In the current climate, many people are looking away from the traditional job market towards working for themselves. The massive redundancies and job insecurity has caused many people to radically rethink their career plans. With the ever rising cost of living, many would be happy just to earn extra money to support their family and pay the bills.
In this article, you will discover what you enjoy in life and how to turn it into a money making opportunity, and maybe even a full-time career. Your only limitations are those you impose upon yourself! At the very least, what you learn will help you to be happier with your current job.
First of all, a little exercise to get you started. Make a list of everything and anything you really enjoy and are passionate about. This can be anything at all, from playing with Lego through to planning projects or programming computers. Write down everything you think of, no matter how silly or pointless you think it may be. They are all important and must be included on your list.
Go through the list and ask yourself whether you truly are passionate about each one. Ask the question, "If someone offered to pay me to do this, would I be happy?" If after thinking about it you would not, then cross it off your list.
Look at each item on your list and ask yourself what you enjoy about it. You may enjoy the peace and tranquillity of gardening, or the fast paced life style of project management. Write this down too next to each item.
The 'why' you enjoy it is very important because it gives you an insight into your inner workings. When you understand what it is that you enjoy about something, you can look at applying that specifically to your life and current job to improve your happiness. If you like peace and tranquillity but your job is hectic, you could take time out for a walk in a park or to meditate to bring into your job peace and tranquillity. You could make sure you take a lunch break and switch your phone off.
Once you have identified the things you are passionate about, write down next to each one how much time a month you spend doing them. You may love surfboarding but only manage to go once a month or you may be passionate about cooking yet have to live on fast food because of your job.
From now on, make an effort every single month to spend some time doing the things that you are passionate about. You will find that your level of happiness improves, your energy increases, and that life will feel so much better because you are doing things you love.
Carry your list around with you for at least a week, adding to it each time you think of something you are passionate about. Then repeat the above for each new item, analysing it and understanding it.
Do you have what it takes?
Whatever your current job situation, working for yourself can be a very appealing option. But the question is, 'do you have what it takes to work for yourself?' Not everyone does, but the good news is that the necessary skills can be learnt.
To successfully work for yourself you need to have all of the following skills to some degree. The better you are at each skill, the more chance you have of being successful on your own.
Motivated: You must be able to motivate yourself and to not rely on others to push you along. When you work for yourself, there isn't going to be a manager there telling you what you need to do, when you need to do it by, and providing you support and guidance when you need it. Working for yourself, it is all your responsibility.
Belief: You must believe in yourself and in what you are doing or the product you are selling. It is very difficult to do well at something you do not fully believe in. Your belief and passion about what you do comes across to your customers, which helps immensely in building their confidence and in turn, your business.
Development Time: It is important to spend time developing yourself. Many technical people forget to develop soft skills, and vice versa. Aim to attend at least two courses a year - one soft skills and one technical. Also regularly read relevant books to develop these skills. You have to stay one step ahead of the crowd to be a phenomenal success.
Determination: You must be determined to succeed and not to give up. There are times when it will be tough, but you're the boss and the one solely responsible for making it good again.
Inter-personal skills: Working for yourself doesn't mean you will be locked in a room alone. You will often have to interact with others. Good inter-personal skills will make this experience more rewarding and help you get the best from people.
Communication skills: Both written and spoken communication skills are important. Often in the market place today, words are the key to the success of your business. Therefore, spend time developing your skills in this area - it will pay you back many fold to do so.
How many of the above skills do you currently have? Do you feel you are weak in any of these areas? If so, then strengthen them by attending courses or reading some relevant books. Being strong in all the above areas is not necessary for personal success, but will help to make it much easier.
Look at the list of things you are passionate about, and think about how the above skills can be applied to and compliment these.
Finding your ideal career
Get your list of things you are passionate about out again and take a new sheet of paper. Write the first item on your list at the top of the new paper. Underneath it, brainstorm all the jobs you can think of that involve it. Let your imagination run riot and be as creative as you can. Each item you have written down will offer you many possibilities. You can also use the reasons you enjoy the item to help in this exercise.
Using gardening as an example, you could write down: Gardener, author, teacher, TV presenter, landscape designer, tree doctor, and farmer, just to mention a few.
Still on the same item from your list, write down all the ways you can think of to make money from it.
With our gardening example this may be growing and selling plants or vegetables, or doing gardening for people in your neighbourhood. There are of course many other opportunities here. Again, be creative and imaginative and think outside of your normal box.
These are all things that you can start to do right now or fairly soon, if you wanted, to begin to earn money and start to move your career away from what you are currently doing.
Repeat the above exercise for each item that is on your list. Over the next few weeks keep adding to these lists. This exercise has the added advantage of stimulating your mind to be creative, which results in your coming up with many more great ideas - often when you least expect it, so make sure you write them all down.
The results of these exercises will be a list of what you enjoy doing, why you enjoy doing and a list of possible careers and money making opportunities that you would really enjoy doing. You do not have to make a massive move and quit your job right now. You can take your time, and slowly begin building your own business, or just earn a bit of extra money to help pay the bills whilst keeping your current job. You can also use this list to determine what career is best for you and begin planning a move to this new career.
Ask yourself the question, "If I could do anything at all, what would it be?" The answer to this question will help you determine which of the items on your list to pursue first. It is important not to spread yourself too thinly otherwise you may find that nothing ever gets done. Once you have decided which way to go you must do a goal setting exercise and work out your route to your target. Goal setting workbooks and articles can be found at http://www.shapingyourdestiny.com.
Pursuing your passion means living life to the full. It means waking up each morning and looking forward to working. It means more energy, more fun and feeling more alive. Sadly today many of us are working in jobs we would rather not be doing. Perhaps it is time that you took advantage of the shifting economy and lived your passion instead of dreaming it?
By Jason Johns
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