Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Reduce your expenses. Work from home. Use online platforms. Use free ad sites. Use social media extensively and intelligently. Do not push sell. Wait for responses. Get rid of websites. Be honest. Build relationships. Give yourself time, time and time…
doing-paperwork
After reaching a certain age and entity in my life, I realized that I wasn’t finding any ONE single platform to put into effect whatever experience, skill sets and talents that I had acquired/polished over my lifetime in two countries. I wasn’t getting the appreciation or the value of my abilities.
….. So? Was I going to fade into the twilight yielding place to the new? Was I going to become complacent about my meaty lifestyle and retire?
… No! I wan’t going to give up on exploring new creative ideas and ventures, even if I have to do it all alone.
I wasn’t going to fade away into the twilight without sharing all that with the next generation, and there wasn’t any particular platform where I could bring it all on.
So I decided to use the internet in all its all strength. I decided to publish my ideas on several online platforms: Writing, editing, designing, creating newspapers, self-publishing, teaching editing, cooking and promoting Bengali cuisine, dancing and promoting Kathak internationally, promoting culture tours in India worldwide and writing my own books.
… After a while, I found websites too are passe. They only take up a lot of bandwidth and are costing me money. And no one is going into it. Free ad space is where people are. So I took advantage of free pages on social media and free ad sites to promote my ideas. They are also ‘businesses’ because unless people pay for your ideas they do not take them seriously.
So in a way, I had a chain of business which required zero investment.

I was thinking faster about my personal freedom and choice faster than the speed at which I was approaching 50. I realized I’ve had enough of reporting to my supervisors, trying to sell myself to be at their beck and call, trying to please everyone around myself, other than myself. I decided to finally crawl out of this slavery of being told what to do, and start telling others what they need to do.

It takes a long time; to be able to estimate yourself and set a price tag on yourself in actuality. To be able to emerge from the fear of ‘Monday’ and get self-motivated to do things at your own time and pace. You have been too long judged by others who have been setting  a price tag to you. As I was approaching 50 I suddenly had a feeling that the end was drawing near… that I was surely not going to live as long as I have.

I have so long only lived for others: my family, my job, my boss, money, for anything and anyone, but myself. Yes, earning is important. Loving is important. But not at the cost of sacrificing your dignity and soul so much that you have no answer to give to your soul.

