I'm fortunate enough to talk to all different kinds of business professionals on a daily basis, and the common theme is wanting to grow their businesses and make more money. As a business owner myself, trust me, I get it. And believe it or not, one particular reflection on my career helps me hopefully provide some perspective on how I've started to do that for myself with my own business.
I can remember sitting in meeting after meeting with clients explaining to them why their web development or software development project was three months behind schedule and why their original budget had been obliterated two months prior.
For a few years, I was the same old broken record. Then I got sick of it and decided to change things myself. Now, I couldn't exactly change things for anyone else - and that's the key part here. The reason that this article is titled "Finding My Intersection," is really for two reasons.
- Because it's MY INTERSECTION! Not anyone else's.
- Because I'm still "FINDING" it. In fact, I'm always seeking it - or when I've seemingly found one, there's another that I'm looking for, in some ways.
IT'S MY INTERSECTION. The importance behind owning your own Intersection is that it's yours and nobody else's. An Intersection, to me, is where your current skills meet your future skills. And when they finally meet, you are infinitely more valuable.
Let me explain. Above when I wrote about being a broken record with clients, that was during a time period where my set of skills included: interpersonal communications, project management, public relations, event planning and business development and of course digital strategy and SEO, but NOT Web Design or Web Development (and not the real geeky shit behind it like web hosting or security).
In other words, I relied on others to do that work. The work that the client was paying for. I know you might be thinking - "of course Paul, that's called working as part of a team," or "of course Paul, that's how digital agencies operate," etc.
But the minute I started learning how to design, build and host websites and applications myself, the unlock happened. Boom - I was approaching my first real Intersection.
While being a good digital business strategist and communicator and planner had gotten me so far, when I actually started learning the skill set of designing and developing what I was relying on others to do, my earning potential exploded. Now, while we all have our different versions of this (and I won't get detailed about mine in this piece), the fact of the matter is that learning new skills will make you more valuable.
I write this / say this because I think people spend time wondering (should I double down on my strengths or improve on my weaknesses?). I think, instead of wondering about that, you should look around you RIGHT NOW. Look at the skills others in your organization have - see where you're dependent upon them, and then learn the skills that they have. If you're in the first 10 years of your career - this will explode your earning potential.
I call it Finding Your Intersection.
STILL FINDING MINE. If you're like me, this will never stop. So earlier I mentioned that I'm still finding mine. Well, let's just say after 15 years of my career gradually improving and acquiring experiences and skills, I found my first big one (learning a bunch of hard skills and combining them with my previous experience and skills to build a MUCH better client services business).
Now, In searching for the next one, I'm figuring out how to turn all of our experience with helping clients into creating content that can help, well, just PEOPLE. 🙂 As I continue to create content around digital business strategy, I look forward to exploring what kinds of content resonates best with different people. People that maybe haven't started their careers yet, people who are in the first 5-10 years of their career, people who already run and operate successful businesses and people like me, who are "old" but feel like they have 50-60 good years of work left in them.
As the digital landscape continues to change (to me, get more exciting), I get asked the same solid set of questions by intelligent clients or prospective clients every day about how to navigate the tools around them to grow their businesses. As I continue to "sprint during my marathon" towards my next Intersection, I'm trying to apply the patience and lessons learned from getting to my first Intersection as I seek this next one - scaling my "1-to-1 answers" into "1-to-many" answers via consistent and relevant and (hopefully) engaging content creation.
But one thing I know about seeking and finding Intersections, it's that you absolutely have to love the journey of getting there, perhaps more so or just as much as the results you think you'll reap monetarily when you're there.
If you take anything from this piece, take this - if you want to make more money doing what you already do or love, look around you - look at the skills other people have on your team(s) that you don't have but you rely on - and LEARN THOSE SKILLS.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!
Paul Hickey has created and grown businesses via digital strategy and internet marketing for more than 10 years. His sweet spot is using analytics to design and build websites and grow the audience and revenue of businesses via SEO/Blogging, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads, Social Media Content Marketing and Email Marketing. The part that he’s most passionate about is quantifying next marketing actions based on real data.