I was talking recently with a wannabe entrepreneur in a similar field when this question came up, as it often does in such conversations. She was asking about how I chose the services I offer to clients. But the way she phrased it, I realized, made it a relevant question at any point in your career as a communications pro.
So I told her about my 2-question list. And I think you can use it wherever you are in your career.
The list is one I made when I decided to start this business almost 14 years ago. I'd freelanced, successfully, when I was younger and everything I owned fit in the back of my car. Now, with a mortgage and more responsibilities, I needed to think things through. I knew I could handle the discipline, the admin, the confidence of getting clients. But what would I be offering as services?
The list really was a list of answers to these two questions:
- What are you good at that the market wants and that you still want to do?
- What are you good at that the market wants, but you never want to do again?
When I started this business, the idea of writing my own books seemed a long way off, and blogging was just beginning. So I did offer writing to some clients initially, but once blogs emerged as a stronger option, I stopped writing for others and doubled down on learning blogging as a marketing tool for my own business. Don't assume that you know which things will be big. While I loved coaching speakers--something I've been doing in other jobs for decades--I never thought it would be my most-sought-after skill. Your willingness to try (and accept) new things should not be ignored, even though it's not specified in those two questions. Keep an open mind.
That goes double if you are thinking about retirement. I'm not near retirement age, but I love this article, which suggests you skip traditional retirement, and just find work you love that keeps you from dipping into your reserves. I think I've set myself up well for that.
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