Living the life of an entrepreneur is exciting and rewarding. Especially when it isn’t harrowing and daunting. Being a consultant, an artist, or a specialist for hire means you have to be uniquely talented, work hard, and be patient for the next right job to come in. Never having a set schedule is a benefit, but freelancing requires a strong belief in one’s self and trust that you’ll get through difficult stretches between jobs. In short, we gotta have a lot of faith.
Faith as a business model?
Yes, operating from an intuitive place isn’t a concept that works for everyone. It’s an idea that can make most people’s skin crawl, especially those who rely on market trends, data, and poll results. But for people like me who work from the gut, intuition as a business model is something that requires practice and a lot of vulnerability. For every gutsy move or courageous jump, there are plenty of uncertain moments that cause white-knuckle indecision and fear.
Being isolated and working in a way that’s opposite of how most mainstream business people operate can make for some truly uncomfortable moments. That’s where having like-minded friends comes in.
We need others who share the same business challenges and have a similar mindset to run big ideas by. When we’re feeling crazy, fearful, and generally uncertain of ourselves, it can really help to have like-minded people who know what you’re going through to share their insights, advice, and good will. When the going gets rough, it’s good to know there’s someone else out there who knows exactly what we’re going through.
One of my freelance cheerleaders is Vivien Kooper, an LA-based ghost writer who makes a living helping ordinary and extraordinary people tell their life stories in book form. My friend is funny, smart, and shares a common language for the big, esoteric ideas.
What I value most about Vivien’s friendship is how common her un-common language is to me. Her language of faith, fear, and a willingness to surrender over to a higher power is part of her daily language. “I’m just staying in faith that I’ll be taken care of,” Vivian said to me after a particularly lean couple of weeks. It was exactly what I needed to hear. “I just know that the right job is going to come in when it’s supposed to.” Faithful words like that comfort me and offer a sense of relief. She reminds me it’s okay to believe that one of my job requirements is to surrender to the unknown.
That’s certainly not the kind of feedback I get from every business contact I make.Vivien and I share a lot more than faith in our freelance business model. Like me, Vivien eschews advertising. Rather than rely on advertising or online promotions, we depend on former customers acting as our advertising and marketing departments. We share the belief that the next gig will come in when it should, not when we want them. Every time a new client picks up the phone and cold calls, or a job offer gives an especially interesting challenge, or a last minute booking arrives at the exact right moment (especially when funds are at their all-time lowest), we recognize that our businesses are guided by a something far beyond our understanding. Thanks to my entrepreneurial comrade in arms, I know I’m not alone in my concerns. We have each other to call when we get scared that the financial shoe is going to drop, or the phone won’t ring when we expect it to.
Nothing worth doing is without risk
I’ve been holding onto a piece of unconventional advice Vivien gave me the other day. I’ve run her revolutionary words over in my mind tumbler until they became beautiful, like polished agate. When I told her about some business decision I had to make that was bringing up a lot of fear, she suggested a rather contrary plan of action.
“Just stop. Don’t do a thing. Just for a day, don’t push to get the result you want.” She added “It’s in not doing that you show your belief that you’ll be taken care of. That’s usually when all the good stuff happens.”
Rather revolutionary stuff, no?
So rather than stress out about tax payments, the alignment of gigs, and other bits of minutiae–I surrender to the not knowing. I give into the uncertainty of my vocation and agree to believe in what I do not know.
A Recipe of Faith, a Vegetarian Quinoa Bowl
This no-recipe recipe is based on meals I’ve prepared without a plan and based solely on what’s on hand. This is a unspecific formula, devoid of precise measurements, that may offer good results if you’re willing to take a chance.
1-2 cups of left over quinoa (cooked)
chopped vegetables (bite sized pieces of romensco, carrots, green onion, kale, chard, sprouted mung beans, etc.)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Sriracha, if you like things spicy
Heat a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Drizzle a little oil into the pan. Add your vegetables in order of their texture and weight (carrots and onions before delicate chard, for example). When the vegetables are cooked down, add the cooked quinoa.
Add some vegetable broth (about 1/2 a cup) to get the mixture cooking in a cohesive way. When everything looks cooked to the point you like, take a taste. Does this mixture need some seasoning? Add what you think will make this more tasty? Sriracha? Pepitas? Nori flake?
Serve immediately before you question your judgement.