Job seekers: What do you REALLY want to do? Clear steps to make a change or start a business

be strategic in your job search, improving your job search, determining what you want to do for a living,
Determining what you really
want to 
do can keep you 
from wasting time.
I met with a woman contemplating several career directions; one of which was pursuing jobs similar to what she had been doing; another was starting her own business. She arranged the lunch to help sort through what she should do.


Perhaps you can relate to her story ...



I had worked with “Karen” in a previous position, so I knew she was very good at what she did. I asked her if she wanted to pursue the same type of position full time or as a freelancer. Her response was telling. She didn't answer the question at all, but rather started talking about another direction she could pursue. When I asked the same question again, she mentioned a different option.

I said to her, “I can tell you the option you shouldn't pursue: The type of job you did before. You don’t want it.” The relief in her face was immediate. She responded that she didn't want to do that kind of work anymore, but felt she had to because it was what she had the most experience doing.

I asked her, “What do you REALLY want to do?” She told me about two dreams she had. One was to bring to fruition a nonprofit she had envisioned and the second was to buy and sell antiques and collectibles. When she talked about both options, her eyes lit up and she spoke with great energy and joy.

I asked her questions to help her determine if she was ready and able to pursue either option since neither involved a steady paycheck. If you are in the same situation, ask yourself these same questions.

Are you ready to start your own business?
1) Do you have a viable idea? Does it include a way to make adequate money or bring in necessary funding? It must have this or you will be pursuing an effort that cannot succeed.

2) Have you developed a business plan? If not, complete this SBA Business Plan Template.

3) Can your spouse provide benefits through his/her job or can you secure it affordably? Otherwise, you may not be able to afford/secure needed coverage.

4) Is your spouse/family/significant other supportive of your business plans? If they are not, listen to their concerns. They may have wisdom about the situation that you lack.

5) Are you financially secure enough to launch a business and keep it going to the point where it can provide adequate income? If not, consider pursuing your dream on the side while working at a paid position.

6) Do you have the work ethic, focus and commitment to make your dream a reality? Or, are you fooling yourself and using your business start-up dream as a way to delay finding a job?

7) Do you have all the skills necessary? If you are not skilled in handling start-up paperwork, billing, taxes, marketing, creating a web site, etc., do you have a plan for accessing the help you will need?

Back to Karen’s story
By listening to Karen’s responses, it became clear she could pursue non-paycheck opportunities. Her family had adequate financial stability. She had developed a viable business plan for her nonprofit idea. Her husband was supportive of her dreams and he had a steady job with benefits.

The one sticking point was she couldn't decide between pursuing her nonprofit idea and buying/selling  antiques and collectibles. She believed her nonprofit could eventually provide adequate income but would take at least a year to bring in enough money through grants and product orders. She figured the buying and selling of collectibles would bring in more immediate income, but less money over time than the nonprofit option.

I asked her if she had considered pursuing both. I said, “You could develop your nonprofit during the majority of weekday workdays and use your Wednesday and Saturday mornings to buy collectibles from garage and estate sales to sell at a profit. That way you could make some income and pursue both things you most want to do.”

Karen thought that pursuing both was the best plan for her and is now working toward pursuing her dual dreams. She has a more hopeful outlook on her future because she weeded out the career options she didn't want so she could focus on what she really wanted to do.

So how about you? What do you REALLY want to do? Are you immobilized by too many career options or discouraged because you think you have to pursue the types of jobs you've always had … and hated? Get clarity on what you REALLY want. It can help you land a job or get a better one!

Take aways


  • Determine if you are pursuing too many career tangents. Consider what you REALLY want to do and then create an action plan to pursue that specific goal. Action plan
  • If you are having trouble determining what you want to do, talk over your options with someone. Contact me to arrange a Career Launch Lunch, or to talk by phone or via e-mail.
  • Learn if there are weaknesses keeping you from achieving your dream job or business start up. Fix your weaknesses.
  • Are you miserably employed? Here are six steps to get out of a bad situation and into a better job. 
  • Still not sure what to do? Pursue the hot jobs employers are seeking.


Helpful links to start a business
Ten steps to starting a business  (Source: Business.Gov)
Small business planner   (Source: SBA)
Small business assessment tool   (Source: SBA)
How to start a business  (Source: Inc.com)
Starting a small business: the essential steps (SBA) 

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