I decided to start building a relationship with myself.
Luckily, by 50 I had a substantial (by my parameters) financial security, enough knowledge and experience to be able to stop being a slave to any-and-everyone, start living life at my own pace, earn moderately to support myself, do whatever I loved doing, and set the right price tag for my talents and experience. I determined exactly when I was going to stop chasing money just for money. Because I had reached all my dreams and had to rebuild some more to sustain me for the next few years of my lifetime. For that, I needed time in my hands, some leisure to build a relationship with myself, explore my dreams and ideas and them lay out the fare for the world to buy.
Thus, began my business ideas. And I began to chalk out a path how to increase flow of money.
How to do all that without any investments?
These are some basic tips.
1. Reduce your expenses
I started meditating extensively to understand what I really want and need in life. Separating myself from peer pressures, societal pressures and trend pressures. I realized my needs are very limited. I didn’t need more than 2-3 summer wear every year. For winter, in Canada you are covered from head to toe, so whatever winter wear I had was enough for the next 2-3 years and the new dresses I got during Durga Pujas were extraneous, but yes, I loved getting new clothes. I also realized I had very basic needs of home-cooked food and love to hang onto my old clothes. I realized there are so many things you buy only because your friend or neighbor has them or it is the fashion trend. Once you separate your own needs from these unnecessary ones, you become more confident and aware of your own identity. Reducing expenses builds up savings. So whatever money I didn’t spend, I saved.
2. Online shopping
I stopped going for shopping unless I needed something urgently. I started doing online shopping.  The good thing about online shopping is whenever you feel like buying something that you don’t really need, but wish for, you can just add it to your ‘Wish List’ to buy later. Later, you may not want to buy it at all. This curbs impulse purchase that we often do when we go out shopping. Online shopping also eliminates the travel expenses to and fro the malls.
3. Working from home
To set up your own business, working from home is the best and only option unless you have to REALLY go out and meet clients. You can give the address of your home as your business address and start using the benefits of the internet in the best possible way.
4. Explore free ads
Whenever I had an idea, I inserted a free ad on the free ad website about the kind of services I am offering, in Canada and India, and shared the idea with the right kind of groups on Facebook. I shared corporate business ideas on LinkedIn and softer ideas on Twitter. Believe me, most of my clients too are sitting on their computers, on their social media, looking through such ads. I have acquired the best and longest-lasting clients through these free ads.
5. Keep sharing ideas but don’t spam
This is where your creativity and understanding of human nature comes in. Keep sharing your ideas on the right public platforms, but keep a reasonable time gap between each ad. You don’t want your readers to spam you. Yet you don’t want them to forget or miss what you are doing, so you have to be regular, consistent but not come on too strong. You have to learn that pace yourself.
6. Self-discipline and self-motivation
People want to see how consistence you’ve been about your ideas. So you have to keep sharing ideas but not repeat them. Give them your ideas packaged in a new gift wrap every time.
And make a routine for yourself every work day. Set your own work days and work times and follow that rigidly. Also give yourself two days off from all this business, or else you’ll lose the energy. Self-motivation and self-discipline is the basis of doing business alone.
7. Interact with people who respond to your posts
Do not spam people if they are not responding. Your business will lose its respect. Communicate consistently with people who responds to you. Remember, people need a soft push to decide, not a hard one. Also it’s selfish just to reply to the responses you’ve got. Try interacting on their own posts too. This builds relationship. If you see a relationship is taking your business somewhere, it’s good. Or else, you may have to stop wasting your time.
8. Give a lot of time on the internet
How am I going to package my which business today, is my first thought of the day. After doing yoga and eating a healthy breakfast during the first hour of my day, and after meeting my family needs, (since I am a mom, a wife, a housewife, a daughter, a sister and a friend first), I begin to think how am I going to sell my business today in such a way that it won’t bother people, instead they will be excited and feel compelled to click on my link. For that, you have to understand the people in your social media and how they use the internet.
9. Websites are passe
I learned one thing clearly: Business is done with people, not with brands or websites. Also business involves another big factor: TRUST.
If you have people giving you orders based on the trust factor you’ve built over a period, you don’t need an expensive website to certify how good your business is. Word of mouth travels faster than light or sound. So believe in yourself, be honest, build trust and be truthful in your services. And it’ll be just a matter of time you’ll be overwhelmed by clients.
Websites only draw unproductive people who are not really serious about doing business with you. They just want to see a fantastic website. And you may want to eliminate people who judge a book by its cover.
10. Hire people on project/on-call basis
