Note: This was originally part of an email to my list, but at 1,400+ words I felt it would be more likely to be read here on the site.
You may be wondering why I am talking about a failed online business idea or why I am discussing making money in your career.
I am extremely passionate personal development and entrepreneurship, especially as it relates to the safety field. I believe that all working professionals should take charge of the path of their career as well as fully pursue any interests or goals within that career or outside of it.
There are plenty of great companies and websites that give the latest workplace injury statistics or what to look for in whatever the latest OSHA update is. While I have a lot of that necessary information on my site as it relates to the safety talks I do not just want to leave it at that.
I want to use this platform in part to share ideas that are not talked about on other safety-related platforms. So here are some thoughts on providing value and what that equates to in the marketplace as well as your career…
Last year I thought I had a great new idea for an online safety business. I still think it is one, but a company with deeper pockets than I have would have to implement it. The new business would not only have helped me leverage my audience through Safety Talk Ideas, but it would have potentially helped many safety pros get their expertise and products in front of an audience as well.
The site was called Safety Connected. You can still find it by going to www.safetyconnected.com. Please do not sign up for it or buy anything from the site. It is no longer operational and I am not sure if it will be brought back to life.
The basic premise behind the site was that safety professionals could create products with their expertise or put products that they have created over the years up to sell to other safety pros and the businesses that needed them.
Think of Esty or Ebay, but all to do with workplace safety. Think past just physical products and written programs. I wanted something where professionals could even offer virtual consulting hours or charge for calls for helping a company with safety issues or questions like Clarity.fm does.
I have started many side hustles or businesses over the years, but this “failure” was the costliest. It could have been easily avoided. The reason I say it could have been easily avoided because I should have talked to more safety pros about whether they would sell on the platform or not prior to building it out.
I also could have avoided failure by trying harder to market it and get sellers on the platform. Or hire people who were a better fit to help me achieve the desired end result.
Lesson is: Take ownership of your failures and learn from them.
I really think there is a market for something like this, but there are a lot of moving parts to a marketplace business. Parts I was not equipped to handle at the time with everything else I had going on.
Anyways, I wanted to share Safety Connected with my audience because I think the site will not show up online here shortly since I am not renewing the plugins that allow it to run. If there is a company out there that would want to build it, I want to put the idea out there.
I want the idea out there for someone else to take if they wanted to due to the fact that I believe that creative ideas and being entrepreneurial solves problems in the market. I also believe creative and entrepreneurial safety professionals will be in high demand as the workplace continues to change at break neck speeds.
A platform like Safety Connected (if successful) would not only make some money, but it could also allow many safety professionals money that they would have not been able to earn otherwise.
That is how being disruptive and innovative can change an entire industry.
This brings me to my second topic that may be the reason why you may have clicked on the post in the first place:
How to Make More Money in Your Career or Own Endeavors
If you were looking for a get rich quick scheme, I am sorry, I am not your guru. There are plenty online though if you are looking for snake oil.
The best explanation to me personally on how to make money is: To provide value. Other similar answers include: “Solve a problem that people are willing to pay for” or “Address market needs”.
Sorry that my answer is not the exciting answer you may have been looking for, but it is the truth. Whether you want to start a side hustle, create a product, or get paid more at work- the answer is the same. Provide value. The more value you provide through your side hustle, product, or as an employee the higher the potential the upside is for making money.
If you want to make more money in your job, what can you do to provide more value? Is it getting a certification? Is it getting a degree? Is it taking on more responsibility? Is it changing roles completely?
Sometimes It Just Comes Down to Supply and Demand
Sometimes it means moving across the country to work for another company. For example, I am from Pittsburgh. It can be difficult to find a high paying quality safety job due to the excessive number of qualified candidates who want to work there.
This is because Slippery Rock University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and West Virginia University all have quality safety programs. The individuals who go to school here often are local to begin with and would like to work around Pittsburgh after graduation.
Thus, the job market often has more supply (qualified safety pros) than demand (quality well-paying safety jobs). This can be a factor in keeping salaries lower than other areas in the country for safety jobs.
Some of the highest paying safety jobs (outside VP and Director levels) are the ones that are frequent travel, project-based in less than desirable areas (shout out to per diem!), or positions that require a lot of hours.
The value you provide as a candidate in these cases (outside of your experience that qualifies you for the job in the first place) is you being willing to live in the middle of nowhere, travel often, or work longer hours.
Not everyone wants to make these sacrifices which is 100% understandable, but think about what you would need to do in order to provide more value if you want to make more money.
Safety Talk Ideas and the Idea of Providing Value
Safety Talk Ideas was born with the principle of “providing value” in order to succeed over the long term. I saw a hole in the market (a lack of quality free toolbox talks) and knew that an audience would eventually come if I provided enough value to solve this need that some safety pros had.
I have got to a point where I am charging for certain content in the member’s area so I can afford to hire safety professionals to write content as well as cover ongoing costs, but the same holds true with regards to providing value.
If I do not provide enough value with the memberships and speak to the people who are in need of the solution membership provides then I will not make money.
By charging money, I am not scamming or stealing from anyone. I am putting a price to a solution that others may need. If visitors to the site need more content and feel that the membership price is fair then they will freely make the decision to become a member.
Seth Godin really makes a subtle, yet thought provoking point in regard to purchasing decisions in the book “This is Marketing”. He states: “Everything that we purchase – every investment, every trinket, every experience- is a bargain. That’s why we bought it. Because it was worth more than what we paid for it. Otherwise we wouldn’t buy it.”
The workplace safety field is still relatively new in the grand scheme of things, but it is still slow to adopt newer technologies, ideas, thought processes as a whole compared to other fields.
The beauty is, there is so much opportunity for you as a dynamic safety professional to succeed at work or with your own endeavors if you are creative and entrepreneurial. If you are willing to put in the work of course. Let’s not forget fail repeatedly on your path to success as well.
I am passionate about how entrepreneurship can solve problems in the safety field. I find problems and creative solutions so interesting. That is why I spent the last couple hours on a Saturday (3/16/19) to write about my failed project and how you can provide value in a marketplace in return earning more money. It is exciting stuff to me.
Don’t be the safety cop who knows what page every safety rule can be found on, but does not offer solutions in how to address problems. Or is not able to effectively communicate to supervisors and workers alike. The market for these types of individuals in the safety field are devalued every single day in this fast-changing economy.
Continually learning about related areas such as marketing, business, psychology, leadership, etc. and utilizing the information you obtain will allow you to be a dynamic professional who understands their role better and how it affects the bigger picture. In turn, you can be more efficient in solving problems thus increasing your value in the marketplace.