Category: Career Advice


How to Know If You’re In the Wrong Job

It’s a New Year. Time for a New Career?

“How long does it take to realize you’re in the wrong job?” 

This is a question I recently came across on Quora. I’ll share my response with you. But first, I want to ask you:

Are you also wondering the same thing?

Or is it already clear you’re in the wrong job? 

Could it be time for a new career for you? 

It’s a new year, so why not a new career?

Especially if you already realize you’re in the wrong job.

The question posed isn’t, “How do you know you’re in the wrong job?” 

Instead it’s, “How long does it take to realize it?”

My response on Quora actually answers both of these questions.

The Quick Way to Know

It doesn’t take long to know if you’re in the wrong job when you spend a few minutes taking some personal (and honest) inventory. 

Here’s an exercise that’s much more effective than a traditional pros and cons list:

First…

Take a sheet of paper and divide it into three columns. 

The first column should include the things you must have in a job (i.e. your “dealbreakers”). 

The second column should be the things you’re willing to compromise on. 

The third column should be the “icing on the cake” things (i.e. things you would LOVE to have in a job, but don’t necessarily need to be content).

Next…

Compare your three lists to your current job. 

Does your current job have at least 60% of the things listed on your sheet of paper? 

Or at least 60% of the things from the “must have” column?

Then…

If not, it’s time to start looking for the right job that matches the majority of those things on your 3-column list.

Need help looking for the right job? Complete the paNASH intake form to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

The 60% Rule

I always tell my clients,

“You should love at least 60% of your job.”

Why?

Because nobody loves 100% of their job 100% of the time, but if it’s less than 60%, you’re in the wrong job or career. 

I once had a client who, when he first came to me, was so miserable in his job that there were some evenings he said he would find himself in the fetal position on his couch near tears at the thought having to go back to work the next day.

After reviewing the results of some inventories he’d done with a previous career coach, I said, 

“Do you realize you only enjoy less than 20% of your current job? No wonder you’re so miserable!” 

Another surprising thing I discovered from the results of his inventory was he has a very entrepreneurial spirit. 

This all came as a shock to him because the results had not previously been interpreted to him in such a way.

Revealing these insights to him with a new lens of “passion” instead of just “job” or “career” opened up a whole new outlook for him.

He’s now been able to make extra money on the side doing the art work he’s passionate about and very talented at, which could possibly lead to his own full-time business as an illustrator and cartoonist, or provide him have the financial means to leave his current job in search of something more fitting with his foreign language skills. (The guy speaks 3 languages, including Japanese!)

https://www.instagram.com/artbyrobert/

 

Where a pros and cons list would’ve been more limiting, my client is instead more diligent in not compromising on his “must haves” and more open to opportunities that meets at least 60% of the criteria from his 3-pronged list.

I’ve personally found the 3-column list exercise to be more helpful than a pros and cons list when it comes to my own big life decisions. 

The benefits are that it helps with analysis paralysis and keeps you from overthinking or second-guessing your decisions.

It also helps you stay realistic when considering different opportunities.

The More In Depth Approach

Another thing that’s helped me personally and also helps my clients is to spend some time coming up with your own personal mission statement. 

This may take a little time to nail down, but it’s well worth it. 

Why? 

Because you can use it as a filter for your decisions.

For instance, my personal mission statement is: 

“To boldly pursue my passions and purpose, and to teach, encourage, and inspire others to do the same, resulting in lives overflowing with joy, peace, and fulfillment.”

When I’m faced with a difficult decision, I look to see if the choice in front of me supports my mission statement or not. 

If it doesn’t, I don’t select that choice. 

This helps me to live authentically and be true to my purpose.

Click here to read more about my process of writing a personal mission statement.

So where are YOU in this all-important decision?

If you know it’s time for a new career, a career coach can help you figure out your options and how to make the transition. 

Don’t wait until the end of 2018 where you’ll find yourself in the same situation. 

Subscribe to my newsletter and receive tips to help you get unstuck and start moving into the right career!

paNASH’s Most Popular Blog Posts of 2017

Check it out! Below are paNASH’s top 10 most popular blog posts of 2017. They include topics such as such as pursuing your passions, career and life advice, interview tips and more.

This past year I’ve been posting my blog entries not only here on the paNASH web site but also to the awesome platform Medium. This has allowed for more reach and therefore the ability to accomplish my 2017 goal of using my business to help more people get unstuck in their careers. 

