If you haven’t noticed, the world has changed — radically. The traditional yellow brick road to success and financial security has imploded. The path to a high-paying job used to involve getting the highest academic degree you could obtain, along with specific technical job skills, to start climbing the ladder. Today, most of the ladders are decimated. If those jobs still exist, the needed knowledge and skills of those jobs have changed . . . and change again every day.
These are the greatest times of opportunity we have seen in human history — but only if you know how to seize them. To succeed you need to change with the way the world is working now. If you are unemployed, underemployed, or want to take control of your financial future, here are seven strategies to thrive in the new world.
1. Adapt to the new reality.
Over the last decade we have witnessed the death rattle of an era gone by. The corporate structure and monolithic systems of the industrial age have begun to crumble. We are returning to the way we started — as entrepreneurs. When America was founded, the majority of people had their own business, farm, market or trade. People used their skillsets and hobbies to make a living as entrepreneurs. Then the industrial age flipped the ratio and most people became employed by new systems of repetitive labor and mass production. Technology recently wired all of us directly to each other, destroying heavily controlled and highly valued distribution channels, giving every entrepreneur immediate and direct access to a global marketplace of opportunity, right from their fingertips . . . or laptop. This means competition doesn’t just come from the business down the street, but also from every basement or second bedroom of every home in every city or suburb in every country of the world. You better become a continual learner and constantly improve your special skills.
2. Stop looking for a job and start looking for an opportunity.
Take the skills you have as an employee and turn those into a contract services business. You have an expertise, knowledge and experience in something that’s unique to you. Your skillset might be so unique you don’t even recognize it as personal expertise. What is your experience, knowledge or unique gifts? Ask a good friend, colleague or former employer to tell you. Once you discover your specialization, hire your expertise out, offer it to multiple businesses and entrepreneurs who need what you can deliver. More companies are hiring consultants and contractors for specific projects, specialized skills and services. Bartering services on the Internet are booming — sites like SwapASkil.com, UExchange.
3. What do you have?
What goods do you have that others might want? What goods do you have easy access to that most do not? What goods can you make that people would want? Answer one or more of those questions and take it to market through eBay or an automated Amazon.com store. You also can write about your area of skill or expertise. You can create a how-to information book and sell it through ClickBank, create a podcast or video blog series and distribute it through iTunes or other distributions channels. Follow through on a great idea. There are probably thousands of people who want to know what you know or how to do what you do. Plus, it has never been cheaper to build, outfit and market your business than it is today. Vendors are flexible and partnerships are open.
4. Who do you know?
If you want to calculate your potential for increased wealth, don’t look at your current bank balance, cars or property inventory. Look at the inventory of your high caliber relationships. With the Industrial Age over, we are now in the Relationship Age. Unequivocally, the relationships you build will be your No. 1 asset in these expanding and fast-changing times. Your ability to network is the skill you want to hone, practice and master. Your ability to get to, connect with and establish relationships with important and purposeful people will be your gateway to any goal, destination or aspiration you have.
5. What problem can you solve?
The economic downturn has created a ton of new problems that need solving. Problems are food and oxygen for entrepreneurialism. Those who create solutions to our new problems will become the beneficiaries of these times. Remember, 90 percent of entrepreneurs started out at the bottom, broke or with little capital or savings. Today they are among the world’s wealthiest.
6. Return to self-reliance and self-responsibility.
You make your choices; then your choices make you. Everything in your life exists because you made a choice about something. Choices are at the root of your results. Don’t choose at all and you’ve made the choice to be the passive receiver of whatever comes your way. Most people think they take responsibility for their lives, but many people operate in the world of blaming, finger pointing and expecting someone else — or the government — to solve their problems. You can’t count on anyone else for your success but you.
7. Take control of your future!
Separate from everyone else by developing the mindset, habits, actions and persistence it’s going to take for personal accountability and control of your future. Your soft skills can give you the leading edge. With the mind-blowing velocity of change and throng of competition, the skills needed for success today are less about academic, industrial, or technical training and more about soft skills — emotional intelligence, adaptability, resiliency, relationship-building, accountability, productivity and leadership skills.
There are no secrets, shortcuts or quick fixes to success. It takes hard work, personal responsibility and positive choices. You already know all the information you need to succeed. You just need a new plan of action. Now is the time.
Darren Hardy, author of The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success, has been a leader in the personal development industry for sixteen years, having led two personal development-based television networks, producing and launching more than a thousand television shows, live events, products, and programs with many of the world’s top experts. As an entrepreneur, Darren was earning a six-figure income by age eighteen, more than a million dollars a year by age twenty-four, and owned a company producing $50 million a year in revenue by age twenty-seven. He has mentored thousands of entrepreneurs, advised many large corporations, and serves on the board of several companies and nonprofit organizations.