Donnie Nunley via Compfight

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