There’s a big hurdle we all have to overcome before starting a business or portable career.
That’s the expectation that, somehow, we’ll be able to find something.
Back in the day, you could find a job by looking in the Help Wanted section of the newspaper (remember that?), seeing something interesting, and applying for it.
Today, not so much.
To create an Anywhereist lifestyle with a portable income, I’m sorry to say you’re going to have to create it, and that takes work. It means digging deep within yourself to figure out what you can offer, and who’s going to benefit from it.
In the past couple weeks, several readers have emailed me with variations on the question of what they can do to earn money online, “as long as I don’t have to learn a lot of new stuff.”
I wish it were that easy. But the reality is, in the world of self employment, you always have to learn new stuff. And nobody’s going to stand at the door handing out opportunity. You have to create it.
And that’s hard. Believe me, I know how hard it is!
Some routes are easier than others. Writing, for example, which is one of the things I know best. But even writers struggle to market their services and earn enough to make it worthwhile. It takes thought and planning to determine where and how to sell your services, and the guts to step out of your comfort zone and do it.
But what, as one reader pointed out, do you do if you’re not a writer or IT professional? What if you’re a carpenter, electrician, plumber, or construction worker by trade? What if you’re a creative, artistic type of person? What if you’re not all that comfortable with a computer?
You have to be even more creative.
Say you’re a retired carpenter and you want to supplement your income. What could you build that would appeal to a specific market made up of people with money to spend?
Well, my son is an avid gamer, and recently he told me that gamers are always looking for new and better tables that accommodate their needs. And since gamers also tend to be computer nerds, they often have a good amount of disposable income.
You could research the subject, design something that gamers would like, and start selling it online. You could make videos and put them on YouTube. . . Spend a few dollars on tightly targeted Facebook ads. . . You wouldn’t even have to put up your own website (although I always advise doing that), you could sell them on Etsy or another online marketplace.
You could offer a DIY alternative — sell the plans so buyers could make it themselves (which would also free you up to travel or relocate if you want).
If you’re a crafter — you knit, crochet, sew, or quilt — you could create things to sell on Etsy, and also sell your original patterns.
Coming up with the idea is absolutely the hardest part of starting a business. Once you do that, you just need to follow a plan. That takes work, of course, but it’s the easy part!