Please remember to “clap” on Medium for the articles you find most interesting. Doing so allows me to continue sharing my content with you and other readers!

paNASH’s Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2017:

  1. The One Surprising Tip That Guarantees a Good Interview
  2. 8 Simple Hacks to a More Passionate Life and Career
  3. 7 Comfortable and Easy Networking Tips for Introverts
  4. 5 Books That Will Make a Huge Impact On Your Life and Career
  5. What NOT To Do In a Job Interview
  6. Modern Interview Advice to Make You Stand Out From the Competition
  7. How to Think Like an Entrepreneur (Even When You’re Not One)
  8. 10 Lessons I’ve Learned From 10 Years of Freelancing
  9. The Secret to Answering Behavioral Interview Questions
  10. Career Advice No One Will Ever Share With You

Note: If you have trouble with any of the above links, you can view the same articles here on the paNASH blog.

7 Things You Need to Know About Recruiters

Attention job seekers: it’s important to KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!

This is true for anyone (i.e. an artist, a freelancer, etc.). And it’s also true for those hoping to land the job of their dreams.

But one of the biggest mistakes I see job seekers make is not putting themselves in the recruiter’s shoes.

Below I want to teach you what you need to know about recruiters. I want to help you get in their minds so you can succeed in your next interview.

Disclaimer:  the following does not apply to all recruiters.

Let’s jump right in!

Recruiters are not looking for reasons to keep your resume. They’re looking for reasons to throw out your resume.

I always share this whenever I do a resume workshop. I also speak to this in my video guide Resumes That Get You the Interview: Surprising Secrets to Getting Your Resume Noticed. Recruiters will make decisions about your resume based on some of the most nit-picky things.

For example, they might throw your resume out if your bullets from one section of your resume aren’t lined up with the bullets in another section of your resume. This may be especially true if you’re applying for a job that requires you to be detail-oriented. The inconsistency reveals you’re actually NOT detail-oriented.

Other inconsistencies such as not having all your headings in the same font size and format give them a reason to throw out your resume. And of course, so do misspellings and grammatical errors.

Why do recruiters do this? With the volume of resumes received for each job, recruiters have to narrow down their options to something more manageable given all their additional job responsibilities.

How to respond:

Do everything you can to ensure your resume is the best it can be. This means leaving off the things you shouldn’t include and emphasizing the things you should.

To learn more, check out my video guide Resumes That Get You the Interview: Surprising Secrets to Getting Your Resume Noticed.

Sometimes recruiters will make decisions regarding your resume just based on your contact info.

As a result of the above, it’s quicker for a recruiter to just look at your contact info at the top of your resume and make a quick decision.

If your address shows you’re out-of-state, they’ll assume you’ll need relocation expenses covered. And the company may want to try to avoid that added expense if at all possible. So your resume gets tossed.

If you’re address indicates you’re local, this too can sometimes be a liability. For instance, if the recruiter recognizes your street name as part of a more well to-do area of town, the assumption could be the company won’t be able to afford your salary requirements.

How to respond:

It’s no longer required or necessary to have your address on your resume as long as you have your phone number and an email address (one with a professional-sounding handle!).

If you still want to put your mailing address on your resume, I suggest moving your contact info to the bottom of your resume.

Recruiters are no longer as concerned with what looks like “job hopping” on your resume as they once were.

Or at least they shouldn’t be.

But old habits are hard to break, so I’m sure there are some recruiters who still frown upon job hopping.

However, recruiters are now told they need to be more flexible when considering job hopping.

Why? There are a couple of valid reasons.

One, after the economy tanked in 2008, many people who lost their jobs took whatever jobs they could get at the time to survive. As soon as they were able to find better work, they left what they considered to be temporary work. This created some short-term job situations that were not always within the candidate’s control.

Two, most millennials who are now a vibrant part of the workforce don’t typically stay with a job they view as “dead-end” for very long (whether for good or bad).

One recruiter recently told me the average millennial will leave their job within 8-12 months if they’re not happy. (Brett Cenkus might be onto the reason why in his article “Millennials Will Work Hard, Just Not for Your Crappy Job“.)

How to respond:

Relax if you’re concerned about being seen as a job-hopper. It’s not going to be as big of a deal as you think.

And remember, you don’t have to include every job you’ve ever had on your resume. You can just include the ones that are relevant to the position under a heading called “Relevant Experience”

Recruiters can be just as nervous in the interview as you are.

I discussed this in my previous post when I gave a critique of the real interviews featured on CNBC’s new show, The Job Interview.

Recruiters are nervous because they know you’re also nervous. They’re nervous for you because they want you to do a good job. They’re rooting for you.

