Holiday helper – Business Idea Prompt (BIP)

Today’s BIP is encouraged by the holiday season, but could work for various events and/or other holidays. Keeping with the ‘BIP’ theme – it requires little start-up costs, is flexible, can be full or part time, and does not require extensive skills or experience to succeed. As usual with typical BIPs, most skills needed can be easily learned through practice or may already be known by most.

Please see the Business Idea page for detailed information about my Business Idea Prompt (BIP) posts! Also, if this not your area of interest please explore the other BIP posts including ‘garage sale’ professional, house call canning and teaching your talent!

I hope you enjoy this BIP and you are inspired to explore your own possibilities!

Business Idea Prompt (BIP) – Holiday “Extra Income” Ideas (that can be all year)

Details – I overheard a small group of women (various ages) talking the other day about trying to fit in all of their holiday ‘to-do list items’. One mentioned wrapping presents was not her favorite thing to do, another mentioned holiday lights and even putting up a Christmas tree. Other unfavorable ‘chores’ mentioned included shopping, baking, yard maintenance, and laundry in general. The group stated that of course their other responsibilities did not stop during the holiday; carpooling, housework, day jobs, etc. This reminded me of a few friends who have taken on ‘side jobs’ during holiday season and even other times of the year to help alleviate stress for customers (like the group of women talking about their long list of to dos).

Side jobs and full or part time businesses rely on finding customers willing to pay for their service(s). A major need, especially this time of year, is finding time for errands, chores, and other time demanding tasks while still balancing a regular life routine.

I encourage you to think of how you can help neighbors, friends, family, even strangers with some of their ‘to do list items’. I am going to focus on a few items which are based on conversations I have overheard recently and seem to be in demand!

Gift wrapping, holiday shopping, errands and baking are my top four suggestions. Each of these are typically ‘added’ tasks the average person needs to somehow fit into their schedule during certain times of the year. And they are willing to pay to have someone else do them.

Gift wrapping – You can offer to drive to their chosen location (work or home, etc.) or have them drop off the gifts to you and wrap them. Using nice wrapping paper, bows, labels, etc. Someone had told me they paid to have all their gifts wrapped one year and it was well worth the money. That person had moved and was not able to provide that service again or she would still be paying her. The ‘wrapper’ would come to her house, bring the wrapping paper, tape, scissors, etc. and wrap every single present for a start out rate of $20 per hour with a 2 hour minimum and mileage if more than 20 miles. Of course rates could be per package or bundle.

Errands and Holiday shopping – These two are similar and pretty self explanatory. People will pay for someone to run errands, pick up gifts, dry cleaning, decorations, deliver pre-made foods or even wine. Rates depend on travel time, distance, number of stops, but an average of $25 an hour plus cost of any items being picked up/purchased is a good starting place.

Baking – of course there is some skill needed if you plan on baking cakes or other desserts or even main courses and delivering them. And certain local laws prohibit using a personal kitchen so check out your local city/county/state laws before offering these services. Note, you can use a local baker or chain bakery that is already established and simply place the order, work out the details, and deliver the finished baked good. Price is comparable to running errands if you are driving around.

Experience/Skill Needed – Different experience levels are needed for each of the above ideas. Most require a dependable car, customer service skills, basic and/or advance wrapping skills and possible baking skills. Generally, when working with people and providing services for such important events as family gatherings and holidays being flexible and a very good communicator are essential skills as well. For wrapping you would need wrapping paper, scissors, tape, bows, labels, etc. Offer something unique, like putting candy canes on each package or a small ornament or other unique ‘bonus’ you can offer. If you know calligraphy or have very nice handwriting you can hand write package labels, holiday cards, address envelopes, etc.

Marketing – Advertise with flyers and print up some reasonably priced business cards. Handing them out to pretty much anyone you know. You can create a web site, share your services via social media and even advertise via a sign on your vehicle and/or yard signs. Your web page should include price range, contact information and customer reviews (as you get them). Even free sites and a unique business email are great resources to help your business grow professionally.

