It’s Furlough/Layoff/Paycut Time, What Are You Going To Do?

by Shawn Smith on September 4, 2009

eggs-basket-flickr-rbphalen

This is part 1 of my series about diversifying your income streams. Make sure to see Part 2.

It’s time to stop asking “are we at the end of newspaper times” and start preparing yourself for other options.

The writing on the wall is as clear as it can be – diversify yourself.

If your job at a newspaper is your only meal ticket, this series is for you

Your Basket Has a Hole in it

If you’ve ever taking an investing course or a business class, you’ve probably heard you should never put all your eggs in one basket.

You know what? That’s true in journalism too.

If there’s anything the mid-2000s should have taught news people, it’s that you can’t depend on your employer to support you your whole life. News is a business. And business has a bottom line. And when that bottom line isn’t met, cuts start.

So what can you do?

Get To Know Yourself

One of the easiest ways to get started with diversifying your income streams is getting to know what you can do for others. You’d be surprised at how versatile news people actually are.

Take some time to analyze your skills and your situation.

Here’s an exercise for you – Load up text editor, and then enter the following questions:

  • What Do I Love Doing?
  • If I have Free Time, What Do I Do With It?
  • What Kind of Help Do My Friends and Family Ask of Me Because of My Unique Skills? (any skill)
  • Which Skills of Mine Do Others Request? How? When? Why?
  • What Do I Want To Do? What Do I Want?
  • What Don’t I Want?

Now write. Skip between questions if you like. You may find, like I have, that the answer in one question will help answer another. Write until you’ve exhausted yourself, even if you think something is unrelated.

Warning: You’re not going to find the secret answer to wealth and happiness here. But you will have some things sorted out for yourself that you might not have seen as real before you wrote them down. That’s the first starting point.

The point of this exercise is to make your answers tangible. Now you can start working with them.

Now What? Start Analyzing

Take a look through your list. Do any of your answers match across the different questions?

Draw connections. Find holes. Look for unexpected answers.

If you find some connections, you’ve got something to work with. The next step is to start exploring those connections and figuring out how to put them together – from point A to point B.

If you haven’t found some connections, even better. Take your desires and do some more brainstorming – you can create a whole new list about “actions I need to take to get what I want.” Then think about how can your current skills help you get where you want.

NOTE: This exercise will be a waste if you only draw up this list and then close the document never to open it again.

Next Up: Monetization On the Brain

Check out Part 2 of this series – Monetizing Your J-Skills.

BTW, This series of posts was inspired by many of my former colleagues who have faced layoffs, furloughs and paycuts, as well as those who have started their own ventures to supplement or even replace their incomes.

img by rbphalen