The Gift that keeps Giving
All myths from Hindu to Christian to Greek mythology feature mythical objects that keep on giving. Roman and Greek mythologies feature the horn of plenty or cornucopia - typically a horn-shaped basket meant to grant abundant food in the form of grains, fruits, and vegetables amongst others. According to one legend, this was the horn that was broken off from Amaltheus who was the nourishing goddess of infant "Zeus" - the future king of the gods.
Image: Cornucopia or The Horn of Plenty
The Hindu Epic Mahabharata features the Akshaya Patra or literally the limitless bowl - a bowl that keeps on giving. The bowl was gifted by The Hindu God Lord Krishna to The Pandavas ( a set of 5 Brothers) who were exiled in the forest and hence had no meaningful way to satisfy their needs or nourish themselves. In another reference, it was gifted by the Sun God to one of the Pandavas Yudhistira.
Akshaya Patra Gifted to the Pandavas
What has cornucopia and Akshaya Patra got to do with Freelancing?
To be precise, a lot. Cornucopia and Akshaya Patra symbolize our need to find something that is abundant, something that frees us from the tyranny of needing to work constantly to fulfill our basic and regular needs. In the world of investing, it takes the form of cash flow. In the rat race of life, it takes the form of FIRE (Financially Independent, Retired Early) communities and so on.
In the world of Freelancers, content writers, independent professionals, and businesses, this takes the form of :
1. A pipeline of leads and businesses that one can constantly tap into
2. Revenue that stays stable during ups and downs in the economy
3. A personal brand that keeps growing and is free from the tyranny of algorithms and walled network gardens (aka social media networks)
4. A circle of influence that brings new opportunities
This may sound too good to be true or too hard to achieve. However, it's not impossible and has been done countless times by thousands of people across the world if not millions.
Creating your own Cornucopia or Akshaya Patra
Freelancers, content writers, independent professionals, and businesses can also create their own cornucopia. The question is, do you want it? If you do, do you know how to create it? And if you've created it, do you know how to nurture it? Let's dig in and see how
1. Get yourself an attitude check-up
One of the foundational aspects of building an automated revenue system is to get yourself an attitude check-up. This might sound like a trite argument but it isn't. As new platforms and new ways of engaging with the world emerge, new heroes and heroines, new influencers, and new micro brands are born. Platforms have their own need to prop up new people. What might be driving you to the top right now may be an algorithm. So, the foremost thing to do is to get your attitude right.
Image: Don't let arrogance get to you
Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish. Most people don't know that they a Pig in a Tornado. The forces around them are propelling them upwards and they mistakenly think they have developed wings which is anything but true. Platforms have an innate need to label you a top dog this or a top dog that but stay grounded. This is where Hero vs. System thinking comes in (Read my earlier blog about this). The most successful heroes, creators have remained humble, practical, and real about their success and realized that it is their system that gives them the results.
For instance, Jay Leno, the man who presided over the Tonight Show for decades has a legion of writers and support staff that makes him successful. He is funny but he needs a system to stay consistently funny. He may be the fountainhead of success but without the Fountain, there is no Head. But there can be another head with the fountain. So, the most important step is to get the attitude right.
2. Build visibility for your work
This is the other side of the Hero mentality. The mentality of working tirelessly, staying humble, staying out of the limelight, and never building visibility or spotlighting one's work. A friend of the writer of this blog once said, you may move on to other things and go do other things but your work lives on. Today, the writer has plenty of visibility for his work thanks to the fact that he put out the work he was doing, he built presence but never got sucked into the cycle.
If you've ever worked at a real job inside an organization, you've come across the smart alec who constantly touted his or her accomplishments. Sometimes going to the extent of stealing others' work and passed them off as their own, only to build that visibility. While organizations are systems that will provide work and a steady pay-check due to a "Job", being independent means the need to build visibility is even greater.
Image: Build Visibility for your work
The good news is, building visibility for your work has gotten super easy. With a myriad of platforms that cover blogging, video, shorts, podcasts, articles, profiles, portfolios, and resumes, it has become super easy to build visibility for one's work.
3. Become a Thought Leader or distinct voice
You may not always have work that you have done to build visibility. You may also be in a profession where the work you do has to either be stripped of the client's references or stay confidential. Or you may not have any of these restrictions. Yet, potential clients want a taste or an inkling of what they might expect from you.
The best way to demonstrate what to expect from you is to become a thought leader. Potential clients, buyers, and people are constantly looking for ideas and ways to be better at their job. Align your expertise, thinking, and what you've learned and put it to use. Help them do their job better and sometimes perhaps without you being involved. Use your authentic inner voice to give the material a fresh twist to make it interesting. This is a feat that no computer or AI tool can do. You need to look no further than Lin-Manuel Miranda who infused a fresh way into "Hamilton"
4. Build your communication loops
Doing all of what we have already discussed only goes a certain distance. What becomes important is to build communication loops with the viewers, readers, potential clients, and anyone that could be part of your "pipeline" to stay engaged with you and your creations. One of the most famous and old-school ways to do this is called Bird Dogging. To know more about bird-dogging your network read up about Joe Girard, the most successful car salesman in the world.
5. Build e-commerce style loops
One of the reasons why e-commerce and technology have had a profound impact on our lives is their ability to be ever-present. ATM machines are popular because they can be "working" even when people or the tellers are "sleeping".
Now that you have built a presence for your work, positioned yourself as a force to reckon with, and built communication loops, you have successfully generated "intent". Now, you need to give this "intent" an outlet - a way to engage you or work with you. E-commerce style loops help you accomplish that. Build a way for people to start an order or job with you automatically. Leverage systems that give you these e-commerce style superpowers.
Last but not least - rinse and repeat. Any system needs constant work and support to keep it fresh and contextual. Methods, systems, and platforms will come and go but the needs and people will remain. This is your life's work. When you've done all this - lo and behold - you've created your every own Cornucopia or Akshaya Patra.
This is part of our Series on How to become great at what you do as a freelancer, creator, independent professional, online business. Check back here for more articles or our past blogs. This is all based on our very own personal experience.
The World is Full of people who motivate and leave you hanging. Trust us (this writer has been there many times). A good motivator motivates you. A Great motivator gives you a system. Vouch can help you build the system to Automate Revenue. With its digital escrow mechanism and trust scores, it helps your business acquire an aura. Download Vouch and write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you build that system.
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