Income equality between class and gender will never happen if you wait for them to do it.
There is one hard and simple rule to living the life the pirate life, and it trumps all other rules: If you wait for someone else to help you dig for treasure, you'll never find it.
YOU have to do it. You have to stop waiting for the stars to align, for the tides to come in just right. They won't.
We can ill afford to continue living under the rules that we know dont work. We must sail.
The rules that don't work, were designed by men who don't want them to work for us. They know these rules don't work, because they live by a separate code that does. The code they live by is more closely related to the pirate life than they would like to admit, because The new Crown despises us. They hate those of us who reject the current reality and set out to create our own. That would force them to admit that we are alike.
It is time we stood up and fought. Not for equality, because that will never happen. Not for a fair playing field, because the deck will always be stacked against us so long as The New Crown makes the rules for society. We fight for ourselves, and the code we wish to live by. We live for our own, we take care of our own, and we make it on our own. Even if we fail, then we know that we did it on our own terms without help or hinderance from The New Crown.
What kind of hinderances? I suggest that there isn't a way where The New Crown has not attempted to block our path in the name of protecting the statis quo from a very early age.
It starts with our education, so let's start with what modern education is. Make no bones about it, our modern education system is desgned to make our kids good workers. Nothing more, nothing less, and it really doesn't matter what side of the fence you're on. Very conservative types claim that Public education is indoctrinating our kids, the very liberal among us claim that homeschooling places faith over fact, but the common denominator between the two is very clear. Be a good boy or girl, don't be too creative or imaginative, don't rock the boat, and do as you're told. If you do well here, you'll do well for the rest of your life obeying our commands.
Those of us who didn't do well in school, I must ask some questions of you: Was it because you were bored? Were you not challenged? Did the teacher not see or understand how to reach you? Did the teacher or the administration care? Were you ferried off to school psychologists and doctors to determine your learning disability? Were you (over)prescribed drugs to curb your antics? Did those drugs make you a zombie, a blank slate? Did you become 'more receptive to learning'?
You become pliable, or you are discarded. A troublemaker, they'lll say. Won't amount to anything, they say.
The truth is, we have always thought differently. We have always asked questions, starting with the most annoying one of all to those who seek to control us: WHY?
Ask why often enough, and you'll either see the real reason, or no reason at all. Both may be equally disgusting to you, and that's ok. It is here where we begin to see the wedges placed between us, and it is here where we must be brave enough to see the world as it is, not how others perceive it and wish us to see as they do.
Not One Bit of Class
I used to think that the social education we received between the bells of High School was the most useless part. I couldn't have been more wrong. It's High School where we first really separate into classes of people. We first learn to classify the Other in each of us by the most rudimentary of indicators at that time: Hair, clothes, taste in music. It's the gateway to finding our deeper 'ism's' later in life.
If only we had been taught early on that these class separations hurt us as a people! It becomes so much easier for us to point at that person over there and see something about them that is not us. Because they're not us, it becomes easier to hate them. When we do this, we hurt them, but we also hurt all of us. To the crown, we are all little colonies to pit against each other. Little islands defending ourselves against the percieved threat of THEM.
Once we've separated into our little tribes, the next step is to try to assert our superiority over the other groups. Society, the media, our elected leaders establish a pecking order, and we all fall in line. Women versus men, the haves versus the have nots, the straights versus the gays, the conservatives against the liberals, white versus black, Tea Partiers versus Occupiers, we all create and perpetuate the inequality in society, and the cycle repeats and intensifies with each generation.
And so it goes.
Instead of actually trying to solve the issues of inequality, The New Crown pits us against each other. “Look at that person there”, they say. “They are clearly not one of us, yet they want to take food off your table. They want to stop this country from becoming the country we all deserve to have. We need to stop those people, for they are the real problem.” The trouble is, ‘they’ keeps changing. As long as they can plug a new undesirable class into that statement, they will always have people believing that it is ‘They’ who are ruining our future.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, The Communists, The Alcoholics, The Drug Users, The African Americans, The Illegals, The Muslims, The Gays.
But, have you noticed that we’re still here? The country hasn’t gone to hell in a hand basket. The Soviets ceased to exist. The Speakeasy’s went away and bars got back into operation. Marijuana was legalized. African Americans and the LGBT community have the same rights as everyone else. Bin Laden was killed.
