YOU are your own boss! (just get a niche and here’s why)
Jul 25, 2017
I recently connected with a colleague that I’ve known for about ten years. Jason, a young man in his early 40’s, is successful by many people’s measure. We were sharing some recent updates when he interrupted: “Wow, Sarah Beth, it must be great being you (rolling his eyes). Being an entrepreneur, you jet around, give a speech, and then get to leave and then people just pay you to stay at home all day in your office (look of mock shock)!" Now that sounds a bit rude, and it was, and I could have been irked, but I wasn’t. You see, I’ve heard it all before from this guy. I shrugged, as if in agreement as he went on. “Yeah, me, I’m still out here working for the man. I wish I could just cash it in and get people to pay me for talking.” Jason could in fact do just that. He’s experienced, the acknowledged expert at his company and intelligent. And, he could even ‘work for himself’ while staying at the company where he presently works. But how? Let me provide three ways; Ensure professional success with a three-legged stool: knowledge-niche-attitude.
Fake it ‘til you make it has its place, especially when you’re young and starving. However, there’s a point in your career where you’d better be good, damn good, at something people need and will pay to acquire. Most professionals of any mettle are usually standing firm on this leg having built up a reputation for good work that gives them a solid base.
Niche is my favorite leg, maybe that’s because I’ve always been ‘niched’. Agriculture is the core market I serve including agribusiness professionals and farmers looking to run their operations as executives. I simply love my niche. Ag people are my people. National Speaker’s Association (NSA) colleague and prolific author, Diana Booher, recently wrote in an article for Huff Post, “My niche area of expertise is business communication. Not family relationships. Not telecommunications. Not software communication. Not crisis intervention. Not public relations.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-become-your-own-boss) See how clear that is? She knows her business and knows the niche is where she can have serious impact. Don’t have a niche yet? Whittle on the leg a while until you can begin to identify an area, market, category, or industry that you can uniquely serve.
The old adage ‘the niche will make you rich’ has a lot of truth to it and expertise cannot be underrated, but excellent work is only the base minimum. Successful and impactful people leverage knowledge with attitude. My friend Jason has the knowledge and he has the niche, but he’s missing the third piece of the stool – attitude. Attitude is completely developed, controlled, and changed by the person possessing it. Another adage ‘attitude is everything’ also speaks for itself. This one is particularly important for people not working as key employees. Booher also commented on this: “Few people are spending time looking out for your best interests. If you intend to be your own boss while on someone else’s payroll or as an entrepreneur, you’ll need to keep your eyes open for opportunities—not only for yourself, but for others.” Well, well, keep an eye open for opportunities for you AND others! In other words, make yourself useful and take joy and pride in doing so.
The three-legged stool works, but I know that sometimes we’ve broken off a leg or just can’t seem to get the stool to balance. Need help identifying your niche? Let us work with you. Maybe its time you hired an Executive Coach – just a thought!
ACT Like a Pro out there!