Unemployment… the first week

Posted in Entrepreneur, Family, Finding a Job, Military, Personal, self-employment, unemployment, write a book with tags , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2010 by DelJenLane Enterprises, LLC

Today is the end of the first full week of being unemployed.  I’m not sure how I really feel about being unemployed yet.  Part of me likes spending quality time with my kids and a part of me misses the camaraderie of working with other adults to solve common problems.  In the last week, I’ve revamped my resume more times that I care to admit and I’m not sure it’s any better than it was.  I’ve searched the same job boards over and over trying to figure out what’s out there and what I want to do.  On a positive note, I’ve had a couple of recruiters call me about jobs.   There is one that I would jump on in a heartbeat but there is a big problem with it because it is in another city  and would require us to relocate.  There is NO way we could move right now because we are so far underwater on our home, we’d never be able to sell it for what we owe and foreclosure/short sale is not an option in my profession.  Not to mention my husband would also have to find another job.  He’s a Sharepoint developer so odds are he wouldn’t have a problem but he doesn’t like change and is already pushing back on any discussion of moving.

Over the last week, I haven’t really explored the home-based business idea any further because I just don’t know that I could really make enough money in the near term to make it worthwhile.  I have really been considering writing a book about my family though.  I’d probably have to write it from a fictional perspective just to protect my crazy family and their “sensibilities.”   I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told people the story of my family and they always tell me I have a reality show or a Lifetime movie (or three) in the making!

On the other side of this equation, there are positives to being home.  I’ve started walking my children to and from school and I have the sore muscles to prove it. I’ve had some free time and started exploring photography of the local flora and fauna.  The heron at the top of this file was visiting our pond yesterday morning.  I watched him catch a fish only to have a hawk steal it from him!  I’m still working towards completing my BA in Marketing and have about 9 classes before I finish.  I really enjoy my marketing classes and maybe someday can make money doing that.  This first full week of unemployment has not really helped me figure out what I want to do but it is allowing me to take care of myself a little more, explore things that I’ve never had the time to explore and continue my education without having to rush my studies!  I would say the first week has been much more productive and interesting than I thought it would be.

3 Work Days Left

Posted in Entrepreneur, Finding a Job, Military, Personal, Pointerware, self-employment with tags , , , , , , on September 24, 2010 by DelJenLane Enterprises, LLC

My last day at my job is this coming Wednesday and I find myself completely confused about what to pursue as far as a line of work. Having worked for over 20 years in or with the military, I’m finding it difficult to make the decision to strike out on my own. I am still unclear about what I want to pursue with regards to a business. I have several ideas thanks to my family… but I am filled with self-doubt about my capabilities to start and grow a business.

My family and friends are all extremely supportive and outline what they see as my skills that would allow me to be successful as a business owner. In the 30 minute glow after our conversations, I fully believe them and am totally motivated to pursue my own business… but after the glow wears off… I am back in the abyss that is clouded by self-doubt. The military provided me with an arsenal of tools and skills that are extremely valuable in running my own business…I know this… but it doesn’t change the fact that I am afraid of failure. I know that to be successful, I am going to have to climb out of the abyss and constantly tell myself “I know I can do this.”   I just have to find it within myself to take that first step.

Ideas are still swirling in my head.  I like the idea of teaching adult learners different computing skills. I also have been thinking about how to help seniors manage the monthly bills and other basic finances.  I have a friend in banking that works in a retirement community and she was describing how several elderly folks come into the bank two or three times a day, completely forgetting either what they came for or the fact that they had already been there several times for the same thing.   I really think some sort of business helping the elderly might be where my niche is, I just don’t want to get into house cleaning or personal care services.   I’ve always loved numbers, helping people understand where their money is and I really don’t mind the mundane chores like filing benefit claims… so maybe that’s something I could do in addition to teaching computer classes. I’ve seen some really cool software that would really be helpful for elderly folks who don’t have a lot of computer knowledge but would still like to connect with their families via email.  This software is made by a company called Pointerware and it really makes running a computer so easy for folks that might not be computer savvy. I’ve thought about marketing this software along with selling computers with touchscreens with the software pre-installed but am not really sure how to make that happen.

So, that’s where we stand today… I just hope I’m not pushed into doing something I don’t want to do… I guess the only way that will happen is if I just sit around and do nothing.

So, it’s official!

Posted in Entrepreneur, Finding a Job, self-employment on September 15, 2010 by DelJenLane Enterprises, LLC

I got my formal ‘pink slip’ yesterday.  I’m still being told there is a possibility, albeit a very slim one, that a position could open up soon but I’m not going to hold my breath.  So, I’ve taken a couple of comments from friends and family and started to investigate some alternative options.

I have a love of teaching and I live near several senior communities.  I have a lot of computer experience.  I might be able to translate my computer skills and love of teaching into teaching older adults some basic computer skills.  I am really mulling this idea over and starting to check out how I could implement it and if I could actually make any money doing it.  This could also expand into classes for kids or even other adults who have only limited computing skills.  It could be a mobile class with laptops or an on-site location… but an on-site location has a lot more overhead to consider than a mobile environment.  Then there’s the whole financing this type of operation when I’m being pushed out of a job.  I have no idea where I might get funding for this type of “adventure.”

Another thought, would be along similar lines but more of a “girl Friday” helping the senior community with grocery shopping, helping them pay bills or take care of errands with or for them.   I could tailor my work times around my children’s school schedules which would be very nice.

