What to do for an encore?

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I had a great conversation with a long lost buddy and it reminded me of passion and wanting to follow it. It reminded me some of the things that are really important to me:

  • True friends and family. As one fellow put it. Not acquaintances or “business” friends but people who would actually lay down on the railroad tracks for you. It’s incredible how short that list really is. But amazing how valuable those brothers from another mother are. 
  • The Bucket List. Ok no one is getting any younger so where are you on the life experiences you really shouldn’t put off. Better not to wait until the last minute to get to Palau, The Taj Mahal or some lore fundamental things like speaking your mother tongue like a local 🙂
  • Growing, learning and contributing. I read somewhere once (Strobe Talbott?) that Man’s role in life is to work. To make the world a better place and yet not have that consume every waking second. 

What’s the prescription for that if you don’t happen to be an amazing guy like Bill Gates? Here’s a short summary of what I’ve learned about the road to the part time life. Most people start out with the idea they want to consult and then wonder what to do. Well as Drucker said, “marketing starts with what do customers want not what do we have to sell” so here’s one way to think about a new career:

  1. Develop a framework. There are so many things in the world that it’s actually not as hard as you thing. I’ve got one buddy whose as expert of web marketing. Another on finding new customers. Have a theory and a way of thinking about things. It’s incredible how simple frameworks can help people. What looks obvious after launching five products is genius for everyone doing for the first time. 
  2. Become a contributor. Once you have the steak then there is the time to get the sizzle. Have a blog so there is landing spot but contribute on sites where people are asking for help. Stackoverflow if you are a techie, quora if you are not, lifehacker is you like gadgets. Find the biggest forum for your category and  be the most helpful. Be analytic. Measure your traffic. Your followers. 
  3. Become a pundit. If you are truly lucky you will be asked to speak. To be part of webinars. Or podcasts. Be available. And learn how to speak on your topic. Get 5.0s on your seminar feedback.
  4. Become an advisor. It may take time but eventually if you are good, people will really seek advice. This is where you become a consultant. An advisor. A board member.
  5. Rinse. Repeat as needed. That is episodic work so keep filling up the mill with more of number one. Broaden your field. Move to a new industry or a new technology. 

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