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A Goblin's Practical Tips for Self-Employment

As a goblin who scurries around the shadows, too feral for Normal Human Interaction, I always knew self-employment was my goal. I made it my long-term ambition of several years and, now that I'm finally here, it's only fair I share my tips and tricks with my fellow fae creatures.

What works for one person may not work for another, but these are core principles I stuck to in my journey. Follow me, miscreants, as I cut through some BS to boot you into the Forbidden Forest you really need to be traveling.

A Goblin's Practical Guide to Self-Employment by J. A. Duncan


Ask Fellow Goblins For Help

The idea that we have to be detrimentally independent is frankly ridiculous. Every successful goblin (and I do mean success, not people who started out with resources) can point to a whole horde of goblins who helped them along the way.

We're meant to help one another. It makes things easier. Stop being difficult.

Ahem. Personally, I love when friends ask for help. I love a chance to share knowledge, support someone, or be a listening ear. If you have a decent support system (or even a public one), you're not burdening simply by asking. They'll either help or direct you to someone who can. Chances are, they'll feel honored to be in your circle of trust.

Start with the support system you have. If you don't want to directly ask for help (I get it), keep your circle updated on your goals and current challenges you're facing. Sometimes people will step in with a, "Hey, I know about this!"

As in introvert, there are so many things I'd rather do than reach out to people. So start small: read online forums and blog posts like this one (wink, wink), strike up friendly conversations on social media, and do some research (more on that below). Write out a list of questions you need answered and go down that list until you're satisfied.

Is it a question you can research? If you're stuck, is there someone you can ask for direction? If you need to know more about a service than their website is telling you, get that list of questions ready and call customer lines. Always write down their answers!

If that's too daunting, you can always seek out customer reviews and online recommendations. Keep in mind, though, that stepping out of your comfort zone can sometimes save you far more time and headaches, and you may need to get a little social. Get comfy with asking questions, letting people support you, and utilizing public services or friendly offers of help.

Post to chat groups and social media if you don't have a specific person in mind; you'd be surprised how many jump at the chance to share tips and advice. Just be sure to double check info against your own research if it's not coming from a trusted source or doesn't quite apply to you.

We're in this together, miscreants. Help your fellow goblins and ask for it when you need it. Good things and connections come to those who pay it forward.

Research Lazily (With Purpose)*

Though it can be time-consuming, there is so much free information online that learning something new is relatively easy. And if you don't know where to start? Search it.

Say you want to know how to file taxes for self-employment. Type that question into your search bar: how to file self-employment taxes? You'll get a range of results, and the top pages (after the ads) are the highest-ranked searches, often from credible sources.

TIP: Look for URLs like .gov or .org for anything relating to official documents, laws, etc. Avoid top searches that say sponsored or ad.
Copy/paste or bookmark anything you want to come back to, because you will forget where you found that info. Use a Doc, Cloud, personal Discord server, or browser bookmarks to save important searches.

Break your research into small chunks. Don't try to learn an entire subject in one day.

No, bad. *Smack* Stop. Pick a topic and gradually teach yourself the most important chunks. That's it. You are on a need-to-know basis.

Fuck whoever said "jack of all trades, master of none" was a bad thing. I'm proficient in a couple things, but the rest is just varied. Teach yourself what you absolutely need to get by, then get out. Do not become an accountant just to make a spreadsheet. It's unnecessary, it wastes time, and you will burn yourself out trying to master things you don't need.

If you do need more information than you feel you can teach yourself, or you don't quite understand the information you have, I'd like to reiterate my first two pieces of advice: 1. Ask for help.

2. Take it slow, research in small chunks, discard anything overly complicated and look for a simpler route.

If you find a topic interesting, or you want to become adept at something, that's great. Just be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking you need to be a professional everything. Use what works, hire someone if you do need a professional (and I do advocate for paying people what they're worth—asking them to do a job is different from asking advice), and don't sweat the rest.

* Note: This tip applies to the miscellaneous personal tasks involved with being self-employed. Obviously, the actual job(s) you do for other people will require skill and care, as that's something you're being hired for.

Hire Wizards or Get Curious

So you've asked for direction, researched necessary information, and maybe taught yourself some skills along the way. But now you've run into another wall—some things require a higher skill level or knowledge base than you're equipped to handle.

That, my friends, is what paid professionals and/or self-help guides are for. Need a logo you don't have the design experience for? Or a book formatted, but you don't know where to begin?

Once again, you have two roads you can take. One will cost money, the other time. But you are in control of how much of either you're willing to spend.

  1. Hire a professional

  2. Teach yourself

Professional Route

For any service you could possibly need, there are a myriad of people and businesses you can hire. Some will be large businesses, some personal contractors, some budding indies like yourself.

Most of these (especially the last two) are more than happy to offer flexible payment plans, run discounts on services (sign up for newsletters to catch their deals!), and/or generally set reasonable prices to begin with. We know what it's like to not have a ton of cash on hand, and a lot of indie workers refuse to overcharge and will gladly work within your budget if they're able.

Research, get recommendations, and build a list of people you'd love to work with. Someone out there will fit your needs and cost range, so don't get discouraged if your first results aren't a perfect fit. Also realize some goals may take a little money-saving because, again, people deserve to be paid what they're worth.

Learn Something New

If you don't have the money but you're willing to make up for that with time, then revisit Steps 1 & 2.

  • Research using every free source at your disposal (books, videos, online articles).

  • Explore YouTube, TikTok, and blogs—trust me on this. You would not believe the number of professionals and people further in your journey offering free tips on exactly where you're at. Get specific in those searches!

  • Ask for direction from people willing to help if you're really lost.

  • Break the task into small steps.

  • Set reasonable goals for each day, week, or month to fit the timeframe you want to learn the skill in.

  • Learn what you absolutely need to fulfill your goal (and fulfill it well, especially if it's going into a product) and discard the fancier bits until you're ready to level up.

Some skills are harder than others and take more time. Patience will be key here, so remind yourself that you're saving money and future headaches by doing this. You're also teaching yourself a valuable skill you will have for a lifetime, so it is in no way a waste.

Which leads me to my most important point.

Enjoy the Journey

Whether it's a vision board, a daily speech in the mirror, a written affirmation, or just a visual in your head, find ways to inspire yourself every day. Fall in love not just with your goal, but the process of getting to the goal.

We can get so caught up in what we want to happen that we lose patience and drive along the way. So get excited for each step you're taking.

Need to build a website? How fucking cool is having your own online house for all your stuff?? Or maybe you hired someone to create it and you're hyped to see the final product.

Learning a new skill? Fun!! Ask a friend to buddy up with you if they're interested. Or persuade them with your natural excitement.

Share each milestone with loved ones or a community, post about your journey, and get excited for every little thing. This lesson is the one that will make all the others feel so much easier and less like a job.

It's your adventure, and you get to pick which quests to go on.

Enjoy this goblin rant? Let me know what you found helpful in the comments, what posts you'd like to see in the future, and feel free to sign up to the Goblin Newsletter for extra tips and post notifications straight to your inbox! 🤍

144 views2 comments


Apr 06

Great comments, Jordan! I enjoyed both the tips and layout of your post since everything in here seems really helpful for someone who wants to reach self-employment or even just reach new steps on the journey. :)

Apr 07
Replying to

Thank you so much, Erin! I'm glad you found it helpful 😊

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