What If You Don’t Want a Job? (…Or Can’t Find a Job?) Consider Making Your Own.

By Kathryn Lorenzen, Principal/Career Development Coach

Not everyone is cut out to be an employee. Some people would rather gnaw off their own foot than sign on to someone else’s rules, mission, and payroll. They’d just feel too trapped or like they’d sold out.

And not everyone who wants a job upon graduation will be able to find one quickly. The unemployment rate for young adults age 20 to 24 is uncomfortably high (15.4%, by a recent government estimate, compared to 8.9% for the general population).

So, what’s the alternative? Since minimum-wage jobs will generally not allow you to be self-supporting, some new graduates make the decision to become entrepreneurs, providing a basic service to individuals or businesses. And some do quite well, thank you, as either a freelancer or a dedicated business.

What are the qualities that help you succeed if this is the road you choose, or that chooses you?

In the beginning, you can begin by considering three important factors:

1. Identify what you can do really well, and confirm that other people will pay you for it. The simplest level of informal market research can help you project how much people are willing to pay and how much income you can generate. It’s frequently possible to find others who are providing the same or similar services who will be willing to talk with you and share their experiences. You can also find a buddy to do the exploration research with you, and perhaps you’ll find a service you can provide together.

2. Craft and master your “Personal Marketing Statement” which tells people what service you provide and what’s different or special about you. This is not unlike the process you go through to create a Personal Marketing Statement when you’re in a job search. It’s always centered around what’s in it for the customer (or, the employer).

3. Define the characteristics of your ideal clients, and go about the process of finding out how/where to reach them. Sometimes this seems easy, but the reality is that it always requires a lot of thought and exploration. Get inside the shoes of your ideal clients and walk around. What’s important to them? (This is interesting: the same tactic can help you get a handle on a job search…)

If you’re wondering how to dig deeper into whether you have the right qualities to be an entrepreneur and create your own job, there are tons of great resources out there. Here are just a few:

25 Common Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs (at www.entrepreneur.com)

The Accidental Entrepreneur: The 50 things I wish someone had told me about starting a business (at www.amazon.com)

Kauffman Foundation FastTrac program

What you learn as an entry-level entrepreneur can be extremely valuable experience to an employer in the future, should you decide later to get a job. And, best case scenario, you end up creating jobs for others!

For personal training on crafting and using your Personal Marketing Statement to land your first job, look at what's covered in our one-day workshop, Get a Job and Get On With It: Job Search Secrets You Didn't Learn in School. Now offering a limited number of scholarships to April 2 live event in Kansas City. To learn more, contact us.


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