Additional advertising ideas include – Posting signs in your own yard (and ask friends if you can post in their yards) and in the surrounding neighborhood(s) with your service offered, phone number and web site. For a reasonable price you can place sale ads in local papers or online and encourage all customers to contact you for future events and share your info with their friends (offer a discount or incentive) and offer wrapping services and/or errand running for other parties; ladies night out, baby showers, weddings, family reunions, etc. Leave business cards and flyers at libraries, post offices and on other community boards. Include your website on the cards and flyers and place a magnet decal on your vehicle with contact information. Wear shirts and/or hats with website or other helpful advertising information. Be open to taking requests from customers; year long errands, chores, etc.

Research – The only research that may be needed is to find an average price for services and to see how many competitors are out there. Read reviews of other wrapping and errand services to see what is working and what is not and focus on creating a customer friendly business.

Even if this is not your type of business, it sure sounds fun and in demand as well. If you aren’t interested in this topic, please read over it and brainstorm your own skills and interests. Ask yourself would someone pay money for this skill? Then turn that thought into action!

I know this was a long post, but thank you for reading and please share any tips or questions you have!

As with any business please check local and state guidelines to see what licenses, name registering, and other requirements may be needed before starting your business.

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Business Idea Prompt (BIP) – Event fun!

Today’s BIPs Event Entertainer, requires little start-up costs, is flexible, can be full or part time, and does not require extensive skills or experience to succeed. Most skills needed can be easily learned through practice or may already be known by most.

Please see the Business Idea page for detailed information about my Business Idea Prompt (BIP) posts! Also, if this not your area of interest please explore the other BIP posts including ‘garage sale’ professional, house call canning and teaching your talent!

I hope you enjoy this BIP and you are inspired to explore your own possibilities!

Business Idea Prompt (BIP) – Event Entertainer (get paid to have fun!)

Details Details – There is a growing demand for entertainment at children’s parties, family gatherings, and other events. Party planning can be costly and time consuming to start up, but focusing on entertaining alone, can be a very profitable business and fun.

The demand for finding ways to entertain children and adults during gatherings is growing more than ever before! Such fun entertaining opportunities include caricatures drawings, clowns, balloon art making, dressing up as a super hero or princess, etc. I spoke with a woman that is a professional face painter and balloon artist (she has attended years of training and conferences, etc.), she said people ask her if she knows anyone that can draw caricatures for parties or other unique entertainment options.I’m going to focus on two options here, but as you can tell there are many possibilities to fit many different skill types. The common skills required for most of these opportunities are enjoy being around people, outgoing and friendly personality and evening and weekend schedules, as that is when most events occur.

The two main focuses today are caricature drawings (cartoon type drawings of people and animals) and nail art.If you’re thinking you are not an artist and caricature drawing isn’t possible, keep in mind this could be expanded (with some additional costs) to picture taking and on-site printing business; using fun photo graphic programs to add backgrounds, color enhancement, etc.

If you do have drawing skills caricature drawings can be performed for any age group, any event type and even include corporate events.

What is nail art? This is a bit more limited in marketing as caricature drawings, but not much! I overheard two mothers talking about nail art parties they were planning for their daughters. I had never heard of this, but it is a growing business and in high demand! Nail ‘artists’ charge around $15 to $20 per person, with a 10 person minimum to paint designs on fingernails (sounds fun to me!). This can easily expand from girl’s birthday parties to ladies night out and adult birthday or other celebration events and even mobile pedicures.

Experience/Skill Needed – For caricatures – drawing ability; turning photos or real life into fun cartoon caricatures. I’ve seen prices range from $20 to $40 for basic one person drawings; couples and groups cost more. If you choose onsite printing of fun photos then some photography and computer skills are required. If you are not an expert at nail art, there are many online tutorial videos that can teach you the trendy designs, tips, etc.

