Can You Turn That Side Gig Into A Full-Time Career?

iStockphoto.com |  richcarey

iStockphoto.com | richcarey

The routine of most working professionals is to get up, and go to work. But what if your routine is, “Get up, go to work, come home and do a second job you are more passionate about than the job that pays the bills?” What if your routine is a balancing act between what you spend your time doing and what you truly love? Can you turn your “side gig” into a “full-time gig,” and if so, how?

It may be possible to transform your passion into a full-time job. It happens all the time. Here are some important steps to take to determine if such a move will work for you.

PHASE ONE: RESEARCH

Step 1 – Determine your skill level.

This must be an honest assessment. Ask yourself if you have something that the marketplace demands, and for which the market will compensate you enough to make a living.

Here is a perfect real-world example – photography. Our example, Bill, got hooked on underwater photography during his many deep-sea diving excursions around the world. His photos were stunning, looked amazing blown up and framed, and he generated some earnings by selling his work on the side. Could he do this full time?

The professional benchmark for natural photography, undersea or otherwise, is National Geographic. Bill compared his work to what was published in National Geographic, and determined it didn’t quite compare to what he saw. He made a deliberate and honest assessment of his skills vs. the marketplace, and decided that his photography passion should remain a side gig. He is now a PhD in psychology with a thriving private practice.

 

Step 2 – Benchmark the professionals who are successful at what you want to do.

Whatever it is you want to do, there are already many people doing it. Familiarize yourself with their educational and professional backgrounds, identify the professional organizations to which they belong, take note of the broad perspective of their career arcs, and analyze any barriers to entry that may exist.

LinkedIn is a great platform on which to conduct this kind of research. Let’s take a closer look at the “barriers to entry.” A quick LinkedIn search should give you plenty of professionals from whom you can easily deduce vital shared credentials that are common to success.

Take a look at, for example, consulting vs. graphic design. Consulting full-time may require much more applied experience than a full-time job in graphic design, but graphic design requires specific degrees and knowledge of industry standard design platforms. So, for the individual without a visual arts education but a deep business background, the graphics field may have more barriers to entry than consulting in the form of going back to school.

 

Step 3 – Conduct a cost/benefit analysis.

Take a look at your current finances. If you live paycheck-to-paycheck, your strategy to transition a side-gig into a full-time one is going to be more challenging than someone who has a year’s salary saved up as a cushion.

Research salaries related to your side gig vs. what your current position pays vs. your baseline life expenses (e.g. rent/mortgage, health care, car, insurance, etc.). Determine how a move will impact your financial status and stability. Create as full of a portrait of your financial landscape as possible, including potential changes to your tax liabilities.

 

Step 4 – Determine your Happiness Factor.

Now you must ask yourself the most important question of all (and YOU are the only person who knows the answer!): Will you be happy doing your side gig on a full-time basis? The work you do as a hobby may not be so rewarding when you are doing it day-in, day-out and your livelihood depends upon it.

And there are psychological risks associated with turning your passion into full-time work. You must now trade the freedom of approaching your side gig in whatever manner you choose to conform with the realities of the marketplace. Being self-employed or freelance carries demands that are very different than those you face working for a company. Now you must be three people: the CEO of your business, the head of sales marketing (the market can’t compensate you if it doesn’t know you are there), and the full-time employee who does the actual work.

 

PHASE TWO: MAKE THE MOVE

You’ve decided to make the move. But how? What is the best way to go about it? Your primary options are, 1) Baby Steps, or 2) Full-throttle.

 

Option 1 – Baby Steps

Taking baby steps means slowly building up your side gig and gradually transitioning it into a full-time operation when financially and professionally appropriate.

There are many advantages to this approach. It may minimize the financial impact of the move, it allows you more space to make rookie mistakes and adjust your methods as necessary, and gives you more pathways to grow and develop like apprenticeships, internships (apprenticeships for students), or even part-time/contract jobs.

Disadvantages to the Baby Steps approach include carving out the needed time to be a success while treating your endeavor like a legitimate full-time business, maintaining a level of professionalism that separates work from a hobby, and measuring your happiness factor with only one foot in the water.

 

Option 2 – Full Throttle

If you are the type of person who believes in bold moves, then you may decide to go full-throttle, which is pretty self-explanatory.

This approach is more dramatic, carries more risk, will have a greater and more immediate impact on your finances, and requires you to build a business from scratch. A business with one employee is still a business, and its success requires a whole different skill set than the skills you need to perform the actual work, which must already be of a professional quality and service level the market demands.

That said, dropping everything to fully commit to a new endeavor can be a challenging and exhilarating experience. You may make a few more mistakes, and you may hit some extra bumps along the way, but an immersive and aggressive learning-by-doing approach may accelerate your professional standing and turn your passion into a successful full-time career.


Philip Roufail contributed to this article.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, career coaching services, and outplacement services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.

The Essential Job Search Checklist

iStockphoto.com |  Ralf Geithe

iStockphoto.com | Ralf Geithe

Here is a Job Search Checklist we hope will help make your job search easy this summer, especially when the intoxicating sunny weather and cold drinks are too much to resist.

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing this month, think of your job search as a multi staged space flight, and during each stage you have a checklist that gets you to the next stage – from Pre-Flight to Splash Down in the ocean, and for our purposes let’s say that ocean is the Caribbean.

