In my last written post I discussed how to increase your creativity by reducing money worries. I now want to share some thoughts on simply increasing your income. The main reason being that homelessness and starvation aren’t good for your creativity either!
It’s a fact, whether you’re disabled or not, money matters. For my disabled brothers and sisters the need for income is compounded by our higher cost of living. This BBC report shows that the disability charity Scope found and brilliantly articulated the severity of the situation.
My personal story has taken me through mainstream education up to Masters level and full-time employment for 6 years as a charity fundraiser. All good. In the end self-employment suited my health and happiness better, but not always my bank account.
Early on, despite knowing all of the business theories, I was struggling to generate income. I had two websites (my blog and Disability Horizons), great content and lots of traffic. I wasn’t really earning and I couldn’t understand why. So I started to reflect on my situation and uncovered a few things.
The first thing I realised was that I hadn’t defined the audience I was specifically helping. Lots of people came to the websites, but who were they and what were they seeking? I also hadn’t properly defined my product or service. In other words my value. How can anyone pay for something that isn’t defined?
Without a defined audience or a packaged entity, the problem was sickeningly obviously. But why had I overlooked something so fundamental?
It was confidence! Or lack there of. You see, I loved creating the websites, the articles, the videos, the tweets and the interactions. However, I didn’t feel that what I offered was valuable enough commercially.
After a few strong words from myself, but mostly from loved ones I realised how ridiculous this was. So I set about defining my passions, knowledge, experience, likes, skills, the audience and most importantly the VALUE I bring.
I then realised that I had two audiences; 1) disabled people and 2) organisations wanting to communicate with disabled people.
Creating a commercial product for disabled people didn’t feel right. Therefore I’m always open to funders and sponsors down the road to back ideas. But it’s too risky to sit around and wait for.
In the meantime I realised I have a lot to offer organisations wanting to communicate with disabled people (government, councils, charities and companies). In understanding that if their needs, the newly defined services and the pricing all matched up; it might actually work!
When finally putting this to the test, feeling more confident in the proposition, it was amazing. Not everyone required the services or had budget. However many did want the services and were happy to pay good money too.
Now I’m working a day a week as a marketing, video production and copywriting consultant for a small business. The rest of the time Disability Horizons is partnering with big organisations. This keeps us off the streets. Most importantly it actually increases our social impact.
So I’m able to stay warm, eat, help others and be creative. Everyday of the week! Pretty cool I’d say…
Finally, remember it’s not just relevant for entrepreneurs. The same is true when seeking employment: Your value, their needs, and a fair salary.
What’s your view? Do you know your value? Do you believe in it? Who else needs your skills? How much is it worth to them? Have you found your economic fit?
Best of luck guys