The only people who still think we’re going to hell are the people interested in sending us there because the fear that creates makes them money and keeps them in power.
There is only The New Crown, and US. We need not fracture ourselves into tiny groups, because that is what they seek. Smaller groups are easier to control. Take the words of Hopper from “A Bugs Life”:
You let one ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up! Those puny little ants outnumber us a hundred to one and if they ever figure that out there goes our way of life! It's not about food, it's about keeping those ants in line.
We are the ants. We outnumber them. We will no longer wait. We will no longer stay in line. We will act.
Welcome to the Real World
The real world, the one we must see is very simple, yet most of us don't want to believe it. We prefer the narrative that we're told, because it doesn't require accountability on our part. We need to shun the narrative and embrace the simplicity of what IS. Just as a chair will never be anything other than a chair, there are certain truths about the world that we need to accept.
The first, is that in some way or another, we are all really good at one thing. What that one thing is varies widely from person to person, but each of our one things has one thing in common: The Crown, or The Navy, or someone in your life told you it was a useless thing, and told you to get back to work doing something that mattered.
I'm here to tell you that you no longer need to think that, and you no longer need to ask permission to do your one thing. As a matter of fact, that one thing is your ship. The vessel you will sail on, your key to this pirate's adventure is a ship you laid the keel for years ago. We'll get into that more later.
The second thing you need to know is that if you are waiting for someone else to set the perfect conditions, or send up a sign that it is ok to begin, then you never will. There will never be a world without haves or have nots. The unfortunate will still be there among us years from now, our elected leaders will still be fighting each other with meaningless words over less than meaningless issues, and The Crown and The Navy will still be there telling you to shut up and sit down.
That is all the more reason why you should not wait another second. Let them scream at you all they want, as long as their protestations are from the dock you just sailed away from, their cries fading as the wind takes your sails, and you head off towards the life you were meant to live.
The third thing you must see clearly is that the world will never ever be an equal playing field. The problems will never be fixed from the top down, and that is by design.
So, we must start knowing that only we can create the world we want.
Where to Start
From this point forward, this episodes will be divided into two sections. The first section will be the ‘Manifesto’ Part, where I tell you WHY we need to become pirates, and the second section—like this one here—will be a little bit about HOW to become a pirate.
Becoming a Pirate is not something you become overnight. You must start small. Once you have decided to build your ship and sail, you will most likely still have a full time job. As time goes on you will feel the pull of the tide, tempting you to sail early. You must resist. You cannot sail a minute before you are ready, or you will find yourself going back to an Unforgiving Crown.
You will never forget the day that you start working towards the day you leave dock and never go back, though. It's liberating, exhilarating, and terrifying all at the same time. Every day, as you take another step towards setting sail, you feel the grip of The Crown loosening ever slightly, and occasionally you'll feel it tug back as it defends what it thinks is it's property. As if you are a commodity to be bought and sold. Truth be told, you have been. Your talents and abilities have been negotiated for and sold to the lowest bidder for all of your career. Now that you realize your true worth, and begin to dedicate your resources to your own self interest and for the benefit of your crew, The Crown is not so amicable a partner to part ways with.
If you plan for it, if you start small and work your way up, if you do it correctly, you need never work for The New Crown again.
Seaworthiness, in this context, means identifying the feasibility of something you love to do being a potential business. You have to identify what your passions are. Ideally, we’re talking about the one thing that you can’t wait to participate in and talk about. You have to love what you do, it’s that simple. Look at all the people in the world today that are stuck in a job they hate. It doesn’t have to be that way. You CAN wake up every day not hating your job. In fact, you CAN wake up every morning so amped up about getting to go to work you can hardly wait to get to it. This is key, because you have to love what you do so much that the inevitable roadblocks don’t stand a chance. You’re going to face challenges, and face failures. If you love what you do, then those challenges aren’t a stopping point for you. You won’t want to throw up your hands and quit.
Now, I’m not saying you should start a business dedicated to something you know nothing about, because the learning curve is much higher, and THAT can become an obstacle too high to overcome. Ideally, you should have the skills to deliver the goods. Also, is there an audience? Is there enough out there to build that ship on?
