With the employment picture getting better but still not where many of us would like it to be, one needs to be creative when envisioning your next stop of your career. If employers are not breaking down your door with interest and not gushing over that spectacular resume, how about becoming your own boss and determine your own future as an entrepreneur. In today’s association mindfield, there are many options open to those interested in working for themselves and willing to be a risktaker. With the cost of entry being relatively minor, it is imperative for you to entertain all aspects of your experiences prior to placing out your business shingle.
What are you good at? What excites you? What can you do to actually make a living? Associations are not what they used to be and that statement is not meant to be a wish for yesteryear. Associations continue to evolve as it follows society as a whole into a new and exciting paradigm. Creative individuals can now accomplish as much, if not more than what a large entity did just a few years ago. With technology and with specialized partners just waiting to be summoned, an energetic and creative entrepreneur can take on the association world and never look back.
The options for external individuals in the past to make an impact with associations were somewhat limited. You could run an AMC, be a speaker or show the world your prowess by being a Strategic Planner but those limitations are now forever gone and associations are in need of a few good men and women as they continue to materially downsize, rif staff but continue to have dues-paying members demand more services and products.
Many very successful AMC’s are now reporting that their bottom-lines are seeing greater positive impact from special projects and consulting than from traditional association management. With associations having fewer filled desks in their offices those membership needs just don’t go away – they need to be accomplished by capable outsiders who can fulfill a specific need and move on to their next client.
I remember a business model that I participated in year’s ago when I was a charter exec for an association that had no employees but me. We outsourced all member needs and completed those tasks by hiring competant individuals and companies that could meet timelines and expectations. Associations are comfortable in hiring outside Accountants, Auditors, Meeting Planners and Legal Counsels but how about Social Media Experts, Membership Directors and even Marketing Specialists?
Do not discount the numerous opportunities that out there. If you have the energy and the robustness to work for yourself while accomplishing tasks for others, this may be the time to make that move. Many job-seekers see being a “consultant” as a part-time journey until they find something permanent but in today’s economy those jobs that were there previously are just not coming back. If you have a desire to work for yourself, you need to jump in with both feet and anticipate a long-term venture and not just a passing fancy. If you create a serious business plan for the future your future will certainly be increasingly more optomistic than just waiting around for that elusive job offer that may never come your way.
Think about going out on your own. It does take a certain mindset and personality but for many it is the answer to lifelong happiness and a future that can be worthwhile and productive.