[Average read time: 6 minutes]
If you want to take your career to new heights regardless of what you do for a living, I have one idea that could work for you…
Start a business.
The most important advice I can give you is choose something you enjoy doing. Don’t focus on the money, just find something you love and create a business around it. If you’re doing what you love, it won’t feel like extra work.
Are you crafty? Sell your hand-made product on Etsy or Amazon.
Can you draw? Offer illustration services to authors.
Don’t have any skills other than Facebook and Instagram? Great! Create Facebook pages for small businesses. Trust me, they will pay for this service.
I met a person that makes roughly $3,000 per month posting on Instagram! Granted, she now has 20,000 followers and charges $15 per post, but that’s not too shabby for posting on Instagram 6 times a day. You could do that on your lunch break or after work.
I won’t waste your time. Let’s dive in!
These are the top 5 ways a side business can supercharge your career.
LEARN NEW SKILLS
After you’ve been in the same career for several years, things can become routine and easy. It’s important to continually challenge yourself and a side business will do just that.
I’ll use my children’s books as an example. I’ve been a financial analyst for nearly a decade, but I decided to try something new.
The logistics, distribution, publishing, and business decisions that have to be made to create a book are things most people don’t deal with on a regular basis. Something as simple as setting a price point can be a challenge in itself. It requires research of the market, competitors, substitute products, as well as a healthy dose of intuition.
Looking at a product or business at this overarching level forced me to become extremely aware of how the various pieces of the product affect and interact with each other. It wasn’t easy, but challenging myself to think differently (creating a book) and learning a new process (publishing a book) has paid huge dividends.
This type of thinking doesn’t normally occur in cubicles. Strategic planning and execution generally happens in the corner office.
Who do you think a company is more likely to promote? Someone that does their job well and stops there, or a person that is continually learning new skills and better understands business processes in detail and at a high level?
The knowledge you will acquire is priceless. These new tools in your tool belt are now at your disposal. With each new tool you add, you become that much more valuable to a company.
If your company doesn’t pay you for that added value, I guarantee there is one out there that will.
It goes without saying, simply trying to create something from scratch forces people to unlock parts of the brain that can go unused. For me, brainstorming abstract ideas, developing storylines, creating the actual illustrations was completely new. This project forced a different type of thinking. It wasn’t formulas in spreadsheets that were important, but rather, the characters’ appearance, their emotions and expressions, which colors contrast best, and so on.
If I had to choose one aspect of creativity that has had the biggest impact on my career, it’s the ability to brainstorm abstract ideas more quickly. Coming up with new ideas used to be difficult for me. Generating ideas for new ways of doing things requires a different type of thought process. The type of thought process that can be learned by anyone if you put yourself in the right environment.
Creativity is a journey, not a destination. The more you expose yourself to, the more frameworks you will understand.
I’m no longer a financial analyst that only thinks in a finance framework – I’m now a financial analyst that thinks in finance, marketing, operations, online optimization, social media, strategy, and various other frameworks.
Can you imagine what could happen to your career if you were the go-to person that could look at problems or processes from different angles and develop creative solutions?
It’s another tool in your tool belt…
You have acquired great new skills and your creativity is at an all-time high – do you know what happens next?
You will walk a little taller. You will know you can take on tasks and projects that others won’t.
It’s nearly impossible to be promoted if you doubt your abilities. The single biggest thing you can do for your career is to find a way to gain confidence.
Be comfortable taking charge and put yourself in the spotlight. Don’t be afraid to take on a tough project. You will do a great job or learn from your mistakes. Either result is better than doing nothing. Do nothing and you’re guaranteed to stay where you are.
Build your confidence. Take a chance. You might be surprised where it takes you…
The only way this happens is if you do something you enjoy. My children’s books were enjoyable because I was really excited to show my kids what I was creating.
Creating my first book had its challenges, but there came a point when I was “good enough” that the process became really fun. It was at this moment that my project began to reduce my stress. I could focus on why I began this journey in the first place – creating a children’s book that my kids would enjoy.
Creating books became a hobby that I could turn to whenever I felt stressed from a busy day of spreadsheets and formulas. Rather than going home to watch TV, I would spend hours at my favorite Starbucks. At times, I would be so “in flow” that hours would pass without realizing it. I’m not suggesting you create a children’s book to relieve stress. I am saying that everyone needs something other than going to work.
For me, it became creating these books, and as a result, I am less stressed. I can bring my best self and maximum energy to work and achieve more than ever before.
If your business revolves around something you love and you have a purpose, you can work more hours and feel more at peace than ever before.
Even though I didn’t begin my journey with a financial reward in mind, it is extremely cool that ANYONE can go out into the marketplace, create a product/service, and generate additional income. There are weeks that I sell only one book and more in other weeks, but that income makes a difference. I won’t be retiring any time soon, but every bit reduces any financial stress that much more.
Imagine the level of focus you could bring to your career if money became less of a concern with each passing day.
What could new skills, increased creativity, more confidence, less stress, and financial peace do for your career?