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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Fife

Everything has changed. You sure you want to do that NOW?

Today is my first day completely self employed. As one author I recently corresponded with called it, these are surreal times. As part of my launching my new career right, I'm doing a blog post every day for 30 days. This one will kick it off. (Disclaimer - Its a little rambling. I make no claim to literary genius... yet).

My plan to transfer from full time employee to full time Narrator & whatever else I want to do was not a sudden thing. About 2 years ago when I started narrating professionally, I could already tell it was something I wanted to be my 'main thing.' For 10 years before that, I had been reading to my children every night & had grown to love it. But in the last few weeks as I've been sharing with more & more people my intention to leave the day job & pull the trigger on my new career, I've been met with few overall types of reactions:

  1. They're genuinely excited for me.

  2. "Are you sure you want to do that NOW?"

  3. "I didn't know you were already doing that well with it!"

  4. "I wish I had something that I felt like that about."

This is an age of uncertainty. I get that. And in some ways things just keep becoming more uncertain. But at the same time, "the more things change, the more they stay the same."

In preparing for my 30 day blog challenge, I wrote out more than 40 possible blog post ideas. Some days, I may just be reviewing books - because I like to do it & because it's beneficial to the author (and narrator when you're talking audiobooks), the industry, and it helps me hone my own writing voice and narrating voice(s). Some of the others will be my Musical Musings, Production Processes and the like, and then others will include things like my reactions to the COVID19 pandemic & all that seems to be going along with that. This is the category that I have listed as "Pied Piper" as it's a bit of a catch-all. This post fits there most.

In a fluctuating world, how do we cope? I've had many different jobs in my adult life, ranging from potato & sugar beet truck driver for harvest, to running & organizing a powersports trade show with hundreds of exhibitors & thousands of attendees, to selling individual musical widgets wholesale to music stores across the nation. Having achieved a reasonable level of success in all of those endeavors (ok - I really can't lie - I suck as a harvest driver & never want to do it again (I'd almost rather be roofing - a job I also detested), but it paid the mortgage for a few months). But in the very least, I've seen that again and again, things change. Our ability to adapt to that change really does help with our overall happiness & our trajectory in life.

The rules change all the time, regardless of what industry you're in. Your boss you love to work with moves to another state. The government decides to outlaw a particular diesel engine part that had been your cash cow for your shop. A new band teacher comes along who doesn't use the method book that you ended up overstocking on last season. Your #1 selling line's distributor changes distributorship & decides to cut you out as a middle man. Somebody books the hall for your big ol' event out from under you on the weekend you've been planning. It won't stop raining long enough for you to get your crop out of the ground. Your once break-even music store is dying on the vine because Amazon sells reeds cheaper than you can get them. Google or Facebook changes their algorithm & your ads go from bringing in 1000 people to bringing in 10. Audible changes their royalty structure, or bonus program, etc.

Every single one of the above have happened to me directly, the business I was employed by, or a direct customer of mine sometime in the last 20 years. The last one on the list happened at the end of March to me, after I had already decided to jump in with both feet for my new business. Combined with the surrealism we're all experiencing, regardless of what your business is, Things are up in the air. Nine months ago, I asked my employer about the possibility of working from home and was told "we don't do that here." Now they must. Everybody is now forced to homeschool their dogs. Restaurants, movie theaters, you name it, are closed. Businesses are having to invent new ways of doing things.

My reaction to "Are you sure you want to do that NOW?" is informed by all of the above. Of course I do. I've been in nimble companies that planned, reviewed their plans & moved forward with faith, and companies that were so rooted where they were that I'm pretty sure they'd still look the same in another 5 years, even if Yellowstone went ahead & decided to erupt tomorrow. Having been in both, I'd much rather be in the nimble variety, even though the deeply rooted might be there & look the same in 50 years.

I thrive on change. I embrace it. Go with the flow. Part of working for myself is realizing that I'm responsible for just how nimble my tiny little company is. I plan down the road. I plan for the week. I make little lists. I follow through. I repeat. I try something different. I make conscious choices. I make thousands of unconscious ones. I don't know that in the coming 30 (or 300, or 3000) days, I'll have any brilliant world changing epiphanies, but I do invite you to come along for the ride. Here's a bit of a preview of some of the posts I plan on doing in NO particular order (and I reserve the right to change, alter, skip etc. any of them I like).

  • Reviews - LOTS of reviews- probably at least 3 a week including the following books for sure - Every Single Day by Bradley Charbonneau, Call to Purpose by Ken Brown, Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton), Persuasion by Jane Austen, Archer of the Heathland by J.W. Elliot (my cuz I narrated Walls of Glass for), Plenty by Steve Watkins, A Proper Introduction to Dragons by Maria Grace, The Edge of Nothing by Crystal Crawford, Dark by Paul Arvidson, and Kings Warrior by Jenelle Schmidt. (So - a mix of stuff I'm listening to, reading with my fam, narrating, and just reading for the heck of it.) (got to do some catching up)

  • WHY review EVERYTHING - As a narrator & aspiring author, I'll delve into why I review or try to review everything I read or listen to & why You should too.

  • COVID19 – Hit reset | Maybe So, Maybe Not | Where to go from here | Transformational time | Obvious Mistakes & Obvious solutions. I initially started writing something about a week ago, but this is just a little too all encompassing, so I'm going to split it into at least 4 days.

  • Comparing & contrasting New Who & New Trek. I'm a geek. I've loved Star Trek & Wars as long as I can remember. I'll disgorge some of my opinions about Trek & Doctor Who particularly in this. Could be a very loquacious post.

  • Reviews of some of my favorite music streaming services / channels

  • Reviewing some of my favorite lesser known classical compositions

  • Diversifying your portfolio.

  • Rome was not built in a day and what that means for me & you.

  • The problem with Alexa/Siri/HeyGoogle etc.

  • And many more...

So if you're up for it, I invite you to come along for the ride over the next month... and hopefully beyond. I hope I can make you smile, sometimes laugh a little, stop & think, & expand your mind a little as I do so myself. Let me know what you think & let's go!

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