I’ve been playing-around with writing LinkedIn posts. I just finished one where I happened to posit that being an expert doesn’t pay the bills and since some of the people reading this blog are small businesess (or aspiring ones) within the LIMS / Laboratory Informatics industry, I want to share more thoughts on this with you.
People Flock to Me – But Not Customers
First of all, let me share what I wrote for LinkedIn: Writing for People Who Don’t Care About You – The Small Services Business Challenge
Because I’m such a prolific writer, relatively-speaking, quite a lot of people who are small services businesses stay in-contact with me. Some of my cronies make comments about how “successful” I am. Other times, people who want to start their own services business look to me for advice.
Because I like being part of the consulting community, I’m pretty happy with that. It would be great if customers flocked to me but I haven’t found a good formula for that so I’ll take what I can get. 😉
Making Your Own Success
Here’s what I want to say about this – I’m not more successful than the other small services business I know, necessarily. I’m more successful than the ones who have found no method to get themselves noticed by someone, somewhere. That’s a key. You can’t remain entirely unknown and be successful. But I do know others that are better at networking than I am but who publish absolutely nothing and who are much more successful than me. I know some with the “gift of gab” who are just better at selling than I am and also writing absolutely nothing.
For those businesses waiting and hoping for someone to notice them because they have a LinkedIn profile or because they happen to be an expert in one thing or another, while there might be an occasional person who is successful with that, that isn’t common – most people have to find other ways to promote their business. We often talk about how “hope isn’t a strategy” and I also call this the “Lana Turner Syndrome” where people thing they can hang out somewhere common (a drug store or LinkedIn) and be “discovered.” I’m not sure it was true for Lana Turner and it sure isn’t true in consulting.
The key is to find something (actually, several things, in most cases) you’re comfortable with, to work hard at it, and to never take it for granted. Whatever works for you, today, might not work for you in the future. I hear plenty of consultants talk about how they used to do one thing or another that brought them a lot of business but that brings nothing in the current market.
Experts Are a Dime a Dozen
This is a hard thing to say but I think it’s true – experts seem to be a commodity. There seem to be more experts in systems like the LabWare system that aren’t getting sales leads, or in the StarLIMS system, or in the business analysis — I could name a dozen areas where I know experts that are struggling to keep their business afloat.
While some of them might give in and find a W-2 job, somewhere, it’s not that easy. The big companies are already full of experts. Those experts that take jobs at the big companies find that they’ve gone into situations where their expertise isn’t necessarily valued – where they might just be a warm body to fill-in in some area of work that is currently popular as opposed to being needed for their real expertise.