My publishing house has an international team of editors, designers and writers. But they are all on project/on-call basis. I draw out a contract stating the same right at the beginning. Hence, since the project is mostly funded by the self-publishing authors, I do not have to pay anything from my pocket. The business mostly depends on creative talents, efficiency of editing and designing, and honesty, honesty, honesty. My pool of editors and designers are extremely experienced and talented. I am proud to say that I’ve hired the best brains who can do a much, much better job than those operating by the name of editors in the market.
Hence, with self-discipline and self-motivation you can slowly give up your full-time job and immerse in your business from home. DO NOT PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET. Step out of your comfort zone slowly, but steadily. Only then can you release yourself from this slavery and the fear of Monday. You cannot even begin to imagine the kind of sense of freedom that your business will give you!
I can proudly say that I am running four businesses and one consultancy service absolutely with zero investment. Of course, by ‘zero’ I mean zero dollars. I needed a lot of investment of my time, intelligence, brains, honesty and some leg work. Rest comes to me automatically.  So whatever you earn, is yours completely.
Let me know what you think of this by commenting below.
Thanks.
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cellphone
I’m glad someone (and someone HUGE, and I’m flattered) who thinks like me. (Link below)
I don’t still use a cellphone. When I go to India, where there are almost no landlines, then I just have to carry one, but I keep it silent and away from me most of the times.
But my son and me, sitting on this very lonely part of the planet, (Canada) believe in staying away from the internet (which is still not a recognized word in the dictionary… see there is a red line under it) and cellphones for most part of our time. I like to watch stale TV series, watch an old movie, or read a book, do yoga, meditate, cook, redesign my home, sometimes just stand in the balcony and watch the life lolling by, watch the sunset, as if that’s the last day I’d be living on earth.
And I’d like to remind you I am not a very social person, neither is my son. We cannot chatter on the phone for hours, but I do focus on relationship building when I see a potential.
Why am I writing on first person basis, and talking about myself? Firstly I believe I am talking on behalf of a lot of people who think like me, but may not be able to be proud of their thoughts or be able to express it like the way they want. Secondly, it’s an audacity to write solely about oneself, and I like to have audacity. And thirdly, most importantly, it’s my blog.
I agree wholeheartedly with Werner Herzog in the interview below in the cellphone issue. And I also think that human beings will resist being wholly usurped by technology, on their own. They will build their own resistance when they’ll feel enslaved.
Hence, Elon Musk’s idea of colonizing Mars is something I don’t agree with. Colonize your own home first, there is still ample opportunity without disturbing the environment.
I think the idea of using technology to making our work easier and safer is greatly appreciated. (I do own a household robot to do my floors, for instance and I’d love to own self-driving car, since I don’t like driving and would like a technology chaffuer), but I greatly shun the use of cell phones when you have other means of communicating. It’s like technology is enslaving you slowly and you don’t realize it. It’s putting chains on your hands and you cannot even go to the bathroom without carrying it. I don’t own a cellphone, because I don’t want to be available all the time for the world.
“Where are you?” is the first question anyone asks you whenever they call. “Where were you?” if you don’t answer their cellphone. It’s not a concern in their voice. It’s their egos reprimanding you for not taking their calls. Telling you that they are important and you should take their calls the moment you see their names flashing.
Moreover, relationships make or break with cellphones. How long you’ve taken to take your friends’ call decides how strong the relationship is or isn’t and so on.
And I dislike what they offer you in the name of a cellphone: information you can do without, news that only depresses you and you can do nothing about, mundane gossip around the world, constant beeps…disturbing my chain of thoughts. I mean why? What have I done to deserve this? I have my own work. Writing thoughts like these, for example. Cooking. Educating myself. Reading all those books that I have to. Watching all those grand movies I intend to. That I want to personally review in my mind, or that which will help me re-establish my opinion about life in general. I look forward to thoughts which have not been thought.
Thinking. Relationship building. Focusing on my finance and future. Planning a life for my family after my death. All this takes time. How can you have any more time for such mundane stuff after finishing all these chores?
Technology cannot be all consuming and break my thought bubble all the time. I am not committed to be available to my family members all the time. Because I have to live with myself, first and last of all.
I would definitely like to use the internet. But at my leisure. When I have free time. To recharge my knowledge cell. Read up something new, like the one I shared below. To write and share my ideas. To share thoughts. To build my entrepreneurship ideas. Since it’s man who build technology to make things easier for him, I would like to use it, not the other way around.

