Right [email protected] "Opportunity" for You (Part I)
op-por-tu-ni-ty: 1) a
favorable juncture of circumstances; 2) a chance for advancement
by Lisa M. Roberts
Are you a parent looking for a business
"opportunity" you can manage at home? Something that
pulls in some extra income without pulling too much on your personal
savings account? A work-at-home venture that allows you to be
available to your young children on a daily basis?
Welcome to the world of work-at-home
parenthood. You are not alone. According to IDC/Link, in 1997
there were over 16 million parents of young families working
at home in the U.S. alone. Fast Company Magazine (January
1998) reports over 25 million "Free Agents," including
telecommuters, home business owners, freelancers, consultants
and independent contract workers. And with the advent of the
Internet, the numbers are growing exponentially. By the year
2000, it's estimated that 60% of the workforce will be contract
So where does that leave you?
Still searching for the right work-at-home opportunity, of course!
It's time to put your search
in gear -- and in perspective. First, some perspective. Unlike
traditional jobs, the most promising work-at-home "opportunities"
do not come from someone, somewhere outside the home. They come
from someone inside the home--you! What does that mean?
It means that there's no such thing as a quick-fix, work-at-home
business. Somebody doesn't just give you a job like when you
become an employee in a traditional office setting.
It also means that impulse buying
of somebody else's business isn't the answer either. While the
possibility of selling manufactured products from home (aka MLM
ventures) exist, they are not "opportunities" just
because you buy into them. It takes a cautious analysis of each
venture before determining whether it's truly "a favorable
juncture" for you, or if there's "a good chance
it will lead to advancement or progress" for you.
The truth is, there's no way
around it. As with any worthwhile job search, it all begins with
some serious self-analysis and reflection. Your business "opportunity"
will only come after a careful look at your own special skills,
interests, talents and resources. Sound too complicated? Take
heart. Putting together a professional profile for self-employment
is a lot like putting together a resume for an employee position.
A resume is first a self-assessment
tool, an exercise in gathering your most marketable skills, experience
and education all together in one, straightforward document.
Second, it is a job search tool, a connection between you and
paid employment. The process puts you first, and the
job second. Likewise, when you start looking for the right
work-at-home opportunity, you need to put yourself first,
and the business second.
What do you bring to the entrepreneurial
table that makes you unique? What do you have to offer that others
will pay money for? You may be surprised to find out that many
of the skills that you have been paid for in the past are just
as marketable in a home-based position as in a traditional office
setting. It just takes some time and thought to identify them.
Now, to get yourself in gear!
Here's a creative exercise designed to shift your mindset from
employee to self-employer. You'll notice that it starts off on
very familiar job search terrain -- the Sunday Want Ads. But
before you know it you're in "Free Agent" land! Have
fun and enjoy the brainstorming session!
to Identify Your Most Marketable Skills
1. Open up
your Sunday newspaper
to the Help Wanted Ads and pretend you're looking for a full-time
job in the traditional workplace.
all the ads that you believe you're qualified to apply for. Remember to look not only under "A"
for "Accountants" or "G" for "Graphic
Designers," but under "F" for Financial Institutions
and "P" for "Publishing Companies."
3. With scissors,
cut out the specific skills (words,
phrases, sentences) that you have that these employers are looking
all these scraps of newspaper and put them in a container.
5. Hold the
container. You are holding
your most marketable skills. These are skills employers pay money
for their staff to carry out. They are also skills clients pay
business owners and independent contract workers to carry out!
6. Shake the
container. Pour out all
the scraps of paper on the kitchen table, turn them "face-up"
so you can read your highly marketable skills, and start brainstorming!
(Excuse me? What am I supposed
to do with this "container of marketable skills"?)
them! Type them up, print
the list out, and study each one until you know them by heart.
2. Make a collage!
Glue the newspaper scraps
haphazardly onto a piece of cardboard and tack it on the wall
behind your computer, or on your refrigerator, or wherever your
thoughts usually start collecting.
3. Play a game
with your kids! Glue the
scraps onto a large piece of oak tag, leaving enough space in
between each one to cut out equal squares. Then pair each skill
up with a similar one and color code them (two red, two blue,
two orange-yellow, etc.). Lay out the squares "face-down,"
scramble them a bit, and play a game of "Concentration."
Make sure each player reads each square they pick, whether it's
a match or not. Before you know it, your whole family will have
memorized your most marketable skills too, and you'll have a
few more brains working on your home career search with you!
Do you feel your work-at-home
opportunity starting to emerge yet? No? Don't give up. Turn to
Finding the Right Work-at-Home Opportunity--Part
**Definition of the word "opportunity"
provided by the Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, Copyright
- © 1997 Lisa M. Roberts, all rights reserved. The above article
is an excerpt from How
to Raise A Family & A Career Under One Roof: A Parent's Guide
to Home Business, a title highly recommended by La Leche
League, Home Office Computing and the Family Christian
your own copy today!