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How to Test Out a Freelancing Career to See if It’s Right for You

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Freelancing for additional income streams

My good friend Ashley just started her own small-scale bakery. She loves sweet potatoes, so all of her baked goods are made from sweet potatoes, a very niche focus. (Check out Hey Sweetie on Instagram.)

Ashley began her bakery for two reasons. One, she’s passionate about baking. And two, she knows her current job is not something she’ll be able to physically continue doing in the future.

To supplement for the inevitable, Ashley’s starting now to create additional income streams through various freelancing opportunities. This includes her new home bakery.

Start by keeping it simple

Ashley began her bakery in a simple way. First, she obtained the appropriate business license to be able to bake and sell food out of her home, focusing on baked goods sharing the same main ingredient. Then, she got connected with her local farmer’s market.

At Ashley’s very first market, she sold out of all her baked goods, even though it was the poorest attended market of the year, according to the coordinator. Her product was so successful that several buyers wanted to place orders with her for their Thanksgiving feasts. She was both ecstatic and a bit overwhelmed by the response!

When Ashley and I met for dinner a few days after her first market, she asked me for a few pointers on the things I’ve learned from having my own business. I was happy to share since I was so excited for my good friend.

Now, she’s tweaking her pricing and figuring out the deadlines she needs to set for custom orders, so she can manage her various income streams without being too overwhelmed.

Test the market

What I love about Ashley’s story is she just went for it. She didn’t wait until she had everything figured out to start her bakery. Instead, she tested the market first to see if there was an interest. Testing the market didn’t require a huge investment of her time or money.

Now, she has an idea of how to move forward, while accepting she’ll have to learn some lessons through sheer experimentation. The beauty of having her own thing gives Ashley the control to decide how much or how little of her business she wants to do. She gets a say in how many orders she’ll fulfill at one time, how many farmer’s markets she wants to attend, and how long she wants to continue baking for other people.

Get help

Independent work and “solopreneurship” comes in various forms, such as freelancer, consultant, side hustler, gig worker, or a combination of these. It’s not for everyone, but it’s becoming more common for those who work well independently.

In fact, a recent study shows 58% of workers in traditional settings, who started working remotely during the pandemic, are now considering freelancing. I’ve found this also to be true among many of my newest clients.

Is working for yourself something you’re considering for your own career? If so, check out the various resources below to help you know if it’s right for you, and to help you get started. Because there comes a time when you have to stop thinking about it and stop researching it, and you have to just start, like Ashley did!

But you don’t have to go solo when going solopreneur! paNASH has services available to assist you with starting your own thing. This includes helping you determine if it’s the right career path for you, how to create your brand, how to figure out your pricing and business structure, and more.

For assistance, click here and complete the paNASH intake form. Once you’ve completed the form, we can schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

Resources for starting your own freelancing business

We All Have Something Valuable to Teach and Share With the World

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I’m so fortunate to be blessed with the clients I have. Not only do I get to teach them about the job search and pursuing their passions, they also teach me so much!

For example, I recently was teaching a client how to network and to negotiate salary. We somehow got on the topic of negotiating with car salesmen. She was telling me how much more confident she is at negotiating the price of a new car than negotiating a salary. This is due to her personal experience and lessons learned from buying her own cars over the course of her adulthood. She said she’s gotten really good at it.

I told her I was in the market for a new car, but dreaded the thought of negotiating a deal. She kindly offered to put together a list of tips for me.

I put her tips to practice and was able to get the deal I wanted on my terms, without getting suckered into paying any unnecessary fees. Her tips made me feel so confident and empowered.

When I told her how it went, she was beaming from ear-to-ear. It made her feel the way I feel when I see my clients grow in their confidence. It’s my favorite thing when teaching clients how to market their skill set and negotiate a fair salary. The confidence is a by-product of the coaching program I provide, but I find it to be the most rewarding part of what I do.

Networking is about giving, not taking

When I tell my clients networking is about giving instead of taking, they often feel like they have nothing to give to someone they want to connect with, especially if they’re in a job search to change careers. This is usually because they’re limiting their thinking to just their past professional experience and work skills.

But we all have life experiences and life lessons outside of our work to share and teach others. My client’s experience of buying almost a dozen cars over her adult life taught her valuable lessons she’s able to pass on to others. It’s a great example of how we all have something to offer in networking relationships.

A simple conversation, where you show genuine interest in what others are currently experiencing, can uncover numerous opportunities to be of help. This requires listening more than talking. It means listening for the other person’s need, instead of trying to impress them.

What can you teach?

Now, every time I get in my new car, I think of my client. I think of not just how much money her advice helped me save, but also how she gave me the gift of confidence. This has lasting power, and I will always remember her for it.

