Career, employment, small business and personal mix

Over the last few days, I’ve been writing and publishing a mix of articles that hit on more traditional employment, personal performance improvement and transitions to self-employment that are close enough to traditional employment to make the transition easier than other options.

In “Independent Employment,” I suggest three ways you could keep working for the same kind of employer you now serve, but in more independent roles such as through temporary staffing, contract employment and freelancing in your current field. With each of those, you could try out the mode of work while you are still employed. Just do it on a “moonlighting” basis until you’re comfortable with it and know it’s something you want to do. The only investment is your time, so even if you decide you don’t like it, you can stop and you’ll still have made some extra money.

In “Be The Hero of the Story: Expect to Win,” I illustrate how you develop success — whether in business, career or personal life — through managing your expectations. Your expectations tend to be self-fulfilling prophecies. The article is about how well it works to make your expectations positive ones.

In “What’s Old is New Again: Getting Attention to Your Résumé May Be As Simple As This,” I talk about the most effective ways to make your résumé stand out in a crowd, as well as how and where to send it to avoid the crowds.""

And, just today, I published a guest article that takes us back to talking about small business and solo-entrepreneuring again: “Have a Great Idea for a Business? Test the Waters Before Diving In.” It takes up the same dilemma I was addressing in “Independent Employment.” However unhappy a place the job market may be, the self-employment market may be too scary. Valerie Young has a few words of encouragement for trying out various businesses before making a commitment to get into them.

Small business and entrepreneurial abilities

As a follow-up to my July 24 blog post on Career transitions to self-employment, I wrote an article, Basic Business Start-Up Abilities and published it yesterday. It goes on a bit more about the minimum it takes to start a business for a solo entrepreneur operation or micro-business.

I want to be clear about something: When I say you don’t need as many “abilities” or “personal characteristics” as are often outlined as ideal for small business success, I don’t mean that those skills aren’t important. It’s simply that unless you are considering buying a business or a franchise, getting a loan, or putting a large sum of money into getting started, you can forgo some of the extensive planning and analysis often advised and take a shot at something you already know how to do very well. You can pick up the rest of the business skills you need along the way. That’s the way it’s done more often than not. I just want to encourage you to be creative and not allow yourself to be overwhelmed or intimidated. For example, if you’ve long wanted to try out being an EBay seller, you could experiment by listing a few things you want to get rid of in your own household and it will probably cost you nothing if you strike out or a few dollars if you fail to price correctly. (Although people rarely take a loss there.) So I’m talking about starting on a shoestring, without employees and risking little other than your time. Anytime any amount of money you can’t afford to lose is involved, get help from sources experienced in your field and professional advice. And under those circumstances, yes you do need a well-written business plan, more solid current business skills and a careful analysis of your ideas and the marketplace.Read the article.

Career transitions to self-employment

Lately, I’ve been publishing more articles relevant to small business. Especially one-person operations and micro-businesses. I’ve been focusing more on small business because it’s one of the most available career transitions for the unemployed and underemployed. As fewer and fewer acceptable jobs are available, large numbers of the formerly employed are turning to entrepreneurship, contract work and other forms of self-employment to make a living. Many never wanted or expected to work for themselves; but now they seem to have no other choices. And it’s a hard choice, because so few people are actually prepared for all the variables of working without a job.

I’ve read quite a lot of books and articles about the necessary “characteristics” of people who are suitable for running their own businesses. Much of it has merit as guidelines for identifying your strengths and weaknesses in business. However, I’ve found in my many years of experience researching and counseling, that necessity is truly the mother of invention (or motivation), and the idea that you “must” have certain entrepreneurial abilities to succeed is greatly exaggerated. Most people who have gone into their own businesses have few of the “standard” entrepreneurial attributes, at least in the beginning. The biggest determinant is your willingness to do whatever is necessary to earn a living. If that means making up your own job and making it work, that’s what you’ll do.

You also get to define “success” as being able to make a living or make extra cash or whatever else you decide to call it. You’re not stuck with “success” being defined as becoming wealthy. After all, few people do become wealthy running their own businesses. They may make a comfortable living and move into middle-class neighborhoods. But that’s pretty successful.

There are numberless ideas and opportunities awaiting the unemployed who want to take charge of their own work lives through self-employment. If you are among those people, take the chance, experiment, try it out. Educate yourself so you avoid the many scams. Get creative and think of what you might do that requires little or no money to start.

(If you’re thinking in more traditional terms, however, such as investing your own money that you can’t afford to lose, getting loans, starting a franchise or going into a partnership with some other person’s money, you actually do need to be better prepared. And you need to do all the traditional “stuff” like extensive research, analyses and planning.)

Stay tuned to this website. I’m going to be publishing articles and links to resources for more information for starting up your own solo or micro business. Remember, though, I publish more articles in the main section of this site ( than I do on this blog. So look for the daily content uploads there.