This post is part of the Professional Independence Project series.
I had a dream that I wanted to have my own business. That dream has come true several times since graduating college.
I went into the entertainment-band business full time after I graduated. I had my own group/business, a manager, a booking agent for three years. That was my first business-of-one. There were so many success and survival skills sets I learned back then that were fundamental and foundational for my career journey.
- time management
- interpersonal communication
These have carried me and served me well through my careers in entertainment, broadcast media and my current career branding and social media consultancy.
We never really are solo. We survive and thrive with the insight and support of others, even though we are the driver.
As you think about your career path, you may or may not be cut out for the go solo, business-of-one gig, but in today’s career world there is incredible value and necessity in having and developing a CEO or “entrepreneurial mindset," no matter what role and path you take.
The CEO mindset sees the big picture as well as the trenches. It values risk and reward, proactivity, taking initiative, leadership, passion, innovation, relevance, a deep belief in oneself, and the ability to bounce back from setbacks and failure.
are predicting one out of every two professionals in the workforce will be independent contractors by 2020. These include those on fixed term contracts, independent consultants, those working through temp agencies or on call and those who own a business with less than five employees.
This is a stunning shift. Most workers will be on their own, with limited support from a company they work for. These are crucial times for getting all your skills, assets, experience and intangibles up to code.
It truly is survival of the fittest.
Here are 11 assets that every business-of-one needs to survive today.
1. A defined and focused expertise.
Please make sure you know what you do best and can articulate it when you are asked “what do you do” in one succinct sentence. What are your top skills, assets and intangibles? Are you a sales genie, marketing maven, research guru, administrative organizer or project manager? Know thyself.
2. A career track.
Are you moving your career in the direction you want it to go, or letting it get blown around? It’s better to be on a career track or path that demonstrates your experience and skill commonalities. Applying your core skills to various work situations is the way to practice, test and evolve them.
3. A trail of accomplishments.Success leaves clues
. There are accomplishments big, small, individual and team, that we all have. Go back into your career story and history and look for the projects, initiatives, goals and activities that show your trail of accomplishments. They all matter and count and can be valuable markers that you tap for guidance and insight.
4. Realistic expectations.
This asset during keeps us focused on the now, what’s in front of us and our current priorities. We have to look at where we currently are, the environment that we are working in and determine what our realistic expectations are with regard to sales, growth and progress. Better to be more reserved and set goals
that are achievable and not too lofty or unrealistic for where you are in our process.
5. A passion to go solo with a strong support team.
In the Infusionsoft Small Business Market Survey
, four modern attitudinal profiles emerged: Freedom Seekers, Passion Creators, Legacy Builders, and Struggling Survivors. The Passion Creators were the most optimistic, entrepreneurial, best marketers and most successful overall in growing their businesses. They see their passion as the most important driver. Without the passion we risk losing interest.
6. A flexible success blueprint.
Make the plan and work the plan. Still a very effective model and method, but we must be flexible, nimble, and willing to adapt to self imposed changed and unexpected change. The world around us continues to change much faster than we do. Staying up to date and on top of the wave is crucial. Falling behind can be fatal. Flexibility to me is one of the top assets we must have in our toolbox.
7. A comprehensive marketing yourself plan.
Your brand is about you, your branding is everything you do to get you out there. Create a comprehensive marketing yourself plan
that includes blending in person and online activities that help you stand out, get noticed and hopefully be remembered. Think about what you want your key affiliations, content creation, social media and industry and community activities to be. Make sure you have an active, up to date LinkedIn profile
that is your main platform hub that links to all of your marketing assets.
8. Robust networking activities.
The five networking musts are: join, get involved, contribute, participate, be visible. If you are going to be successful today, you must network consistently and robustly (sturdy, vigorous, solid). Fall in love with networking so that you want to do it, can’t wait to do it, and it will accelerate your professionalism. Making smart connections, growing right relationships and building active networks is the keystone of career longevity.
9. A diverse content marketing strategy.
We have been creating and using content marketing activities now for about 10 years, without realizing it. But we now officially have a definition
and many hubs
built around it. If you have been blogging, posting on social media, podcasting, creating videos, whitepapers, ebooks, or books, then you are content marketing. Content marketing
is providing valuable information or content to current and potential customers for the purpose of building trust, branding, awareness, and positive sentiment. The primary focus is on building the relationship,
not the hard sell. This is a very strategic process. What do you want to be known for? That’s what you build your content around. #careerbranding
10. Perseverance under stress.
The level of stress we all feel today is off the charts. Our lives are so much more complicated, accelerated, and filled with more choices and changes. This is challenging but manageable, if we use the right tools, systems and attitude. Perseverance is one of those assets that must be in the forefront of any commitment. There are going to be challenges, difficulties, obstacles, and discouragement that can only be tempered by persistence, tenacity, and determination. Are you ready, armed, and all in?
11. A cool head under duress.
Staying cool under duress is an acquired taste for sure. How can we be the calm amidst the storm? How can we stay grounded, sane and focused when things around us are whirling? Being able to have a cool head under duress is when we need to go deep and tap our assets with willingness.
There are going to be moments on the journey that you just cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. Step back, take a breath, tap your support system, get perspective and set your next action.
Remember: The only way out is through.
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. Throughout the month of October, we will be sharing expert advice and insight on how you can build a successful career you love.
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