I’ve also thought about basic bookkeeping or becoming a certified tax professional but I don’t have any experience with either of these other than doing my own taxes, taxes for my parents and paying nanny taxes when we were forced to have in home childcare  when my youngest was a tiny newborn

I’m not looking to be a millionaire (although that would certainly be nice) but I am looking to be able to pay our living expenses if my husband should lose his contracting job like I have.  In this day and age, with Gates’ recent announcement of all these financial cuts across the Department of Defense, that could become a reality sooner than we’d like.  Like so many people in this country, we are seriously underwater on our home so if we both lost our jobs at the same time, we would be in very big trouble financially.

Nothing is any clearer

Posted in Entrepreneur, Finding a Job, Military, self-employment with tags , , , on September 11, 2010 by DelJenLane Enterprises, LLC

So, in the last week, it has become more clear that my current contracting job is definitely nearing the end and there likely isn’t a spot for me on any of the other contracts that we hold.  I have to say, I have a great boss who’s been working hard to help me find other work and has even sent my resume to some of our competitors.  I would like to think that my boss helping me out speaks volumes about  my performance and abilities.  I have to believe that if he didn’t like me, he would just hand me a pink slip and say see ya.

I have been thinking very hard about what I want to do when this job ends in a couple of weeks.  While my boss is helping me, a part of me is craving to work for myself, be my own boss, set my own hours, my own goals and be completely responsible for my ultimate success or failure.

For months I have been considering opening my own business but my inherent problem is that I don’t know what I’d be good at doing.  Having spent years in the military, I have gained a lot of different skills but don’t really feel that my primary training translated too much outside of the military.  My formal training is in a profession that does not translate to anything but military or government service unless I want to be a government contractor.  I’ve been in that rat race for 3 years now and am just not thrilled with that option and the instability of it.

So, now I exploring the other less formal skills I gained in the service and at some of the volunteer work I used take on.  I was an instructor and I really loved that job… but I was teaching a skill, that again… doesn’t translate into something I can teach outside of the military or government.  If I look at some of the other things I did while on active duty maybe I can try to isolate where my strengths lie.  I was a financial counselor and a volunteer tax rep.  I helped service members create budgets to live by as well as helped them prepare annual tax returns.  I also raised funds for a variety of military affiliated organizations.  I organized all kinds events like  military balls, promotion ceremonies and training events.  I am good with people, extremely organized and very conscientious about taking care of things that need to be done.  But how do I translate these skills into my own business that suits me needs and skills and turns a profit?  How do I select what I want to do?

Looking at my skills might lead me to look at becoming an event planner, working to do tax prep services, bookkeeping or budget development.  I guess then I also have to look at the formal skills needed to do any of those.  A financial related business would require additional formal training of some sort, I’m sure.  I’m midway through my marketing degree program… should I switch paths into accounting/finance… or stay the course and start look at other means of training even if it’s part-time at first to gain experience?  So, over the next few days/weeks, I envision that is where I’m going to have to start focusing my efforts.  Really wish I had a mentor who’d been through this before who could help me figure out how and what to focus on…

It Begins

Posted in Entrepreneur, Family, Military, Personal, self-employment with tags , , , , on September 3, 2010 by DelJenLane Enterprises, LLC

So, I’m new to blogging and I’m new to the world of entrepreneurship.  Currently, I have a job… but only for the next 20 something days or so.  I’ve suddenly found myself in a position that I have to decide whether or not I want to continue being a Defense contractor, work for the government in some other capacity or pursue some sort of self-employment.  In order to help me make this decision, I thought a blog might be a helpful way to figure out what I want to be when I grow up – so to speak.

I spent more years than I care to count in the military but for personal reasons I didn’t retire (it’s a very long story that I’ll save for another time).  I don’t regret my service to this country because I gained a lot of experiences that I couldn’t have even begun to imagine when I started that journey.  After I left the military, I moved into Defense contracting which has been filled with its own ups and downs.  I have to say that I’ve been well-compensated for the work I’ve done, but I also have often felt that something is missing.  I also don’t like the fact that at any time my job can disappear and it really doesn’t matter what my performance is like.  Additionally, it’s my own observation that  in general, contractors aren’t treated with much respect even though in many cases we have just as much experience to draw upon as the military and government civilians we work with (still another topic for another time).

Anyway, I’ve had to start over in different career paths several times over the course of the last 20 years but this time it’s different.   I’m in a better position financially and emotionally to make the call whether or not I want to continue on a career path in the Defense industry or find some sort of more meaningful employment.

Now, to the crux of the whole self-employment problem… I have no idea what I want to do.  Over the last twenty years, I’ve worked in communications, computer network administration, operations analysis and planning, instructional delivery and most recently I’ve gained some experience with project management and contracting.

If I had to pick my favorite job, I would say I loved being an instructor.  I really enjoyed teaching adults and seeing the “a-ha” lightbulb go on in people’s heads.  That said, I know teaching children is just not my cup of tea.  I have two small children of my own and have enough trouble helping them with their homework that I know teaching children is definitely not in my cards!

The other problem is that I don’t have a whole lot of real talent at anything in particular.  The military trained me in a lot of different jobs but I’ve never mastered any of them and the ones that I was good at require constant updating.  I’ve been spending a lot of time… and money… buying and reading books to help me figure out where I want to go.  Some books provide better information than others but none have really jumped out at me yet.

So, for tonight, I’ll sign off with the thought that the journey is just beginning. There will be so many different parts of my life and the lives of my family that will be impacted by this trip that I’m sure I will digress from talking purely about the entrepreneurial path but I hope that you will find it interesting nevertheless.