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5 Effective Ways to Turn Your Skillset into a Sustainable Career

The American dream has certainly changed. In our parents’ time, the dream was to get a stable job you could retire from, own a home, and start a family. Today, it’s very rare for employees to stay with the same company for 30 years. People are much slower to get married and have children than in the past. Home ownership is now outpaced by renting. It’s safe to say – things are different.

When it comes to work, even the very definition has changed. It used to be defined by an office setting, with a 9 to 5 work schedule, a suit and tie, and saving towards retirement. Now, younger members of the labor force are abandoning security to pursue freedom. They want to work their own hours, be their own boss, and live the life they desire right now, not when they’re 60.

If you’re one of these people, you’ve got a rough road ahead. It’s tough to be your own boss, and cut yourself off from the security of a salary job. But if you succeed, you can join the small percentage of people who are pursuing the lives they always dreamed of, without having to ask for vacation time to do it.

To help you get started, here are five effective ways you can turn your skillset into a sustainable career.

1.   Start Your Own Online Business

If there’s one thing that younger generations have a handle on, it’s technology. The Millennial Generation was around for the rise of the internet and the cell phone. They know how to use both to full effect.

You can use this same intimacy with technology to launch your own online business. As corporations that have been around for decades struggle to keep up with the tech wave, you can ride it easily. You already know what does and doesn’t work for web design and mobile phone surfing. So choose your niche, register your domain, and start putting your skills to work with your own online business.

2.   Start Freelancing

Forget cruising job websites and help wanted columns – make employers come to you! As a freelancer, you can enjoy numerous benefits that a traditional employee just doesn’t get. Common examples include:

  • The ability to choose your clients
  • The ability to work at your own pace
  • Being able to work from home
  • Unlimited vacation days

The final great thing about freelancing is that it can apply to nearly any skillset. You can be a writer, artist, photographer, carpenter, graphic designer, or any other number of professions and become a successful freelancer.

3.   Be a Consultant

If you’re recognized as an expert in your field, you can make a lot of money teaching others to do what you do. Launching your own consulting firm allows you to enjoy many of the same benefits that freelancing offers, without having to do the work directly. There are many markets where consultants are in demand.


As more people shift away from the traditional office setting, they’re also starting to invest more in their homes. Garden consultants are in demand and primed to make a lot of money as people seek their gardening expertise to make their living space beautiful.


A favorite for former police and military professionals, security consulting will allow you to build a sustainable career while keeping families and businesses safe from harm. You don’t have to worry about pulling guard duty or being in danger. You just help others identify gaps in their security and develop solutions to correct them.

Fashion and Style

Everyone wants to look good, and plenty of people are willing to pay to make sure they look their best. As a style consultant, you can help people craft their perfect image while making money and indulging in your passion for fashion!

4.   Accept Overseas Work Contracts

For some skillsets, the demand is high in countries looking to catch up with the modern world. If you have skills in engineering, construction, science, technology or mathematics, there’s a good chance someone in the world is willing to pay top dollar to have you come work for them.

The nice thing about contracts is that they allow you to explore different jobs without worrying about a long-running commitment. If your 6-month contract in the Philippines wasn’t a good experience, don’t go back. You’ll still have your money, more network contacts, and a new bullet to put on your resume for your next contract.

5.   Sell Your Own Wares

My perfect idea of work is being able to make money with my hobbies. In the modern age, it’s very possible to do just that. Wherever your hobbies lie, odds are, you can craft something that people will buy. You could consider selling your own:

  • Wood carvings
  • Sculptures
  • Drawings
  • Paintings
  • Metalwork
  • Tools

These are just a few examples. Arts and crafts are also a big market. There are plenty of people pay to enjoy the personal touch they know comes with these handmade wares.