Thursday, November 6, 2008

Grassroots Jobs--finding the right fit

I know I've been talking a lot this week about financial planning and sacrifice, which can be hard to swallow during this economy.  But in spite of the obstacles, I still believe that "grassroots jobs" are some of the best opportunities out there.  Why?  Because they offer flexibility, they are family-friendly, and they do have the potential to bring in respectable and rewarding wages.

So, when I was considering leaving the 9-5, I made a list of the "grassroots occupations" I could think of to see if I could find the right fit.  This was my list:

*  Hobbyist-turned-career:  I spend a lot of time talking about sites like Etsy, and crafters and artisans who are using their creative talent to make a profit.  Obviously this is the route I've personally invested my energy into.  But it is not the only route out there.

*  "Home-party" businesses:  though they get a bad rap sometimes, home-party businesses are flourishing in the country.  Why?  Well, probably because they're fun.  From PartyLite to Avon to Mary Kay to Princess House to Silpada to Lia Sophia....  The list goes on and on.  If you are a natural social butterfly and love to be a hostess, these businesses can be a great option for earning income part-time or full-time.

*  Consulting:  I have a lot of friends who have very unique skills, often learned within their 9-5 careers.  Skills like accounting and counseling and teaching and public relations.  With their professions and personal network of connections, many of them could start and maintain successful consulting businesses where they would still be able to use their skills, albeit in a more flexible way.

*  Service:  these jobs start with meeting a need.  Laundry?  A neater home?  Childcare?  Carpool?  Event planning?  Gardening?  What day-to-day things are you good at, and can lighten the load for others?  Because believe me, they'll pay money for it!

*  Teaching/training:  similar to consulting, these grassroots jobs are filled by piano teachers and Spanish tutors and crafting instructors.  Got a skill that people want?  Offer lessons!

Of course there are countless other grassroots occupations, but this was the list I started with, and the one that eventually led me to blogging and designing.  I realize that some of these options don't seem like "careers" in the eyes of the larger culture.  Some are even patronized as being silly or frivolous.  But income earned in ways that connect people, build relationships, and offer flexibility should be taken seriously.  And yes, I know there are some problems with these jobs--lack of healthcare benefits and retirement programs to start.  Entrepreneurialism is rarely perfect.  But so far I think it might be a good fit for me.

What do you think of this list?  Is it encouraging, or insulting?  Share your thoughts with me by emailing me at, or commenting here.  

Other Deviancy 101 posts:
Stick around later today for another Smarty Pants post, where current events are always in fashion.

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