I was talking to my sister a few weeks ago and she told me that she was looking for a way to make some extra money while things were slow in the business she owns with her husband. They build houses and there are times when there is a lot of waiting involved. For example, on their newest build the rain pushed their schedule back by at least a week. She mentioned getting her real estate license eventually but not right now.
I told her about a job I had once working for a real estate agent compiling information about expired listings. We talked about potential areas where she could work in real estate without a license. We also talked about being a virtual assistant or writing online as potential options. As the conversation was coming to an end she offhandedly said, ‘If I could only bake, I’d be happy.’ If she had been in the same room as me, I would have thrown my phone at her!
I asked her, ‘Why are we talking about all of these job options when you already know what you really want to do?’
From my perspective it all seems so clear. She is a talented baker and there is a ton of opportunity in that space. From her perspective, however, she had all of the questions that we ask ourselves when starting something new. Am I good enough? Do people want what I have to offer? Is it really possible to make money doing this?
I assured her that she was good enough, people want what she has to offer, and that she can definitely make money baking. Then I told her that I would start brainstorming on strategy and she should work on her cookies. (All the pictures you are seeing in this post are cookies that she made for practice.)
For many people, those initial questions prevent them from ever getting started. If you can move past those, the next obstacle is the overwhelming amount of information and opportunity you see once you start digging in. I knew that was coming next so I helped her narrow her focus right away in order to avoid overwhelm. We decided to focus on making cookies for real estate agents to give to clients as closing gifts or marketing purposes. (See how we combined her connection to real estate with her passion for baking?!?)
Creating this focus makes things much less overwhelming. She can perfect her recipes for the cookies and work on decorating just a few different options. This is much more manageable than starting a baking side business and getting orders for smash cakes, custom cookies, macaroons, and cupcakes. With such a broad offering it is easy to get overwhelmed and it will take you longer because you are switching back and forth between so many things. (As she gets her process down to a science, she can expand her offerings.)
In technical jargon this focus is called her ‘niche’ and the client she is targeting (residential real estate agent) is her ‘buyer persona’ or ‘avatar’. I dig deep into both of these topics in my training guide The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Writing Online and Getting Paid. I even have worksheets to help you develop your niche and your buyer persona. You can get both of these for free on the shop page.
I’m sharing this story to encourage you if you already have something to fill in the blank. How would you answer the question below?
‘If I could only (write, teach, bake, take pictures, work from home, own my own business, _________), I’d be happy.’
Don’t discount something as a possible career simply because you love to do it. My sister thought baking was a nice dream but did not see the path to make it happen. It is possible to build a career around the thing you love to do. For me, that is writing and helping others find a way to build a career that fits around their life.
What is it for you?
There’s a place in the world for you…let’s find it.
If you are ready to get serious about writing online, check out my training program The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Writing Online and Getting Paid. In this guide, I go over everything you need to know to get started building a career writing online. To get the latest on this and other projects, sign up for the email list and I will keep in touch.