All opportunities require some creativity and to be personable, have fun with guests! Enjoy children (most likely a lot of customers will be parents for children’s parties). Transportation to travel to and from events. Determine payment method; cash, credit card options, checks, etc. To relieve some monetary burden from parents, guests could be charged individually if it was a larger event.

Marketing – Advertise with party planners, professional clowns, face painters, balloon artists; make connections with anyone who is typically paid to go to a party or event! Even corporate events pay for this type of fun so send business cards and flyers to select corporations. For caricatures purchase quality drawing paper, pencils, pens, etc. Put your contact on each portrait via a label or handwritten contact info on back. Keep in mind people may want to frame the work so making them 5×7 or 8×10 and easily frameable will be a plus. Providing a clear protective sheet to carry them home in shows professionalism and an opportunity to share a business card in the bag for future possibilities!  For nail art, materials needed include nail polish, design kits and supplies, polish remover, stickers, etc. For all business show your work via web sites, social media, even on your business card. Create a web page with photos of your work, price range, contact information and customer reviews (as you get them). Even free sites and a unique business email are great resources to help your business grow professionally.

Additional advertising ideas include – Posting signs in your own yard in the surrounding neighborhood(s) with your talent, phone number and web site. For a reasonable price you can place sale ads in local papers or online and encourage all customers to contact you for future events and share your info with their friends (offer a discount or incentive) and let parents know if you offer adult parties; ladies night out, baby showers, weddings, family reunions, etc. Leave business cards and flyers at libraries, post offices and on other community boards. Include your website on the cards and flyers and place a magnet decal on your vehicle with contact information. Wear shirts and/or hats with website or other helpful advertising information. Be open to taking requests from customers; themed parties, etc.

Research – The only research that may be needed is to find an average price for services and to see how many competitors are out there. Read reviews of other entertainment services to see what is working and what is not and focus on creating a customer friendly business.

Even if this is not your type of business, it sure sounds fun and in demand as well. If you aren’t interested in this topic, please read over it and brainstorm your own skills and interests. Ask yourself would someone pay money for this skill? Then turn that thought into action!

I know this was a long post, but thank you for reading and please share any tips or questions you have!

As with any business please check local and state guidelines to see what licenses, name registering, and other requirements may be needed before starting your business.

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Inspiration board

20160620_194640This is a photo of my small inspiration board on the wall in front of my ‘inspirational space’. I put that in quotes because it’s simply a table in our what could be a dining room in our small apartment. It’s a bit chaotic, but so are my thoughts, so it works for me!

There is an article pinned to it in the upper corner; that article inspires daily! I even wrote “do what you love” on the pencil in the picture. The article is a short blurb and interview with Caroline Weaver. Ms. Weaver has no idea who I am; she has no reason to. I have never met her, never been in her shop, I live over 1,000 miles away, and I have never owned a pencil collection. So why does Ms. Weaver (Caroline) inspire me? It’s pretty much summed up in her blog link above; she is doing what she loves, even though she had fear and concern how she would be received. I think we all feel that way, but she did it anyway…she felt the fear…she accepted it and she made her dream (her passion) her reality now. I am always inspired by others who leap…she is a leaper and certainly inspiring!

I have a few mantras and quotes from others who inspire me that I try to remind myself of on days I can’t focus on my path or I question what I’m doing or how I’m going to do it. Caroline inspires me to leap without seeing the entire future and evaluating every outcome and reminds me that ‘doing and action’ can be scary, but oh so necessary and rewarding!

I hope you are inspired to leap….I hope you follow her leap despite fear…I hope I can inspire others. It’s a nice inspiring circle that I truly feel blessed to be circling around in!

What inspires you? What do you want to leap to? What scares you?

 

 

Advertising flyer example (basic)

Hello everyone! I have been asked to share a simple sample of an advertising flyer. So here goes! This is a basic idea, but all the information is there 🙂 You don’t want the flyer too crowded, but you want it to include a bit about what services you offer, contact information, to be eye catching and simple to read. Please share your thoughts if you have other information you’d use for advertising or if you have any questions please let me know! Happy Monday all 🙂

 

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Flexible and fun – Business Idea Prompt (BIP)

I’m particularly excited about BIPs like the one highlighted today, Garage Sale Professional, that require very little start-up costs, are flexible and can be full or part time, and do not require extensive skills or experience to succeed.

