You want to find work you love. You want to know you’re making an impact. You want to feel excited about what you’re doing.
But, the problem is, you don’t know what type of work that should be. And, you don’t want to do what everybody else is doing.
You love photography, but don’t want to photograph fussy babies or big, unruly weddings. You’re a good writer, but authorship is not for you. Working with numbers is your jam, but you have no idea where to take it.
So, how can you find the angle to pursue your dream?
Is it even possible to start a business doing what you love without having to choose from the standard menu of options?
I have some good news: Yes, it’s possible!
As long as you are willing to think outside of the box, be creative and put in a little research while adding value to your potential clients, you can absolutely do what you love.
If you aren’t sure how, take 10 minutes out of your day to ask yourself a few questions:
1. What are your unique skills?
This is a twist on Chris Guillebeau‘s question, “What can you offer the world that no one else can?”
It can sound a bit daunting at first, so let’s start with discovering what your skills are.
Write them down somewhere, and don’t be hard on yourself. You can be skilled in an area, even if you’re not perfect in it.
If you’re stuck, think back on the feedback people have given you. What have your family and friends told you you’re good at? And, remember, personality traits (kind, cynical, outgoing, etc.) are not skills.
Another way to approach this is to reflect on performance reviews previous bosses have given you.
What are the common threads between the feedback you’ve received?
2. What is your “art?”
I get it. Not everyone is super creative.
But, don’t write this question off if you fit into the not-so-creative category. It’s an important one, and it will be very helpful while finding your unique angle.
When we think of art, many of us think of the creative arts, like painting, writing and music. And it’s easy to see why; those have historically always been considered “The Arts.”
But, even if you aren’t about to pull out some water colors and attack a canvas, you still have an art.
Think outside of the box. Your art can be anything that gives you a creative release. And no, you don’t have to love it.
My art is writing, so it happens to be pretty standard, but I also find it incredibly difficult to write. Some mornings, I despise it, and others, I find it to be a great creative release.
My husband’s art is building. He’s a carpenter by trade, and even though he wants to pull out his hair sometimes when he’s building, he gets an amazing creative release from it.
Your art might be graphic design, cooking or interior design. You don’t just have to think within the walls of traditional art.
3. What are you interested in?
I don’t want to use the word passion because I don’t want to chase anybody away with the daunting task of finding personal passions.
Here’s an easier question: What are your interests?
In order to discover your interests (refraining from using the complicated word “passion”), consider these three questions, and write down your answers: What makes you excited? What are you interested in? What could you talk about for days?
This will probably be the easiest step in the entire process.
4. How can you help people?
I don’t mean “help people” in the sense of working at the soup kitchen or volunteering at the food bank.
These are worthy endeavors, but they won’t move you closer to making a living doing what you love.
Rather, when I say help people, I’m really asking how can you provide value with the answers from the three questions above.
Here is how I went about finding my angle for Unsettle:
My skills are influencing, inspiring and analyzing.
I had a very hard time finding those skills, but after combing through previous performance reviews, three different personality profiles and even reading some greeting cards that people had given me from the years past, I kept seeing those three themes.
My art is writing.
This was easy for me because it happens to be a standard creative activity.
My other art is speaking, which I love to do, both one-on-one and in front of a group.
My interests are: hiking, traveling, blogging, online entrepreneurship, family, content marketing, photography, animals, gender equality, business and coaching.
So, how could I combine these things to help make the world a better place?
Well, I could use my unique skill of inspiring and influencing people and my art of writing, and I could combine those things with my obsession with blogging and online entrepreneurship to help people start lifestyle businesses to do meaningful work that they love.
So, that’s what I’m doing.
Finding an angle to pursue solopreneurship requires some elbow grease, and some of these questions are harder than others.
But, the alternative of spending your days doing something you don’t believe in is much harder. Don’t settle.
This article was originally published on Unsettle.org and was written by Sarah Peterson.