The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

March 7, 2013

To strike out on own, look at market needs and network

QUESTION: I was laid off a few years ago. Since then, I’ve been able to find some short-term work, but nothing permanent. I think my age is working against me. I’ve given up looking for a job and have decided to just go out on my own. What tips do you have so that I increase the odds of being successful?

ANSWER: Structure, discipline and optimism are all called for in this situation.

A long layoff can be very disheartening, so first bring yourself to a state of mind where you’re feeling good about a new start. Let go of leftover anger or frustration related to the layoff and unfruitful job search; focus on your breathing, moving into a grounded state in which you can explore ideas for the future.

Your first decision is whether you want to do something entirely different, or build on your past experience. The former is a harder road, but may be worth it if you’ve had a dream; this could be your chance to try it out. This column focuses on ways to use your past experience to create a new job for yourself.

To start, make a list of all of the assets that you’d bring to the market. Break down your former role into its component parts - planning, people management, project scoping, ensuring quality implementation of plans, and any other key areas. Note which are particular areas of strength and interest.

Next, assess the needs in the market. For example, do many companies have a gap in people who can create a complete and actionable project plan? In that case, this could be a service that you emphasize as you look for opportunities.

As you get started, I’d recommend finding an adviser such as an accounting firm that can help you make decisions about organizational structure (whether and how to incorporate, for example) and tend to your business taxes.

Continue your exploration of market needs, meeting with potential clients to listen, learn about their pain points, and suggest ways in which your services could help. For example, if they are talking about a surge of work that they aren’t staffed for, you could raise the possibility of a contract relationship that saves them from adding permanent staff. Your goal is to open doors to additional conversations and future options, so don’t be discouraged if these meetings don’t yield immediate work.

Networking will be key to finding opportunities - if you haven’t been doing that, you need to start. Talk to people you know, even if they aren’t likely leads, to ask them who they know. Go to professional organization meetings and talk to folks. If you’re an introvert, this may be challenging, but it’s essential to your success.

Create the infrastructure you need to deliver once you have a project. This may include access to technology, equipment or qualified subcontractors.

Don’t ignore your health - exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep so that you can stay the course. Also remember to have fun; structure your workday so it isn’t 24/7.

Let the process of creating your new venture be energizing; it’ll help lead to success.

Liz Reyer is a credentialed coach with more than 20 years of business experience. Her company, Reyer Coaching & Consulting, offers services for organizations of all sizes. Submit questions or comments about this column at www.deliverchange.com/coachscorner or email her at l lizdeliverchange.com.

1
Text Only
Business
  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.

     

    July 31, 2014

  • Fancy management systems won’t fix bad managers

    In violation of my long-standing “only watch TV” rule, I read an article recently about how Zappos is adopting a management structure known as holacracy.

    July 30, 2014

  • Your Office Coach: Supervisor-employee boundaries must be honored

    QUESTION: Two weeks ago, my husband “Barry“ unexpectedly came home from work with a large flat-screen television. He explained that one of his employees gave it to him as repayment for a loan. I was shocked, because I had no idea that Barry was lending people money.

    July 29, 2014

  • Silly mistakes that sink job applicants

    Some employers won’t care - or won’t catch them - but mistakes in word usage can put your application in the reject pile.

    July 29, 2014

  • Watercooler: Raised to the roof

    Q: Over 15 years, I have worked my way up the corporate ladder with the same organization. I have been given a raise every year and excellent reviews, as well as several promotions.

    July 25, 2014

  • Career Coach Q&A: job search follow-up; introverts as leaders

    Starting a business:

    Q: I have a stable job that I don't hate, but I have an idea for starting my own business.

    July 25, 2014

  • How to become a leader

    QUESTION: I’ve just been promoted into a leadership role. I’m excited, but also kind of overwhelmed. What do I need to do to be good at my new job?

    July 24, 2014

  • Balancing Act: How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

    Todd Paton has a booming business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

    July 23, 2014

  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

Business Video
Stocks