So, how do you know what your passions are, and how do you know which of those are viable?
I’m betting that you haven’t taken the time to answer this question, and that’s perfectly normal. How many of us really do that? When we’re in the heat of being immersed in something we really like doing, we don’t take the time to think to ourselves “Hey, I should remember that I like doing this thing for later.” That is EXACTLY what I want you to do for the next week. If it makes you feel happy, if you’re amped about it, write it down. Keep a list for the next seven days.
At the end of the week, look over that list. I bet you have a lot of stuff there, or at the very least, more than you thought you’d have. Now, we need to sift through this list a bit and see what on this list might be seaworthy. Is there anything there that could be a business model. Is there anything on there that you’re skilled at, for example? Did you do something that week that solves a problem a group of people might have need of for their lives? If you did, that might be an opportunity. The trick is to find the point where passion and skill meets the needs of people.
Now let’s say that others are already in that business. That doesn’t mean you can’t be in the same space, but it does mean that you have to find a way to differentiate you from them. The sailors for the Crown, having been boarded by the pirates may have just seen themselves going from Captain to Captain, really. But what was the alleged ‘added value’ the pirates laid on them? A share, maybe more. What is the share you’re going to give your potential recruit? What are you going to give a listener, a customer, a potential client that is different from what another podcast or business is going to give them?
In this case, we may need to be more specific about our passion. Drilling down to a single point that has a wide range of potential. Grabbing one topic out of the air, there are many blogs and podcasts about Doctor Who. There may even be a great amount dealing with Classic Who. There might a quite a lot on the internet about the 90 some-odd missing episodes of Classic Who. But how much of that is dedicated to one specific Doctor? Take, for example, Patrick Troughton, the Second Doctor (my personal favorite).
The Second Doctor’s Era, from 1966-1969, was just three years. What an amazing three years, though! Absolutely ripe for the picking. Not just what happened on the show, but the culture itself that surrounded the show, the things happening in Britain at that time, and on the planet.
A blogger or a podcaster would be able to find ample content to pull from, even the fact that episodes from that time are lost, and updates from the Restoration Team to find, assemble, or recreate those episodes.
That’s one example of millions.
But, I’m a Maker
Some of you will be saying right now, ‘I can’t write, nor do I have a good speaking voice. What I do is MAKE things.’ WONDERFUL. Seriously, congratulations on identifying your passion. We need more makers in this world, we are fortunate to have you. However, I must caution you. Making things for friends and family is different than making things for dozens, hundreds, thousands of people. It has to scale. You have to scale as your ship grows. Is your widget easily replicated, or are you the only one who can do it? If you’re the only person, and it can’t be taught…well...
This is not to say it can’t be done. Some people people do very well on a seller’s site like eBay, or Etsy. Those are crafts or items that are unique and not usually replicated. In some cases, the goods are bought (or found) by you and resold. If you’re thinking of a business where you are creating a tangible item from scratch for sale, I don’t want to discourage you. I’m fairly sure you’ve even given some thought already to the amount of stock you would need to start with, cost of materials, storage space, and the like. I consider scale, materials, space all to be one issue.
Another issue is promotion. This is where I tell you that even if you don’t have a good speaking voice, or aren’t a good writer, you will need to learn or find someone who is. That stock will not float out of your house without promotion. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking podcasts or placemats, promotion in social media and on the internet is going to be key. Social Media and promotion is something we’ll touch on later. Suffice it to say for now, that Social Media is going to be the map you follow to your treasure, and if you don’t have a method of digging for it, you’ll be doing nothing but shifting sand. For that reason, my primary focus is going to be on blogging and podcasting, but my hope is that you’ll find something in here for you as well. Like I said, we need you.
The Float Test
So, you have an idea. You think it’s a good idea, but you need a little validation. Start with your network of friends, and gauge their reaction. With the understanding of course that there are different levels of friends. Some friends will tell you it’s a good idea no matter what it is you come up with. This is not entirely helpful. My closest friends will usually tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear. Still, I wouldn’t stop there. I’d do a Google search and see how many results come up for that topic. For example, My 'Patrick Troughton blog' idea comes up with about 128,000 results, as opposed to a search for 'Doctor Who blog', which is 228,000,000. A search for Second Doctor Blog nets 46,600,000. Google tells us that this might be a pretty decent idea.
