Saul of Hearts, author of The Lateral Freelancer, learned to eliminate his competition when he became a lateral freelancer. He did it by widening his focus for how his skills could generate income in nontraditional ways his colleagues had overlooked.
After graduating from college with a degree in film making, Saul headed to LA with dreams of making movies. After several years in the film business he realized there was a never ending supply of people like him, making the competition for work intense.
He and a few of his friends self-funded a film project. After a year they ran out of money and motivation, so the film was never completed. Saul doesn’t look at the project as a failure, but rather as an epiphany. A shift in his mindset occurred. Why not apply his skills to other businesses outside of the film world? Thus began his two-year journey as a lateral freelancer.
Key UnStuckable Takeaway
Find value in your skills outside of your industry!
Most of us could never imagine that our skills could be useful outside of our industry. We believe our skills are so specialized they could never have another application in another industry, but that may not be the case.
Saul got tired of the intense competition for using his video and writing skills in the film industry in LA. He decided to see how he could apply his skills elsewhere, where he could face less competition and stand out from the crowd. He became so good at it that he chronicled his journey by writing the book The Lateral Freelancer.
Quick Action to Get Unstuck
Reach out to people outside of your traditional network and comfort zone.
Sure it’s more comfortable to network with people you know or who understand your profession, but many times the supply of people with your skill set in your industry far exceeds the demand.
When you start networking outside of your industry, don’t try to fit in. Be yourself, so you’ll stand out! That’s the point of exploring lateral freelance opportunities like Saul.
Why not find an industry or niche where there is a low supply of people with your skill set and more demand?
Here are three ways to build up your network outside of your industry:
1. Talk to your friends and family who work in other industries about how your skill set might be useful in their profession.
2. Attend local networking events or even national conferences about subjects of interest to you.
3. Search LinkedIn for mutual connections working in other industries you are interested in learning more about.
UnStuckable Quotes From Saul
“I now approach my goals in small increments, instead of waiting for one big opportunity to come along.”
“Being a lateral freelancer means no longer competing on the same playing field as your colleagues or people with your similar skill set.”
“If you want to keep doing what you are doing creatively, you need to find a way to make it sustainable.”
“I have approached the share economy as a way to meet new people and to capitalize on the resources I already have.”
“I have more flexibility as a lateral freelancer because the projects are short term.”
“Someone who is UnStuckable realizes their path might not be as straight and narrow as they might expect.”
More Habits & Actions
- After spending a year working on a self-funded film, Saul and his friends ended up abandoning it. He said it was a valuable lesson in terms of what it really takes to produce a film.
- Shortly after he stopped work on his film project, he said his mindset on his career shifted from a narrow focus for how he could use his skills to a much wider focus.
- His first action to explore his career options was searching the web for other writing opportunities. After reading blogs like Colin Wright and Puttylike, he realized his career didn’t have to be stuck in LA.
- Saul started pursuing a variety of projects that diversified his source of income, rather than depending on one source of income from one defined use of his skills.
- Two years ago Saul launched his website and started sharing his writing with the world.
- He published a collection of short stories about his experiences at Burning Man as very his first e-book two years ago.
- His e-book, The Lateral Freelancer, chronicles his journey of using his skills in alternative ways to generate income.
- Saul appreciates his path over the last two years of seeking income from a variety of sources, but he is ready to narrow his focus again on his income opportunities.
- When Saul created his profile on TaskRabbit, he discovered he was the only videographer in his area, so he literally had no competition.
- Seeking alternative work was the first time Saul thought of his skills as a business.
- He makes about $400 a month renting out his car on RelayRides.
- Saul lives very minimally and that provides him with more flexibility.
- Saul realized his career path didn’t have to have just one focus.
- Sharing his writing with the world now online helped Saul build his audience, instead of putting off his writing while he waited for a traditional book deal.
- As Saul started seeking alternative ways to use his writing and video skills, he no longer had to compete against his colleagues for jobs in his traditional networks.
- The share economy is a new opportunity to rent out the stuff you aren’t using on the web.
- A time bank is a neighborhood collective to trade your skills based on the time you have contributed.
- Saul advises not buying something just to rent it out in the share economy. Start building up your reputation renting out things you already own.
Questions & Feedback
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