Career Independence

4th of July

Career Independence

As we celebrate the birth of our country on the 4th of July in the U.S., I got to thinking about what independence means from a career point of view.  For many people, the word career equals “full time job” and implies that we will be dependent on employers to derive an income for most of our adult lives.  Unfortunately with shifting economies and markets, long term employment is not always an option even if we chose that route.  Being someone’s employee is not always attractive either.  If you’ve ever considered starting a business or being creatively self employed, declaring career independence here are some things to consider:

What do you love to do that you do really well? For instance, are you a terrific organizer who excels at keeping everything running efficiently and timely? Do you enjoy re-doing closets and cabinets to make the contents more orderly and easy to find? Do you get energized by this kind of activity? If you answered yes to these questions, one of your skills may be in organizing. What can you do with this talent?  Here’s an example: Nancy McKinney launched her business; Successful Organizing Solutions in 1999 and loves being a “solo entrepreneur”. She added some coach training and received certification through BCPO, a professional organization in her field and has turned her talent into a successful business. Whatever you really enjoy doing and have competency in is worth exploring whether or not you could turn it into a business.

Who needs what you have to offer? Once you’ve identified your skills, talents, and passions it is time to determine where they may best be useful. Is there a need for whatever product or service you want to share with others? You may be the greatest cookie baker in three states but if there isn’t a need for a cookie store in your area it may not a good idea to start a bakery. Then again, there are many avenues to market products beyond having a bricks and mortar business. Gail Ambrious took her passion for chocolate and launched her business in 2004. Laid off from her “steady job” with the state, she decided to pursue her dreams and has since become known for “the best little box of chocolates” by the Food Network.

Besides what you are passionate about, think of all the life experience you’ve had, how might that be useful to others? How can you be of service in the world? Bottom line:  who needs what you have to offer?  Answer this question and you’ve identified your customer base.

Is there someone else doing the kind of business you are considering? Identify those people and organizations. For instance, if you are thinking of doing a doggy daycare, see who else has one and check it out. Note what you like and don’t like about their advertising, facility, customer service, etc. How do they get customers? How might you approach your target customers differently? What might you improve on?

Is being self employed or starting a business a right fit for your personality and lifestyle? If you’ve been an employee for years, you may find it challenging to switch your perspective to being the boss.  It can be tremendously fulfilling to create your own business, work when, where and how you choose to, and not have to get someone else’s permission. It also entails self motivation and requires you to be willing to accept failure, learn from it and keep moving your business forward.



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