Sunday, April 22, 2007

You Are Your Own Wise Man

Tele-Classic Article

Question sent to me:
I am looking to telecommute or work-at-home. I have no idea where to start or what to do. I am willing to go back to school, but I don’t even know where to start. Do you have any suggestions?

My answer:
If you don’t know where to start then how in the heck do you think I would know?
Sounds flip, huh? But really it’s not.
The question above is actually a representation of many people crying out for help, when instead they should be looking inward. Basically, this person is asking someone else, someone outside him/herself to make a Life Choice for them.
Unfortunately, no one can answer that question . . . no one can do that but you. You must decide what you would like to do with your life and how you are going to do it. No one else can direct you in this. It comes down to asking yourself some very hard questions.
I created a helpful list of steps and questions that I found myself asking wayward friends looking for their wise man and searching for that “something” in their lives.
1. List all the things that you like to do.
Not all the things that you can do, all the things that you like -- that give you joy and purpose. Actions that when you’re doing it you say, “This is okay, I don’t mind doing this.” And yes, everyone has this “thing." Don’t give me bull about not having anything that you like doing. If you enjoy mopping the floor, write it down. Taking baths, yeah, write that down too. Picking your nose . . . whatever, don't analyze it -- just write it down.
2. List all the things you do well.
Yes, this is a different category. There are many things that I do well, but I don’t like doing. For instance, I change diapers really well. I am the epitome of efficient time and effort when changing a baby. Even though I’m quick, the child comes out of it comfortable, happy, squeaky clean and smelling of fragrant baby lotion. I hate doing it. I hate the smell, I hate the filth -- I hate every aspect of it. But I’m darn good at it nonetheless. I would put “changing stinky diapers” in this list.
3. Are any items on either list the same or compatible?
Really look at your lists. Take five to ten quiet minutes and figure out if you can combine several of these tasks or if these skills are at all complementary. If you find one, two or a few things, you have potential success. If you have something on your lists that you do well and you actually enjoy doing, then throw your pick over your shoulder and shout, "Eureka!" 'cause baby, you stroke gold!
4. (Now for the hard part) If you find something compatible from both lists, how can you make this interest a job that you can work at home? Could you find employment in this endeavor? Research this.
When I say research, I mean really research. Get on the Internet and go to a mega-search engine and type in the correct terms. Then really read. Take a pad and pencil out and write notes as you are reading. What company names keep coming up in these discussions? Look up these companies websites to see what type of jobs are open in this industry.
5. If it looks like employment is not an option, could you open a home business using these skills? Again, research this.
Jot down ideas. Are there businesses that supply services or product in this realm of possibilities? No? Good! You may have found your niche.

Join a few discussion boards on this topic. Your goal is to ask them: "Do they know if there is a need for the service or product you have in mind?" Congratulations, you have conducted your first market research! Yes, it’s as easy as that.

6. If you find a way to stay at home and do this thing, do you need additional training to bring yourself up to speed or make you look appealing to employers?
Ask yourself: What skills would you need? Could you learn these skills on your own or would you need classes? How long would it take to learn these particularly skills.

7. What type of money do you need to take care of yourself and your family?
Add up all your bare-bones expenses. Cut out cable, the second car, etc. -- only the necessities please. Be real here. What money do you need to survive? What do you need to keep a roof over your head, food in your belly, water and heat in your house, and a bus ticket to do the chores? That amount is your rock-bottom salary. You can accept no job below that amount.
8. What type of money do you want?
Wishing on a star is not futile. You will be surprised how easy it is to make money when you have direction. Focus. What will actually happen is you’ll do much better than bare-bones and maybe not quite meet the fantasy, but anywhere in the middle is satisfactory don’t you think?
9. What obstacles do you see in this path’s direction.
Know thy enemy -- and kill’em off!
Brutal, but the obstacles that cause you to stumble, are the obstacles that you are not aware of. Notice I used the word aware. Seeing means identifying, marking, knowing details. You don’t have to know all the details of your obstacle, just having an idea what’s out there is enough.
10. How will you overcome these obstacles?
It’s time to consider your future actions, your game plan, and the contingencies. Your game plan can be a simple answer like: "When I find obstacles in my way, I'm going to go around them, over them or under them but I won't them stop me." Yes, a simple statement of intent is fine as long as there is an intention. This is the road to empowerment.
If you don’t know where you’re headed, you’ll end up nowhere or anywhere . . . but this I know, you’ll never end up where you want to be. You have to start this path with asking yourself some hard questions. In the answers is the focus and direction you need. When you focus on the goal and look at all the details, the direction and the opportunities are more evident.
Within this search for direction, you will find your own answers . . . you are your own wise man.

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