My first two posts on Career Dreaming revolved around traditional software sales, but that will probably be the extent to which I write about that topic. Rob is more experienced in that field and I think he is already providing great content. For the remainder of my posts on here you will mainly hear about me discussing entrepreneurship, non-traditional sales and the idea of passive income.
Go back and take a look at my previous two posts – why you should and why you shouldn’t get a career in software sales. For me, at the end of the day the stresses that came along with the job outweighed the money and didn’t align with my long-term goals. Having said that, I would HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend sales to anyone and everyone at some point in their career.
As for me, I clearly remember the day sitting in the Empire State Building (LinkedIn’s New York City office), staring at an excel sheet of a couple thousand prospects and thinking to myself that I couldn’t do this much longer. It took my four whole years working in sales to realize that what I really wanted was to work for myself. That’s when I began to formulate a plan of how I was going to get out.
Quitting your job is not something to take lightly and not something that should be done in haste. Instead you should take time to formulate a plan of exactly how to leave, and more importantly how to not tarnish your professional brand. I will be explaining over my next couple of posts how to do this, but for the purpose of today I want to share some of the options I found for careers that allow you to work for yourself if you’re not ready to jump into another corporate career.
In future articles I am going to deep dive into each of them, but for now you can see the basics below.
This is my personal favorite so I wanted to start here. There is so much great content online that you could spend days reading, but here is the just of it. Amazon marketplace sales accounted for 40% of their revenue in 2015, which is roughly $40 billion (yes with a b) – meaning people are buying anything and everything. Many individuals and businesses are taking advantage of this by finding under-served niches and making small changes. For instance, a spatula with a longer handle to keep your hand from burning and connecting with buyers.
You can do this by essentially creating your own online retail store within Amazon, sourcing product via an overseas manufacturer through a marketplace like Alibaba.com, then marketing yourself through Amazon’s self-serve advertising platform. If you really want to streamline the process you can use Fulfillment By Amazon to let them handle all of your shipping, returns and customer service.
This is another opportunity that many people looking for occupational independence do not immediately think of. If you’re an Engineer/Developer/Programmer I would hope that you’re able to find work. This space is geared more towards the person who doesn’t have technical chops (like me).
My favorite place to find/hire freelance work is without a doubt through www.upwork.com. The best part is that you really don’t need experience to do a lot of the work that is being asked, like online research, customer service or admin support. Additionally, I’ve always found this to be a great opportunity to show that you’re willing to do some of the “grunt work” and end up growing with that specific employer to gain new skills. Additionally, it’s a great way to get exposure to a number of different companies since it is usually on an hourly short-term basis.
As an example, I hired a freelancer to do web research and find specific contacts at companies for my sales lead list. He proved over and over again that he was capable of following directions so when I needed help with social media management and copy-writing I turned to him.
This is another subject that I think has a lot of great content online, but the crux of it is promoting specific products/services in exchange for a financial gain. For example, if I told you the best way to start working for yourself was to eat a Twinkie every day and provided a link for you to buy them through my site, I could be compensated every time you bought them through me (or some other measurable advertising metric).
A lot of what you’ll read online is probably negative, but I would disagree. Sure, the days of starting a blog aren’t as lucrative of a space as it would have been back in 2005, but there is still a lot of opportunity. My advice would be to start writing about something that you’re passionate about (Weather, Dogs, Entrepreneurship, etc.) and seeing where it goes. If you’re not into writing, there is LOTS of money to be made through Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and so on. My advice would be to start now and just see where it takes you.
Maybe once you put out some good content and hire a freelancer for some seo (see what I did there?) you’ll start to see consistent traffic to your website/blog. At that point you can start to think about your options for monetizing.
I use the term “Silicon Valley” because I think that’s something that anyone reading this will understand and probably the first place your mind goes when you hear the term “entrepreneur”. Facebook, Google, PayPal and Snapchat are probably a couple of the companies you think about, but that’s not what I’m referencing here.
I’m talking about a simple turnkey solution, preferably with a recurring subscription that will make you consistent money in a space that has already been validated. What does that mean? Don’t try to change the world… yet. Instead, look at industries you already know and build something that will serve a market you know exists. Here’s an example: You graduated from college with a degree in Biology but realized that isn’t what you want to do for the rest of your life. So start up an online tutoring portal that summarizes the textbooks into something we can all understand, make it subscription based and market it to your alma mater. Then change the world once you have stability.
Those are my favorite four, but obviously you could make the case there are more. Feel free to drop me a note at [email protected] if you have questions, or want to add to the conversation.