Finding Work Where None Exists

Posted by on January 18, 2010

I was talking with my teenage children the other day. The discussion came to money-it always does with children. They wanted more! More than their mother or I was going to give them. It was time for them to find a job. If they could not find a job, then they would have to make one. Everyone can do this, not just teenagers.

I remember looking for work when I was young. The work may have not been romantic or prestigious, but it gave me money. Money allowed me freedom at an early age. Freedom to do the things I wanted to and buy the things my parents wouldn’t get me. I delivered newspapers, mowed lawns, worked on farms, shoveled snow, painted, and many other things. I did whatever I could do to have cash in my pocket.  When someone said they needed something done, I said I could do it. If I didn’t know how to do the job, I found someone to teach me. Some of these jobs turned into full time companies with employees.

How did I get these jobs? I went out knocking on doors. I made phone calls. I talked with whoever would listen. I never gave up. I wanted money, and I was going to find a way to get it. I simply found a need and filled it. There will always be people who need things done for them.  To find out what they need, ask some questions: What chores or service do they need done?  Are you willing to pay me to do them? When would they like them done? Ask these 3 questions long enough and you will be busy.

There are many types of services you could provide at little or no start up costs. Babysitting, pet walking, house sitting, and cleaning are some services. Maybe start a shopping service for people that do not have the time to shop or are unable to do it themselves. Help people sell things on Ebay or Craigslist. Look at doing lawn care, maintenance, message delivery, or vehicle detailing. Any one of these part time activities could easily become a full time business. These full time businesses can provide you with greater security and more enjoyment than you might get working somewhere else.

There are many ways to market your service for little money. Don’t give in to conventional thinking.  You could email your friends and relatives. Tell them what you are doing. Ask if they know of anyone who could use your services. Put an ad in Craigslist. Do not write the ordinary ad, write a great ad! Print cards and fliers on your computer. Hand them out or paste them on bulletin boards around town. Knock on doors. The main thing is to be committed to getting the word out and doing whatever it takes to succeed.

Consider providing these services to businesses as well as homeowners. People are hungry for great service. Providing exceptional service is a key ingredient that will get you repeat customers as well as referrals. There is a lot of competition in giving lousy service, but little or no competition in giving great service.

I have been helping businesses and individuals find work for years. The process is not really that hard.  If you have never done anything like this before, start on a part time basis and see if it is something you want to do. Get creative and get going.

Action steps.
-Find a service people want and are willing to pay for.
-Make an action plan and commit to it.
-Acquire the tools necessary to complete the service.
-Market your service to acquire customers.
-Deliver the service.
-Collect the money.
-Ask for referrals.
-Repeat the process.

If you are willing to do the hard things that most people are unwilling to do, you will be successful. I wish you well. Now if I can only get my teenagers off the computer long enough to do it.

Steve Sorenson is a Wizard of Ads partner living in Hawaii. You may contact him at

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