Business France

I’m not a Russian ballet dancer

How to discover your talents when you don’t think they exist

“What’s your talent?”, Steve asked me. 

“Talent, eh…” I thought. “I have no idea…”

Steve and I were in a networking group for small business owners. He asked me this to help unearth the type of work I could do. But I couldn’t answer. I was not a Russian ballet dancer, a top pianist or a Renaissance artist.

“I’m talentless,” I thought. 

With that question hanging heavily on my shoulders, I went for a walk in the forest. I stopped to watch a red squirrel search through leaves for food. He picked up a big acorn and held it with his long fingers. The tufts on the back of his ears twitched when he saw me. 

how to discover your talent

“So, what’s your talent, Mr Squirrel?”.

If Mr Squirrel had replied, he’d tell me, “Although I forget where I bury ¾* of my nuts, I still easily find enough to survive the winter.”

Ah, so Mr Squirrel finds it easy to locate nuts. He’s not a Russian ballet dancer either but he’s obviously a talented nut collector. So, I rephrased the talent question to myself…

“What do I find easy?” This I could answer.

I find arranging, sorting and cleaning data in MS Excel easy.
I understand new subjects with ease.
I can easily work with a new piece of software.
I find it easy to speak to people, even those I have never met before.
I find it easy to adapt to new surroundings.
I can easily motivate myself to do stuff that I think is good for me.
And apparently I find it easy for animals to inspire an internal dialogue.

So, I found my talents. It’s stuff I’m good at, I do with ease and enjoy.

Don’t assume that other people will find the stuff you find easy, easy.

And even if they do find it easy, they might not be any good at it.

And others may find it easy and be good at it, but they don’t want to do these things. There’s a lot of stuff business owners don’t want to do.

This is where you can step in.

Here are some examples of the work I’ve done over the years after setting up as an Expat Entrepreneur in France:

Marketing tasks

  • Copywriting
  • Proof-reading and editing
  • Preparing email broadcasts to send to a mailing list
  • Scheduling social media posts
  • Competitor and product research
  • Creating sales funnels

Administrative tasks

  • Answering telephone or email enquiries
  • Scheduling meetings
  • Database management
  • Creating and sending invoices
  • Book-keeping
  • Organising and managing spreadsheet data
  • Processing and managing course/training bookings
  • Helping clients become GDPR compliant
  • Technical support

Creative tasks

  • Desktop publishing
  • Copywriting
  • Creating CVs and cover letters for job applications
  • Website design and development
  • Production of video and audio recordings
  • Image editing
  • Social media content creation

I didn’t have a huge list of services when I started. I started by handling the enquiries for an estate agent and creating invoices for another client. That was it. But I was working well with these clients and they gave me more work and started referring me to others. My workload quickly ballooned.

If you still don’t have any idea of the type of support you could do for companies while working remotely, let me know and I’ll help you identify your talents.

* because squirrels forget where they’ve buried most of their nuts it’s a win for the trees. Squirrels are the true reforestation warriors!

By David P. MacGregor

Living and working the good life in France with my wife and dog.