I hope you enjoy this BIP and you are inspired to explore your own possibilities!

Please see the Business Idea page for detailed information about my Business Idea Prompt (BIP) posts!

Business Idea Prompt (BIP) – Garage Sale Professional

Details – Purchase and sell bargain items as a ‘yard/garage sale professional’. Items to sell can be found by attending auctions, sales, and consignment or thrift stores then reselling the items for a profit, but instead of just a one time summer event, it can be done every weekend or a few times a month. Most people have unwanted items in their home right now that could easily kick off the selling process and grow as quickly or slowly as you wish! Typically, all sorts of bargains can be found easily and with a bit of cleanup or repair the item can be sold to make a profit. Some entrepreneurs have similar online stores on eBay and amazon and make a profit every single day.

I have a neighbor that holds a ‘yard/garage’ sale almost every weekend in the spring, summer and fall with items she buys at a bargain price and then turns around and sells them for a profit. She and her husband visit discount shops and auctions within a few hours of their home in the winter and early spring or as often as she can to buy and stock up on items. The couple cleans the items or repairs, if needed, and sometimes they find a unique new use; she has made old pans into pretty planting pots, etc. This business is not only a way to earn extra income, but also a fun way to enjoy the hunt of a good deal and the weekend travels. There is no listing fee to pay and she can negotiate a price at any given moment in person. If you are a crafty person, include some of your handmade items for sale!

Experience/Skills Needed – You will need transportation or a way to purchase discounted and bargain items and clean them or basic skills to repair items (if needed). Be a bargain finder, deal maker, professional and friendly with sellers and customers. Decide if you accept only cash or offer a credit card payment option (using your tablet or smartphone, etc.), be available to travel around to find bargains, knowledge of items that will re-sale and are in demand. And you may need access to a storage area, basement or garage for all the items you purchase and may need to fix or clean. General record keeping skills are beneficial; keep an electronic or paper notebook record of each item and the cost and what you sold it for, so you can see your profit in ‘writing’ and what items are the best profit makers.

Marketing – Posts signs in your own yard all season and post them in the surrounding neighborhood(s) right before a sale, place sale ads in local papers or online and encourage all customers to come back often since new items are always added. Give each customer a flyer of sell dates or a business card with general hours, address, etc. Share your sale dates on social media and with family and friends. Leave business cards and sale date flyers at local businesses, hardware stores, libraries, post offices and on other community boards. You may want to include a website on the cards and flyers; an electronic newsletter or web page with updates for customers to subscribe to. Place a magnet decal on your vehicle with contact information. Wear shirts and/or hats with website or other helpful advertising information. Be open to taking requests from customers such as; “if you see this particular item, please buy it”. If you purchase a group of items and they will ship well, list them on an auction or online selling site as additional income opportunity.

Research – The only research that may be needed is to find an average price for most items. Of course this can be based on your cost and the profit you need/want to make, but a general guideline could be useful to ensure the sell. If you purchase an antique, looking up the value and average retail price would be helpful (if possible do this before you purchase the item via tablet or cell phone).

Bonus idea – This BIP could easily grow into a larger business. Expanding this to online auctions sites or Etsy (or similar) could be niche markets if you find a particular item selling well and if it would be easy to find more and easy to ship, etc.

There are a few expansion options with this BIP and small start up costs! Please share any tips, ideas, and success stories!

As with any business please check local and state guidelines to see what licenses, name registering, and other requirements may be needed before starting your business.

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Teach your talent – Business Idea Prompt – BIP

Please see the Business Idea page for information behind my Business Idea Prompt (BIP) posts!

Here is another BIP I want to share!

