Born for this by Chris Guillebeau is a book that promises a lot: to help you find the work you were meant to do, or even more daring – born to do. Since we spend most of our life working it makes sense that we do work that we enjoy and are genuinely passionate about it. In this book Chris wants to help you find that type of work.
The book is divided into two parts. The first part promises to help you understand what you want and how to get it. In the second part of the book you will be presented with options that will help you to implement some of the lessons that you learnt in the first part of the book. Chris does emphasize that this is an action oriented book. In other words the book should motivate you to do something.
What I do like about the book (and other books Chris has written) is that a lot of the information he used to write the book is based on speaking to hundreds of people who in his own words found the work they were born to do and he does admit that there is no single one way to find it. Chris refers to finding work that you were born to do as ‘career lottery‘ and he has a model for how to find that work which is the Joy-Money-Flow model and he believes this model outlines what we are all looking for in our careers. He describes joy as, what you like to do, money as, what supports and sustains you, and flow as, what you’re really good at. A person finds their career lottery when there is an optimal intersection of the three components. Chris uses his own personal story to illustrate how the model works. He also emphasizes that finding our career lottery does not happen in a straight line.
Most people who have found the work they were born to do would have tried a variety of things and even when we do find it, the different components of the joy-money-flow model will be valued differently for different individuals depending on what is happening in their life at the time. There is a short questionnaire in the book to help us identify which aspect of the joy-money-flow model is the most important for us currently.
My normal review approach would be to give you a brief overview of each chapter, but I won’t take that approach. Rather I will identify some of the very useful tools from each section of the book which makes it worth buying.
Tools from section one
1. I’ve written earlier about the joy-money-flow model and its questionnaire. These I found interesting.
2. How to be a risk assessor is a part in the book which looks at risk assessing our choices for a career choice. This part is followed by information on making back up plans when one or more options don’t work out as planned.
3. Ideas on how to create a career insurance plan. It’s simpler than you think.
4. There’s a bit about mastering the right skills and some good advice on how to do that, and what kind of skills are best to master.
5. How to figure out problems to solve that could become an income generating project.
6. How to start something by talking to 100 people.
7. How to choose a viable opportunity by first expanding your options, then limiting them.
Tools from section two
1. How to create a side hustle. Very useful information explaining different types of side hustles and some steps to take to start one. I particularly like the section on 19 days to hustle. In case you don’t know a side hustle is a micro-business you operate on the side, while you still work as an employee. It gives you the opportunity to earn extra income or even go on to start a full time business.
2. Chris calls the step up from having a side hustle You inc, when you’ve decided to turn your side hustle into a full time small or even big business. In this part the book various ways to do that are discussed such as when to quit your job.
3. How to land your dream job. The fire fighter story that Chris uses to introduce this part of the book ranks in the top ten inspirational stories I have read.
4. There is a part that deals with self employment. An interesting phenomenon which Chris points out is that even those with jobs are self employed and what he means is, we all have to manage our own careers. There is an interesting part of the chapter titled, be the indispensable employee: four chapters.
5. There is some information that details the four things necessary to succeed in the new economy which are product, audience, platform and marketplace
6. Chapter twelve is titled, How to do everything you want. This chapter has information on how to do many things instead of just focusing on a niche.
7. Winners give up all the time is the last chapter and it deals with knowing when to stop something and move on to something else.
This is a book packed full with lots of information. It’s easy to read and has lots of inspiring stories, which tends to be a feature of Chris’s books. In 313 pages Chris presents a lot of information, but you don’t have to read the book from start to finish. You can dip in and choose what you want. On page five Chris gives a brief outline of specific sections of the book you might be interested in. Nothing in the book is revolutionary, but’s it’s a great reminder that we can all do a lot more than we are doing and a challenge for us to get that thing we’ve been thinking about started.
For Start Something Small curation, here are my ideas:
The ideas I curated from this book are mostly from the Side Hustle chapter because that chapter is the closest to starting something small.The first lesson for me was understanding the different kinds of things you can start. Chris gives four ideas:
1. Sell something on a site like Etsy or Amazon
2. Provide a consulting service, for instance help people to learn a new skill or solve problems.
3. Become a middleman. This refers a lot to affiliate marketing.
4. Become a digital landlord. Create digital assets that you can sell such as ebooks, membership sites, and courses.
Don’t just jump into any of these things make sure you have the skills to do them and that you enjoy it too. This is where the second idea I curated from the book comes in, the Joy-Money-Flow model.
• Joy: refers to what you like to do. Something you enjoy. It can be challenging, but enjoyable. To start something small, identify something you enjoy.
• Money: make sure you can make money from it. Whatever you choose to start must be sellable.
• Flow: you must be good at it. It must be something you can do really well.
Once you have decided on what to do, don’t wait too long to start. According to Chris launch it in 19 days. I will write more about how to do that in a more detailed Start Something Small summary of the book.
When starting something there are four things you should consider, which are quite important for succeeding. They are:
1. You need a product to sell
2. An audience to buy it
3. A platform where you can connect with the audience
4. A marketplace where people pay for your product or service
And my final lesson:
Don’t be afraid or take too long to stop what is not working and move on to something else. There are many more small things that you can start.