Tag Archives: entrepreneurs

The ‘Boxy’ Problem with Job Descriptions

Staying in the same job for too long can often make you feel like you are stuck in a box. In fact, a former boss once told me that “you can actually become de-skilled if you stay in the same role for more than a few years.”

Since January, I’ve spoken with a few former colleagues who are currently searching for a new full-stuck in a boxtime job. ‘Tis the job hunting season as it is a new year!

I’ve noticed that one of the most common complaints that they have is that they feel like they don’t have all of the skills required in the listing for a job. Or, that the job description seems limiting somehow and/or it omits some of the skills that they wish to continue nurture in the future.

I know that this isn’t the typical topic that I post on my personal blog. But it is a big reason why I became self-employed in the first place.

A few years ago, like many of my friends who are now searching for jobs, I felt like my current job skills didn’t match up with the job that I wanted to do. Also, many of the job descriptions for which I was applying felt too limiting and I knew that I would want to do more than what was outlined as my future roles and responsibilities. So, I did what seemed like the only reasonable thing at the time – I hired myself and made up my own limitless job description.

Of course, it’s important to be focused as an entrepreneur or freelancer. But the bonus is that your job description doesn’t have to fit into a box – nor does your current level of expertise have to tick all of the boxes required to get the job that you wish you could have. That’s because you can continue to evolve and learn new skills on the fly as an entrepreneur. In fact, you have to do that or you won’t succeed. 

For anyone out there looking to change careers or to find a job that they keep getting told that they are not yet qualified to have, why not consider hiring yourself? You may just be the best boss you ever had!

How to Take a ‘Workation’ this Summer

As the weather in Toronto is expected to reach a balmy 34 degrees celcius today, I thought it would be a good time to write about entrepreneurship and summer vacations. The kids are out of school and the beach is calling but does that mean we small business owners will be taking time off? If you can’t take a true vacation, you do have some options.

According to Regus Canada, “a recent survey that found 41 per cent of entrepreneurs will be dealing with email, making calls and attending to significant pieces of work while on their summer vacation.” This is often described as a “workation.” But in order to do this, you need to be well-prepared. Below are some tips and tools you can use to support your workation:

  • Be prepared with virtual office tools. Here’s a recent blog that I wrote about how to setup an “anywhere office.”
  • Set expectations with customers that you will be away and that you might be a little slower to respond to e-mails and calls. Or, let them know far enough in advance that you can deliver on major projects before-hand.
  • Have a back-up plan in case you wifi or computer goes down. Is there an internet cafe or library nearby that you can use to check-in on your e-mail? Also, back-up your files on a USB stick or in the cloud so that you can access them on another device.
  • Try to win a free virtual office! Regus Canada will be giving away five virtual offices until the end of 2012. Visit the Regus Canada Facebook Page to enter the “I’d rather work virtually anywhere than the office this summer” contest.

Do you have a workation tip for other small business owners? Please share in the comments section below.

Feel the Fear, Then do it Anyways

Earlier today, I read a great blog post entitled “Nice People Don’t Change the World,” by Joel Runyon on his Blog of Impossible Things. Image purchase from iStockPhoto.com - Girl on a diving boardI love his message that we are trained from a young age to learn how to be nice. But the act of always trying to fit in and go with the flow often gets you nowhere fast. In order to “do something that matters,” you need to go against the grain and take a chance. This means that you may not always be perceived as “nice” or “compliant” in some peoples’ eyes.

As a small business owner, one who has only been self-employed for about a year now, I have learned that being courageous doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small, tiny steps. Each time I push my own boundaries, I gather-up the courage to go one more step beyond.

In the meantime, I’ve faced many naysayers and people who have told me that I am “too nice” to run my own business, that “I don’t strike them as a hunter,” that what I am “trying to do is hard,” or that “I’ll just see that it can’t be done.” To that, I say, I’ll do it anyhow.

While I won’t say that I am changing the world just yet, I have managed to create a new reality for myself — within a career of my own imagination. I wouldn’t trade the experiences that I’ve had in the past twelve months for anything.

Likewise, I certainly wouldn’t have the courage to keep going today, had I not taken the initial first step to go against the traditional way of earning a living.

A friend of mine has recently started her own small business – selling unique paper from all over the world. Yesterday, she told me that she is going to exhibit for the first time at a wedding tradeshow. She wants to target her product to brides and wedding invitation designers – an excellent place to start. Her biggest fear is that no one will like her product and that she won’t succeed. However, by never taking the chance to find out if people like her product, she might never learn what works and what doesn’t. Just by going through the experience for the first time, she will learn so much about what she needs to do next in order to succeed. I know she’ll be a great success if she just takes a chance.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s a new year and a new opportunity to finally take that tiny first step. If you do one small thing that gets you closer to that goal that you keep postponing, you’ll have the courage to go even further. As my old competitive swim coach used to tell me, “feel the fear, then do it anyways.”

Image source: iStockPhoto.com