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Published: Tuesday, 2/14/2006

Make it Personal


Just because your resume is sparse doesn t mean you aren t an experienced, well-seasoned worker; Experience comes in many forms. Take for instance a recent client who wrote: I am a 42 years old divorced single mother with two active girls age 10 and 12. I get very little from my ex-husband and am in desperate need of an income that will support the three of us. I was a stay-at-home mom for 13 years and did a lot of volunteer work. I feel so out of the professional loop. I don t know what I can do.

That feeling of not knowing what to do may be due to a fear that you don t have the right skills and experience to offer the corporate world.

Many of us have been raised to believe that many of the best jobs are those that involve working in an office. In 1959, the term knowledge worker was coined by management consultant Peter Drucker to describe someone who works primarily with information.

However, we believe the 20th century demand for knowledge workers is giving way to an increasing need for service workers in the 21st century. And the result is a dramatic shift in both the nature of work and the types of employers.

The service workers we traditionally think of are those who sell us our coffee, wait on our restaurant tables, deliver our newspapers, serve us in retail stores, drive the taxis or buses we take and so forth. While the need for these types of service workers is greater than ever before, there is also a growing demand for new types of service workers.

In this era of the service worker, you can create your own job providing personal services to members of the baby boomer generation who have more money than time.

To understand why there is a growing demand for personal services, consider how the baby boomer generation (born from 1946 to 1964) is changing the world. As we baby boomers age, we start to get a sense of how precious our time is. We want to spend it doing things we enjoy. And if we don t enjoy running errands, organizing our closets, grocery shopping, maintaining our home or cooking dinner, we want to find someone to do those things for us.

As a homemaker and volunteer you have probably gained a wealth of experience providing exactly the types of services that many people would love to pay someone to do for them. With little or no training, you could start a business providing services such as any of the following:

  • Personal assistant

  • Handyperson

  • Personal shopper

  • Personal chef

  • Interior decorator

  • Party planner

  • Professional organizer

    These are just a few examples. Anything that some people would prefer not to do themselves from bookkeeping to packing a household for a move can be turned into a business.

    If you don t think you have the resources to start your own business, think again. As long as you have access to a telephone and a means of transportation (even public transit), you can start your own service business.

    To get clients you can start with word of mouth, and ask people to spread the word that you are available for hire. For a nominal fee, place an ad in your local newspaper classifieds.

    We have received numerous e-mails from people throughout North America asking us if we can help them find a personal shopper or professional organizer to hire. People are desperate for these types of services, and if you are willing to provide them you can earn a very good income.

    Even if you charged only $20 per hour plus expenses, you could earn over $3,500 per month before taxes if you worked 22 eight hour days per month. And if you charged $40 per hour you could earn over $5,000 per month with a lot more time off.

    Remember, the key is to provide services that some people would prefer not to do themselves and would rather hire someone to do for them. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to serve. You could earn a very good living to support yourself and your girls while providing valuable services to others.

    As Martin Luther King, Jr. said: Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don t have to have a college degree to serve. You don t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

    Tag and Catherine Goulet are co-founders of FabJob.com, a publisher of career guides that provide step-by-step advice for breaking into a variety of dream careers.

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