Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Chris Guillebeau of ChrisGuillebeau.com.
Imagine a life where all your time is spent on the things you want to do.
Imagine giving your greatest attention to a project you create yourself, instead of working as a cog in a machine that exists to make other people rich.
Imagine handing a letter to your boss that reads, “Dear Boss, I’m writing to let you know that your services are no longer required. Thanks for everything, but I’ll be doing things my own way now.”
Imagine that today is your final day of working for anyone other than yourself. What if—very soon, not in some distant, undefined future—you prepare for work by firing up a laptop in your home office, walking into a storefront you’ve opened, phoning a client who trusts you for helpful advice, or otherwise doing what you want instead of what someone tells you to do?
All over the world, and in many different ways, thousands of people are doing exactly that. They are rewriting the rules of work, becoming their own bosses, and creating a new future.
Some of these unexpected entrepreneurs found their freedom through online communities, creating digital goods that were sold for a fair price. Others took to opening retail storefronts in actual neighborhoods—a yarn shop in Portland, a coffee bar in South Carolina.
Some were natural-born entrepreneurs, determined to go it alone from a young age. But most were ordinary people of all ages and backgrounds, who transitioned to a new career after growing disillusioned with the world of traditional work.
They all did it by pursuing two twin concepts: freedom and value.
Freedom is what we’re all looking for, and value is the way to achieve it. The magic formula of skills + usefulness is how you change the world.
When you value freedom above other things, you’ll make different choices. Your priorities will shift. You’ll have more time for your family and more time for the hobbies you enjoy.
When you focus on helping others, connecting your work to their needs, that’s when value is created.
This is what it came down to for all of these people, and that’s how it can work for you too. No special skills, not a lot of money, but the willingness to imagine.
Chris Guillebeau is the author of The $100 Startup, a new book that chronicles the rise of unexpected entrepreneurs and provides a blueprint for creating your own freedom. You can also read his free blog at ChrisGuillebeau.com.