Finding more options seems hard — especially at times when you have yet not reached a stage where opportunities are running after you rather than you running after them.
There is no single solution; but one solution lies in saying yes more than you say no. Saying yes to new connections, new work opportunities.
Where are the opportunities?
They may be where others do not see them. A new employee will look at small work as opportunity. Somebody who has been there for a while may not take this work seriously.
As an entrepreneur providing professional services, you just need to look around. There are companies which prefer working with a freelancer and there are others those who want to work with established players. Which one are you?
Sometimes you will find opportunity as a leftover. A homemaker does interesting stuff with leftovers. You need to do the same with the opportunities to work that have been passed over by others.
Tasks that your fellow employees have pushed to you thinking that they are insignificant; work opportunities that (big) companies thought are insignificant for their time and money.
In your lifetime – everyday opportunities will be presented to you in form of assigned tasks, somebody not being present for doing the work assigned to her. It is up to you to take it up and make a mark.
By saying yes, you develop the opportunity funnel. Your network on LinkedIn will help you develop the opportunity funnel by pointing you to opportunity. Make sure you participate in community. This will get you desired visibility.
If you have done your time in the marketplace even your competitors will point you to opportunities. I also believe that in today’s world the market in most of the areas have expanded so much that there is nothing called competition. You get opportunities, you deliver what is needed, add value and the opportunity stays with you. This is in context of small businesses.
How I do it?
When I want to make a foothold in a new market. This is what I do.
- Get equipped with knowledge
- Get to know the players
- Make connections with people who have connections
- Tell them that I am there with know-how that they can benefit from
This is a basic framework that I work with; you can add your personality, your way of working to it.
What to do with opportunity?
When opportunity comes your way then what you do with it is totally up to you. Ideally you should not waste it; because you have already invested effort in turning it your way. Put your heart and soul and make a mark even with small things. Work as you need to prove yourself (you really do, if you are reading this).
Move ahead or step back
Saying yes does not mean that you commit your life to something. You do not become a deep sea diver in a day. First the thought emerges. Then you look for a training program based on whether you want to pursue it as a leisure sporting activity or as a professional scuba diver. After the training is over you may choose to fully commit yourself by investing in rather expensive equipment. Later you may train further to become better at it or after the initial training you may decide that this is not for you. You make the choice whether to move ahead or step back.
But that is not the point; point is to explore first and commit later. Be ready to step back but do so only after investing sometime in the middle.
Who is this strategy for?
Generally it should suit start-up entrepreneurs; marketers who are focused on driving innovations for their brand; students looking for volunteer exposure; professionals looking to make a mark at work and also those who have just joined a new organization. This will also suit people who work in a project-driven environment and broadly anybody who is looking at assuming a leadership role in any sphere of life; because leaders say yes (mostly) and then follow through.
Somebody who is out of work should not say no to even a small opportunity.
There is a lot of talk about doing what you love; bur there is other side to it before you do – how you will know what it is that you love and what you don’t. Of course, there will be things and tasks that you may thoroughly detest but to the rest say yes.
Saying yes and putting yourself in midst of action is also a way to find the purpose of your life and finding “what it is that you truly love”. Many successful people chanced upon their careers. Somebody – friend or family member – said that they should do it, they just jumped on the opportunity and made it big. Not everybody will turn that lucky; but there is no harm in hoping that good things are coming your way.
When you say yes to opportunities; then more opportunities will come your way. You will also be established as a doer and if your follow through people will see you somebody they can trust to deliver.
When you get into saying yes mode; chances are you will say yes to some opportunities without having enough bandwidth. Such situations will push you to become creative. You will automatically learn about delegation, teaming up with people and doing more in less time.
If you say yes to something for which you do not have the necessary skill-set then it will build in you an entrepreneur-like trait which is getting work done even if you do not know much about the task. This will also develop the learning mindset. None of us was born with a skill as a child; we eventually learnt everything we know today. So if you do not know about a task then go learn it and deliver. If it is not a core skill that you need or want — then get it done by taking help from somebody who possesses that skill.
Saying yes and no both can be strategies for growth, it depends on situation. If you want to say no then ask yourself first that will you be fine with saying no. Better say no when you have enough money in the bank; when you have established enough credibility so that opportunities come your way rather than you going after them.
Saying no is fine; but mostly this stage will come when you have said yes a lot of times in life. You should say no when you are working on something that calls for undivided attention like writing code or writing a book; creating music; or working on a big launch.
So where to begin?
Start today. Say yes to first relevant opportunity or task that comes your way.
Do you prefer saying yes or no when faced with an opportunity? Why?