And they’re nervous they’ll make a costly mistake and hire the wrong person. They’re job performance could be dependent upon their hiring decision.

How to respond:

Acknowledge that recruiters can also be nervous. Doing so will help calm your own nerves too.

Approach the interview in a way that assures them you can do the job and solve the problem they need the candidate to solve in the job. You can do this by providing specific examples of how you’ve solved similar problems in the past.

I teach you the method for doing this in my video guides Steps to Acing the Interview and Reducing Your Interview Anxiety and The 3 Super Powers of Successful Job Seekers: Stand Out Above Your Competition.

Recruiters don’t see your over-qualifications as an asset. Instead, they see them as a liability.

Don’t assume that if the job only requires a bachelor’s degree your MBA will give you the competitive edge.

And if they’re seeking someone with 10 years of experience and you have 15, that’s not going to give you a competitive edge either.

Instead, both of the above will often be viewed by the recruiter as liabilities. They’ll assume they won’t be able to afford you and will move on to the next applicant.

How to respond:

If the job you really want doesn’t either require or prefer an advanced degree, leave it off your resume. Just like you don’t have to include every job you’ve ever had on your resume, you also don’t have to include every degree or certification.

If you have a few more years of experience than what’s required, just say you have, for example, 10+ years for a 10 year experience requirement.

Neither of these responses is considered lying. The goal is to get your resume through the resume filtering software and to secure the job interview. Once you do that, then you can further explain why you’re interested in the job and why you’re willing to work at a lower level to achieve your career goals.

Recruiters will assume you’re not interested in the job or the company if you don’t ask them any questions during the interview.

I’ve said this time and time again, but it’s always worth repeating.

You MUST have questions of your own prepared in an interview. This is necessary for two main reasons:

  1. You have to show you’re genuinely interested in the job. Not asking questions shows you couldn’t care less about it. The offer will always go to the person who’s enthusiastic about the company and the position.
  2. You have to get the answers you need to determine if the job is a good fit for you. Remember interviewing is a two way street!

How to respond:

You can actually WIN the interview by asking the right kind of questions instead of the same old ones other candidates ask. Click here to know what questions you should ask to secure the job offer.

Recruiters do use LinkedIn to find candidates.

People often ask me, do people really find jobs on LinkedIn? The answer is yes. And recruiters often find YOU on LinkedIn because they’re using it daily to search for qualified candidates.

Therefore, the real question is, do you show up in the recruiters’ searches for the type of job you want?

If you’re like most people and all you’ve ever done on LinkedIn is create a profile with limited info and did nothing else with it, your answer is probably no.

How to respond:

You need to fill out your profile in full and make it keyword-rich. Use every field as a potential place to include the keywords you think the recruiter will be searching. (Here’s a hint:  you’ll find those keywords in the job ads of your preferred job.)

But there are other things you can do with LinkedIn to increase your chances of being seen by the right recruiters and finding the job you want. Too many things to cover in this post.

I typically spend a good hour to an hour and a half one-on-one with my clients showing them all they can do with the LinkedIn platform. They’re usually amazed at what all they can do with it.

If interested in learning more about how to use LinkedIn, fill out my intake form at http://bit.ly/paNASHcoachingintake.

Related Posts:

If you enjoy any of the above articles, please show your support by “clapping” for them on Medium! Just hold down the 👏 button with your mouse or thumb. Each clap supports this blog and allows me to continue sharing articles like these. Thanks in advance!

What NOT To Do In a Job Interview

CNBC has a new show called The Job Interview. It exhibits real people interviewing for real jobs with real employers. There are 20 cameras capturing all the nerve-wracking nuances of an interview. And all the mistakes. Those of which you can learn from and not make in your own interviews.

However, if you don’t have the trained eye of a career coach, you probably won’t pick up on many of the mistakes just by watching the show. So, I’ve taken the first episode and broken it down for you to see the little things most job candidates don’t know they’re doing wrong. And to be fair, I’m also pointing out some of the things they’re doing right.

Here’s the 20-minute episode, along with my commentary at various time markers. See if you pick up on the same things I’m noticing. What can you learn from what you see?

job interview

(Sorry, the full episode is no longer available on YouTube. Here’s the link to the on-demand version of the episode.)

What NOT to Overlook (3:06)

One of the qualifications for the job is someone who is detail-oriented. You’ll notice how the interviewers are pouring over the resumes, looking for the smallest of mistakes to determine if each candidate is indeed detail-oriented or not. One interviewer noticed how on one resume the text was off just half a space.