I enjoy sharing ideas whether they develop from an article I’ve read, trend I’ve heard about that sparks an idea or from my friends when they share their success with me. I love hearing and sharing these ideas! I hope you enjoy it and you are inspired to explore your own possibilities!

Business Idea Prompt (BIP) – Teach your talent

Details – Most likely someone else wants to learn about a skill or talent you have; knitting, painting, paper making, welding art, gardening, gift basket arrangement, dancing, writing, foreign language, computer program training, poetry writing, jewelry making, etc. there is a countless number of talents needing to be shared in the world! So, why not teach yours?

I have a friend that teaches a knitting class a few times a week in the evenings and on weekends. She is very personable and such a great teacher who really knows her craft, that she started turning people away due to her full schedule! I’ve seen fees for related classes range from $20 to $50, per person, for a one to three day/night session, typically lasting one to three hours. This same concept goes along with any of the hobbies listed above. You can also expand this idea by providing online tutorial videos and manuals (more on this below).

Experience/Skills Needed – This depends on what you are teaching. You need to be experienced, knowledgeable in the topic, have the ability to teach it to others, provide some supplies or a supply list and be customer service oriented and a take away recap with your contact information on it (for future business opportunities!). And you do not have to be an expert! Some skills can be developed/advanced with resources such as online instructional videos, reading material from the library, attending classes that others are teaching or by joining online groups associated with your particular topic/talent.

Location will be needed. If you don’t have a location available, look into rooms at libraries (some offer use of the room for free to card holders) or area coffee shops with large tables, ask if someone wants to host a class at their home. You will also need either a personal form of transportation to and from classes or a dependable ride service. Research and develop payment options; cash, check, ability to accept credit and debit cards in person and/or online, etc.

Marketing – Create business cards, whether you print your own or pay to have them printed (there are some reasonable priced option available). Hand your cards out to everyone you can! Leave them and flyers in coffee shops and libraries, post your information and class schedule on social media sites, online advertising available on free to post sites and even look into community classes through school districts or colleges offering community education, typically, they are always on the lookout for community teachers. Create a website, blog and dedicated email address (and possibly dedicated social media sites) to your business/talent.

Another marketing option is to offer group discounts (for birthday parties, ladies or gentlemen night out, friends/couples gatherings, etc.) Other offers or discounts could include a referral program; bring two friends, each receive a 10% discount or another percentage discount or offer a price break if they sign up for more than one class; say three months in a row they would get a discount on the third ‘month or class’. Also offer different levels of classes; beginner, intermediate and advanced options for all skill levels and to encourage beginners to advance their skills. If your talent includes craft type skills research craft shows, farmers markets, etc. and if the cost of a booth setup is reasonable attend with items you have made for sale and hand out cards about your classes. Create tee-shirts and/or hats with your company logo and/or name and contact information (phone or email or website).

Research – Price materials; supplies needed to create your projects, similar businesses, space rental (if you can’t find free or your classes outgrow free apace), marketing (flyers business cards, etc.). This will give you an idea of what you need to break even. Put a rate on your time per hour, choose a minimum number of hours and set your rate. Schedule classes an hour or two or even spread out over two or three days or weekends. Set a minimum number of attendees to ensure you make a profit, if you don’t have that minimum sign-up then think about canceling the class. Ask friends and community members what they would pay for this service, or give them prices and ask if that is reasonable to them as a consumer. If you need to update or advance your own skills, research resources to help you feel more confident about teaching your talent to others.

Bonus idea – This could easily grow into a larger business. Most talents can either be taught online through videos and/or downloadable manuals. You could post your basic skills instructions online and advertise your advance courses and/or provide a link to a downloadable instructions guide and charge a small fee. Set up a web site or blog (there are free options available). Collaborate with other talent instructors and create a weekend or one day teaching event; charge one fee and split the profits between instructors, allowing customers to go through a number of ‘mini’ courses/trainings and hand out business cards and web site information where you will post upcoming class schedules, etc.

There are so many options with this BIP! Please share any tips, ideas, and success stories with me!

