17 Jun 2014

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:
    1. Figure out what you do best and what companies will buy it.
    2. Get a land line/professional-grade technology. You need them to properly network.
    3. Take advantage of work-at-home tax breaks. Check into small business loans.

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.


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