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You Are Your Own Wise Man

Question sent to me recently:

I am looking to telecommute or work-at-home. I have no idea where to start or what to do. I am willing to go back to school, but I donít even know where to start. Do you have any suggestions?

My answer:

If YOU donít know where to start then how in the heck do you think "I" would know?

Sounds flip, huh? But really itís not. This question is actually a representation of many people crying out for help when instead, they should be looking inward. Basically, this person is asking someone else, someone outside him/herself to make a Life Choice for them.

Unfortunately, no one can answer that question . . . no one can do that but you. You must decide what you would like to do with your life and how you are going to do it. No one else can direct you in this. It comes down to asking yourself some very hard questions.

I created a helpful list of questions that I found myself asking wayward friends looking for their wise man and searching for that "something" in their lives.

  1. List all the things that you like to do.
    Note all the things that you can do...all the things that you LIKE to do, that give you joy and purpose...actions that when youíre doing it you say, "This is okay, I donít mind doing this." And yes, everyone has this "thing". Donít give me bull about not having anything that you like doing.

  2. List all the things you do well.
    Yes, this is a different category. There are many things that I do well, but I donít like doing. For instance, I change diapers really well. I am the epitome of efficient time and effort when changing a baby. Even though Iím quick, the child comes out of it comfortable, happy, squeaky clean and smelling of fragrant baby lotion, I hate doing it. I hate the smell, I hate the filth, and I hate every aspect of it. But Iím darn good at it nonetheless. I would put "changing stinky diapers" in this list.

  3. Are any items on either list the same or compatible?
    Really look at your lists. Take five to ten quiet minutes and figure out if you can combine several of these tasks or if these skills are at all complementary. If you find one, two or a few things, you have potential success.

  4. If you find something compatible from both lists, how can you make this interest a job where you can work at home?
    Could you find employment in this endeavor? Research this.
    When I say to research, I mean really research. Get on the Internet and go to a mega-search engine and type in the terms. Then really read. Take a pad and pencil out and write notes as you are reading. Jot ideas down. Are there businesses that supply services or products in this realm of possibilities? No? Good! You may have found your niche. A niche is a specialty that only a few can provide to the few willing to pay for the service or product.
    Get on a few discussion boards on this topic. Your goal is to ask them do they know if there is a need for the service or product you have in mind. Congratulations, you have done your first market research! Yes, itís as easy as that.

  5. If it looks like employment is not an option could you open a home business using these skills? Research this.
  6. If you find a way to stay at home and do this thing, do you need additional training to bring yourself up to speed or make you look appealing to employers? What skills would you need? Could you learn these skills on your own or would you need classes?

  7. What type of money do you need to take care of yourself and your family?
    Add up all your bare-bones expenses. Cut out cable, the second care, etc. -- only the necessities please. Be real here. What money do you need to survive? What do you need to keep a roof over your head, food in your belly, water and heat in your house and a bus ticket to do the chores?

  8. What type of money do you want?
    Wishing on a star is not futile. You will be surprised how easy it is to make money when you have direction. Focus. What will actually happen is youíll do much better than bare-bones and maybe not quite meet the fantasy, but anywhere in the middle is satisfactory, donít you think?

  9. What obstacles do you see in this pathís direction.
    Know thy enemy. And killíem off! Brutal, but the obstacles that cause you to stumble are the obstacles that you are not aware of. Notice I used the word aware. Seeing means identifying, marking and knowing details. You donít have to know all the details of your obstacle, just have an idea whatís out there.

  10. How will you overcome these obstacles?
    Itís time to consider your future actions, your game plan, and the contingencies. This is the road to empowerment.

If you donít know where youíre headed, youíll end up nowhere or anywhere . . . but this I know, youíll never end up where you want to be. You have to start this path with asking yourself some hard questions. In the answers is the focus and direction you need. When you focus on the goal and look at all the details, the direction and the opportunities are more evident.

Within this search for direction, you will find your own answers . . . you are your own wise man. Happy Hunting!

-Rosalind Mays
© copyright 1998-2001 Rosalind Mays
Rosalind Mays, best-selling author of The Real Deal on Telecommuting, and co-author of Get Your Money Back! Stop Scammers and Save Your Dollars, works at home as an Internet Researcher. She hopes her advice and report (which compiles all the information she found while searching for her current job) will shorten other job seeker's time in finding legitimate work at home opportunities. Visit for a free list of telecommuting jobs compiled monthly. Go to: to learn more about her books. She may be reached via e-mail