As with any business please check local and state guidelines to see what licenses, name registering, and other requirements may be needed.

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The first BIP – Business Idea Prompt

Please see the Business Idea page for information behind my BIP posts!

Here is the first Idea – and even though I have never canned any food in my life, I get so excited about this opportunity! I hope you do too. I hope you enjoy it!

Business Idea Prompt (BIP)– House-call Canning (as in canning food)

Details – More and more individuals are growing their own food, even in small urban settings. This idea is to make canning house calls to help people with gardens preserve (can) the fruits of their labor (pun intended). You can provide actual canning of their vegetables in their own kitchen, freeing them up for other activities and providing preserved food for the coming months. Or teach them how to can in the comfort of their own home; turn it into a canning party with their family and friends. Teaching provides a lifelong skill! This is a service that saves customers time, eliminates wasted food and gives the customers another option rather than giving grocery bags full of tomatoes to coworkers and neighbors!

Experience/Skills Needed – You need to enjoy and have knowledge of gardening, canning, an interest in canned foods, and enjoy sharing your skills with others. You must know food safety! This is a skill you can learn through books from the library, online videos, practice, etc., but food safety is TOP priority. Supplies;  jars, lids, pan(s), other canning items as needed. It should not be a huge investment; you may already have some supplies! This is a business that can be started while working a full time job, as additional income or eventually turning into full time. Here is a good resource for a tutorial on canning.

Marketing – Market to customers as a time saving, in home skill to learn, and less food wasted. Assure customers that they will be able to enjoy more of their garden goodness, and it’s a fun way to spend time with friends by turning it into a party! Share your experience and get the customer as excited as you are (excitement spreads fast and gets customers interested quickly!) Create pre-printed labels to put on the finished product jars with your contact information and a blank space to write what the ingredients are once finished. When setting up the in home visit ask what foods you will can and provide personalized recipes made from the canned ingredients (on recipe cards with your contact info included). You can even hand pick your customers; drive around and personally knock on the doors of those with gardens, hand out flyers or business cards offering your services. Share business cards with vendors and customers at farmer’s markets, display flyers on community boards at your local library, and share on social media! This could easily be a service promoted at craft shows, farmers markets, etc. by setting up a table and displaying decorated jars and lids for sale and introduce your canning business by handing out business cards. Follow up with customers each new year to offer your service and develop repeat-customer relationships.

Research – Price materials; canning supplies, labels, time, gas to drive to and from locations, marketing (flyers business cards, etc.). This will give you an idea of what you need to break even. Put a rate on your time per hour, choose a minimum number of hours and set your rate. This could be priced similar to landscaping, yard work, house cleaning, etc. as an hourly rate. Ask friends and community members what they would pay for this service, or give them prices and ask if that is reasonable to them as a consumer.

Bonus idea – This could easily grow into a larger business and the need to rent a space to provide the classes to groups at your own location! Or rent a kitchen one day a month. You’d just need a large open space, a few stove tops, a couple sinks, tables, label maker, jars, lids, pots, and there you have a growing business!

As with any business please check local and state guidelines to see what licenses, name registering, and other requirements may be needed (I’m working on a future article to help guide you through this!). And of course, I’m not a professional ‘canner’ so I recommend becoming extremely familiar with food safety before starting this type of business.

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To be trustworthy or not to be trustworthy

Of course it’s important to be trustworthy. BUT don’t use that term on a resume.

There are many personality traits we all value and obviously have, but you must choose your words wisely when writing your resume. Including the obvious can actually hinder your chances of a thorough review of your resume. Especially, more recently with numerous resumes being received for open positions employers can be more and more selective when handpicking their top choices. One way they narrow down the count is by ignoring ‘the obvious’. You have a short window (usually just a quick scan by the employer, of your resume in 30 seconds or less) to stand out and find yourself on the interview call list.