My clients wonder why I knit-pick their resumes. This is a perfect example of why I do. As I’ve said in previous blogs and in my video guides, employers are looking for reasons to throw out your resume. Not reasons to keep it.

What NOT to Wear (4:27)

For the type of job this woman is interviewing, she should really be wearing a blazer over her sleeveless top. Always dress professionally and in a way that is customary to the particular industry.

How NOT to Shake Hands (4:48)

While this candidate is dressed appropriately, he did not give a good handshake. Always give a firm handshake. Anything too limp or too strong leaves a bad impression, as the interviewer indicates.

What NOT to Assume (4:58)

The candidate’s response as to why he gave the female interviewer a gentle handshake compared to the firm one he gave to the male interviewer shows his lack of understanding of business etiquette. In business, gender is neutral.

The other thing this candidate did wrong when beginning the interview is he swiveled and rocked in his chair. You’ll see this mistake a lot throughout the episode from many of the other candidates as well.

If you’re ever offered a seat in a swivel chair in an interview, resist the urge to swivel!

What NOT to Say (5:10)

This candidate starts off strong with her response to “Tell us about yourself,” but almost crosses the line with a little too much personal information.

You want to avoid discussing marital status, children, and other personal matters since it is illegal for the interviewer to ask you for this type of personal information. While her sharing of this info didn’t seem to cause a problem in this case, it could very well be a turn-off for other interviewers because they may fear being accused of making hiring decisions based on the personal information the candidate provided.

What NOT to Ask (5:35)

This candidate says she did her research (like all candidates should), but if you listen to the first thing she said she knew about the company, you’ll see she made her answer all about herself. She talked about how convenient it is for her that the company is located close to her house. You’ll soon see too just how poor of a job she actually did on researching the company!

Another faux pas committed by this candidate is she came out and asked a very personal question of the interviewers. Just like interviewers should avoid asking candidates personal questions, so should candidates avoid asking the interviewers personal questions!

What NOT to Avoid (7:05)

This candidate did a good job of establishing rapport with the interviewers early in her interview.

Be yourself without getting too personal with the interviewer. If it becomes clear in the interview you have some of the same interests in common, feel free to use that as common ground to build rapport with the interviewer.

How NOT to Answer “What do you feel is your greatest strength?” (7:22)

Do you know what each candidate did wrong in answering this question?

None of them gave an example of how they’ve previously demonstrated their strength. Always answer with specific examples, never in generalities. Providing examples makes you stand out in a positive way and makes you more memorable to the interviewers.

How NOT to Answer “What would be your greatest weakness?” (7:30)

So what did all the candidates do wrong in their answers to this question?

They all listed a personality trait as their weakness instead of a skill. Why should you never answer this question with a personality trait? Because personality traits are more ingrained in us, and therefore take a long time to unlearn, if ever. However, a skill is something that can be quickly learned or improved upon.

There are several other ways screw up your answer to this question, and several ways to answer it well. Click here to learn more about how to answer “What’s your greatest weakness?”

How NOT to Behave (8:24)

We’re now about to see how the candidate who said she’d done her research actually did NOT do a good job on her research. She said she doesn’t have the desire to go back into accounting, ALL WHILE INTERVIEWING FOR AN ACCOUNTING POSITION! (REALLY?!!). She didn’t have a clue that the company or the position was related to accounting.

Plus her negative, flippant attitude about the industry and her inappropriate laughter about leaving a previous job were completely out of place and a turn-off to the interviewers.

What NOT to Judge (13:20)

As shown here, interviewers aren’t perfect and they too can make embarrassing mistakes in interviews. Remember they’re human just like you are, so don’t let them intimidate you to the point that you can’t perform and sell yourself to the best of your ability.

In fact, I notice how my clients become less nervous about an interview when I remind them that the interviewers are also nervous. Interviewers are typically nervous about making a wrong decision and therefore costing the company a lot of money, unintentionally letting an illegal or inappropriate question slip out, and making you feel more nervous than you probably are.

Remember that it’s an awkward situation for all involved. Instead, it should be treated as a meeting where the interview is a two-way street (you’re there to ask your own questions too to determine if the job is a right fit for you). Approaching it this way can help you relax.

How NOT to Fail the Test (14:13)

Here you’ll see the third or fourth test the interviewers have given the candidates. Always be prepared for potential tests.

For example, if you’re going into sales, you’ll probably have to sell something to the interviewer. If you’re going into a job that will require you to give presentations on a regular basis, you may be asked to prepare a presentation for your interview.

