"Help! I want to do something different. I just don't know what that is."
Who hasn't found themselves in this (very common) sitch? NO-ONE, that's who!
To get the ball rolling, try these thought starters for size:
What skills do i have?
What is your current skill set? What do people currently pay you to do and how could you break that down into lots of different skills you can sell?
For the purposes of this exercise, don't think about what you'd like to be doing. Think about the skills you already have and really break them down into the smallest parts. (Do a Skill Audit here).
Examples might include:
I'm a PR. I can offer PR, copywriting, marketing, social media, content, strategy, public speaking training, coaching, ghost writing, LinkedIn thought leadership pieces. I could also help others write presentations and speeches with this skill set.
I'm a project manager. I am great at organising people, managing lots of different moving parts, managing stakeholders, cash flow, ensuring budgets run on time and am definitely a people person. I could also organise events with this skill set.
I work in a cafe. I have customer service skills, can make coffee, money management, experience working with tricky customers, managing multiple demands, organising events, ticketing and ensuring everything runs smoothly. I could also manage talent with this skill set.
what are my 'you should' SKILLS?
We've all been told by well meaning family and friends that 'we should....' get into X industry, Y job. What are these statements that people have told you over time?
Has a family member ever told you you'd make a great counsellor? Do others open up to you without prompting and say you're a great listener? Do you have great style? Do others tell you that you should be a stylist or interior designer? Do you have a knack with getting out of parking fines? Do people marvel at your ability to diffuse conflict?
If they are telling you these things, look past the actual job and into the skill set that's behind that. What is the skill they see in you that you perhaps take for granted because it comes so easy to you?
Write down that these are and then a few skills that they are associated with.
For example, I have been told I 'should':
Be a teacher / speaker / communicator. The skill set that others saw in these suggestions was confidence speaking in front of an audience. I took for granted that everyone felt comfortable in front of an audience so thought nothing of it. I have found that people will now pay for that skill, when teamed with relevant content (see my PR skill set above), in a way that is tied to a topic I am knowledgeable and passionate about (see below).
If you've not experienced this phrase before, a really good place to start is the 'I Want List' - where you can, in private, map out what you actually want in life.
WHAT ARE MY NERDOUT TOPICS?
We all hear we should 'do what we love'. Don't do that.
Do what you're good at (see section one: money making skills) - and then pepper that skill around the topics you love and people you want to help.
What topics can you read until 3am on Facebook without losing interest about? What things make you happy when you're not at work? What do others roll their eyes about when the topic comes up because you're such a super nerd on it?What pisses you off about your industry?
- I love Beyonce. Clearly I'm not going to get paid to talk about her (YET, I AWAIT YOUR CALL, BEYSUS), but I can pepper my fandom into my Happiness Concierge content as an example of someone I admire.
- Health and fitness: I've burned myself out three times so I am a super nerd on preventative health. Working out, eating well, not drinking, not smoking anymore, sleeping a shit-tonne. I could read about this stuff all day. I can collaborate with brands and people who value this stuff in an authentic way because it's my jam.
- Burnout: it really pisses me off that young men and women are frying their little brains out over work. Work is work - it's not your life. I'm so pissed off that I wrote a presentation of tactical how to's to help others avoid a really depressing situation and now people pay me to present this workshop across Australia and New Zealand. I also wrote a piece for B&T Magazine challenging employers to quit burning their people out. People took notice and now it's a product I sell.
Now you should have a list that looks like this:
Skill: PR, copywriting, training, presentations.
Other's skill: Teaching, communicating, stage, talking.
Nerd topic: Health and fitness.
Industry frustration: Burnout.
Ideas for how my core skills could be used in a new light:
- I'm good at speaking. I could do talks on avoiding burnout. I could ask a few of my clients to have me talk to their team about how to avoid this. I could use this as an opportunity to test it and see how I like it, what the feedback is and what value participants found.
- I like writing. I could write about burnout from my own experiences from crying at Beyonce to realising I wanted to become a motivational speaker. I could email a few media outlets to see if they'd like to read my work or just start a blog on Medium to get my tone of voice spot on.
- I'm into fitness. I could talk to my local gym about creating a workshop that would help their members get more out of their time at the gym. I could also reach out to a local fitness brand and chat about whether we might look at doing something together.
Start small, start something, start NOW.
Like, right now.