Recently, I learned something that absolutely shocked me: the average American spends 90,000 hours at work over the course of their lifetime. That’s more than 10 whole years of your one and only life—at work! If you love your job, maybe that doesn’t seem like much of a sacrifice. But if you’re among the 70% of Americans who report being unhappy at work, that’s a whole lot of precious time wasted. But here’s the good news: it doesn’t have to be that way.
Imagine what it would be like to work for yourself. To set your own hours, work from home, earn an extra income for your family, and help people by using your gifts!
Sound too good to be true? Well, it’s more realistic than you think. In 2017, more than 57 million people were freelancing full-time or pursuing a side-gig—and that number is only growing. In fact, it’s estimated that the majority of the U.S. population will be self-employed by 2027.1
There are two things driving that trend: freedom and flexibility.4 That’s all the motivation needed to trade a job you hate for a chance to make money doing what you love.
Don’t worry, I’m not talking about some get-rich-quick scam or pyramid scheme. This is about using your gifts to start your own business—even if you’ve never been interested in business before.
If you have a gift you want to share with the world, there’s a way to make an income in the process. As a Certified Business Coach and creator of Business Boutique, I help women figure out how to do that every single day. And I would love to help you do the same.
Five Questions That Reveal Your Gifts
To help women figure out what kind of business they want to start, I always begin by focusing on their gifts. And don’t you dare start thinking that you don’t have any. I meet too many women who “humbly” tell me that they’re not good at anything. That’s impossible!
God gives unique gifts and strengths to every person. And He did not forget yours when He created you.
I like to walk women through what I call the five “E” questions to help them uncover what their unique gifts might be:
1. What do you enjoy?
What do you do just because it’s fun? Typically, the activities you enjoy are directly related to your strengths.
2. What comes effortlessly for you?
What are some activities that make you feel like you’re just being you? These are activities that take minimal effort because they come naturally to you.
3. What do others encourage in you?
Sometimes, identifying your strengths comes through other people’s compliments. What skills and qualities do your loved ones always point out in you?
4. Where do you excel?
Look for the areas where you perform above average in relation to others. What experience, education or skills have you acquired over time?
5. What gives you energy?
Working in your strengths will give you energy rather than drain you. It’s not to say it doesn’t take work or make you tired, but at the end of the day, it brings you a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.
Work through those questions and compile a list. But before you start crossing things off, let me tell you something I still regularly tell myself: what’s obvious, easy or simple to you is not obvious, easy or simple to everyone else.
We often undervalue what comes effortlessly to us. We don’t think it’s special because it’s easy. But the truth is, the gifts God created you with, the knowledge He gave you and the message He put on your heart is unique to you and for you.
It doesn’t matter if what you want to do has been done before or if your idea seems simple or straightforward. There is someone out there who needs what you have to offer. So, don’t diminish your strengths. Own them. Appreciate them. Be proud of them. And use them.
Three Steps to Building a Business Around Your Gifts
Once you know what your gifts are, you’re ready to consider how to put them to work. Not every business idea you come up with will be a viable one. That’s why I encourage women to take each one through the sensibility test by asking these three questions:
A hobby costs you money, but a business makes you money. So, if your business doesn’t have a market, well, then you don’t have a business.
Your business idea has a market if there is a group of people who:
- Need what you have to offer.
- Have the problem you solve with your business.
- Can pay the price you need to charge to make a profit.
Does it fit my season of life?
When you think about your current season and life stage, is your business idea realistic? It’s important to ask yourself if you’re willing and able to commit the amount of time the idea requires.
You also have to think about your resources. Your business has a better chance of being successful and sustainable if you keep costs down. If you don’t already have the resources you need, or if it’s not a good time to get them (like if you’re trying to pay off debt), then now is not the best time to get started.
Am I passionate about this?
Don’t minimize this last question. I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to be passionate about your business. Is your idea exciting? Does it get you fired up? If your answer is no to either of those questions, you probably shouldn’t pursue this idea.
You Have What It Takes
If you take baby steps, stay out of debt, and build your business gradually, you’ve got little to lose—and, potentially, so much to gain.
Make a plan, write out your goals, and above all, don’t wait until you’re ready. Fear is a natural part of the process. Do it anyway. Do it scared.
And if you need more help getting started, check out christywright.com, where I have tons of free resources, like episode 46 of my podcast: Use Your Gifts to Make a Difference. You have so many gifts to offer the world, so get out there and build a life and business you love!
For more on being a successful businesswoman, start here:
Dear Small Business Owner, This One’s for You
10 Ways to Stay Focused When You Work From Home
Money Management for Your Business: This is How to Get Started
So You Want to Be Your Own Boss? 4 Things You Should Know
5 Steps to Turn Your Hobby Into a Business
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You’ll love this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: Can Women Do It All? With Christy Wright of Business Boutique – 091!