Julie, a smart professional, realizes she is under-utilized in her job. Because she recently made a major career change, she’s at least three years away from a serious job search because she needs to build up her experience base in her new field.
Julie needs money. She complains bitterly about her debt. She wants to go to nice restaurants, buy nicer clothes and go on some great vacations.
“My employer has strict laws about other employment,” she says. “I can’t have my own clients on the side. And I’m tired at the end of the day. I want to relax on weekends.””
Most of us can empathize with Julie. We’re trained to think of ourselves as employees. We’re conditioned to fill the needs of our day job.
Mainly, we wait for assignments.
Moving to the next level means giving yourself assignments.
Willie Crawford flew cargo planes for the Air Force for 20 years, but he knew he wanted to start an Internet business. He started his first website while he was still in the military. Now his Internet business brings him millions of dollars.
Mike Woo Ming started an Internet business while he was a medical resident. He too is an Internet millionaire.
Martha Stewart began writing a book while she was still serving time in Federal prison. She wasn’t young (in her sixties) and, like all inmates, she had to work during the day.But every evening, while her fellow inmates relaxed or watched television, she typed. (If I read correctly, the prison didn’t have computers so she actually typed up her manuscript on a typewriter.)
A writer I know began planning for his business career while in the military. He asked to be assigned to Contracts, although this branch of service doesn’t lead to fast promotions and glory. He got licensed to fly a plane and sell real estate. When he retired, he was ready.
Jane Trahey ran her own advertising agency many years ago. On the side she wrote a cookbook, a humorous book that became a movie and more.
OK, I can hear you saying, “Those people are exceptional.” Indeed they are. They’re more famous and/or successful than most.
But thousands of other lesser-known, lower-achieving people are making sure they use their evenings and weekends productively. They learn languages, create sculptures and novels, write books, conduct research, study for new degrees and a whole lot more.
Julie needs to get out of her “do what you’re told” employee mindset. She can find a way to start a side hustle without violating her employer’s rules. For instance, she can find clients in a field that’s completely unrelated to her employer’s market.
If Julie’s company is so strict that she can’t do anything besides her full-time company job, her priority needs to be, “Find a job in another company.”
If she can just serve a new market, she could become a concierge, an Internet marketer (maybe starting as a Virtual Assistant), a pet-sitter, a communications consultant…you name it. She needs to remember that job titles don’t matter on self-employment. If you’re a self-employed dog walker, you’re a business owner and you’ll be respected accordingly.
As long as Julie keeps her weekends and evenings free to relax and have fun, she doesn’t have to go anywhere. She’d probably find that an entrepreneurial spirit pays off on her day job as well. She will think differently and attract admiration, which leads to better assignments, a faster track and today’s holy grail: marketability.
So begin today by giving yourself an assignment. It might be, “Create a blog and write 3 posts.” It might be, “Write a book and promote it on kindle.” It might be, “Take an entrepreneurship course at the community college.”
If you need help coming up with an assignment, I’m happy to work with you. Learn more here.
You can follow the stories of 12 people who made the transition from corporate life to self-employed business owners. Learn more here.