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I know what it feels like to be stuck in a career and not have any room for growth or a fair evaluation of your efforts within the company. Although I had what many people would perceive as a successful career in public relations, I felt a prolonged progression in my promotions, a lack of opportunities to grow in other areas of the field and not a great work/life balance. I started to lose a sense of determination in my work. My personal story began when Covid-19 first hit; like many people, I lost my job, which left me in a whirlwind of confusion and heartbreak.
How I got unstuck
I had a moment to sink in the fear of job security but then realized I was luckier than most. I was already working on my side hustle with freelancing which was making more than I was making at my full-time position, and I was able to keep that up while I tried to figure out what my next move would be. Would I continue to just freelance and maintain, or would I push myself to do more?
My next move came sooner than I realized. After all, at the time of the pandemic, I possessed a skill many companies needed most — public relations. I realized that this skill allowed me to work from anywhere. In the past, my personal success was hindered in this area, thanks to a full-time job that ate up a lot of my time with commutes and late nights. I realized I had enough clients to get going, with eight customers that quickly grew to 15 in just a few weeks, ranging across a plethora of industries. Things went so well that in the time of a global pandemic, a young 29-year-old female was able to create a growing business.
This is something I never contemplated and didn’t think was possible just three years ago, but now it is a reality with over 25 people on my team and counting. When opportunities come your way, and you realize people want what you offer, you simply don’t turn that down. You acknowledge this as a sign it’s time to grow, your time to live into your potential and to take that leap in creating a business. These opportunities are coming your way because people are gravitating to what you offer. You need to invest in your vision and potential to realize you found something unique and something that companies want. This all starts with believing in yourself.
How you can do it, too
Some of the most frequent questions I receive are: “how did you change your work situation?” “how did you start your side hustle?” or “how do I market my skills?” As someone whose primary mission is to make an impact on others, I am here to help. Now I realize that many people are feeling stuck in their careers, and in the time of the “Great Resignation,” I want to guide you to feel less trapped and put you on a path where you can recreate your career. Here are my eight tips for getting started:
Remember we have more opportunities than ever: There are more avenues now than ever to pick up a side gig and work on it from the comfort of your home. This makes recreating your career and focusing on the work that makes you happy easier than it’s ever been.
Take the time to create a list of what skills you possess, are great at and love doing: Often jobs have us doing numerous tasks. Some we are great at, and other ones we wish were better at or just don’t like doing at all. You may simply not have had the opportunity to hone in on certain talents. Now you have the luxury of getting to focus on what you are great at and monetizing that skill. If you don’t have a skill that you’d like to hone in on yet, no worries! Many sites offer courses that are free or at minimal cost so that you can gain critical knowledge to create your new side hustle!
Register for freelance sites: Join freelance sites like UpWork, Fiverr, ThumbTack, Freelancer, etc. Take a scroll through the types of jobs on their sites, then finalize which area you would like to focus on.
Create a pitch about yourself: Many of these freelance sites will ask you to write about your accomplishments, skills and share your job qualifications on your profile page. It can be awkward for some people to boast about themselves, but if you don’t share all the fantastic things you did, no one will know. Learn to be your own publicist. Be sure to include what you can do for prospective clients on your profile page and show previous success stories.
Draft a template cover letter: You can quickly modify a cover letter for different proposals you want to apply for and make simple edits per job posting. This will save you a lot of time.
Ask for reviews or referrals: On these sites, you can boost your chances of getting opportunities by asking peers, previous companies you’ve worked for or other side gigs you’ve had in relevant spaces to get their review of you on the platform. This builds your credibility and also builds potential clients’ confidence when deciding whether to talk and eventually hire you.
Research price points: When putting yourself out there, there is always the question of how much you should charge for your skillset per hour or per project. On many of these sites, you can do some analysis of what others are charging for similar fields. Starting a little lower at first can help you break through to start building your freelance roster, and once you have a couple of reviews of current clients under your belt, that’s when you can move the needle up.
Start applying and putting yourself out there: Once you find a side gig or two, you can really craft yourself, put your passions outside of your current career and start honing a path for yourself that will make you happy.
Whether you want to try this until you find your next job, need extra income or are considering freelancing as your new full-time job for more flexibility, these eight tips above will help you succeed. As Christopher Robbins says, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”