If you’re a small business owner or consultant in a service-based business, the temptation to offer a multifaceted service menu will very tempting. As you network and meet new business prospects, inevitably, they’ll ask if you do work that’s outside your professional scope. Now that the weight of bringing home a paycheck is your complete responsibility, you’ll be very tempted to say yes.
Those who claim to “do it all” are actually declaring that they don’t do any one thing well. Your clients want to hire experts who know their field inside and out.
In 2010, I relocated to Charlotte, NC to take on the Vice President of Marketing for Halogen TV, a new national cable television network. The job came with a monumental learning curve, and to be honest, for the first year or two, I felt like I was in completely over my head.
One of the most important responsibilities I had was managing a seven-figure marketing budget. While I’ve had experience with budgets in the past, managing a budget this size was very new for me.
Included in that budget was the ability and expectation that we would hire people, vendors and consultants to help us fill in the gap between what we knew and what we needed to know.
Shortly after arriving, I sought out the help of a consultant who we initially contacted because of their specific experience in a certain area of our business. During the interview process, I quickly realized that this guy didn’t have what I was looking for. He claimed that he could do it all. Given that I knew how complex the specific project was, it quickly became apparent that this consultant was telling me what I wanted to hear so that he could land the business. In the end, I didn’t hire him because I didn’t trust him.
According to respected author, Stephen R. Covey, author of Speed of Trust [affiliate link],
“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”
Had the consultant focused on building my trust in his specific knowledge and experience, then helped me see a path to success, I would have hired him on the spot.
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples of how trust drives the careers of two people I admire:
A friend of mine, Jeremy Cowart, is a professional photographer who has a portfolio that most photographers would kill for. He’s photographed musicians, actors and actresses, professional athletes and TV casts. He even had a chance to shoot the cast of LOST, but had to decline it.
If you don’t know Jeremy, chances are, the list I just gave you is enough to convince you that he is a legit photographer. Sub-consciously, you probably thought, “If those people trust him to take their photos, then he must be that good!” And you’re right, he is.
Trust has fueled his career and it continues to open doors for him on a regular basis in the world of photography.
Help-Portrait, an international non-profit that he and I launched in 2009, rallied 5000 photographers and 4000 volunteers to take, print and deliver pictures to the less fortunate at over 600 locations in 52 countries. It only took 110 days to activate people all over the world to join us on the first official Help-Portrait day (12/12/2009). Four years later, the movement has grown to over 20,000 photographers and 30,000 volunteers in 60 countries giving away nearly 300,000 portraits.
Currently, Jeremy is working on releasing a new photography iPhone app called OKDOTHIS that’s slated to release in the first half of 2013.
I was first introduced to Michael Hyatt in 2002. At that time, he was the Vice President of Marketing at Thomas Nelson. Shortly after I found his blog, then called “From Where I Sit,” he became the President of Thomas Nelson.
Mike’s career was built on the book publishing industry. If you read his blog today, his topics have evolved, but the bulk of his authority rests on what he’s learned from being involved in that industry.
As you can imagine, people flock to Mike for publishing advice. So much so, he now sells a series of books on “Writing a Winning Book Proposal.” Chances are, if you’re interested in writing a book, you’re going to, or have already, clicked on the link above. Why? Why not? The former President and CEO of one of the top publishing companies in the world is giving you the insiders secrets on how to get published, why wouldn’t you click?
The point is, Mike dedicated his life to becoming an expert in the field of book publishing (not all types of publishing) and now people trust what he has to say about that and other topics like social media, leadership, and productivity.
Today, Mike has a healthy career as an independent speaker, writer and consultant.
Trust is the key…to everything!
When you’re tempted to do everything, think about people like Jeremy, Mike, and those around you who are respected, trusted and finding traction in their career and businesses. I can guarantee that they are known and respected for the specific work or field they’ve found success in.
Here are a few things that I’ve learned along the way that you might find helpful as it pertains to building trust in your business or career:
- Focus on what you love to do – Discover what you love to do and find the companies that need the work that you love. That’s where the magic and most fulfillment comes. Theologian Frederick Buechner puts it this way: ‘Your vocation is where your greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need.”
- Resist the “Jack of all Trades” temptation – Trust me, for those who have the ability to hire you for the kind of money you want to make, they want to hire experts.
- Don’t assume you know what they want – I can’t say it enough, ask questions first—and a lot of them. When people feel heard and understood, they’ll trust you more.