The goal of genuine networking is to be helpful, which in turn makes you memorable. The by-products are mutually beneficial relationships lasting over time, increased confidence for both parties, and even some job opportunities and career growth along the way.

You can teach others and be of help to anyone, regardless of how high up they are on the org chart, or how much further along they are in their career than you.

So start asking yourself,

“What’s something I’m personally good at I can teach and share with others to benefit them?”

And when these ways of helping come up naturally in conversation, don’t hesitate to share your advice. You will be remembered for it!

Quote: “The basic idea is that those who help best are the ones who both need help and give help. A healthy community is dependent on all of us being both.” Edward T. Welch

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How Do You Make the Right Choice Between Multiple Job Offers?

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Last week I had a client who landed several interviews and job offers. Once she got past her initial excitement, she admitted some feelings of fear and nervousness.

You might wonder why she’d feel nervous or scared about having numerous opportunities coming her way at once. But these feelings can be normal, especially if you’re not used to it.

My client said this was the first time in her career she’d experienced more than one job opportunity at a time, and she wasn’t used to this unfamiliar feeling of being “in demand.” It was a bit overwhelming to her.

She felt some “analysis paralysis.” She wanted to make “the right choice.” But she also didn’t want to disappoint her networking contacts when turning down the opportunities they led her to.

What would you do in this situation? You might think you’d be ecstatic, but you may experience some of the same feelings she did.

When you find yourself in this situation, there are some things to help you in making your decision. To find out what they are, read on.

The choice between multiple job offers

One thing you need to keep in mind when faced with multiple job offers is, most of the time, there’s no such thing as “the right choice.” Sometimes, it’s just a choice. Each opportunity can have an equal number of pros and an equal number of cons.

Putting pressure on yourself to make “the right choice” can cause undue stress. It can also result in so much analysis paralysis you make no decision at all, and the opportunities pass you by.

Instead of pressuring yourself to make “the right choice,” try to focus on which opportunity will be the most compatible choice.

How to determine the most compatible job offers

Making a choice between multiple job offers requires you to know more than just what’s included in the offers. It also requires you to know a lot about yourself. Things such as:

  • Your core values
  • The future goals for your career
  • Your mission in life

1. Your core values

Knowing what you value most, and what your non-negotiables are, will help you determine if a job offer is compatible for you. You want to compare your own core values with the company’s values to see if they align with each other.

Also, you want to determine if the job itself helps you carry out your core values, either directly or indirectly.

While salary plays a big role in your decision, it’s highly likely other things will be important to you. Knowing how those things align with your core values will help make the decision easier, especially if the salaries are the same or similar among each offer.

Take some time to write down your non-negotiables for your next job. Do this even before you start looking for another job. paNASH’s one-on-one career coaching can help you in clarifying your values.

2. Your future career goals

It’s important to be clear about your future career goals so you’re making decisions on job offers that will move you toward those goals, instead of possibly away from them. Accepting a job offer without the future in mind could cause you to drift off course.

To learn more about setting good goals, subscribe to the paNASH newsletter and receive the free 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

Subscribe & Receive 8 Steps to Purpose & Success

3. Your mission in life

I’ve previously written on the importance of having a personal mission statement. But as a reminder, a mission statement indicates how you plan to carry out your core values and arrive at your future goals, to make a positive impact in the world around you.

It serves as a measuring stick of sorts, and helps you to know what decisions to make. You should give serious consideration to agreeing to the opportunities supporting your mission statement. Opportunities not supporting your personal mission are ones you should seriously question, and likely say no to.

To write your own mission statement, check out the instructions in my previous post entitled, “How to Make Career Choices That Won’t Destroy Your Personal Brand“:

How to Make Career Choices That Won’t Destroy Your Personal Brand

Help in making the most compatible choice

I’m glad to say my client didn’t spend a lot of time stuck in her fear and nervousness about her various opportunities. She was able to make a decision for an offer she says is most compatible with her idea of her dream job.

She attributes this to the career coaching she received:

“I don’t believe I would be in the very happy position I’m in, had it not been for our work together” she says.

If you need help with making sense of the direction of your career, paNASH can help! We can assist you in determining your core values, your future career goals, and your personal mission.

We provide one-on-one coaching services and online resources to ensure you’re making the most compatible and productive decisions for your current and future career. This also includes assistance with salary negotiation.

To schedule a complimentary initial consultation, click here and complete the paNASH intake form.

Pursue Your Passion With paNASH

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How to Tell If a Company Is a Good Fit for You

How to Make Your Big Decisions More Simple

How to Make Career Choices That Won’t Destroy Your Personal Brand

How to Know If You’re In the Wrong Job

 

Think Back to Your School Days to Help You Prepare for Job Interviews

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Recently, I was working with a client to prepare her for some upcoming job interviews. When doing a mock interview with her, I noticed she made the same mistake most people make when answering behavioral interview questions. (She answered in generalities instead of specific examples.)

