If you want to be your own boss, whether it’s because you are sick of the corporate life, want to build your own empire, or are simply looking for flexible gigs for some steady income on the side, yet feel unsure of exactly what you want to pursue, don’t fret. You just have to do some due diligence on which fields are likely the easiest and most lucrative for you to establish yourself in.
One thing to clarify: it’s a myth that you have to be a skilled engineer or a notoriously specialized genius to start a business of your own. All you need is the supply and demand fit – you have to see what you are (or can be) good at that other people might be able to use to their benefit. There’s no limit to how creative or niche you can be.
Once you get over the initial fear, the process of becoming your own boss is quite fun and you will never want to go back!
Here are three areas (some unconventional) we recommend you consider.
#1. Financial Planner
Starting in January of 2019, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) imposed new restrictions on qualifications for a financial planner or adviser. He/she now must hold a bachelor degree, obtain one year of work/training, and meet all other professional development requirements throughout their career.
An independent financial adviser is not allowed to receive commissions or volume-based payments for recommending particular financial products due to the mandates set out by the Corporations Act which strictly prohibits independent financial advisers having any conflicts of interest. Thus, if you are an independent financial planner, you’ll most likely charge on a fixed fee or fee-for-service basis.
It sounds like being independent might be too cumbersome or not profitable, huh? au contrair.
The thing is that people crave this level of independence. Objective, no-ulterior-motive advice is hard to come by and more clients are concerned about the level of confidence or trust they should be putting in their financial adviser. The fact that you are required by law to be independent and have your incentives be aligned with the success of the client is a huge draw.
Start by making sure you have credible qualifications that would attest to your knowledge/expertise. Obtain advanced certificates or degrees or licenses in the art of financial planning. Nowadays you can easily find affordable and flexible financial planning courses online or on campus at various institutions.
Then, build your client base by starting with yourself. If you make boastable wealth using your own strategies, others would more likely to pay you to replicate the same success for them.
#2. Event or Travel Planner
I know you may have cringed a bit as you pictured an old-school travel agent (possibly from the movie The Truman Show) who sits at a desk in front of a clunky computer with some posters of planes flying in the background.
But don’t let these outdated stereotypes fool you! We’re not talking about being a travel ‘agent’ here; no, we are talking about being a freelancing travel/event planner.
If you check out some of the more popular freelance job platforms such as Upwork.com, you will find more and more people hiring planners to do research and to create a much-personalized itinerary. Instead of choosing from the deals that an agent already has in stock, many folks want to find and book adventures that suit their interests. Some (wealthier) clients look for a planner who would be on retainer.
This is a real need. Australians (and the rest of the world) have consistently spent increasing amounts on travels every year, especially on overseas holidays. Nowadays as long as you put in the time, you can easily find so many good tours and excursions in any destination. But since time is money, you can simply put in your time and be compensated for it!
#3. Life Coach
A ‘life coach’ is a slightly vague term – there are different types of life coach in existence and due to the lack of regulations in place, unfortunately , many people hold skeptical views of this profession.
Choosing your area of specialty
Let’s unpack this one at a time. First, you can be a specialized life coach or a general one. It is up to however you want to define the service you offer. A lot of fitness trainers would label themselves as life coaches, guiding people on their weight-loss journey; some financial planners can also become a life coach to help struggling people become more financially savvy and independent. Or you can specialize in more therapeutic needs such as helping people find their passion or going through a breakup.
Understanding the growth opportunities available
Now, we recommend this path, while unconventional, for a few different reasons.
- There is a real opportunity to help people in need and make a tangible difference in people’s lives
- Once you have a small but solid customer base, there are multiple revenue streams you could pursue: you can publish a book (this is not as hard or costly today), be paid to speak or present at events, host paid workshops, etc.
- You can start with people who know and believe in your talent to leverage as case studies/references for your next (the real first) clients
If you want to learn more about becoming a life coach, check out the main industry association, The International Coach Federation Australasia, for resources.