It was a $10,000 conversation, but that’s not what I earned from it. That’s what it cost me. And I’m glad of it.
This conversation over coffee took place in 1999, just after I’d jumped from a marketing job with a Big Four accounting firm, to start my own business. The meeting was with a business coach I’ll call “Judy,” as part of an initial consultation.
I’d told Judy that I wanted to build a practice working with professional services firms. But I’d been offered a contract to do PR work for a wood-stove manufacturer, quite outside my area of interest. Just starting out, even with a good cushion of savings, the $10,000 contract looked pretty amazing to me. And I’d grown up in a house that relied on a wood-stove for heat, so I knew the product.
Judy gently probed around that. Did I really want to step so far off my business plan and area of expertise, to focus on a consumer product? Wouldn’t the time I spent pushing wood-stoves be time I wouldn’t be building my profile with professional firms?
“When are you going to get a real job?” Every independent business professional has been asked this question. Maybe it was asked by your prospective love interest… or your in-laws… or maybe you were asking yourself. It might have been after you failed to land a client, or lost one, or just had a bad quarter. A steady paycheck looks good at such times.
I know that feeling. I’ve had a real job. Several. My most recent job was the best one I’ve ever had, and it still had its, well, limitations. I was way too vulnerable to other people telling me what work to do, and whether I’d be able to go on doing it.
The time is right for the skilled independent professional to spread his/her wings.This post talks about why this is the time to seize the day, and gives you some ideas on how to do that.
Thought Leadership Resources
20 Mississauga Valley Blvd, Suite 408
Mississauga, ON L5A 3S1