On a recent trip to nearby Northampton, Massachusetts, I saw some signs that offered invaluable lessons to anyone in the process of making a leap from having a boss to being their own boss.
From these signs I pulled three key components that can help guide you on your own career change path.
#1: Be Wonderfully Bold
This sandwich sign on the sidewalk in front of the massage practice of Patty Gate stopped me in my tracks. There’s a lot to love about this small sign.
First, it offers an irresistible offer in the form of a free massage. Obviously she’s just starting out if she’s willing to give up immediate income on the hopes that she’ll gain loyal customers that will book again and again. It also speaks volumes about Patty and the confidence she has in her work.
So the first key take away is to consider how you present yourself as a business owner. Is it as bold and confident (and therefore trustworthy) like Patty? OR as meek and hesitant (which could cause others to think twice about hiring you).
Then there’s the testimonial: “Best Massage Therapist.” At first glance, I assumed that this was a designation she received from the local newspaper called The Valley Advocate, in which every year people vote on the best restaurant, the home builder, the best place to get a hair cut, etc.
When I looked closer I realized the title is self-appointed!
Notice Patty didn’t wait around to collect a dozen quotes from customers to claim her status as Best Massage Therapist, nor is she waiting around for someone to crown her the best.
Instead, Patty took matters into her own hands and boldly crowned herself the best in the biz! Go Patty!
#2: Find a Need and Meet It
Where your talents and the needs of the world cross lies your calling.
Next check out this flyer:
Poster and flyer distribution may not be Amy’s — or anybody else’s, for that matter — “calling.” But this resourceful woman has definitely found a need that she can be paid to fill.
Years ago I put on public seminars. So I know how time consuming it was to schlep around town hanging posters in windows and in bulletin boards. Clearly this kind of business wouldn’t work well everywhere but there’s a definite need in a college town like Northampton and or nearby Amherst Massachusetts.
Plus I love the message. She lets her potential customers know that not only is she quick as a bunny but that this is a professional poster and flyer distribution!
So look around the world around you for a problem or a need. Then think about how you can solve or fill it.
Even if it’s not your full-time gig or your “dream business,” there are always interesting ways to pay the bills while you work on changing course in your career and/or to generate that extra income to fund the business that truly is your calling!
#3: Know What You Stand For
Finally, check out the stairs that lead to the side entrance of the Northampton Quaker Meeting House On each stair is a word representative of what Quakers stand for.
Starting at the bottom and moving up, they are about:
Whether you already have a small venture or you’re still in the planning phase, take time to think about what your business does or will stand for.
Then use those values to guide you as you make those all important business decisions.
What are YOUR guiding values?
Take a few moments to make a list now – and then I’ll share a few of mine with you.
For me, it’s things like perseverance, hard work, integrity, compassion, customer service, curiosity, and inclusion.
The Bottom Line
Ready to change course? Guidance comes in many forms. Signs — literally and figuratively — are all around you; you just need to pay attention.
For the next few weeks I invite you to take notice of what the signs around you are telling you. Think about how they can inform your own quest to change course. Then share your thoughts and insights on my blog.