Somewhere along the line, our language shifted meaning slightly. “Looking for work” used to mean, “I’m capable and I’m looking for a place to apply what I know how to do.” Now, it means “I’m unemployed and hoping to find an employer to nestle me into their machine.” These are two very different things.
You see, the frontier is all around us (thank you, Levi’s), and by this, I also mean the job frontier. But we’ve grown weak in our entrepreneurial skills. We’ve forgotten that we don’t need a boss to get paid. We’ve somehow decided that “security” equals working for someone else who has all the cards and pulls all the strings.
Look. Really Look
The other day, I wrote about my frustration with a simple business transaction. In the comments, I realized that there was actually a business opportunity there. You see, it would’ve been worth money to pay someone to deal with the annoyance, because I ended up eating an hour of my time doing so. An hour of my time bills out for a heck of a lot more than an hour of a virtual assistant’s time. Dang, an opportunity.
I have a few friends who are really down on their luck right now. It happens to all of us, and it’s not their fault. I mentioned to both that doing something in the virtual assistant space (managing teams of them, in this case) would be a surefire money maker. Why? Because tons of people need them. And yet, whether they take up that suggestion is another matter.
Use Your Network
The whole reason you bothered social networking was to build relationships. Those relationships can be really useful, if you work through them appropriately. For instance, one friend of mine had several job openings. She knew that if I tweeted them out, they’d find some interested parties. Another friend pinged me looking for a steady paycheck, so I mentioned the same jobs. It was all network stuff. It’s why we bother having one.
The thing is, neither of them would’ve needed me if both sides would use the tools that are around them. Instead of making someone jump through hoops to find a job posting, write a blog post with the particulars and with contact information. Easy cheesy. Instead of telling me that you’re looking for work, write up a great blog post about it, or post a secret hidden page on your website if you’re being subtle about it, and then let your network help you find it.
I Create Work
Today, I deposited two checks, one from Amazon and one from Google. These represent my two lowest paying affiliate sources, and so the checks weren’t for much. They totaled a few hundred dollars short of my mortgage. My affiliate check from Genesis (affiliate link) this month will be quite a different matter. That check will pay 3 to 4 times my mortgage. That means that all my years of hard work of building an audience, building great content, and earning your trust now pays for my family’s home every month, which means that I have a lot more opportunity to say no to work, if it’s a bad fit or if I can’t do it, timing-wise.
I created that work. I built something. In fact, I created all my last few years of work. I don’t have an employer.
And You Can Create Work, Too
There are opportunities all around us, but they require us to think them through, to consider the very basics of business planning (markets, products or services for that market, distribution, effort required, etc). We see too often the word “entrepreneur” as someone in a software startup trying out a zany model that may or may not work, or that Google might buy some day. That’s the furthest flung definition, in my mind.
YOU could be one. You just have to undertake some risk, work hard, and seek out a profit for your efforts. There is work all around you. There are tons of ways to do it. There are very hard active ways to do it (sadly, a lot of my work is active still, and I have to find a way to fix that), and there are tricky, longer-term passive ways to do it. And to be honest, you have to do both. You have to gather berries and nuts for today’s meal while learning how to plant for next spring.
If you’re looking for work, HOW are you looking? And once you get a little, are you banking up for more or do you stop right then and there? How much of your patterns are based on the industrial ghostworld that we all came from, but that has ceased being viable? How much of the Matrix still owns you?
And what work can you do today?
I can’t stop using The Vintage Collective‘s snaps. Great photography.