I was born in a world when blackberries and apples were just fruits.

Web was a thing spiders spun, and net was something you caught a fish with. Hardware was hammers and nails and saws you worked with, and software was never heard of.

Insects: Rams, spiders, blue-rays and bugs were all living creatures. (Some of them creepy and crawly). And the ‘Trojan horse’ was just a chapter in history books. I do not understand how they made their way into tech-textbooks.

Blue tooth? Can you imagine a more novel name? How would you look if you smiled with one blue tooth? I mean, it’s a gadget you wear on your ear and talk with your hands flung around to air as if you were schizophrenic. It could have been called a ‘hearing-phone’, ‘ear-phone’… anything. But BLUE TOOTH? And it’s hardly ever ‘blue’! Tell me, how does ‘tooth’ explain hearing?

GPS: My life has become complicated ever since. And then came the gypsy… oops, GPS. I mean the GPS looked pretty smart on my dash board, but the lady inside that gadget was the most annoying, rudest person I had run into in a long time. Every ten minutes, she would sarcastically say, “Re-calculating.” You would think that she could be nicer. I felt she could barely tolerate me. She would let go with a deep sigh and then tell me to make a U-turn at the next light… And then if I missed the turn, like that intolerable teacher in my geography class, she would grunt, “Re-Cal-cu-lating”… Well, that is not a good relationship.

Cell Phones: I was barely getting used to TV remotes, when a cell-phone entered my life. They were almost the same sizes then and looked pretty much alike. I would often tell my husband to ‘Pass me the remote’ when my cell-phone rang. And picked up my cell-phone to change channels. Thankfully, now cell-phones have become smaller and remotes larger, (for some incomprehensible reason!), and I am spared of the agony of screaming: “Hello! Hello!” pressing the TV remote against my ear.

Twitter: I thought I had become quite tech-savvy when I had my own Facebook and Twitter accounts. But then suddenly you had Tweeter, Tweetree, Twhirl, Twitterfon, Tweetie and Twittererific Tweetdeck, Twitpix thrown at you! Hide! Cover! I need a place for cover!

Bags: The world is just getting too complex for me. Even in the remotest corner of earth, I get cell-phone signals. Hell! I am tracked! They know where I am, what I am doing! They even mess me up every time I go to the grocery store. You would think they could decide on it, but at the counter they (humans who bear a tad semblance to small robots) suddenly ask, “How many bags?” letting you know slyly that you have to pay 5c for each.

I am confused. I look at the quantity of grocery and mumble, “Five”. How could they expect me to understand how many bags would it need to fit in all that grocery? What if I needed another bag? Would I have to stand in the line again? Would I pay 5c in coins, or would they accept my card? I am so afraid of making a fool of myself that I never tried to find that out. Stuff in whatever you got in there, woman, and RUN!

Beeps: The world of technology can never be complete without a beep. Whenever I hear a beep, I panic! I frantically look around! What did I do? Where did I go wrong? It’s either that I’ve forgotten my microwave or something is burning in the oven; or I haven’t tied my car-seat belt; or I have missed my train in the subway; or the smoke alarm is about to go off! The scariest of them all is the smoke alarm. It makes me feel guilty for roasting or grilling some good food. And then there’s the fire alarm which is the Big Boss!!

These beeps in my life are constantly reprimanding me that I am not living my life up to their standards. The car beep starts shrieking the moment it sees me and won’t stop until my seat belt is fastened tight. I mean, I need some breathing space! And then when I am happy that I have fulfilled all the ‘beep’ rules… my Facebook chat window beeps!

Son’s Room:
These days whenever I enter my son’s room, I have to look good. Brush my hair, dab a little lipstick, adjust my tattered home clothes. Why? Because he is always on Skype, chatting with someone. I walk in full view of a stranger from his laptop staring at me. “Who’s that?” “Your minder?” Every time I have to knock, peep, say, “Hello! Is anyone there?”, sometimes, even when the room’s empty.

Life was much simpler those days. We didn’t have cell-phones to carry to school, picnics or hang-outs. But our parents never panicked if we were a tad late. We never had computers and so friends were constantly hanging out. Laughing with each other, going shopping together, eying handsome men or beautiful women, reading books, romancing in the library…. It was all so charming.

With the world getting crammed up inside ‘tabs’ on a computer screen, most relationships are getting virtual.
Poke: The other day my son ‘poked’ me: no, not physically, but virtually, on Facebook, from his computer, sitting right next to me! I was :O

Sigh!! These relationships I share with technology around are simply falling apart!

Published in Generation Next newspaper, Nov 23, 2011 (Read it here)
By Kaberi Chatterjee