The gig and startup economy

The rigors of adapting to the new world of digital job searching have taken their toll on me propelling me into exploring freelance writing, remote & consulting work, blogging, and starting a business.  I have always been independent as well as being very itinerant (pun intended as I have both a WordPress blog and a Behance photography portfolio website under the handle ‘itineranti’… pronounced ‘itinerant eye’ and coincidentally meaning ‘travel’ in Italian).   The thought of calling the shots is a tempting one.   The overall lesson from my recent immersion in the world of webinars  is marketing cannot be overlooked.  Read on to see if going solo is easier than going up against  the Applicant Tracking Systems protecting Human Resources from a deluge of CVs!

Talk of going solo in the digital age would not be complete without mentioning the burgeoning world of webinars.  The pattern is to locate and follow various experts or gurus on social media and wait for them to send you a notice to join their latest  webinar.  The format is the same for most webinars with 1 hour of content presentation followed by 30 minutes of chat with the participants and finishing with a pitch for their paid course which of course comes with lots of ‘bonuses‘.  See how I fared last week in my efforts to learn more about blogging for a business, social media marketing, and goal setting.

“Monetizing Your Blog” brought to you by  Live Your Legend & Fizzle  to promote their course “Start a Blog that Matters”.  

I was already a fan of Live Your Legend (LYL) which promotes working in your area of passion and connecting with others to succeed.  The webinar focused on familiarizing the participants with the Fizzle platform for startup training as well as the background of the founders.  A business model approach accompanied by connection to a supportive community of peer entrepreneurs and mentors (around 2,000) plus a free 5-week introductory membership convinced me to sign up.  After 5 weeks I can continue for $35 a month or cancel with no charge.  The video training consists of very short sequential trainings and accompanied by tasks to apply your own business idea(s).  The 3 presenters are friendly if not a bit goofy but I like the audience-focused approach to developing a business.  What makes it more convincing is that the producers of Fizzle are serial entrepreneurs themselves.

“5 Real Ways To Make Money On Instagram” brought to you by Sue B. Zimmerman and Steve Dotto  of Dotto Tech to promote her course “Ready, Set, Gram”.

I was already familiar with Steve Dotto as he is a very skilled and friendly technical tool trainer who has mastered just abou every tool and presentation platform.  Sue turned out to be equally skilled and enthusiastic in her field of Instagram marketing.  Her presentation was succinct and well organized and full of examples of real Instagram accounts to help illustrate her points.  Many of the examples came from her former students making the training even more convincing.  She offered a course of downloadable video/audio/written materials divided into 8 lessons and accompanied by accountability workbooks.  She also had a handful of bonuses.  Her $297 course was reduced to $149 for webinar participants and came with a 30 day money back guarantee.  I do think her training is top notch and I am a big fan of Instagram, however as I don’t have a business up and running I hesitate to sign up.

“7 Steps for Taking Control of 2017: How to Leverage Goal-Setting to Design the Life You Want” brought to you by Michael Hyatt to promote his course “5 Days to Your Best Year Ever”.  

I did find the 7 steps for goal setting in this webinar useful.  (1. Clarify your priorities, 2. State your priorities and establish your goals 3. Ananlyze your goals in terms of difficulty 4. Identify the ‘why’ of your goals, 5. Narrow your focus to avoid being overwhelmed, 6. Identify one action step for each goal 7. Track your progress).  However, I was really turned off by the hard-core sales pitch of the presenter and the way the materials had a distinctly canned feel to them.  The materials were also pitched at the lowest common denominator using unimaginative graphics and an old fashioned slide show approach.  The presenter finished with a volley of sales pitches for his course which went on for 15 minutes straight working on the audience’s insecurities.  The high cost of his courses led to further alienation (starting at $897, $397, and $197 for each of the different versions with a reduction to $697, $297, and $147 for webinar participants).  The intensity of the 15 minute sales pitch prevented me from sticking around for the Q & A session.  Although Michael Hyatt might be a successful author (and he did put in repeated plugs for his and other books throughout the webinar) he falls short as an online presenter.

For professional development social media and the Internet are tops.  It is relatively easy to locate experts in every field and benefit from their free content as well as their paid materials and services.  As I also happen to come from a training background webinars are a new mode of training for me to examine.  As a potential seller of service should I manage to go solo, the best webinars provide me with a benchmark to strive for while the worst help remind me what to avoid.  I have also gotten familiar with video conferencing tools such as Zoom which could be quite useful in a training context.