We live in the connected age of the knowledge economy. Even street sweepers are brain workers requiring no fewer than 30 hours of training in order to learn how to operate correctly the complex vehicles that clean our city streets.
Today knowledge (like information) yearns to be free and, just like information, can have a real monetary value when it meets a real need on the web.
Why the web, you’ll ask? Think of the process. You’re starting out on a venture, this might be your second job, your backroom project, the opportunity to finally chase your dream. Your budget might be next to zero so your operating costs have to be ultra-low. The web allows you to reach the widest possible audience for the lowest possible cost. So, you really need to start from there (even if you’re local). Plus there is the benefit of nichification. Whatever you might be doing, in whichever way, the web offers the easiest means to find potential customers.
Lesson over on where you should be. So how do you start? The questions at this point are: Where, What and How.
These days if you’re serious about getting anywhere you really need to be on Google+. The network has become a resource of knowledgeable people who have taken the concept of the sharing economy to an entirely new level.
Where else would you find award-winning journalists, rubbing shoulders with social media experts, hanging out with Olympic Gold Medal Winners all talking to each other with the kind of casual tone you only reserve for your besties down the pub after work?
Google+ is the single most important social network you could join. It’ll become both an education, a resource and a platform to work from. By all means you should, as a professional, have a presence on other social network platforms but Google+ should be where most of your time is spent.
There are only two more questions to settle? What and How.
It may well be that you already know what it is you want to do. But if not, grab a pen and a piece of paper and doodle down all your strengths, knowledge and attributes. It could be, for instance, that you can write and here the choices range from being a blogger to reviewing products to creating content to writing books. I appreciate that these are obviously easier to list here as option than to pull off, but that doesn’t mean that each of them is not a career that can be charted with a crystal clear career path.
It could be that you have specialized technical knowledge and you could perhaps consult. People can make money from giving educated guesses to carrying out studies on the best nesting site for Snowy Egrets. The point is that you use this exercise to first list all your choices and then narrow down the options until one, relatively clear path remains.
Having decided that you then need to ask How? Here’s a truism. None of the experts you see or meet ever started out that way. Each of them, in his own way, started out as a greenhorn feeling his way about, making mistakes and righting them until at one point there was enough accumulated experience and knowledge to enable them to stand on their own two feet.
Social media has shortened this process. Google+, in particular, is the perfect place to ask all the questions and take part in all the knowledgeable conversations. Not only that but if, ever, you are in a pickle there is bound to be a community you could turn to with a plea for some expert opinion.
You are more than likely to get it. People on Google+ are primarily people. Each of us there remembers that we got to be good because someone else was generous, along our way, with their time and knowledge. And this is an easy way to pay it back.
So ask, question, participate, interact, learn, grow, develop. One thing you must be aware of is that Google+ can suck you into the conversation way too easily. If you there to work, drum-up business and find new clients, make sure that you spend time doing that, as well as joining the conversation about the things you hold dear to your heart.
It all sounds easy. It’s not. The means to achieve what you want is now easier than ever. The task of actually getting there is still up to you and the paradox of a lower entry threshold and fewer barriers ironically only highlights the fact that usually our own uncertainties, insecurities, fears and lack of faith in ourselves, stops us before anything else can get in our way.
So start from you. Decide what you want to do. Everything else will follow from there.
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