Excuses. The root of most failure. We are all guilty of making excuses that we justify at one point or the other and sometimes those excuses don't affect us much. But there are certain times in your life when there is no room for excuses if you want to be successful. Most people automatically think of money when they hear the word success. After working with everyone from multi-millionaires to people in homeless shelters, I know that success is more than money. It means paying your bills and waking up doing what you love everyday. If you do what you love, and you're good at it, the money will follow.
You may be reading this because you have an idea of what you want to do but have no idea where to start. Or you're in a job you hate and think you're "stuck" there. The easiest excuse to use for both of these situations: "I don't have money". Well, I'm going to remove that excuse from your vocabulary by providing 5 things you can do starting today that won't cost you a dime and will create opportunity and open doors for the career you really want.
1. Networking & relationships: It doesn't matter who you are.Whether it be your background or social status, there is nothing stopping you but yourself to start creating new relationships. You don't even have to go to networking meetings. So if you don't have a car, transportation is no excuse. Start by making a point to say hi to everyone you bump into. How many times have you had the opportunity to say hi to someone and introduce yourself, but just stared at your phone instead? Have social anxiety? Well start with Facebook and begin chatting with people on your friends list that you haven't met yet. Look at your friend's Facebook pages and find individuals that work in the area of business you want to be in and introduce yourself. Building relationships is the single most important and easiest thing you can do. Not only is it easy, it's necessary because those supporters will most likely become your customers when you land the career or business of your dreams.
2. Education: Google is free. There is no excuse not to be educated. If there's a business you want to be in, you need to research everything you can about it. Most people beat their competitors through knowledge and awareness. If you know more than your competitors, you're already ahead. Anything you need to know can be found on the internet. Also make sure you're searching industry related news stories by going to news.google.com and typing in key words. If you don't know what's going on in the news, how are you going to properly serve your potential clientele?
3. internship: When people think internship, they think college. Nobody ever made up a universal rule that you have to be in college to get an internship. I've never stepped a foot on a college campus and I've had more internships than I can count on both hands. I suggest finding a startup company in the industry you want to be in and offering your free help in exchange for hands-on experience. After you have already done the two things above (make relationships and educate yourself) they will most likely be glad to have you involved. An internship may be free, but the knowledge is worth more than the money you'd be paid otherwise.
4. Intrapreneurship: Your internship could very well turn into Intrapreneurship, which means behaving as entrepreneur while getting paid to work for someone else. Once you have the experience from from your internships, it should be very easy to find a job in the field of work you want to be in and get paid for it. People go to college and PAY to learn. You will be getting PAID to learn. I often hear the excuse from people that the money isn't enough and they can't afford to leave their job. I've never once said throughout this entire blog to quit your day job. That's a sorry excuse because you and I both know that there's always time, even if it's one day a week. Baby steps. Get out of the all or nothing mentality. It will stunt your growth because you'll never feel like "you're ready". When in fact, you are.
5. personal branding: If you're on social media, people should know what you're about. You are wasting a completely free marketing tool if you're not using the platform to share your ambitions and goals. You don't have to already have the career or business of your dreams before you start sharing them. Let people know what you are working on and why you are passionate about it. Build your following and support base. You will notice that more people will reach out to you offering help and ideas to help you along the way.
Cheri Garcia is the founder of Cornbread Hustle, a 90 day transformation program that helps felons become Entrepreneurs and find meaningful employment.