The Third Way: Or how to make a living without a job

Given the chance, a lot of people would not hold down a full-time job. But surprisingly few ever seriously explore the alternatives. One of the reasons is that too many think the alternative is running a Business with a capital 'B' - something with staff and premises, financial investment and all the associated risk.

This kind of business gets a lot of airplay in the media with stories about Internet millionaires and TV programmes like Dragons' Den. The problem with running a Business is that all too often it looks dangerously like having a job - you turn up to the same place every day and work on the same thing (and probably work longer hours at it).

Sure, you're in control of your own destiny and you have the potential to get rich. But if the primary reason you wanted out of a job was freedom, a Business might be no better for you.

Fortunately there is now a huge range of options between Job and Business that make up The Third Way. They're not so well known, in fact there isn't even an umbrella term for this sector. Dan Pink calls us the “Free Agent Nation”, Barbara Winter calls us “Joyfully Jobless”, I think of it as going freestyle. Everything I do is about The Third Way: my book Screw Work Let's Play, my London event Scanners Night, and my one to one advice sessions at Freestyle Success.

The Third Way is finding your route to making a living doing stuff you love - and that doesn't feel like a prison sentence. It's about individuality, fun, freedom, variety and the chance to finally create something only you can create.

Fortunately there are so many other options these days: freelancing, contracting, consulting, Internet marketing (such as affiliate marketing, information products, blogging, membership groups), running events, self-publishing books, starting an ebay shop, inventing a product or game, portfolio careers, and many more...

Everyone's version of The Third Way is unique. Screw Work, Let's Play will guide you through the process of finding yours. In the meantime, check out the posts on Secret 5: How to play for profit for some ideas on how to find that intersection between the things you love to do and what people will pay you for.

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  • Thanks for this is has helped to answer my question. I think this sums up your work and blog very nicely. It's inspiring me, as you are saying, yes there are people doing this. I don't want to be mega rich. I've read too much about positive psychology and Echkart Tolle to know it does not work. But I do seek freedom. It's great to know there are a band of ppl doing this. Gaining control.

    yes! most employees just don't think they have the option. I've been in companies where you mention working freelance or consultant and it is frowned upon. Even worse when you say "small business". Some say "good luck, you'll need it".

    In the future I may want to help charities. A small business can turn into a large one. And working on my strengths and making them better, will put me in a position to start a business some time down the line, or gain a position where companies want what I can do enough for me to call the shots.

    It's all about not assuming things cannot be done for any reason. To question those assumptions. I recently made breakthroughs with some of my ideas, by knowing it was possible to solve any issues if I stuck with it. Kept searching for solutions.

    I wrote on a sticky note "don't give up too soon (on an idea I had) - can simplify coding, can find market"

    and it looks like I have, but still need more ideas to simplify coding (it helps to be aware of what is needed and not bury head)

    I know a fellow creative when I hear one, like when you say there are multiple ways to do something. We have many options and it's a matter of checking them all out, questioning assumptions. One of them will lead to the right way. I love totally going at a problem, with all guns and resources blazing. I've got to say my kind of creativity usually requires work checking out threads, but I do seem to enjoy it. And often when i relax sometimes I just see things clearly and a big answer can pop into my head. I'm still experimenting with ways to work to get the optium. Noticing when something goes well and asking why helps. I get lots of mini ideas that pop up, but mostly it needs "work" to manage them and integrate them into my whole idea.

    I never want to go and work for a company again, with them telling me what to do, stuck 9-5 in office. Your blog esp. and others on the net are helping me see I can do this helping in those times I may have doubts. I'll see how it goes but it's an experiment worth taking!

    The lifestyle you can live this way is awesome.