Years ago, I had a day-long interview where in one part of the afternoon I was given 45 minutes and certain parameters to come up with an idea for a new program that could be implemented throughout the organization. I then had to present on my idea and why it would be a good program for the organization.

I didn’t get the job, and later found out that no one got the job. It made all of us candidates wonder if the company held interviews just to get ideas without having to pay a salary for them. This can and has happened before, which is a very unethical practice on the part of a company. If you ever sense this is what’s going on in one of your interviews, consider it a red flag!

What NOT to Include (14:39)

When given a test, never say, “I don’t like being put on the spot,” like this candidate did.

What NOT to Leave Out (17:04)

This candidate gave a good response to the question of “What would this job mean to you?”

So did the candidate at the 17:15 mark. I liked that she said, “I have a lot to give,” instead of “I feel like I have a lot to give.” “I have” shows more confidence than “I feel like I have.”

However, as the interviewer I would want to know how has she given a lot and been an asset in her past experience? What are some examples of her giving her all and being an asset to her previous company? I’d want to hear stories about times when she’s demonstrated these qualities. Again, these stories are what makes a candidate memorable.

What NOT to Forget (18:18)

Here are the things the interviewers were most attracted to:

  • Positive attitude
  • Someone who “gets it”
  • Someone who “wants it”

No matter how negative of an experience your last job was or your current job search is, leave all negativity at the door. Interviewers can sense a negative attitude very quickly so do what you can to improve your attitude before walking into an interview.

Be the person who gets what the job is about, what the company stands for, and what they’re trying to accomplish. This comes with doing your research and understanding what problem they need the new person in this role to help solve.

Always indicate you want the job you’re interviewing for by coming out and saying so. However, if you don’t really want the job and you’re just interviewing to gain interview practice, this is an unethical practice (just like the one on the interviewer’s part in my personal example above), and therefore you shouldn’t be there.

This may sound harsh, but as you saw, interviewers can be harsh about very small things. I’m trying to help you get into the mind of the interviewer so you can be successful in your next job interview!

How NOT to Overreact (20:26)

Even if you don’t get the job offer, you never know what still may come of your experience. Here, because this candidate showed such a positive attitude, another door has been opened to him. The interviewers are setting him up for an interview with another company they think he’ll be a good fit for.

A friend of mine interviewed for a job and didn’t get the offer. Six weeks later, she got a call from the company asking if she was still interested in the job because the person they originally hired didn’t work out.

Things like this happen all the time which is why it’s important to stay positive, send your thank you notes after your interviews, and be gracious even when rejected. You never know how things might turn around down the road.

More Job Interview Tips

Based on the little edited snippets we saw of the actual interview, they hired the candidate I would’ve hired. However, in episode 2, they chose a different candidate than the one I would’ve chosen. Can you figure out why, based on what you learned above? Watch here and let me know!

For more interview preparation tips, check out the video guides in the Steps to Acing the Interview and Reducing Your Interview Anxiety on-demand program.

If you found this helpful and would like me to do similar commentary on future episodes, let me know in the comment box below!

Related posts: 

The Most Common Mistakes People Make in Job Interviews and How to Avoid Them

The One Tip That Guarantees a Good Interview

I Just Got a Developer Job at Facebook. Here’s How I Prepped for My Interviews, by Andyy Hope.

10 Lessons I’ve Learned From 10 Years of Freelancing

Last week I posted an announcement about the celebration of paNASH’s 10-year anniversary. In it I told how I started my freelance business, the fears I faced in leaving a secure job to go out on my own, and how my business’s mission has evolved.

Today, I want to share some of the freelance lessons I’ve learned over those ten years in working for myself. I hope they will serve as an encouragement to those who are thinking about starting their own thing, are new to the freelancing world, or have been in it long enough to have faced some common struggles.

Freelance Lesson #1

I had to be disciplined. Being your own boss requires A LOT of discipline. Why? Because there’s no one looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re showing up on time or getting your work done. Discipline has always come naturally to me, and I was raised by a former Marine Corps officer who further instilled this trait in me. This is not to say that discipline can’t be learned later in life. But the discipline required to work for yourself will make things easier if you’ve already mastered it through other methods such as playing a sport, sticking with a commitment, etc.

Freelance Lesson #2

I had to use my love for life-long learning. I’ve always loved learning new things. And I realized the need for constant learning when starting a business because “a skill does not a business make” according to my friend and colleague Melody Bowers, co-owner of VirtualCollective.

