Your Career: Not a 9-5

Many people are content with a corporate job — punching in and out every day, getting a paycheck from “the man.” But if you’re one of the many who want something different in a career, you may be wondering what to do, where to start, and how to advance. Rest assured you’re not alone, and there are plenty of people and resources out there to help you.

Starting Your Own Business

If your dream is to have your own business, welcome to the club! While there is a lot to consider, many have gone before you, and succeeded. Here are some questions to ask yourself to get you started:

  • What will you do? Is it sustainable long-term?
  • Will you work by yourself, or will you need partners or employees?
  • How will you get paid?
  • Where will start-up money come from? Will you need a loan?
  • Will you work out of your home, or will you need a physical location? How will you pay for the associated expenses?
  • How will you let the world know about your business? Who is your clientele?
  • How will you deal with customer/ client concerns?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you may be ready to get going. The Small Business Administration and SCORE can help you along the way, especially if you need to create a business plan and get a loan. They can answer many of your questions, and you can even arrange to meet with someone to go over your specific plans and goals.

Independent Representatives – Multi-Level Marketing

While in many ways being an independent representative is owning your own business, there are some different differences. For one, you’ll be affiliated with an existing, established business – a business that may supplement or completely fund your salary. There will also be a set structure in place that determines how much you make, how you can progress and advance, and what you will sell or promote. The good part is that you control your success. You can go as far as you want, and you determine your own schedule. Keep in mind, however, that these arrangements usually involve a start-up cost.

You’re likely familiar with many companies that involve independent representatives: Avon, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, Tupperware, etc. You can ask others you know who are involved with these companies or visit the companies’ websites to get more information on how to join. As with starting a business from scratch, consider what kind of company you would want to stay with long-term, and what products or services align with your interests.

Work From Home

Working from home is becoming increasingly popular, and there are several different formats that can fall under this category. You may own your own business, work for someone else but determine your own schedule, or work for someone else on a set schedule. Some jobs from home will require conference calls or regular reports in, while other jobs will just require the completed project. You may even get a job working from home that requires a separate phone line and computer system for the job — and you answer customer calls and act as someone in an office would.

If you’d like to work at home as an independent contractor with your own business, you can post your services online at sites such as Upwork or create a profile on LinkedIn. To find a position with a particular company, you can do an online search through job search sites or general search sites, or you can contact companies directly and ask if they hire work-at-home employees.

Creative Jobs

Actors, dancers, artists, photographers, writers — if you’re creative, your talents may not lead to a  “normal” job. You may be hired for particular projects or jobs rather than ongoing employment. You may choose to be associated with an organization or agent that can get you jobs, or you can go out on your own and make a mark. It’s not an easy path, but if you’ve got the passion and discipline, you can certainly succeed. The toughest part will be getting your name out there so you can get clients and jobs. Be sure to advertise and, if appropriate, join professional organizations that can help you on your path. Networking can be your friend! You can also look into sites such as the previously-mentioned Upwork, or search online for job boards specific to your industry.


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