(Ed. note: This is a guest post from freelance writer Rachel Matthews.)
“I would love to do what you do, but I’m not a writer.”
“I don’t want to work in an office, but I don’t want to sit at home all day.”
“I’d really like to quit my job, but I like helping people hands-on.”
I know this blog is called Pajama Productivity, but that doesn’t mean every freelancer or solopreneur is sitting around, alone, tapping on a laptop while wearing pajamas. Let’s break down that bit of misinformation right now.
(Ed. note: Wait. What?)
One of the biggest assumptions about freelancers is that we’re all these introvert types who eat cereal for lunch and spend most of the day with our cats. This means that awesome people with amazing talents – maybe just like you – stay in their boring cube jobs because hey, at least I’m not alone, eating cereal with a cat.
(BTW – there is nothing wrong with eating cereal with a cat. Even if you let the cat lick the bowl afterwards.)
So, ENFPs and your extroverted Meyers-Briggs buddies, let’s spend today ignoring writing careers and other “wear pajamas all day” options. Instead, let’s talk about solopreneur careers where someone else wears the pajamas.
This is the big one, right? If you’re the type who likes helping people but hates your cube, you’ve probably thought about being a massage therapist at some point. Renting your own studio takes a lot of overhead you probably don’t have right now, so get your massage certification, buy a traveling table, and go one-on-one to people’s homes.
Doula, Ultrasound Tech, Perineal Re-Educator, and Other Childbirth Stuff
Okay. The cost of childbirth is way out of control (the average American birth costs around $30,000, and you’ll pay around $10K even with insurance), so trained solopreneurs have been offering their skills for women who want to stay away from Big Hospital.
You’ve probably heard about doulas, the people who help women with home births (and are skilled enough to know when a home birth needs hospital intervention, stat). Have you heard about at-home ultrasound techs? Yes, it is possible to take a course in diagnostic medical sonography, become a licensed ultrasound tech, and travel to women’s homes to perform sonograms. You do have to provide your own sonography machine, but you can get one of those really cool 3D machines. Pregnant women are totally excited about 3D pictures of their babies, as you’ve probably noticed if you’ve been on Facebook lately.
Or, afterwards, you know how everything gets a little… um… loosened up down there? The French have been providing perineal re-education and tightening (it involves a wand) for free for years. American women are just now learning about the concept, but it is growing in popularity. It was just in the New York Times. Not every hospital offers the magical perineal wand, so get your training and make sure every new mother in your zip code knows you are the perineal wizard.
Organizatrices and Home Gurus
Do you know how to clean a closet, balance a budget or iron a fitted shirt? Someone else doesn’t. Being a housekeeper sounds kinda Downton Abbey, but you and I both know Mrs. Hughes is awesome. Whether you enjoy organizing a closet, teaching someone how to manage clutter or simply taking over the management of an entire house, there is a job for you.
Some women who enjoy cooking but want to skip the hassle of starting a restaurant are offering at-home meal services to other families. Other women are serving as personal assistants to the rich and famous. Whatever your skill, there’s someone else who needs it – desperately!
Mary Poppins, Fraulein Maria and any other role played by Julie Andrews (except Victor/Victoria)
Lastly, there’s always the tutoring/nannying option. Public school teachers get burned out by low pay and strict educational requirements. Tutoring, on the other hand, gives you the chance to work one-on-one with a student and watch as that student masters new concepts and learns how to critically approach education. With the right clientele, tutoring often becomes more lucrative than straight-up teaching.
Or, if you want to work with older kids, consider the role Dame Andrews played in The Princess Diaries. She taught Mia Thermopolis how to sit, stand, walk, and behave like a princess. There are parents who would pay a lot of money for that. Trust me.
(Ed. note: Though being a professional Victor/Victoria would be awesome.)
These aren’t the only solopreneur careers for extroverted, people-friendly types, but they’re all careers where someone else wears the pajamas instead of you. We’ll leave the solopreneur careers where both parties wear pants, like life coach, tax adviser and project manager, for another post.
What other solopreneur careers should extroverted types consider? Have you developed a highly extroverted small business that works for you? Don’t hold back – drop it in the comments.
Rachel Matthews is a freelance writer with a background in business who’s been relying on her own solopreneur skill set for over 5 years now. Hang out with her on Google+ here.