Years ago, Fast Company did an article entitled, “The Brand Called You.” It centers on personalizing your brand to become a sought-after free agent. If ever there was a time to become “You, Inc.,” it’s now—five years after the Great Recession and still counting. To prosper, you should monetize your at-home skills in five ways.
1. Prepare now—for the home-field advantage
- The allure of offshore is fading. Economic realities are bringing business to home shore.
- With this back-in-the-U.S.A. mindset, how well are you positioned for the home-field advantage?
- No one knows how much of this incoming work will go to big business or to free-agent talent.
- To compete, you need to set your priorities, prepare for doing business virtually and find funding:
- Figure out what you do best and what companies will buy it.
- Get a land line/professional-grade technology. You need them to properly network.
- Take advantage of work-at-home tax breaks. Check into small business loans.
- And don’t overlook earmarked U.S. funds/resources that can be invested in your skills and business.
2. Get motivated—commit to continuing education
- You can never be too rich, too thin or too skilled.
- If you aren’t committed to continuing education in our wired world, your skills will suffer.
- Jobs today read like three positions in one: technologist, industry expert and business developer.
- So draw a line: Note the required skills you have on top. On the bottom, put what you’re missing.
- That’s now your line of demarcation: Fill in what you need to sharpen your skills and compete.
- Set a timeline, complete with links to required education, and then move on it—with conviction.
3. Expand your markets—find work and be found
- You are probably reading this column in Texas. While Texas is big, it’s only one market.
- Go out on the job boards/sites and search for your skills nationwide… worldwide.
- How many of the jobs are tagged “work remote or virtual”?
- Odds are maybe 25% or more. You’ve just expanded your circle of potential income.
- Create your own Microsoft Virtual Earth to pinpoint future work based on market needs.
- Your website, LinkedIn/Facebook profiles should showcase your skills in 4 seconds or less—the average time a recruiter spends looking at a resume.
4. Be resourceful—create multiple revenue streams
- When you got laid off, you said: “Never again will I depend on one place to earn a living.”
- With no corporate machine behind you, now is the time to be resourceful and self motivated… You need to know how to prioritize work and meet deadlines with minimal supervision.
- Assess your skills—social and technical—to become a creative problem solver.
- Build a revenue engine with them to generate quick-turn and long-term work.
- Quick-turn skills are event-driven. Merchandise them that way, aligned with short-term demand.
- Long-term skills are project-driven— work lasting months/years. Sell your skills in industry trades/groups.
- Focus your skills and price accordingly for both kinds of work and pay—so you’ll never again say…
5. Recalculate your skills—often
- We have GPS in our cars to not get lost. Our skills need GPS, too.
- One way to stay current is by joining—and presenting—at professional organizations.
- Think of it this way: Your skills are in demand if you’re being asked to speak—and people show up.
- Also keep your bio on your desktop. Write your introduction for 2015. What’s missing to still be relevant?
- Now double-back to your education timeline to fill in the needed skills.
- Always ask: Would I spend my time and money to hear this person—that’s you— talk?
- If not, then recalculate.