A Case for Treating Your (Professional) Life Like a Business

August 26, 2013 Permalink

As a business school graduate, I have a very business oriented mind. I see business in everything; opportunities are at every corner, and there is undeniable opportunity for growth if you are willing to put in the work and strategize.

I think this is the case for your life, too. Rather, your professional life; business has it’s place, and it’s place is not in your marriage or with your kids and friends.

Here’s why I think you should treat your professional life like a business:

Marketing Yourself

Your ability to make money, especially doing something that you enjoy, hinges almost completely on your ability to market yourself. Whether you work for yourself or a company, you need to know how to put yourself out there and present yourself and your skills to get the best of the best.

professional ecard funny

Marketing covers potential customers as well, not just current customers. This means that you need to be constantly marketing yourself to your network. I use LinkedIn, and ensure that I’m always professional on it. I don’t add friends to my LinkedIn unless they are also a professional contact, because LinkedIn is not Facebook and should not be treated like Faecbook.

Customer Service

If you work for yourself, the customer service part is obvious; you must provide good customer service to your clients.

If you work for a company, your customers are your bosses, direct reports, and whomever works with you. Provide only great customer service to these individuals.

As a professional, this can also extend to your network. If you help people out when they ask for assistance (looking over people’s resumes, providing contacts, providing feedback), they are more likely to help you out when you need it. There comes a time in almost every professionals career when they need help with something.

Finance

All businesses have a financial aspect, and your professional life should too. Don’t work in finance? That’s fine. You still have a financial aspect.

This could be part of your marketing of yourself (how much money did you save the last company you worked for?) or part of your customer service. Businesses (including your own, if you work for yourself) are in it for the money. You should be finding ways to save them money.

Finance is metric orientated, so make some metrics for yourself and demonstrate how you’ve reached them.

You also need to be negotiating your wages for every company you work for, and every contract you pick up if you are self employed. Get the best price for the service you offer.

Human Resources

Since your professional life is your own, you need to ensure that you have adequate work/life balance, compensation, benefits, and that you feel comfortable and that you “fit” with the jobs you are picking up.

Don’t work for a company that you don’t like. This will reduce your morale which will make you market yourself poorly. You must be choosy with your job (but don’t throw in the towel too soon, either, as this can be just as damaging to your reputation as low morale).

Management

Self management and leadership is a good indicator of whether or not you would make a good leader and manager of other people.

If you can manage yourself well, you’ll be more successful in your professional life.

 

Success is almost always a derivative of your reputation (and hard work, of course). If you treat your professional life like it’s a business, your reputation will precede you.

Alternatives to Quitting Your Job

August 23, 2013 Permalink

So you don’t like your job. That’s a common theme in the realm of personal finance; that’s generally what makes people strive for financial independence.

It seems like it’s trendy to hate day jobs and the corporate world nowadays, and people are dropping like flies to move to greener pastures – ie, working for oneself (a trend that I’m definitely not willing to hop on any time soon for many, many reasons). Too often, however, these people are quitting without a plan, without an income, and without a clue.(Tip: if you are thinking of starting your own business then do some research into online business sites like http://www.sundocumentfilings.com/ so that you’re well prepared for the legal and financial aspects.)

work for yourself meme

They say quitters never win, so I think there should always be an attempt to salvage your job before throwing in the towel. There are various ways to do that exact thing.

Switch Jobs

I don’t know why this doesn’t seem more obvious to some, but if you aren’t happy where you are, switch jobs. Whether it’s within the same company you’re currently working for, or a different field all together, why not try something else? That way, you’re gainfully employed but perhaps much, much happier.

Still don’t like it? At least you tried.

Go Part Time

Everything is more bearable in small doses. Why not request part time hours or switch to a part time job? That way, you can work part-time on whatever you’d be doing if you quit, thereby building up that venture so you eventually can start making a sustainable income from it?

At least part-time employment means that you can maintain your employment benefits (all of which you should be using, by the way).

Confront Why You’re Unhappy

I maintain that if you’re unhappy doing something, it’s most likely (but not always) because you are doing something wrong. You control your environment a lot more than you may realize. If it’s a co-worker that is treating you badly, that’s partially your fault – you need to learn how to play the game and confront the co-worker in a productive way in order to regain control over your working life.

Don’t like your job because you just don’t like it? Try adjusting your attitude first, and you may find that you enjoy it a lot more.

Request Different Work Hours

Believe it or not, the hours that you work may make a huge difference in your attitude about work. If you resent work because it takes too much time away from your family, ask your boss if you can start coming in earlier or work some hours from home. Many workplaces offer flexible work schedules.

Get a Side Hustle

Hate your job because the work just doesn’t fulfill and challenge you? You don’t have to transition into full-time self employment (or no employment) right away. Why not pick up a rewarding side hustle and maintain your job?

Sure, you’ll work more often because you’ll have a full-time gig and a side hustle, but you’d be working double time if you worked for yourself anyway, so why not?

I think side hustles are awesome, and in fact, I made an extra $3500 from mine (on top of my job income) from my this past month.

 

See? Quitting your job is not the only way to deal with being unhappy in it.

 

I Doubled My Income (Using Side Hustles)

August 19, 2013 Permalink

I doubled my income in the past month. Every time I post about my online income, I get what seems like a thousand different comments and emails asking how I did it. 

Cat with money

To answer that question up front, there is no one, singular way that I achieved this. I can tell you that I work hard, and I work almost every single day. I am creative in how to expand my portfolio and I am driven. I embrace my motivation when I have it. You will not be successful in making extra money if you do not work hard at it.

Now that we got that out of the way, onto the meat of what you actually came for:

Those who know me know I have a lot of side hustles. I like making money, because I like to spend money. During this past month, despite being on vacation for at least half of it, I doubled my income.

This is a goal that I’ve been hovering around for a couple of months but have never quite hit. In fact, at the beginning of the year I posted my yearly plan that had indicated that my goal was to make only $1000 above and beyond my income each month. I updated on that goal (and how I was usually surpassing it), and I had to bump up my goal to $1500 in extra income per month in order to challenge myself. I’ve surpassed that in the past month by over $1100 online alone. 

My online side hustle income alone (excluding my day job and any money from passive income streams) was $2651.61.

Add the money I got from other passive income streams, my babysitting gig, and a couple of other little stints, I made an extra $3509.18 over and above my day job. I did this a few different ways:

– Online work (commenting, staff writing, ghost writing) for various bloggers and websites - $1,222.38

– Blog activity (Adsense, advertising, affiliate, blog consulting, etc) – $1129.95

– Passive income- $750.00

– Babysitting – $200

– On/offline referrals/affiliate - $206.85

Will I be able to keep this up next month, and the month after? I’m not sure. I hope so. If I want to, then I’ll have to ramp up my online income by taking on even more clients, as I am working on quitting my babysitting gig.

As much as I love the kids that I watch, I feel like there’s more potential in growing affiliate income and working on building my consulting portfolio than there is with babysitting. I only charge $12/hr which is a fraction of what I make online, and I’m sure the parents will let me watch them occasionally when I need my cuteness kick.

I’d also like to start up a niche site eventually. I have a lot of fun with blogs and growing them, and I want to be able to do what I’m passionate about when I hang my hat from my day job each day.

To make extra money, especially in the competitive online landscape, you have to reach out. Develop coalitions. Approach potential clients. There are so many people out there that do what you do, that you have to convince them that you do it best. Work hard, and, yes, work for free for the first little while. Nobody is going to trust you to do a great job if you don’t have something to show them to prove that you’ve done a good job in the past.