During today’s business networking session, it was made very clear to me that pretty much everyone I know (and who has any knowledge of me whatever) thinks I am wasting myself trying to leverage up social media education and consulting and quite possibly WordPress/Web Design services as well. As one put it rather succinctly, “Why be amazing at either of these and struggle for clients who aren’t willing to pay you when you can be supernatural at analysis and you already have people begging to pay you?”
I admit, they have a valid point. But it’s bothersome to me for a number of reasons. As another friend put it (since it always sounds so arrogant when I say something like this myself), “Bonnie, you’re one of those people who are quantum leaps ahead of the curve; this means you spend most of your time waiting for everyone else to catch up.” It’s true; I have about ten business plans in a box that are yet ten years (easily) ahead of market interest; even as I can already see the beginnings of what will become demand. Add to this, I have reams of personal research scattered across old drives (and perhaps even old notebooks, somewhere) that I grumble to myself about every time I see a group like Forrester, Gartner, et al publish another white paper and can say to myself, “Yeah; I wrote about that in the early ’90s.”
I also admit that I purely love doing analysis; I have this “knack” for it. I can detect patterns and trends that seem invisible to others. I regularly predict the rise and fall of technology, pop culture fads, and I’m cursed with an unfailing ability to know which shows, songs, movies, and even retail outlets are going to “fly” and which are going to “die”. Problem is, when I describe or define how I know, people’s eyes glaze over or (worse yet) they tell me “that’s not possible” or even “you don’t know what you’re talking about”.
(Makes me want to keep track just so I can check back later with the “told you so” except it’s a profound waste of time; the only one who seems to remember or keep track at all is me, anyway.)
BUT! I disgress!
It’s a fact that most people either don’t understand the value proposition of social media/marketing and content as platform for engagement, OR they don’t want to understand it, they just want someone else to “manage it for them”. This wouldn’t be so bad if that disinterest didn’t mean they lack the background and insight to understand why it’s an expensive thing to “farm out” (easily more so than investing the time/effort/money to understand well enough to manage it for yourself, your company, etc). The upshot being — they either aren’t willing to pay, or think that reasonable compensation for the level of effort and time required is “unreasonable”.
So, yes, somewhat a gloomy forecast for catering to the small and mid-size business, professional, et al (which are quite under-served and usually very hungry for the help except that pesky “paying for it” part).
Suffice to say I am running circles in my own mind on the matter. Part of me feels a real compulsion to help others by educating and empowering them to help themselves and part of me is all too aware (and perhaps even more than a bit grumbly) for the sense that most people do not want to truly understand as much as they want to find the “fast formula for instant results for free” (which, as we all should know, does not exist!).
Oddly enough, it isn’t a problem that is absent in the analyst arena; but at least there, the presence of groups like Gartner, Forrester, The NPD Group, the IIBA, et al provide a level of credibility to the notion that this really IS a competency, that its various methods of expertise can run rather deep, and that people who have the ability, orientation, and skill to perfect it are valuable to industry, business, and those who wish to understand pretty much any aspect of both.
Of course, all of this is my long-winded, rambly, and somewhat angst-ridden method of trying to determine how wise it is to second-guess a commitment to direction and effort that has taken me a considerable amount of time and personal investment to shoulder off of the ground.
If I choose to “return” to analysis with more devotion, I”m going to have to begin the process of recouping the hours lost thanks to my last full time employer’s unwillingness to vouch them. (“Sorry, our policy forbids any manner of reference granting.” Ugh.) THEN, resume the process of qualifying for and sitting the IIBA’s CBAP certification (frankly, the test is not the concern; it’s the qualification process, which is quite frankly an exercise in adopting and thus strengthening a preferential terminology and authority… theirs… rather than demonstrating competency and theoretical grasp to receive vetting as competent enough to sit for the test). Thanks to my last full time employer, that’s going to be at least another two years of work to even approach (and oh, that doesn’t include the requisite 21 hours of approved authority training).
I think I may have a small issue with the notion of having to kiss a proverbial ring that is younger than my resume to “prove” that the demonstrable execution of theory and skill in that resume is valid. Meh; lingering annoyance with conformity, admittedly. No hard feelings, but considerable frustration that experience isn’t acceptable unless it is couched in the manner preferred.
Hm. That tangent seems to have cost me the remainder of my thoughts; likely a good time to place the final period, for now.