Am I Normal?

Written by Jackie Ulmer

It's 3:00AM and instead of sleeping, I'm trying to figure out how to get listed nearrepparttar top ofrepparttar 117961 search engines. Am I normal?

Am I normal? I pondered that question this morning while I quickly checked email one last time before shufflingrepparttar 117962 kids inrepparttar 117963 car and off to school.

Am I normal? It crossed my mind again while racing back toward my home office as I watched a group of moms head torepparttar 117964 bagel shop for coffee and a chat.

Am I normal? This afternoon, as my neighbors talked intensely aboutrepparttar 117965 latest episode of ER, my mind kept wandering back to my web site, and I wondered if that was normal.

My mother tells me I should quit thinking about business so much and just enjoy my children, which I do, but I still wonder, am I normal?

Am I normal? My friends look at me as if they've seen an alien when I tell them that I'm never going back to my corporate marketing career. I'm building an Internet empire from my home, would they like one too?

Now, don't get me wrong. I love life and live it torepparttar 117966 fullest, with lots of playtime. But, ambition andrepparttar 117967 challenge of "buildingrepparttar 117968 perfect beast" push me relentlessly sometimes. I figure you can relate if you are reading this article. You are looking to create something bigger than yourself, too!

But, it's a crazy world we live in. A world where people have learned to stifle their dreams, their desires, their creativity. We are taught to "settle" for what we are dealt in life. All too often, when we try to move beyond that, those closest to us try to hold us back, save us from ourselves.

"Consider yourself lucky for what you have."

"It's a good job andrepparttar 117969 benefits are great."

"The average American family has thousands of dollars in credit card debt."

"It's too risky."

I don't know how you feel, but I want to LIVE my dreams, have my heart's desires and allow my creativity to blossom. I want to be my own boss, work in my PJ's if I choose, take a four hour lunch to go shopping and fire myself when I'm not measuring up. (Of course, I'm eligible for rehire tomorrow!)

Creating Your Own Employment Security

Written by Elena Fawkner

"Well, it's happening. My employer,repparttar County Health and Welfare System, is buying me out. I leave in April, 2002. Seems like a long time from now, but I know it's really just aroundrepparttar 117960 corner. So how do I evaluate my skills? And how do I begin a new career? And how do I deal withrepparttar 117961 fear ofrepparttar 117962 unknown, ofrepparttar 117963 lack of income (other thanrepparttar 117964 retirement check), of maybe working alone out of this office?"

This is an extract of an email I received this week from an AHBBO subscriber, Cecily. Just Friday, driving home from work, I heard that Ford was about to lay off between 4,000 and 5,000 employees from its U.S. operation. So nothing unusual about Cecily's situation, unfortunately. Seems like every day we hear of more and more businesses being "forced" to downsize their workforces. What we don't hear about every day is what happens to all those displaced workers.

Many people just look for another job, find one and get back intorepparttar 117965 ratrace, allrepparttar 117966 while anxiously monitoringrepparttar 117967 financial performance of their new employer, hoping they won't get laid off again. For many, this is justrepparttar 117968 wayrepparttar 117969 world works. And it always will be as long as they continue to work for someone else. Do you really want to live like this? Well, you don't have to. The solution, albeit not for everyone, is self-employment.

In this article, we look at how to determine whether self-employment could be for you and how to turn that dream into reality.


As Cecily correctly identified, a personal skills analysis is an important early step. Your personal skills inventory is only one factor to take into account when considering whether self-employment may be for you, however. Equally important are your strengths and weaknesses, interests, resources, attitude and other personal qualities.

Your personal inventory should encompass at leastrepparttar 117970 following:

=> Skills Assessment

Just because you're good at something does not mean that you necessarily enjoy it. If you're good at something that bores you to tears, then don't use that skill asrepparttar 117971 basis for your new business. You'll be miserable! But, if what you're good at is something you also happen to enjoy, then there's a HUGE clue about what your business should be all about.

When thinking about your skills, think also in terms of skills you don't presently possess but which you could acquire with a reasonable investment in training. If acquiring a new skill would equip you to enter a business that you think you could make succeed, then by all means acquire that skill.

To come up with an inventory of your particular skills, pull out all of your old resumes (or create them if you don't have them) and recall what you did in every job you had. Make a list of your activities andrepparttar 117972 skills that were necessary to perform them effectively.

Here's some broad categories to start organizing your thoughts:

* Communication - speaking and writing effectively; listening; expressing thoughts and ideas; negotiating; persuading; interviewing; editing; facilitating; responding appropriately.

* Human Relations - motivating; delegating; dispute resolution; assertiveness; giving credit where due; developing team cohesiveness and rapport; sensitivity; listening skills; supportiveness; cooperation; cooperation; developing others.

* Leadership - coordinating and motivating; coaching; counseling; change agent; conflict resolution; decision making; teaching; managing groups; multitasking; initiating new ideas and programs.

* Planning - forecasting and predicing; information gathering; needs analysis; evaluation strategies; acquiring important information; idea generation; problem identification; brainstorming; problem solving.

* Effectiveness - implementation of decisions; cooperation; policy enforcement; accepting responsibility; organizing; making decisions; punctuality; time management; attention to detail; goal attainment; meeting deadlines.

=> Strengths

When considering what strengths you possess that you could draw and build upon in a business of your own, think in terms not only of personal qualities such as determination, commitment and dedication but also to tangibles such as educational qualifications and financial reserves.

=> Weaknessses

Just as you did with your strengths, focus onrepparttar 117973 tangible as well asrepparttar 117974 intangible. Examples include zero financial resources, lack of personal discipline; and poor health.

=> Values

Values arerepparttar 117975 things that are important to you and are divided into two types: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic values relate to what you will be doing in a day to day sense and how valuable an activity you perceive that to be inrepparttar 117976 overall scheme of things. For example, if your business provides a service to your community's elders and you perceive this as being of high importance to society, then your business meets your intrinsic values.

Extrinsic values, onrepparttar 117977 other hand, refer torepparttar 117978 external features of your business such as your physical environment and profit potential.

By identifying those intrinsic and extrinsic values that are important to you, and identifyingrepparttar 117979 types of businesses that will satisfy those values, is an important step in deciding whether a business of your own is something worth pursuing. For YOU.

=> Personality

Various personality tests have been devised to determine your personality "type" withrepparttar 117980 idea that people belonging to certain types do particularly well in certain careers and businesses. Perhapsrepparttar 117981 most prolific basis of personality tests is Jung's Personality Theory, dividing people into eight personality types: extroverts, introverts, thinking, feeling, sensing, intuitive, judging and perceptive.

If this interests you, you'll find no end of information online aboutrepparttar 117982 types of occupations and businesses suited to each personality type. Don't letrepparttar 117983 results of such a test play a disproportionate role in your decision-making process, though. Just use it as one of several factors you take into account.

=> Interests and Hobbies

This one's a real no-brainer but it bears stating. Try and create a business around something that you're interested in. Although not a certain rule, you tend to perform better at what you enjoy and to enjoy what you're good at.

Be sure to look atrepparttar 117984 other side ofrepparttar 117985 coin too and inventory what you're NOT interested in. Sometimes knowing what you DON'T want to do makes it easier to see what you DO want to do.

=> Resources

These include not only financial resources but others such as your personal relationship network (who do you know who could help you in your new venture), office equipment and other facilities.

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