Check for and join some of the online forums and groups dedicated to your topic. This is where subreddits, Facebook Pages and Groups, and Twitter chats and trending topics are your friends. Mae note of what is being discussed in those groups the most often, and if your particular field of focus is being addressed. If it is, is it in ‘heavy rotation’? That could be a deal breaker. If it isn’t, join in the conversation. Become a contributor for a couple of weeks, and then introduce your topic as a discussion. From there, you can judge the level of interest.
A note about forums: The internet, as I’m sure you know, is not a gentle place. There will always be someone who hates your idea, just as there will always be someone who just likes to throw sand in the gears of life for no good reason. Don’t sweat these people. There is a rule about not feeding trolls, and it’s a good one to follow.
After you’ve made some initial posts, take a look at the quality (and quantity) of the response. Does it seem like there’s some definite interest? If so, then it’s time to lay the keel. The keel is the definitive statement about what you intend to do. You can post this, but I usually recommend holding off on that. Laying the keel is something for you to refer back to.
Laying The Keel
Laying the Keel is the moment you define your project, and who it’s for.
Whether it’s a blog, a podcast, or something you make, it’s a very good idea to have a statement you can refer back to. That way, if you come to any questions, this statement will help you answer them. The more fleshed out this statement is, the more defined it is, the easier the answers will be.
For example: "The Peaceful Pirate is an inspriational podcast dedicated to helping someone decide to become a solopreneur, and to help them transform their life via working online or from home. It is made for someone from 25-45 years old, most likely in the latter portion of that range. They have worked a job (or industry) they don’t like for years. They want to make a change in his like, maybe start a blog or a podcast, but doesn’t know where to get started. Also, while the plan to start a blog or a podcast is there, They don’t exactly know what subject he would like to talk about. They are married, owns or rents a home, and has limited time and resources to work on this project due to family or work commitments. Both partners work, but they’d love to travel to really exotic places when they get older and get their hands dirty in some ancient ruins somewhere when they get older. They both despise their jobs and don’t make a shit ton of money."
From that paragraph, you can see that I’ve laid out exactly what the mission form my website and my podcast is, and you can see that I’ve defined who I’m targeting. I’ve even given that person I talked about a name, and this statement is posted on the wall in my studio. If I ever have a question about what I’m doing, I always ask what that listener would want. He is so well defined in my mind that I usually have no trouble answering this question. It also cuts down on mission creep.
Lines On A Map
If you are anything like me (a possibility that may scare you a tad, but that’s ok), you have a brain that runs at Warp 9. There are days where I have several ideas that hit me in waves, and it’s hard to make sense of them all if I don’t write them down. Worse still, some of those ideas aren’t as fully formed as they ought to be. It’s at those times that I need to take the time to flesh them out to see if they are worth pursuing further. Here’s a very simple method to help you figure out which of the ideas are worth pursuing.
Have you ever heard of a mind map? It’s a diagram that you can create. There are programs that you can download that help with this, but I find that paper and pen work the best for this. I usually put the word that best represents the idea in the middle of the page, and then start branching out from the center with lines connected to other words and ideas that come to mind related to that central idea. DO NOT EDIT YOURSELF. Put everything down, as it’s often the case that the idea you think could be the dumbest one of all is the one that actually solves a pain point or provides a service people need. It could be the one that helps you find the treasure, so why would you leave it out? Put everything down.
I do one of these for every project I undertake, and it’s posted on my wall. As I address one of the ideas I came up with on my diagram, I cross it out. If I pass one up and decide it’s best left not t asked about (or if it really doesn’t fit) I Put a huge X over it. ideally, when I’m done, I should have everything crossed, or X, except for the big main idea at the center of the page.
Don’t worry if some of the ideas that come out are things that you are not an expert on. You can research them further to see if it is something that people need. If it is, then put it on a separate list for things to research later for a possible project for a blog, a post on a blog, a podcast, and episode of a particular podcast, or a new stream of income later on down the road.
You have the tools to start building. Start building your ship.