When I showed her the method she should use to properly answer such questions, she equated it to having to “show her work” like she had to in math class during her school days.

I hadn’t thought about it this way before, but she was right. You can give a good answer to a question or problem. But leaving off the method of how you arrived at your answer doesn’t indicate what you’ve learned. And employers ask behavioral interview questions to see how and what you’ve learned from your past experience.

Show your work in your job interviews

Give specific examples

The best way to stand out in the job interview is to include with your answers how you arrived at them. To do this, it’s often best to share one specific example. Lumping multiple examples into one general answer isn’t quite as effective as the story you tell about a particular incident. This is because details paint a visual picture in the mind of your listener, making you more memorable to him or her.

The above is always true for behavioral interview questions, but can also be true for other common questions like, “What is your greatest strength?” Don’t just say what your greatest strength is. Show your work by giving a specific example of a time when you demonstrated this strength. Paint a picture with some details.

Show and tell

Another way to show your work is to create a professional portfolio of tangible samples of your past work assignments. This can be a hard copy format to take with you to a job interview, and a digital format to link to from your resume or your LinkedIn profile.

When putting together your portfolio, always choose quality samples over quantity. Also, make sure you’re not including anything your current or past employers would deem proprietary or confidential.

Use it to “show and tell” about your skills when answering skills-based interview questions. To learn more about how to present your professional portfolio in an interview, check out the video tutorial, The 3 Super Powers of Successful Job Seekers.

Conclusion

It’s been a while since you’ve been in school. But not much has changed when it comes to having to show your work. Especially when interviewing for a new job or trying to secure a promotion or pay raise. Keeping this in mind when preparing for interviews will help you move forward in your job search and your career path.

If you also have an upcoming interview and would like to receive coaching or schedule a mock interview, click here to complete the paNASH intake form. I’d love to help you land a job offer!

Related resources

Why There’s Always Room for Improvement in Your Career and Your Life

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This week is the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics. My favorite Olympic event has always been women’s gymnastics, with diving being a close second. This YouTube video of what women’s gymnastics looked like in 1936 always cracks me up.

What was once considered impressive, is now funny because it’s sub-par based on today’s competitive standards. But the video is also a reminder of how there’s always room for improvement in our careers and our lives.

The improvements and advancements in gymnasts’ skill levels and techniques since the 1930s didn’t happen overnight. These changes occurred incrementally over time. They evolved as athletes continued to improve and push their limits with the help of their coaches.

How can you find room for improvement in your career and your life?

Do you want to evolve in your career or your life? If so, there are things you can do to create room for improvement. And you can do so over time. In fact, sometimes it’s better to take small steps over an extended period of time. Incremental improvement prevents you from getting overwhelmed, frustrated, and discouraged. It keeps you from giving up too soon.

Therefore, I suggest inserting slightly more difficult challenges into your ordinary routine on a regular basis over time. This may require a little creativity, along with a few steps outside your comfort zone.

The challenges don’t have to be huge. You can begin with something as simple as raising the proverbial bar just a tad bit higher. Once you’ve mastered your new challenge, you can add another small but new twist to your routine.

Looking back

Think about the areas in which you excel. Looking back, can you remember when you first started out in this particular specialty or skill?

Do you now find it funny how what once seemed difficult now seems ridiculously easy? Do you find it interesting how far you’ve come?

When I first started my coaching business, I remember I knew nothing about the logistics of running a business. Now, many of those logistics have become second nature for me.

And when I first began paddle boarding, I remember how slow I was. Then, I increased my speed significantly, especially after getting some training from former canoeing Olympian and pro paddle boarder, Jim Terrell.

Looking ahead

Looking ahead, what’s something creative you can do to challenge your limits and improve your skill set?

For me, I want to do two things this summer. One, I want to read more books to improve my knowledge on the topics of economics and investing.

Two, I want to advance my current communication skills, particularly in the areas of interpersonal relationships, discourse, and even car sales negotiations. I’ve already started practicing the latter with the help of one of my clients. She’s a master at negotiating a fair price for a car. Her tips have helped me so much in shopping around for my next vehicle. I feel much more confident and in control.

Making more room for improvement

Gymnasts improve their skills with the help and motivation of their coaches. My friend who’s a gymnastics coach does this for her athletes. And I do the same for my clients, helping them challenge their limits and encouraging them.

Do you need a coach to help you make room for improvement in your life or career? If so, you can schedule a complimentary initial consultation by completing the paNASH intake form. I’d love to talk with you and see if paNASH’s coaching services are a good fit for your personal and professional goals.

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