The latest stock market crash got me to thinking about a few things, especially as I tried to explain its repercussions to Helena. When I told her that the stocks lost their value, she asked where it went and who got the money, and I had to think about it for a few seconds. Eventually, Lisa and I agreed that the stock never really had any true value until someone would try to sell it. Then I watched The Antiques Roadshow and saw a guy salivating as he waited for the assessment of his rare painting ($400,000). When asked Lisa if anyone in her family had any paintings by that artist, she remarked that the guy still had to sell it for that price. And it's like the two of us discussing job opportunities as another school year begins with neither of us wanting to use the teaching degrees we have, so I have to assess my own value one more time as I continue to launch out on my own.
The government sees our value as very little right now, meaning we don't make enough money to be taxed a lot. Well, this month might be a little different, but overall, since I started my own business, we've been fairly not rich. I even found out that Lisa's value as someone who was in a car accident is less because she was not a full-time employee at the time. Others have all kinds of ways of valuing us.
However, if we turn things around just a bit, we can find a silver lining. Not gold yet, but silver. Amazon is consistently sending me monthly checks, mostly for my ACT practice / Rebel Without a Cause / Catcher in the Rye unit. It is worth the price. In fact, it's worth a lot more, but Kindle limits me to $9.99. I just had my best month ever at TeachersPayTeachers, too. I got paid for websites I've been working on this summer. I had a new idea to target a defined niche market. I've realized that with a new design to the service I use to help me build websites that I can promise a new site as a three-day crash (like the house makeover shows). I continue to find content to write about for all the websites I maintain. The garden has been semi-successful, too. I've also gotten odd-jobs around the neighborhood or with Lisa's cousin to fill some of the days and pay for a day at the fair. All in all, it's not so bad.
My friend Kirk asked me as I was in the middle of collecting unemployment and contemplating starting my own business what it would take for me to stay home, build websites, and write full time. He's been one of the main believers in my writing, mostly because he's one of the 5% of Americans who can understand the satire I've written. I told him I could do it for $1000 a month. Some of you are shaking your heads or waging your fingers right now, but it's true. We've managed to cut back where we can, and we're not in bad shape if I can make that for a year or two, hopefully increasing it as I get more websites under management or sell more writing.
Back to the idea of stock. It's not just about what I make per month right now because I'm still in the process of establishing a brand for myself. Maybe it's unclear whether that will be through Passive Ninja Web Design, LutherNet Web Design, Educabana Educational Resources, The Cranium Amazon sales, my Kindle sales, my screenplays, or my invention, but it's happening. I was just told by a friend with some connections that he would use those connections to promote one of my endeavors. If that gets me three jobs, I'm good for another month or two. Through all the work, I've been able to establish myself as someone who can do something pretty amazing, or a lot of somethings, and if and when I go to an employer with my new resume, it will be that much more amazing than last year at this time. That's why my stock is rising: I could help you build a website, put your book on Kindle, put your products on Amazon, or put your business on the map. I don't know all the answers, but I know a lot more than I did.
The thing is that I'm not ready to sell just yet. I won't suddenly be less knowledgeable next month. I won't suddenly lose my value as someone who has spent the last year learning everything I can about being the best at what I'm good at. I won't be relocated to India or Mexico, or taken over by another corporation. All of my articles and my products will have more hits, and people might start to recognize that there's some magic in what I can do. I'm only frustrated now because a mere fraction of those who want or need what I can do for them have contacted me. But some have, and more will. It's not just arrogant confidence or a misguided belief in the American Dream. Then again, even if it is, and I'm overvaluing myself, I can still ride it as long as I can convince others. But I think that correction is a few decades away.