by Todd Connor, founder of Bunker Labs
The economic devastation of 2020 speaks for itself: the end of Q2 saw the highest ever recorded drop in GDP, 50 million people out of work, 12% decline in consumer spending and trillions of dollars added to the national balance sheet to try and steady us during this unprecedented time. This is on top of the threats to our physical health imposed by COVID19 in which 1 million people have died and an expected winter surge encroaches.
With the full effects still being realized, I feel urgency to equip people with strategies to take control of their economic and professional futures as well as evangelize the message that you don’t need to quit your job to cultivate your next opportunity or start your own business. Third Shift Entrepreneur, the framework I developed in working with the military community, offers a path to keep your job, while building your dream. This is necessary if we are to give people the financial stability and income they need to provide for themselves and their families while still pursuing their deeper aspirations and economic control over their lives.
For those looking with fresh eyes at their professional lives and wanting to explore starting their own business, there are seven strategies that can help open up possibilities for you and your future, without having to quit your job.
1. Propose Alternative Roles.
Now is the time to think creatively about proposing a new valuable role to your employer, moving you toward something closer to your entrepreneurial dream. Employers are struggling to figure out how to manage, maintain or let go of their work force. Coming to them with proposals about future contributions might be the solution they’ve been looking for and opens up the conversation that you as a person are open to possibilities.
2. Part-Time Internship.
With wide layoffs and uncertainty for small businesses, your willingness to show up and offer part-time flexibility in an industry you’ve been wanting to explore could be benefit for a company hesitant to make any full-time hires, yet eager to bring on an excited new team member.
3. Get Paid to Live.
Consider all of the daily tasks that already consume you: tutoring your kids, grocery shopping, checking in on loved ones. Are there ways in which you can support your neighbors while also getting paid? Think of hyper-local initiatives like organizing a ‘bubble’ for the kids in the neighborhood and facilitating their online learning, agreeing to grocery shop for others for a nominal fee or hosting an office space for someone who needs a quiet place outside of their own home to work. Look for creative ways to monetize what you already have and are doing.
4. Become a Thought Leader.
More than ever, you have readily available opportunities to begin expressing your point of view about how the world is today, or what you think it will be. Thought leaders build audiences and have the ability to build a business serving that audience. Start your blog, go live on LinkedIn, and share your unique thoughts toward the business you want to start.
5. Create a Beta Group.
If you have a business you are ready to launch, consider pitching it to your friends and family as a “Beta.” Too many entrepreneurs struggle thinking they need a business perfectly put together before they can invite people to participate. By offering your business as a Beta, you welcome in feedback and co-ownership of the experience allowing you to start something, get evangelists, and create some momentum in your favor.
6. Creative Pricing Models.
Offering to provide services you know are good and compelling, whether for individuals or companies, and letting them defer payment based on what it’s worth to them can be a creative way to move past barriers of entry, demonstrate confidence in your abilities and ultimately get paid.
7. Ask to Job Shadow.
If you dream of starting a business, spend a day with someone a few years ahead of you with a business similar to one you want to start. Ask to sit in on their meetings to soak in the conversation and nature of being in that position as an entrepreneur. This kind of job shadowing opens your understanding of the work available, whether or not you want to do it and what you need to get started.
Making the transition to starting your own business doesn’t require you to quit your job and take unknowable risks. Start small, offer things for free or better yet get paid. Your time is what you give to the process of starting. Whether you identify as an entrepreneur or not, now is the time to build your capacity to create value for people and organizations, and in turn take professional, financial and creative control over your life.
Todd Connor is a widely sought-after speaker, thought leader and consultant who leads individuals and organizations to unlock their full entrepreneurial potential. Todd is the founder of Bunker Labs, The Collective Academy, Emerson House, as well as other for-profit and philanthropic organizations. For additional thought leadership, or to attend Third Shift Entrepreneur workshops visit www.ThirdShiftEntrepeneur.org.