Don’t use that limited time frame with obvious generic words, instead define why you are unique…brag about actual accomplishments, be specific…use examples of how you are trustworthy (show don’t tell), instead of telling a prospective employer you are.  Let your resume reflect your actions…your accomplishments…by sharing results. For example instead of ‘team-player’ you could write a short blurb about how you led a team and solved a problem, finished a project before the due date, coordinated a committee, etc.

Below are a few words and phrases to avoid on your resume:

  • Go-to person
  • Results driven
  • Team player
  • Hard worker
  • Strategic thinker
  • Dynamic
  • Self-motivated
  • Self-starter
  • Detail-oriented
  • Highly qualified
  • Trustworthy
  • Results focused
  • Energetic
  • Think outside of the box
  • Confident
  • Professional
  • Successful
  • People Person
  • Familiar with
  • Reliable
  • Problem Solver

Keywords/phrases to include on your resume:

  • Achieved
  • Improved
  • Completed
  • Developed
  • Analyzed
  • Justified
  • Counseled
  • Facilitated
  • Implemented
  • Trained
  • Mentored
  • Managed
  • Created
  • Resolved
  • Volunteered
  • Increased/Decreased
  • Negotiated
  • Generated
  • Revenue/Profits
  • Under budget

Do you have any tips, past experience, keywords to use or avoid? Please share them!

Questions? Please ask them!!!

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How to gain work experience

I’ve been asked to share some options to gain experience and skills if you don’t have a lot of work history or educational degree seeking. If you are new to the work force, in between jobs, changing careers or simply looking for a job for whatever reason, gaining more experience is always a positive step!

My first option to share is volunteering. Volunteering allows you to learn new skills, explore different job types, make connections, add to your reference list – volunteer leaders/directors, etc. make great references! Volunteering can help you find the job you want in and out of the non-profit world. A lot of business owners, directors, bosses, managers, etc. volunteer their time and it can be a great way to make connections for future work opportunities.

There are many volunteer opportunities for practically every type of skill level, time availability and personality. You can volunteer hands on or even without leaving your home! Volunteer opportunities include; writing, organizing spaces or files, donation outreach, computer programming/web design, teaching, spending time with the elderly or those in care centers or hospitals, cleaning, developing mailing lists and/or mailings, research, event planning and setup, deliveries and personal drivers, fundraisers, thrift store or gift shop clerk, court appointed advocate, hospice care, handyman/woman, art projects coordination, animal care, project sewers, music lessons or playing, knitters, personal shopper, and so many more opportunities!

If you have more time and passion about a particular organization you can also look into being a board or committee member.

I volunteered for a non profit that was close to my heart for over five years, when the coordinator retired, they called me to offer me the job. I was shocked and excited. I accepted the offer and had almost three years in that position! During that time I made some great contacts and learned skills and gained experience that has helped me with obtain my current position.

You can search particular organizations for their volunteer opportunities or use such sites as volunteermatch.org to find your perfect match!

Another option is starting your own business and gain experience with the skills you already have; lawn-mowing, cleaning, administrative/office, handyman/woman, sewing, tutoring, travel guide, computer repair, freelance writer or web designer, cook, baker, or any other skill you enjoy. Advertise throughout your neighborhood, post your skills on social media, make business cards and leave them at libraries, laundromats, put a sign in your own yard and/or ask friends if you can advertise on their property, etc. Don’t let the thought overwhelm you. Most business can be started slowly with word of mouth advertising and/or free posts, etc. Depending on the business you may already have all of the tools / supplies you need or purchase at a low cost/investment. And each customer becomes a possible reference, repeat customer, and marketer for your business! Freelance work opportunities have allowed me to gain some valuable professional and personal work experience!

Online courses, community education classes, workshops, conference, etc. are also worth exploring. Some offer low cost or even free computer course, refresher classes, web design, accounting, etc. Some public libraries and public education institutes offer free basic courses. I have taken free online courses in the past to refresh some skills I had not used at a current position, but required at a new position I was applying for.

The experience you gain is resume worthy!

Do you have any other tips? Please share them!

Questions? Please ask them!

Thanks for reading!!!