Stage 1: Pre-Flight

1.     File for unemployment (if applicable).

2.     Update your resume.

3.     Update your LinkedIn and/or other professional networking profile(s), especially your photo.

4.     Develop your professional story. Write it down. You will need it for your Cover Letters and interviews.

5.     Upload your new resume on as many Job Boards as possible (Monster, Indeed, Glass Door, LinkedIn, and CareerBuilder) and create job alerts.

 

Stage 2: Launch (Applying)

1.     When you discover a job opening, carefully study its responsibilities and requirements and match it to your qualifications.

2.     Write a Cover Letter. Use the professional story you’ve already written, then tailor the rest to the specific company and opening.

3.     Apply. Make your resume as Automatic Tracking System (ATS) friendly as possible, and, “no”, there isn’t any way around the laborious online application processes.

4.     Reach out to people in your professional network for help, opportunities, referrals, and/or references.

5.     Have professional interview clothes ready to go.

 

Stage 3: Interviewing

1.     Show up on time, professionally dressed.

2.     Bring multiple copies of your Cover Letter and Resume.

3.     Have an Elevator Pitch ready and rehearsed for the classic interview opener, “Tell us something about yourself.”

4.     Have a list of well-researched questions to ask the interviewers.

5.     Post-interview, send hand written thank you notes to each of the people involved in interviewing you.

 

Stage 4: Re-Entry

1.     You have a job offer! Congratulations! Refer to this list of Champagnes for appropriate action.

2.     Research the fair market value for the job position that you are being offered.

3.     Negotiate your compensation package.

4.     Thoroughly review any employment contract and, when happy, sign it.

5.     Review and update your Career Plan, as necessary.

 

Stage 5: Splash Down

1.     Start your new job.

2.     Update your LinkedIn and/or other professional networking profile(s).

3.     Create an Individual Development Plan, either through your new company or on your own.

4.     Take advantage of any ongoing education, training, or certifications offered through your new company, or consider investing in updating key skills related to your field on your own.

5.     Maintain ongoing communications with people in your professional network, and develop the new connections you make in your new position.

 

Easy, right?


Philip Roufail contributed to this article.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, career coaching services, and outplacement services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.

Tips & Tricks For Finding Your Next Role By Using Job Boards

iStockphoto.com |  Deagreez

iStockphoto.com | Deagreez

The ways in which technology have transformed the modern job market is a double-edged sword. Online job boards are a perfect example. Employers now have unprecedented access to a worldwide database of job applicants, and, in turn, job seekers have an expansive landscape in which to operate, from global job listings to professional social networks.

The tradeoff is a seemingly impenetrable and impersonal wall that exists between those hiring and those looking for a job. But if you know how to use them, the job boards can be an integral tool in your job-hunting toolbox. Here’s a quick run-down of the five most prevalent online job boards:

Monster and CareerBuilder

Pro: Historically, these are two of the largest job boards for entry/mid-level job openings and many employers “mine” resumes from its database.

Con: They’re not as dominant as they once were, so employers have reallocated their recruitment spending in other job other places.

Glassdoor

Pro: Traditionally known aa site featuring company information and job reviews from former employees and candidates, Glassdoor also features a resume and job portal. Many companies have migrated to the site to manage both their job postings and online reputation.

Con: Employers may still view Glass Door as a company/job-rating site, so the reach is still not as great as some other online job boards.

 

Indeed

Pro: Indeed.com is flush with job postings, probably the most of any online job board. It also has pretty advanced integration with employer Automatic Tracking Systems (employer resume and job posting systems); this makes it very easy for employers to post jobs on Indeed with the click of a button, and pretty inclined to do so.

Con: With more jobs, there’s usually more candidates applying. That means more competition to get noticed.

LinkedIn

Pro: Without a doubt, LinkedIn is the most influential professional networking social media platform and portal for higher-level job openings, and is mined by employers for talent.

Con: Like any social media platform, LinkedIn’s main currency is its user profiles, which include work history, so it’s important to have both a great resume and user profile if applying for open positions on the site.

 

Tips & Tricks for Succeeding on the Job Boards

1.     There are many smaller, more specialized online job sites out there. Seek out boards that focus on particular business or technical disciplines, as employers may be using them as well.

2.     The wider you cast your net, the greater the chance you will catch your dream job. Therefore, it makes sense to comb a variety of job boards in order to reach the broadest potential employer base.

3.     If you are not employed and are actively searching, make sure that you are also posting your resume on every available job board.

4.     If you are gainfully employed, and do not want your current employer to know you are searching, be wary of uploading your resume to a job site, as your company’s HR department may stumble across it if it’s designated as searchable.

5.     Many job boards to which you upload your resume have a “private” designation, where it’s there for you to apply to jobs but not readily searchable in the database. If you want your resume to be seen by recruiters when you upload it to an online job site, be sure to enable make it searchable.

6.     While it can be beneficial to upload a resume to the online job boards because recruiters can mine it, please bear in mind there’s no substitute for being proactive in your search. And as you apply to specific roles, tailor your cover letter and resume unique to the individual positions for which you are submitting your candidacy.

Philip Roufail contributed to this article.


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, career coaching services, and outplacement services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.