A post from Chris Brogan stirred my entrepreneurial spirit. In it, he discussed how the phrase “looking for work” used to mean mean looking for (and creating) opportunities to work, rather than just looking for a job. He laments that, “We’ve somehow decided that ‘security’ equals working for someone else who has all the cards and pulls all the strings.”
Brogan goes on to describe how people can create their own work by being entrepreneurial. Certainly, that applies to creating opportunities where others might say they don’t exist (starting a new business, for example), but it also applies to how you look at your business right now.
For the guy running the screenprinting shop, don’t just make t-shirts; create opportunities to make t-shirts. For the lady running the bakery, don’t just make cupcakes; create opportunities for people to want cupcakes.
For each of us, we have something we want to make, do or sell, but we can’t just do the work; we have to actually create the opportunities for doing the work.
So, how does this work in practice? Let’s take the cupcake lady. Business is slow. People aren’t buying cupcakes. She needs to find a way to make people want to buy cupcakes. How can she do that? A trendy idea I like is people substituting cupcakes for their actual wedding cake, so why couldn’t she position herself as the local baker for the job? She could find and create unique wedding cupcake displays and showcase them in her bakery window or in posters around her shop. Certainly, in big cities or in trendier locations, this might be something seen at every bakery, but what if she’s the first in her area to offer it? Cupcake gold, at least for a while, and then she’ll have to create a new reason for people to want cupcakes.
So, how can you implement this for your business? You just need to think outside the box.
Think about your product or service. How do people use it now, and is there a way that you can get them to want to use it more? No matter what your business, your customers and clients all want the same thing, whether that’s more time, more money, less aggravation and annoyance, or a greater sense of security, well-being, acceptance, or achievement. How can you help them get one or more of those things?
No matter what you do, no matter what product you create or service you provide, you can find ways to create demand around your business. All it takes is a little bit of that entrepreneurial spirit and a good dose of creativity.
How can you “find a place to apply what you know how to do”? How can you “create work” for yourself instead of waiting for it to come to you?
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Enabling the Web Work Revolution