An Expertise Incubator (http://theexpertiseincubator.com) participant recently got invited to deliver a half-day workshop at an industry event. The pay is acceptable, and the opportunity to build credibility and access is solid.
This opportunity just landed in his inbox. He didn't use outreach or special industry connections to generate it.
A year ago, he was unknown within his target market. Now, his first teaching opportunity is a paid one (travel covered too) at a venue created by an institution that has legitimacy and access that will benefit this TEI participant through a halo effect. It's an impressive debut (though he's been building to this for a year with phenomenal consistency and dedication).
When I try to model what got him here, I come up with this triad of things working together to create this opportunity:
- Proactive Service: This is a combination of drive and empathy that finds you saying to yourself: "Things could be better in this market and I'm willing to invest and take some risks to contribute to that improvement." This leads to...
- Vision for Impact: This is a mental picture of how things could be better in the market you're focused on. The gap between the current state of the market and your vision for its future state leads to...
- Data or Research: This is the raw material you collect to pave the road from the market's present state and your vision for it's improved future state. You ask yourself what stands in the way of your vision for impact and then, if data or reduced uncertainty or other resources would help remove that impediment, you set about collecting it. Then you share what you've learned, which is a form of proactive service.
This triad creates visibility, which can lead to the kind of opportunty this TEI participant is enjoying.
All it takes to start this cycle is the proactive service part (though you can enter at other points). That, of course, requires focus -- the more narrow the better.
Client work trains us to be reactive. Client need + client budget = we make things better.
The Expertise Incubator is merely an invitation to reverse that. To decide what you want to make better (the daily writing challenge helps flush that out of the bushes of your thinking) and start making it better (the research challenge can play a role here), and to do those first, before a client asks for it. The client opportunity almost always follows, though often on a 1-year or more delay.
But when it does show up, it is a distinctly different sort of opportunity.
It's often clients wanting the opportunity to work with you. The opportunity to benefit from the insight you've been cultivating for some time now.
That's a different sort of opportunity:
- The old kind of opportunity: the opportunity to be chosen by a client to do some work for them.
- The new kind of opportunity: the opportunity to grant prospects access to your thinking, insight, and method for improvement.
The old kind of opportunity is an opportunity to follow.
The new kind is an opportunity to lead.
Have I mentioned I'm running a workshop on point of view next month? I think maybe I have a few times here :)
Consider it! The homework assignments are some challenging work that makes you smarter. You'll learn way more in this workshop via experiential learning and discussion than you could from a book.
It's online, limited to 20 people, meets weekly at 10am Mountain time March 6 - April 24, is introvert-friendly, gives you lots of support in exploring and formalizing your points of view, and costs a mere $700. If this is of interest, you can learn more here: /pmc-csw-point-of-view
I think I'll close down registrations this coming Monday, so do not tarry.