I have a couple goals with this post:
- Learn more about the diverse ways that others in our OGM community are supporting themselves.
- See who might really be struggling, to help tune my radar for opportunities to help.
- This is NOT intended as a post about “how OGM can make me money”. It’s about opening up a space to better understand, empathize, and support each other. Maybe that will involve direct OGM activity, but maybe not.
On our Zoom calls I catch tidbits about everyone’s various projects and initiatives. I regularly wonder if OGMers are out in the world getting consulting or per-project fees, or retainers, or have salaried jobs, or hourly freelance rates, or grants, Patreon, blog ad income, book or other product sales, SAAS, retired, or maybe even are just unemployed and suffering.
I’ve only ever had financial success in the corporate grind. I lost a 13-year corporate middle-manager job in summer 2019. It was a job but not an identity, so I had no emotional distress. I was very fortunate to get a severance. After a long and unsuccessful job hunt, I woke up one morning this Spring and asked myself “if you thought you would never be offered another corporate job again, what would you do?”
I have never directly made money with my thinking. It brought me joy, but frankly, always got me in trouble. I would help other company departments facilitate ideation or process improvement. I was helping the company, but not staying in my lane or focusing on my assigned work, so it wasn’t encouraged. So, I formed small lunch learning groups, or taught useful skills to the children of friends. After decades of this, I had “learned” two lessons: 1) I will never stop building and sharing useful tools because it’s who I am, and 2) I won’t ever actually get paid for it, so I’d better find an income using my resume skills instead. Hey, not all lessons you learn are correct.
So, I finally decided to see if I could make a go on my own. It’s never worked before, but maybe I’m different now. I’m doing freelance graphic design and production art. I build art for retail signs, pinball restoration products, and some logos and websites. I’m now trying to develop some learning products I can maybe sell online.
We cut our expenses way back, but live pretty simply so we don’t feel like we are giving up anything important. A posture of gratitude goes a long way, because c’mon - in the long and challenging history of humanity, we’re lucky, and we know it. My “days until broke” spreadsheet has been awesome. Once a month I divide our Total Cash by our Average Daily Spend for the last 30 days. That gives us a single number - “Days Until Broke”. As long as it stays the same or nudges up each month, we’re good. Every check we get adds days to end. It kinda makes a game of it, and why not?
So, if you feel like sharing, how do you support yourself? I’m sincerely interested in whatever you feel comfortable sharing, with a particular curiosity about the different multi-stream recipes you’ve all found or built. Even more importantly, are you all ok?