You want to find work you love. You want to know that you're making an impact. You want to feel excited about what you're doing. But the problem is, you don't know what type of work that should be. You've done the worksheets to find your passion and while they are helpful and gave you some clarity, you don't know what to do with the information. And you don't want to do what everybody else is doing.
- Maybe you love photography but don't want to photograph fussy babies or big, unruly weddings
- Maybe you're a good writer but authorship is not for you
- Or maybe numbers is your jam but you have no idea where to take it.
So how can you find that angle to pursue your dream? Is it even possible to start a business doing what you love without having to choose from the standard menu of options? I have some good news:
Yes, it's possible!
As long as you are willing to think outside of the box, be creative, and put in a little research while adding value to your potential clients, you can absolutely do what you love. If you aren't sure how, take 10 minutes out of your day and ask yourself a few questions. These are questions I use with the Unsettlers I've coached. The answers provide a lot of clarity and focus.
Question #1: What are your unique skills?
This is a twist on Chris Guillebeau‘s question: “what can you offer the world that no one else can?”. That can sound a bit daunting at first, so let's start with what your skills are. Write them down somewhere, and don't be hard on yourself. You can still be skilled in an area if you're not perfect in it. If you are stuck, think back on the feedback that people have given you. What have your family and friends told you that you are good at? And remember, personality traits (being kind, cynical, outgoing) are not skills. Another way to approach this is to look back on performance reviews that previous bosses have given you. What are the common threads between the feedback you've received? I created a workbook to help you through this process – it should just make it easier to figure out your unique skills. Click here to subscribe and get access to the workbook for free.
Question #2: What is your “art”?
I get it. Not everyone is uber creative. But don't write this question off if you fit into the not-so-creative category. It's an important one and will be very helpful in finding your unique angle. When we think of art, many of us think of the creative arts like painting, writing, and music. And it's easy to see why. Those have historically always been considered “The Arts”. But even if you aren't about to pull out some water colors and attack a canvas, you still have an art. Think outside of the box. Your art can be anything that provides you with creative release. And no, you don't have to love it. My art is writing, so it happens to be pretty standard, but I find it incredibly difficult to write. Some mornings I despise it, and others, I find it to be a great creative release. My husband's art is building. He's a carpenter by trade and even though he wants to pull out his hair sometimes when he's building, he gets an amazing creative release from it. Your art might be graphic design. One Unsettler worked out that her art was providing new experiences to people. My mom's art is cooking. So you don't have to just think within the walls of traditional art.
Question #3: What are you interested in?
I don't want to use the word passion, because I don't want to chase anybody away with the daunting task of finding your passions. Here's an easier question: What are your interests? Aside from the baggage that the word “passion” carries, consider these three questions and write down your answers:
- What makes you excited?
- What are you interested in?
- What could you talk about for days?
This will probably be the easiest step in the entire process.
Question #4: How can you help people?
I don't mean help people in the sense of working at the soup kitchen or volunteering at the food bank. These are worthy endeavours but aren't going to move you closer to making a living doing what you love. When I say help people, I'm really asking how can you provide value with the answers from the three questions above.
Here is how I went about finding my angle for Unsettle:
My skills are influencing, inspiring, and analyzing. I had a very hard time finding those skills, but after combing through previous performance reviews, three different personality profiles, and even reading some greeting cards that people had given me from the years past, I kept seeing those three themes. My art is writing. This was easy for me, because it happens to be a standard creative activity. My other art is speaking (you aren't tied down to just one!), which I love to do, both one on one and in front of a group. My interests are: hiking, travelling, blogging, online entrepreneurship, family, content marketing, photography, animals, gender equality, business, and coaching. So how could I combine these things to help make the world a better place? Well, I could use my unique skill of inspiring and influencing people, and my art of writing, and combine those things with my obsession with blogging and online entrepreneurship to help people start lifestyle businesses to do meaningful work that they love. So that's what I'm doing. Finding an angle to pursue solopreneurship requires some elbow grease, and some of these questions are harder than others, but the alternative of spending your days doing something you don't believe in is much harder. Don't settle.