From the EditorFrom the Editor

How to Discover Your 'Ikigai'

In the second edition of Freelancing After 50, I addressed the "why" question — why should you consider a freelancing career. The last edition dealt with the "how." In this edition, I will help you find the right freelance niche.

With that said, allow me to introduce you to "Ikigai." (Pronounced "icky guy." It's neither icky nor a guy.)

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means your "reason for being." "Iki" means "life," and "gai" describes value or worth. Your ikigai is your life purpose or your bliss. It's what brings you joy and inspires you to get out of bed every day.

It is also the perfect model to help you decide what area to focus on in building your freelance career.

Ikigai is comprised of four parts as it relates to work:

  • What you love (passion)
  • What you are good at (profession)
  • What the world (market) needs (mission)
  • What you can get paid for (vocation)

This image above shows how each part relates to the other.

You need to ask yourself these questions:

  1. What am I passionate about? What brings me joy?
  2. What am I good at? What's my skillset?
  3. What does the market need that I can get paid to provide?

These are thought-provoking questions you should take some time to ponder.

The first question you can likely answer yourself. It's internal. The second question you may be able to identify as well, but you could also benefit from input from friends, your spouse, or coworkers. (As career coach Steve Woodruff says, "You can't read the label of the jar you're in.") The last question will take some research and be the most time-consuming.

Here's the thing...

What you're passionate about may not meet a market need or match your skillset. Conversely, your skillset may not be something you're passionate about but does meet a market need for which you could earn income.

Where those four areas come together is your ikigai — your sweet spot.

My freelance career encompasses several areas related to content marketing, primarily writing and editing. I love doing it, am reasonably good at it, and for the past two years, clients have paid me for my services. I guess you could say I've found my ikigai.

Positive Psychology offers a set of tools to help you discover your ikigai. They consist of books, inspirational quotes, questionnaires, and worksheets. Check them out.

I hope you will take the time to find your bliss and discover what brings you purpose as well as a way to earn a living. Your "icky guy."

For me, the secret lies in helping others. If I can do anything to help you in your freelancing journey, please reach out.

(One more word regarding passion. People say, "do what you love." That's fine so long as you can earn a living doing it. If not, doing what you love can make for a great hobby.)

Image credit: Forbes

Paul Chaney  

Top Pick



How to Start


Here's as Good a Reason to Freelance as Any

Gas prices have reached an all-time high. The average American now spends 3% of their income at the gas pump. Kind of makes the idea of working from home quite appealing, doesn't it.

Freelancing After 50  




Quick Hits

What Else I'm Reading

This issue focuses on what direction to take in freelancing, not whether you should freelance. However, I thought these articles were too good to pass up.

By the numbers...

6 Signs You Should Pursue a Freelance Career (Flexjobs)

9 Ways to Decide if a Freelance Career Is Right for You (Flexjobs)

10 Things You Should Know Before Jumping Into Freelance Careers (Biospace)


And Finally...

Have an Idea for the Newsletter?

If there's a topic you would like to see covered in the newsletter, let me know.

Freelancing After 50  

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If you like the newsletter and podcast, share them with your over-50 freelancer friends. Thanks!

See you in two weeks!

~ Paul

Freelancing After 50