My friend told me that she got a job as head of marketing for a new startup company. Not only is she going to be on salary, but she also gets a percentage of the startup company. Sarah, in her late 50s, is a former Hollywood agent, screenwriter, and entrepreneur. She doesn’t have an MBA, nor does she have any degree in marketing.
So how did Sarah, who has had little experience in marketing, get this amazing job when other people are aging out of the corporate market?
Sometimes a cliché is true. A dog is a man’s – or in this case, a woman’s – best friend. Sarah got it by walking her dog.
That’s right, you read this right. As both women walked their dogs, Sarah gave her neighbor great tips on launching her startup, which led to a job offer.
You see, business opportunity is everywhere. Some see it and act on it. Others are distracted by desperation and don’t notice when an answer to a career problem is right in front of them. It’s important to realize that it’s never too late to start a new career, in a different business, and have a new income stream.
Many of my baby boomer friends are shocked to find that their retirement savings are not sufficient to cover the long lives we are all facing, and Social Security payments aren’t going to give them a life that includes even grungy hotels.
Here are 4 Steps to help you find new business opportunities:
- Get out of the house and meet new people. Branch out. Do something different. Just last weekend, while playing Pokémon Go on the Santa Monica Pier, I met a man who was having trouble with a PokeStop. Turned out that he’s a dentist who had to give a speech, and he was scared out of his mind. Guess who has a new client? Me!
- Consider everyone you meet as a potential resource. Business opportunities are not just on LinkedIn or in an office. They can be your nextdoor neighbor whom you walk your dog with, or even your Uber driver (whose brother might run a comedy club that you have been trying to get into).
- Even if you don’t have an elevator, have an elevator speech. Be prepared to tell others what you do in a compelling one-minute pitch that doesn’t sound like you’re selling yourself. Sarah came to me for coaching last year as she was preparing to give a speech. We worked on The Message of You formula, a technique to market yourself -- and what you do by focusing on outcomes. This way of introducing yourself forms an instant connection to others.
- Giving often leads to getting. Be generous. Walking her dog, Sarah gave her neighbor marketing ideas. She did it, not to get a job, but that’s who Sarah is. As a freelancer, she advises authors on how to sell more books and does product placement for movies and books.
Have you noticed that people love when they’re not looking? It’s the same with getting a job or clients. By being giving, you’re likely to generate others to do the same, and you will be the recipient. It’s more inviting than a desperate, “I need a job!”