You Learn to Do Whatever It Takes

by Al Siebert, Ph.D., author of The Survivor Personality


According to the City of Portland I've had a home based business since September, 1972. That was the month a city inspector appeared at my door and demanded $25 for a city business license. My cranky next door neighbor had called the city to report me for earning income working at home as an author.

In my mind, however, I started my home business in 1986 to market a book that the publisher of my books for college students didn't know how to sell. The Adult Student's Guide to Survival & Success in College, had gotten terrific reviews when it was published in 1982. But the Holt, Rinehart, & Winston marketing people didn't understand the new adult student market and wouldn't try. In three years they sold only 42 copies!

It felt frustrating to know that thousands of adult students starting college were floundering while a valuable resource sat in a Holt warehouse. My co-author and I revoked the copyright. I purchased the existing inventory, established the Practical Psychology Press and started marketing the book.

Since then I switched to a different co-author, learned how to hire a cover designer, obtained ISBN numbers from Bowker, found an excellent book printer, and revised the book twice. My company now sells thousands of copies a year to very appreciative students.

When I started the company I didn't know that my efforts to learn how to publish and market a book would have an unexpected benefit. In 1992, after twelve years of having my manuscript on The Survivor Personality rejected by major publishers, I realized that since I had a publishing company I could publish and market it myself! So I did.

Do you recognize the pattern here? Frustration with others not understanding what is obvious to you? Strong feelings of self-reliance? Feel compelled to do something important? Have a belief that you can learn whatever it takes to succeed? That you can overcome adversities and difficulties?

The following checklist describes personal traits I see in people who have a better than average chance in establishing and succeeding at running a home based business. See how you match up.

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Personal Traits Checklist for Homebiz Success

___ In a previous job you attempted to explain how something could be done better, and felt frustrated because no one understood or would follow your suggestions.
___ You were criticized for "making waves" or not being a team player because of your efforts to make things work better.
___ As an employee you felt underpaid for the many contributions you made to the main purpose of the organization while others were overpaid for contributing little that was really useful.
___ When working on a project you get so involved you work late into the evening and much of the week-end.
___ You find that to have things go well you have to do a lot of little things yourself.
___ You will do any job related to making things work well. You will do whatever it takes to meet a commitment.
___ When something goes wrong you look carefully at why, learn from the experience and do things differently the next time.
___ You are self-reliant. You have learned you can count on yourself more than most others.
___ When hit with a setback you see it as temporary, but surmountable.
___ You adapt quickly to new developments and changes in the world.
___ You have a complex, paradoxical inner nature. You are both creative and well organized, relaxed and intense, logical and intuitive, optimistic and pessimistic, calm and emotional, task oriented and people oriented, serious and playful, etc.
___ You are curious. You ask good questions. You want to know how things work. You experiment, make mistakes, and laugh about discoveries.
___ You anticipate and avoid problems. You can think in negative ways to reach positive outcomes.
___ You need and expect things to work out well for yourself, your family, your customers, and your community. You have a synergistic effect on your part of the world.
___ You have good empathy skills. You listen well and comprehend what others think and feel.
___ You welcome feedback about your actions and your product.
___ You are good at what you do. You conduct yourself professionally and ethically. You focus on getting results and can make difficult jobs look easy.
___ You trust your intuition and creative hunches.
___ You defend yourself well. You have strong self-esteem.
___ You have a talent for serendipity. You convert misfortune into good luck. When knocked off track you ask yourself, "How can I turn this around? Why is it good that this happened? What is the gift?"

The thousands of people starting home based businesses confirm my belief that a new breed of person is emerging on earth. Such a person is of higher value doing self-created work instead of a job thought up by others. This person is both independent and committed to service, highly flexible, constantly learns, and gets better and better every year.

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Al Siebert studied mental health for over forty years. He is author of The Survivor Personality: Why Some People Are Stronger, Smarter, and More Skillful at Handling Life's Difficulties...and How You Can Be, Too.
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