Exploring new roads

My time at the liquor store has taught me a bunch of things, including how dirty and sweaty and thankless retail work can be. But it’s also a been stark reminder that you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in one basket.

I was hoping that this would be a new career path for me, as I know it has been for others: Starting off low man on the totem, of course, but then gradually, steadily work my way up the corporate ladder to… who knows what lofty heights?


I’m still there, but since these bills have the nerve to keep showing up even when a decent paycheque doesn’t, I finally figured I should look into other means of (hopefully) making money.

I recently had the good fortune to work behind the scenes at a one-day workshop for youth who wanted to get into video production, for sites like YouTube or TikTok. There were various professional speakers who each did presentations about certain aspects of how to piece together a video, from how to look for engaging concepts, to how to shoot and edit them, to how to optimize viewer engagement.

One part in particular really struck a chord with me.

Regional social influencer Shawn Medi gave a talk that day, which included how he got started pulling in followers and getting more attention for his work online, which he’d found was flatlining. The key to find something that you should pursue, he explained, was to start by thinking about what you’re good at. What’s something you do well that you could maybe monetize if you keep working at it? In his case, he’s good at telling stories. That led to regularly recording videos of himself doing more of that. Which led to pulling in more regular viewers. Which he was soon able to leverage to start gaining traction with brands he could do small, paid ads for. Which led to attracting bigger profile brands. And so it goes.

So that night, I started thinking: What am I good at?

Well… writing. When I’m really into the story and dedicate time and effort to it, I can be good at that. But that hasn’t gotten me anywhere yet.

Sarcasm and riffing humour in the moment doesn’t get me an income… so… what else?

And that led me to put a twist on the question: What if instead of what I know I’m good at, I consider what other people tell me I’d be good at? I noodled on that for a bit and recalled that people have told me for decades that I have a nice voice. I’ve heard everything from my having a good voice on the phone, to that I’d be good on the radio, to they’d like to hear it as I read a book while they fall asleep.

I hadn’t thought about it too seriously, but maybe this was something I should be looking at more closely. Radio work is hard to come by, particularly without formal training and being a small fish in a big pond.

But what about using it in another way? What about doing voice over work? Ads? Audio books? That kind of thing? I mean… why not at least look into it?

So I did. And the more I looked into it, the more I liked the idea. I researched what kind of kit I’d need to record decent quality material from home, and for less money than I had expected, was able to get it all. I got an industry-standard recording program for the computer and have been learning how to use that. I’m seeking out the most advisable sites to put demos on to start getting some — any — attention for that kind of work.

In the last few weeks, I’ve gone from considering that kind of work to being on the cusp of posting demos on websites where people seek out those who need that work done.

I know it’ll take effort and that these things can be a lengthy progress to start making good money. Every source I’ve checked out underscores income in this industry is a snowballing effect; you aren’t making big money right out of the gate. Every job is another stepping stone to bigger and better jobs, if you stick with it and put in the time and work.

I’m dedicated to giving this a solid go. And for now, given I’m still just starting to learn, I’m totally fine with taking baby steps.

Keep you posted.


  1. I can totally imagine you, Robert-Munsch-like, telling children’s stories. Your mom convinced her sisters (us, that is), that the sandbox had white sugar on top, and brown sugar in the next layer down. She declared that fairies were in the garden. We checked that too. Obviously, you’ve inherited a story-telling gene. With a voice worth listening to, you’ll get hired by a listener without your waiting very long.
    Go for it!

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