This article is part of an exclusive month-long program on CAREEREALISM to help readers break free of The Golden Handcuff Effect. Click HERE to learn more about the Professional Emancipation Project, a.k.a. The P.E.P. Talk.
In case you haven’t heard, this isn’t your parents’ job market. The world of work is changing radically, and for many, the changes are leaving them behind. With some effort on your part, you can become educated about the new challenges and how you can overcome them. In my experience, the evolving role of entrepreneurship is the most exciting. Plus, 54% of Americans age 18 to 34 want to start their own business, so I must be in good company.
Why You Should Create Your Own Job
Entrepreneurs have been around forever, but the mindset has dramatically shifted in recent years. It’s no longer focused on business plans, marketing budgets, and stacks of promotional materials.
It’s about finding a customer problem and solving it better, faster, or cheaper than anyone else.
With a laptop and a wireless connection, you can start a business in just a few minutes online. The key here is having the three components of a business in place: a customer, a solution, and a way to get paid. Like me, many others in the workforce are developing side businesses to allow them to focus on their passions and still keep one foot in the workplace earning a steady paycheck.
Here’s a great example: a good friend of mine was laid off back in 2008. While he searched for work over the course of 10 months, he decided to make his time worthwhile and taught himself the coding language for an iPhone app. He developed his application and it is now in the iPhone store for sale. It will never generate enough to help him leave his day job, but every penny you earn from a source outside your main employer is a step toward freedom.
Think working for yourself is risky? Feel free to play it safe like the 130,000 newly unemployed workers laid off last month. In other words, there could be more risk in depending on one organization for your income than in spreading your skills around.
If the labels of “business owner,” “entrepreneur,” or “consultant” don’t fit, just think of yourself as a free agent. You can work for two companies at twenty hours a week or one company for forty hours a week. You get to make that call.
I’ll freely admit that working as an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone, but in a world of shifting work responsibilities, greater technological freedom, and unstable “permanent” jobs, it’s something we should all consider on some level. Again, this isn’t the entrepreneurship of 20 years ago.
In my case, I started because my day job wasn’t providing the satisfaction of using my talents (writing, mainly). On the nights and weekends I run a web-based business, and it’s been an amazing experience. It’s also helped to make me a better employee, believe it or not.
When I’m recruiting for job openings, I look for people with an entrepreneurial mentality. Those characteristics make for amazing employees and team members. They don’t have the “it’s not my job” mentality that seems to pervade the workplace.
Entrepreneurs serve customers well if they want to stay in business. Who out there wouldn’t want to hire an employee with that mindset?
“It’s easier to get a job when you have a job.” Ever heard that phrase? The gist of it is this: when you have a job and you’re job searching, you are not as desperate. You are willing to walk away from poor opportunities. You know your worth and will not devalue that without good reason.
That’s another piece of this self-employment puzzle. Knowing you have something to fall back on as a short term backup plan will radically change your thought process. You’ll be more confident in your abilities. You’ll learn new skills and grow your knowledge base.
This may or may not have hit you like it hit me, but I’ll leave you with a closing thought: doing work that you love and getting paid for it will change your life. We’re all familiar with doing work that we don’t enjoy and receiving a paycheck. Been there. Done that. So let’s try something new.
When you seize the opportunity to live out your passion in a meaningful way, it will change your perspective on yourself and your career forever.
The P.E.P. Talk
This article is part of our P.E.P. Talk Series. Over the next month, some of the brightest and best authors, business professionals, and coaches are coming together to share their valuable advice for breaking free of “The Golden Handcuff Effect” so you can take full ownership of your careers and experience Professional Emancipation.
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