Last week I received an email from a woman who’s been unemployed for several months and is worried about losing her home. My heart goes out to her and the thousands of people who are in the same situation, struggling to make ends meet. As I considered her challenge, I suggested several things that might help. This week I thought I’d share the ideas in case you, or someone you care about, need help.
Goal – Bring in money as soon as possible. This goal is not only designed to help pay the bills, but also to raise self-esteem. It’s very difficult to search for a job when you feel defeated and unworthy. Earning money quickly raises the confidence necessary to put yourself out there in a strong and bankable way. Here are three steps that can help you fulfill this goal:
Step #1 – Uncover a bankable skill. We all have skills that can be used by others – all of us. You’ll want to identify a skill you can use to make money asap. To do this, answer three questions:
1. What are you really good at?
2. What do you enjoy doing?
3. What have others acknowledged you for in the past?
Here are a couple of examples:
You might be good at organizing and you might find that you enjoy making order out of chaos. In the past, your friends may have acknowledged how organized your home looks, or how neat your office seems to be every time they visit. Or, you might be good at landscaping and you may enjoy keeping your yard well groomed and attractive. In the past, neighbors may have commented on how impressed they are with your ability to grow flowers or shrubs.
The answers to these questions reveal clues to a bankable skill – something others might pay you to do for them. Other bankable skills include:
When I was starting my business and struggling to pay rent, I used my ability to type 90 wpm to support me. I was a strong typist, I enjoyed the work, and people often commented on how quickly I typed. I offered my skills to small business owners, local universities, and friends and family, and it helped pay the bills.
Step #2 – Set the right price. Over the last few years I’ve kept track of the services that clients and friends have performed for a fee. And I’ve kept track of the hourly rates. This information always comes in handy when coaching people on Facebook or on my radio show. The hourly fees for most of the bankable skills listed above ranged from $10 an hour to $75. And here’s the thing – the average hourly rate was $30 an hour! Very few people paid in the $10 an hour range.
Make sure that you do some homework before you set your fee so you don’t undersell your services. Using search tools online makes this easy. Just google “fees for doing X” and see what you get!
Step#3 – Spread the word. One of the big advantages of technology is how easy it is to tell people about the services you provide. Craigslist.com, Facebook, Twitter, and email, all provide great opportunities to let friends, family, and strangers know about your bankable skills. Have someone help you put together a simple email, post, or notice that describes the services you’re offering and post it in multiple places. Be sure to let your enthusiasm, warmth, or humor shine through. Here’s a quick example of what I mean:
Mature and responsible woman available to make order out of chaos. If you have an office that looks like a bomb went off in it, a garage that’s so filled with stuff you can’t see your car, or a closet or room that needs organizing, I’m the gal for you. I can clean up, shape up, and make your space shine in no time. Please write to me and let’s talk about how I can support you! (if this is your skill, please feel free to use this notice ?).
The nature of employment is changing. I’ve written about that before. More and more people are turning to self-employment as a viable way to earn a living either between jobs or in place of fulltime employment with a company. Some people even discover a whole new passion – being an entrepreneur who’s calling the shots, making their own hours, and earning more money then they ever thought possible.
Might that be you?
Take Action Challenge
If you’re unemployed (or underemployed), consider the skills you’re good at and how you might offer these services to others. If you’re gainfully employed, please find someone who’s looking for work and share these ideas. Your support could make a world of difference.
This week’s video is light-hearted – a short, funny one about a cat. You can find it here.