As government bickering and inaction continues, job seekers are growing ever restless, frustrated, and annoyed because, for many folks, there just are no jobs to be had. You are either too old, too young, suffering the stigma of no job, or you have run out of runway in your network. According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, “More than one in three of the unemployed were out of work for at least a year in a handful of U.S. states that appear to be disproportionately caught up in the long-term unemployment problem.” So if you are sitting in the unemployment barrel with a bunch of lemons, it is high time to make lemonade.
Have you thought about making a job for yourself? And I am not talking about flipping burgers. Let’s look at the landscape that is you. A key to inventing a job is to take inventory and look within yourself to find your hobbies, interests, passions, and skills. Here is a potential subscription for engineering your own gig.
Many people have hobbies and passions that allow them to escape the madness of the daily grind. According to the Oxford Dictionary, a hobby is “an activity that you do for pleasure when you are not working.” What do you for a hobby? Collect stamps, ride a motorcycle, write poetry, or sample every restaurant in town? Take a hard look at what you do for leisure and see if there might be a business model for earning a living. How so?
1. Make a spreadsheet listing all of your passions, hobbies, interests, and skills. Rank them in order of priority or interest level.
2. Scour the Internet for information on each and make note of the ones that have potential for being a market or a potential revenue generator and are already a business for someone.
3. Absorb and digest everything you find in cyberspace, paying strict attention to facts that validate their business potential.
4. Consider different business models for amortizing your hobby. For example, can you take your knowledge of the subject matter and sell it as a commodity or turn it into a saleable product? Can you make what you enjoy a service for others to purchase?
5. If so, develop a thumbnail business plan that outlines the product or service and how it can be sold and serviced and to whom.
6. Set up a brainstorming session with family, and a few friends, or colleagues and bounce ideas of of them, taking note of their commentary, good or bad.
7. Select a model you feel works well for you based on your research with friends and family.
8. Assess your capital needs. You may be surprised at how little investment you need to kick-start a business. If it requires more than you have, develop a list of potential investors who are willing to take a flyer on you. Also, look at other creative financing such as selling that old antique car or HO train set that is sitting in your closet collecting dust. If worse comes to worst, use your credit cards, but sparingly. And don’t forget about sweat equity.
9. Start building your own “thought leadership” credentials by blogging, commenting, tweeting, or employing numerous other social infrastructure platforms. Stay focused and comment heavily on what you know and for what you have a passion. If you start, don’t stop.
10. Brand yourself consistently and tightly. Take a review of your online presence. Review every social platform in which you participate. Update the platforms so that you present yourself uniformly and consistently. Have the same positioning platform to platform. For example, make sure your single-minded brand identity and thought leadership comes to the fore on Facebook, Linkedin, Quora, Twitter, FourSquare, MyWebCareer, Google+, Plaxo, VisualCV, Slideshare, etc. Leave no stone unturned.
For better or worse, we are living in unusual times that are fast becoming the usual. You are often your only backup plan. So take control of your own destiny and make one.
Gerry Corbett is the PRJobCoach at prjobcoach.com and CEO of Redphlag LLC, a strategy consultancy. He has served four decades in senior communications roles at Fortune 100 firms and earlier in his career in aerospace and computer engineering with NASA. He has a B.A. in public relations from San Jose State University and is a member of the International Advertising Association, National Investor Relations Institute; Arthur Page Society, National Association of Science Writers, and International Coaching Federation.