If necessity is the mother of invention, then creativity has to be a close cousin. While it’s true that most jobs and careers come into existence by filling a need that people will pay for, there are some interesting careers that pop up as a direct result of creative thinking. Instead of finding a need and filling it, some resourceful entrepreneurial types identify the things they’re good at first and then combine those talents to develop jobs for themselves. As a result they end up working in careers that have very little competition, AND they totally enjoy them.
That’s not to say you can combine any two or three talents and instantly get a career. You still have to make sure there’s a need for your services even it’s very small. Typically, these creative careers fill a niche. The idea being once you get the word out and build a strong customer base, then you’ll literally own the little mini-industry you created.
Here are a few examples where out-of-the box thinking spawned little jobs that led to lucrative careers. In each case these innovative entrepreneurs combined two or more things they were good at to make one unique job that only they could do┬á(at first; eventually they took on employees).
1) Graphic Design + Litigation = Litigation Design
Juliet Huck worked as an art director for a litigation firm, however she wasn’t feeling the “artistic love” from her employer. Her task was to create the graphics (charts, diagrams, pictures, lists, etc.) that were used as exhibits to support (or refute) legal cases. But every time she wanted to try something different, the higher ups put the kibosh on her ideas.
Juliet decided she could do better. With a solid business plan in hand, she acquired an SBA small business loan and started her own firm, The Huck Group. Not just limited to graphics in the courtroom, The Huck Group develops visual presentations for the boardroom and conference room, as well. What sets Juliet and her team apart from your run-of-the-mill design firm is that they use pictures and art to tell a story, rather than limiting the presentation to dry lists and charts. Adding this little bit of artistic emotion to a data-heavy presentation is the key that gave The Huck Group an edge over their competitors. Juliet was smart enough to combine art, litigation and a little bit of advertising spunk to create the perfect career niche for herself.
2) Public Transportation + Entertainment = The Music Taxi
Long before The Cash Cab became a popular reality game show on cable TV, Zafod Beatlebrox (yes, that’s his real name) knew there had to be a more entertaining way to navigate the snowy streets of Park City, UT. Zafod owned his own cab, however, as a one-man show in a tourist town it was hard to compete against the taxi and shuttle chains, especially during peak times like during the Sundance Film Festival.
So Zafod got creative by adding value to his cab that his competitors couldn’t offer. He created The Music Taxi, in which Zafod employed musicians to do live shows for his fares in his cab. Customers immediately embraced the idea, and soon everyone lined up to ride in The Music Taxi. People would actually wait (as opposed to taking an available taxi or shuttle) so they could experience a floorshow in a cab. Eventually, Zafod added additional cabs and karaoke machines, thus allowing his fares to entertain each other during their rides.
3) Florist + Produce = Edible Arrangements
Back in 1999 Tariq Farid was an American florist in Connecticut. He’d worked in the family flower business for about seven years when he came up with a better idea. What if you could eat the bouquets a florist delivered?
Tariq’s new business, Edible Arrangements was born. At the time there was nothing like it, and people were fascinated by the idea of receiving beautiful bouquets or “floral” arrangements that they could eat without an ounce of guilt (something a box of chocolates couldn’t offer). Business quickly boomed, Tariq became CEO of Edible Arrangements, which he then franchised, and in 2009 Tariq Farid was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the International Franchise Association.
So maybe it’s time you got creative. Whether you’re getting your college plans together for spring semester, or you’re a seasoned businessperson looking for a new challenge, think about the services or products you’re good at and then don’t be afraid to combine them into one big bowl of career potpourri. If the recipe results in something interesting your first step is to create a business plan. And if that leads to your new business, hopefully it will launch a sustainable career that has everyone wondering, “Wow, how did they ever come up with that?”
Have you been able to use old skills in new ways to boost your career? Is all this talk about Edible Arrangements making you hungry? Tell us in the comments below!