About Vickie Sullivan
Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.
Written by: Vickie Sullivan | March 31, 2015
The ‘Right’ Question Changes Everything
I love provocative questions, especially those that hit me upside the head. At first, I read this Fast Company article on turning your hobby into a career because I come from a family of crafters, some who worked for less than minimum wage. Little did I know that the insights here could be applied to thought leadership.
Just like crafters, there are a lot of sincere, brilliant people who want to make an impact using their gifts. They put their time (and heart) in every day, in every interaction. The result: they make just enough to pay their bills (most of the time). They are in a state of constant struggle. From this outsider looking in, it’s heartbreaking to watch.
The blindspot: they don’t take that desire to build something significant seriously enough. They treat their business like a hobby by accepting low-fee work that only pays in the short term. Focusing on the low-hanging fruit is the easy path. It doesn’t require taking a risk outside our comfort zone. But accept that work long enough and you build a short-term business. The first downturn will pull you under.
Here’s how you tell if you are in hobby mode: look at your opportunities and your risks. If your opportunities are not lucrative, that’s a clue. If you turn down ways to make yourself more prominent (to get high-end revenue) because you “can’t risk it”, that’s another clue. Be brutally honest and ask yourself: am I really stretching outside my comfort zone? Or am I roaming around where I’m already safe?
The second paragraph of this article says it all: “…There is never enough time. They show up no matter what and do the work.” To use our thought leadership for the biggest impact, there is never enough time to play small ball. We need to show up and do what it takes to get the high-hanging fruit. The adventure — and what we learn about ourselves — is worth it.
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