Turning Voluntry Work into Opportunities

Today I have just got myself a new job as an Avon representative being a home based business. It is a good oportunity for me to get some experience in running my own business and of course it is also a job that can get me off welfare if I’m lucky.

You may think that as a man I am in the wrong job selling cosmetics and fashion items where the majority of my customers are women. But I have a useful advantage in this job that can help me. I have a large number of female friends who are likely to buy from me, I have a taste for fashion and design that I can apply to a customer’s needs, and I can work in a flexible way so that I can also chase after money for my other business that I am trying to start up.

There was a rule of success that I learnt from Bill Gates in which opportunities are the way forward to advance yourself no matter how menial the job may be. Burger flipping for example if considered by a lot of people to be beneath their dignity along with many old fashioned working class jobs like fruit packing, serving in a fish stall in a market and cleaning and valetting cars. Well that’s probably because my parent’s generation wanted to distance themselves from those jobs because at the time the jobs you did defined your standing in society and your class. That negative attitude has created a generation of jobseeekers and school leavers who now dismiss the most beneficial and small forms of work as slavery and humilation. It’s no wonder the immigrants from the EU are taking all those jobs. And if that weren’t enough it’s also making people inexperienced to be taken on by the majority of top employers.

Well let me tell you my story. When I was young I had a terrible ability in jobseeking because of my disability. I was specifically instructed by my autism support group not to search for jobs that involved communicating with people. That was because I hadn’t had any proper social skills training and my mental issues made me a liability. Well I wouldn’t accept that frame of mind and I wanted to get involved in mixing with people and not let my disability hold me back. So I self learned how to handle interacting with people and managing my own welfare.

When I saved enough I decided to invest in publishing my own novel as I had been a creative writer for a number of years. I managed to find a publisher and I had it proofread and published in February 2007. The novel wasn’t a big success because I didn’t have the connections to distribute it at the time but I managed to use the experience to my own end. Out of that attempt to become a celebrated writer I learnt that being a writer is part artistry and part business. To me as a writer my book might be a literary masterpiece, but to a reader or a customer that book is a product and I have to sell it to make it work for me.

There is also one minor achievement that came with it. Later I discovered that at 21 I had published a novel so young that I became the world’s youngest published autistic novelist. No one had ever published at that age for someone with autism. With that level of success there wasn’t much to follow on and I had run out of ideas. However recently I have returned to writing and used my experience from my time as a wannabe novelist as experience and it has also come in useful for my other passions like archery.

When I got interested in archery I was determined to make something of myself by actively promoting and developing the sport. To that end I started using my skills as a writer, researcher, business person and a political activist to sell archery in creative ways that no other sportsperson or official was trying. First I created a petition on change.org to make archery a core sport in the Commonwealth Games and then when I started to get my first sponsor I agreed to blog for them. I’ve been doing it for over a year and I have written stories for them that cover archery related topics in ways that no other writer has done before. I have effectively made myself an archery geek and that in itself has made an opportunity for me.

My volunteer work at big sports events has given me plenty of opportunities that have enabled me to connect with people. The volunteer campaigning work that I have done has given me a sponsor, connections with the archery community and it has inspired me to create my own archery equipment business. This is a way to show that opportunities arise from basic low end jobs at the bottom of the employment chain. A boss will expect you to be able to do something and to do that you need to show the sweat not the suit. So for anyone with ambition it is imperative to get the experience so that you can demonstrate to people that you are able. Some super successful people showed off their skills and potential as hobbyists. In my case I turned my passion for archery, invention and journalism into a business.

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