You need to either already have some business sense, or be disciplined enough (see lesson #1) and have the ability to learn it as you go while managing your other responsibilities. If there’s something you can’t learn, there’s always someone else who has the knowledge you can pay to either teach you or to do it for you.

Freelance Lesson #3

I learned it was normal to question my decision almost every single day. I also realized it was normal to feel like giving up on a regular basis when things got hard. But, once I began working in a way that was true and authentic to my own personal mission in life, those doubts and insecurities started to diminish. I became okay with the discomfort of a process that isn’t linear. Instead, it looks more like this:

freelance lessons

Entrepreneur Darius Foroux further explains the figure above in his encouraging article Don’t Quit When It Gets Hard. I love it when he says, “If you never feel like quitting, that means life is too easy and you need to take action in your life.”

Freelance Lesson #4

I learned I had the ability to figure out the logistics. It turns out the things that seem intimidating at first (i.e. getting a business license, paying for your own health insurance, tracking your income & expenses/P&L, etc.) aren’t really all that scary. In fact, a lot of this not-so-fun part of having your own business is easier than you think.

And Freelancers Union has made a lot of it very simple. They provide tips and resources on the logistics of running your own freelance operation and even provide access to affordable insurance.

Freelance Lesson #5

I learned what I’m worth. The toughest thing for me was figuring out my pricing. At first it was hard to know how much to charge. And even when I thought I knew, I then had to figure out which pricing model worked best. An hourly rate? A day rate? A package or retainer rate?

Like most people first starting out, in the beginning I was devaluing my skills and expertise. But, after I started getting clients and began listening to their feedback on the services they received, I started to better understand my worth.

Yes, it helps to look at your competition and the average rate others charge for the same service or product to get an idea of what you should charge. But, what helped me most was asking current and past clients if they would’ve paid more based on the value they’d already received. To my surprise, most of them said yes, and even some told me flat out I was undercharging.

Now, most people (both potential and current clients) say my pricing is reasonable and fair. It took some tweaking and trial and error, but now my pricing structure is in harmony with the service I’m providing.

Freelance Lesson #6

I learned when to say no. This included being selective of potential clients, turning down certain speaking gigs/presentation requests, not wasting my time with potential contacts who only wanted to talk about themselves but never wanted to listen or make the relationship mutually beneficial, discontinuing professional relationships when trust had been broken, etc.

This is difficult to do when first starting out. Especially when it comes to turning away money. But, I can tell you the times I listened to my gut and turned away the opportunities that weren’t the right fit for my business, I was always glad I did. And the times I didn’t listen to my gut, I always regretted it.

Freelance Lesson #7

I learned not to compare myself with others. My pastor’s wife always says, “Comparing yourself to others makes you either small or smug, and neither of those are good.” I realized because I do what I do in my own unique way, comparing myself to my competition is a waste of time because it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

The same is true for you because you also have your own unique way of delivering your service or product that no one else can duplicate. Instead of comparing, focus on what makes you and your brand solely yours. This is what becomes your selling point!

Freelance Lesson #8

I learned (and am still learning) when it’s time to shift gears. When learning to drive a stick, you start to develop a feel for when it’s time to shift gears. This doesn’t mean you won’t grind your gears on occasion.

The same is true in running a business or working as a freelancer. You’ll start to learn when to give something a little more time to grow before uprooting it. When to pull the plug on what’s not working. And when to simplify if you’re trying to do too much or be too many things.

This type of self-awareness can mean the difference between success and failure.

Freelance Lesson #9

I realized the real risk. At first I thought the obvious risk of starting my own thing was leaving the security of a full-time job with benefits. I was wrong! Since leaving my job at a prestigious university where there were constant hiring freezes and multiple firings, I’ve had more job security than ever before.

I’ve been able to develop the grit and skills required to work for myself and bring in a steady stream of clients, to supplement my income at times when the stream was unsteady, and to eliminate the salary cap I had at my previous job.

The only real risk I faced was potentially losing any or all desire to work for someone else again. Let’s face it. It’s pretty hard to go back to working for someone else after having worked for yourself. But if I ever had to again, I’d be very selective in who I worked for (see Lesson #6).

Freelance Lesson #10

I learned fear is inevitable. Fear is not a reason to not venture out on your own if it’s what you truly desire. Instead, it’s often an excuse. Everyone who’s ever done this has had some level of fear.

Do your research. Prepare (but don’t wait until you feel fully prepared because that will never happen!). Then push through the fear.

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