What is your job title? I started my own business in November 2009 after being laid off earlier that same year. I'm a business of one. I decided to use my skills to earn a living versus pursuing a traditional job which really doesn't have much security in today's economy. Instead, I work for myself and I control the outcome. In life, one doesn't always have to go out and get a job to earn a living. You could earn a living on your own by monetizing the skills that you have. And I get to choose my job title.
What do people in your career do in a typical day? As a Free Agent – someone who works for themselves – I'm able to set my own schedule, but I'm also responsible for getting all of my work done. I don't have a boss telling me what to do. I get up at 6:15am and do Client work for a few hours at home, then coaching sessions at coffee shops or the Client's office, prospective Client meetings and networking events round out the rest of the day. I might have time during the day to get other Client work done... I have the flexibility to work out in the middle of the day...go to the grocery store when everybody else is at work...go to the bank... but at the end of the day, I still have to get all of my work done. Which usually means working outside of the traditional hours of 8am-5pm
What are your main tasks and responsibilities? Social Media coaching – teaching businesses how to use Facebook, Twitter...other social media platforms to grow their business Website development for small businesses Event Planning Translation Marketing Support When I started my business I decided what services I would offer by making a list of what I was good at, what I enjoyed doing and what others told me I was good at and then decided whether or not I could make money doing any of these things.
How did you get into the field? I was laid off from two separate jobs in 2009 and that's what motivated me to go into business for myself and monetize my skills. I felt more confident in my ability to earn a living than an employer's ability to pay me a salary... I had a lot of colleagues tell me that I should start my own business, so I thought I would give it a shot. I wish I had a class on entrepreneurship when I was your age or maybe in college.
What do you enjoy about your job and what you wish would change about the industry? I enjoy that every day is different. I schedule one day at home where I have no meetings and I can get a lot of work done. If I want to work on the weekend I can – and often do. But during the week, I can work when I want to. I like being my own boss and making my own decisions I wouldn't change anything about the field that I'm in.
What education and training does a person have to have to enter this field? What courses do you recommend students take while still in high school? To work for yourself, whether you're a dentist, lawyer, financial planner, you need to learn how to be a business owner. Study accounting and marking and a bit of human resources. Even though I'm a free agent, I'm a business owner first. I studied International Business and Economics at a small liberal arts college in Iowa. That experience taught me how to learn and the value of life-long learning. Whatever profession you choose, be prepared for your field to continuously change.
What are the prospects for employment in the future in this field? I see a lot of employed and unemployed professionals drawn to the idea of working for themselves – and with the changes occurring with health care reform, I anticipate the number of individuals working for themselves to only increase as health insurance will no longer be tied to traditional employment.
What are typical earnings and benefits for people who work in this field. Working for myself, I earn money when I work. I don't have any paid vacation, but I can take as much vacation as I want...Individuals in my field earn anywhere from $30,000 - $150,000 per year. And that can go up when employees are brought on board. The benefits include flexibility with time, I make my own decisions and I can help more people and businesses.