Unique Story-Driven Path To Income Diversification - Part One

How To Use A Story To Transform Risk into Resilience

I can’t say this enough…

If you’re not planning your retirement, someone else probably is.

And here’s proof;

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are currently 40 million Americans age 50 and older who are working. Our analysis of the HRS data suggests that as many as 22 million of these people have or will suffer a layoff, forced retirement or other involuntary job separation.

From “If You’re Over 50, Chances Are the Decision to Leave a Job Won’t be Yours” on ProRepublica.org

Moral of the story - we 50 plusers need to keep our heads on swivel.

And we certainly can’t rely on one source of income anymore.

I know from experience.

The Kill Shot

For 17 years, I worked in a cubicle, getting one paycheck from one company and at the mercy of one boss - and then she let me go (long story).

Just like that, a huge chunk of my income was gone.

It is what I call the ‘Kill Shot’-

KILL SHOT = losing your one job = F#@K!

BUT, thank God, I wasn’t totally screwed.

You know what saved me?

Side gigs.

I was constantly building out little side projects.

I had a freelance client and some music-related projects, each bringing in a few bucks

I was able to lean into these side incomes to help me through my lay-off. Side gigs turned into paychecks from 10+ income sources - a few of them since my layoff ten years ago.

But that doesn’t mean I’m content.

That kill shot near miss taught me a huge lesson about what it takes to stay relevant.

It’s why I started this project and why I’m doubling down on it.

Plus, this time, I’m bringing you along for the ride…

Breaking New Ground

Today is the day that we grab the gold-colored spade shovel and break ground on our transition to being more future-proof.

I’m going to show you the blueprint we’re going to use to start building our future-proof skill stack.

(Sorry if I sound a little dramatic; I am a little jacked up on Americano at the moment).

But first, let’s get clear on what this blueprint is and how it’s going to help us.

Questions We Must Answer

Being more future-proof requires that we have a full grasp of what makes us marketable so that we can make money for the long haul.

We must answer the following questions:

  • What makes us valuable?

  • How can we leverage that to help others with things they’ll pay us for?

  • Why would someone choose us to solve their problem?

  • Is our solution future-proof?

Instead of just listing a bunch of answers to those questions, we write about those answers in a transformation story.

Why a Story?

In a recent post, I talked about how, since we were living in caves, we humans are just storytellers and toolmakers at our core.

We encounter problems, find or create solutions (tools) to those problems, and then tell others about how we did it.

Writing out our story is a natural way for us to lay the groundwork for a new future-proof career or one-person business.

It also has a crap ton of other benefits:

  • It gives us a clear way to assess our skills and experiences in the context of the problems we actually solved for others.

  • It helps us organize our thoughts so we don’t have to spend more time sorting through a long list of skills and experiences that may or may not be relevant to this project.

  • It helps condition us to communicate our value more effectively, so by the time we start telling people how we can help them, the story is well thought out and embedded in our heads.

  • It narrows our understanding of the market by focusing on who we can help. Defining your client/customer avatar is a critical first step in market research.

  • It gives you a jumpstart on content for a website, newsletter, LinkedIn profile, and all other marketing assets we can repurpose into podcasts, videos, social media posts, etc.

  • It helps us learn and practice one of the most valuable and future-proof skills: Writing.

This exercise saves so much time. I wish I had discovered it years ago.

Now, let’s talk about what story we should tell…

What Story To Tell

At our age, we all have multiple things we can help others with.

This story process will help us figure out what that is and give us clues on how to build a business around it.

For example, I’ve had multiple transitions that turned out to be valuable to others:

  • My transition to mechanical draftsman led me to be able to help Winona Lighting.

  • My transition to singer-songwriter led me to help both fans (sharing my music) and other musicians (sharing how I promoted my music).

  • My transition to marketer led me to be able to help business owners with their marketing.

  • Hell, if I wanted to, I could even use my transition to becoming a father to help other fathers and parents.

And, for another example, that’s not me…

  • A friend of mine transitioned from his middle management position at a Fortune 500 company to being a vacation rental owner, which led him to quit his job and start a business helping other vacation rental owners manage their properties.

See how many ways we can take this?

For this exercise, I will use my transition from being an employed cubicle guy to a self-deployed solopreneur to help others do the same.

Here’s the plan…

The Blueprint

The blueprint is an outline of steps I will use to create my story.

This is heavily based on a few other frameworks I learned.

One is the “Discover Your Story” that I learned from an entrepreneur named Megan Mecado at a Perry Marshall seminar.

And the other is from a guy named Dan Koe. He calls it the “Book To Brand” framework.

Both are great, but both deal with your ENTIRE life.

I am tweaking it because they seem to be geared toward people who have a lot less life experience than us midlifers.

Writing about your entire life is pretty freakin daunting. I know because I started this newsletter that way (with 19 Jobs posts), and although I learned a lot, it complicated things.

There was just so much to sort through. I’ve had 19 jobs, reinvented myself multiple times, I’m raising 3 kids, worked as a singer-songwriter, was in the military, and so on.

There is just so much to talk about that I end up getting off track and confusing people by trying to say too much.

I want to cut to the chase by focusing on the most impactful transformation in my life that is also marketable.

Here’s what I have so far of what I’m going to call the Corey Story Blueprint (Side note: I hate using my name but its all I got on short notice but it does rhyme which is a bonus. But hey, feel free to use your name like the Cool MoFo Story Blueprint ).

Anyway, here it is…

  • Introduction

    • Where did you start the transformation?

    • What was the climax of your journey?

    • What did you achieve that is desirable to others?

    • What topics, interests, or skills helped get you there?

  • Section 1: My Philosophy

    • Coming soon

    • Coming soon

    • Coming soon

    • Coming soon

  • Section 2: Education

    • Coming soon

    • Coming soon

  • Section 3: Practice

    • Coming soon

I do have the coming soon parts already, but I’m going to keep them to myself for now.

I want to think them through more as I go through the process.

The introduction will give us enough to get started.

Oh, and did you notice I said “us?”

Play Along

Ready to feel like you are taking control of your future?

Want to stay relevant and not have to worry about kill shots?

(you should be shaking your head yes right now).

Join me, and let’s do this together.

Here’s all that you to do…

  1. Pick a transformation - Think of the most valuable, in-demand, future-proof transition that you can share and use to help others and start there.

  2. Start writing - fire up a Word doc and start answering the questions in the introduction.

That’s it!

If you want to take it a step further, skip a couple of steps and add to your future-proof skill stack, start a free beehive account, and start writing.

You’ll be starting a newsletter and website that you can eventually turn into cash in your pocket - you’ll have some options like I did.

Let’s do this.



P.S. If you are unsure where to start with your story or would like help, sign up for the Annual Pathfinder Membership.

We’ll hop on a Zoom and get you started.

Oh, and I almost forgot the music….

Music To Write To

Did you know that listening to music can help us write?

(If you want to know how, just go over to the latest favorite AI tool, perplexity.ai, and add this prompt: Does music help me write better?)

So, I figured I’d go instrumental with this week’s pick.

This Joe Satriani song always gets the juices flowing for me. Sometimes I’ll listen on repeat in the mornings to build up a good creative lather.

Try it out…

…oh and if you’re into crazy guitar tricks, fast forward to 5:49 and see how flawlessly he plays with his teeth (yep, I said teeth).

Join the conversation

or to participate.