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Specialization is Overrated: On Being Kinda Good at Many Things

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The entire educational system is based on the premise that you must pick a field and specialize. Expertise, they tell you, is the key to success. If you want to stand out in this vicious job market, you had better be the very best in your specialty.

What’s often overlooked — and even mocked — is the value of being “kinda good” in many fields. Yet when it comes to building a business, being slightly competent at many things will often get you further than specializing.

As a young professional starting your own business, it makes a lot of sense to ignore conventional wisdom, and instead of striving to be the best in one field, become “kinda good” at many different things.

When random skills from the past pop up in your business

When I launched my business a year ago, one of the first things I did was apply for a trademark. Sure, I knew it wasn’t a necessity, but Puttylike was such a cool name that I didn’t want to take any chances. The $300 fee was non-refundable. If you did this without a lawyer and your application got rejected, that was it. You didn’t get your money back.

Funny, I wasn’t expecting to use my legal skills in any practical way since I made the choice to not become a lawyer. But there I was, thinking over whether my business name would be considered “descriptive” and whether it mattered that Puttylike is only listed in some dictionaries.

My knowledge of trademark law was rudimentary. I took an intellectual property class in law school, but had no real expertise in the area.

About six months later, I was notified that my trademark application had been accepted. Rock on.

I had a similar experience when I was setting up my website. It was my first time using WordPress, and I had no idea how the platform worked. Yet over the years, I had picked up a bit of CSS from odd web design gigs here and there. My coding, again, was only “kinda good.”

But just knowing a tiny bit of CSS was enough to get me started, and I learned more as I went. In about three weeks, I had customized my entire theme and ended up with a pretty neat-looking website.

This all came as a result of being just “kinda good.” I didn’t have to be the best web designer, I didn’t have to specialize. I just had to be mildly competent for my skills to have a real, valuable application.

Similarly, when I decided to launch a podcast, my experiments recording songs in my basement as an angsty teenager came in handy. I knew exactly how to get a great sound out of a cheap USB mic. Dilettantism to the rescue!

Being in startup mode means wearing many hats

The reason playing the field is so valuable for entrepreneurs is that when you’re in startup mode, you end up doing a little bit of everything.

I suppose I could have hired a lawyer to register my trademark or a web designer to tweak my WordPress theme or an audio editor to edit my podcast, but as a startup, who has the cash for that?

Being “kinda good” at many things can be a curse, too

Of course, being “kinda good” at many things can also be a curse if you’re not careful. It requires discipline. It’s tempting to do things, not because you enjoy them, but simply because you know you can.

But it’s impossible to do everything. A better approach is to take note of the activities you enjoy and the ones you don’t. Once your business grows to a place where you can afford to outsource or hire employees, have them take over the activities you could do but don’t enjoy.

For example, I hired a designer to design my new book. I could have easily figured it out on my own, but I just knew that I would have hated it. I also knew that my time was better spent on things like promotion. And so I made a choice.

Being “kinda good” is, ironically, empowering

Here’s the thing about being “kinda good” at many things: you’ve got choice. You can hire someone if you like or you can do it yourself.

Being a little competent at many things is empowering. You don’t need to call on other people for answers.

Follow your heart and trust that the dots will connect

You never know where those odd skills you picked up from a passing interest might come in handy. After all, Apple wouldn’t have the beautiful typography it’s become known for, had Steve Jobs not snuck into one completely random and “impractical” calligraphy class when he was eighteen.

Don’t be afraid to just be “kinda good.” What matters isn’t so much that you’re an expert, but that you’re using whatever skill you do have to further a project that means something to you.

Have random skills from your past proven useful in your entrepreneurial pursuits?

Emilie Wapnick works with multipotentialites to build lives and businesses around all their interests. She’s the author of Renaissance Business and the troublemaker behind Puttylike.com.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • http://www.annikamartins.com Annika

    Brilliant! I love love this! Being kinda good is absolutely taken for granted and yet, comes in so handy for the entrepreneurial set in particular. Proud to be a jack of all trades!

    • 4020 Vision

      Totally agree…for the entrepreneurial minded. The only caveat I would add is that a lot of women I speak to who want to work flex time find choosing a specialty allows them flexibility to come in and out of the market as an expert / consultant ..and have a challenging career. Their advice if you want to choose that path, find a narrow band of expertise. So I see it as the opposite of starting out narrow and go broad and find that start out broad and narrow down. And in principle while I agree with the post, it kind of goes without saying that if we didn’t have some specialist to back us up, a lot of businesses wouldn’t run. We need both!

  • http://twitter.com/PopcornPrez PopcornPrez

    Wow I always thought I was weirdly incapacitated by not being proficient in one specialization but just “kinda good” in everything. I’m glad to hear there are like-minded people out there, and they too chose to be entrepreneurs!

    It reminds me of something Sir Ken Robinson said in his TED talk about how human race depends on a diversity of talents and not a singular conception of ability. Thanks for the affirming article! :)

  • http://www.leslieforman.com Leslie Forman

    Yes! I totally agree. Being able to wear multiple hats is what gives us the choices to do what we truly love and can really excel at! And knowing what a task entails is kind of crucial for figuring out when to delegate or outsource it to someone else. I like the word “multipotentialite.”

    keep up the good work!
    – a translator / writer / entrepreneur / traveler / speaker in Santiago :)

    • Anonymous

      And how many of us are lucky enough to know exactly what we want to be doing when we are young? I’m sure I didn’t, and only one or two of the kids I went to school with did. But if being kinda good a lots of things is kinda useful as an entrepreneur, you can be sure that you will still find yourself relying heavily on specialists when you are ready to take on staff…

  • http://www.thedailyawe.com Lindsay | The Daily Awe

    I think being “kinda good” at a lot of things is the best way to go. We need experts in this world, no doubt. But I prefer to wear many hats and know a little about a lot, rather than a lot about a little. Great article!

  • http://twitter.com/JPatrickJobs J. Patrick & Assoc.

    Great advice, except I’d like to think that while you might want to start out with a ‘kinda good’ skill set, over time you can end up being a ‘kinda super awesome’ integrated person in your position. I dug this post and reposted on our Twitter feed @jpatrick jobs and our our FB page https://www.facebook.com/J.Patrick.Associates

  • Kathryn Smith

    I thought your post was “kinda good” except for this opening statement, which almost made me stop reading: “The entire educational system is based on the premise that you must pick a field and specialize. Expertise, they tell you, is the key to success.” Unless you really are in a specialized field like Engineering, all the way up to your Bachelor’s degree you are still very generalized. That’s why you have to take 2 years of “basic” courses, to expose you to a wide variety of ideas/skills. The trend in education these days is to take a multidisciplinary approach. And then when you graduate, you can do almost anything with almost any Bachelor’s degree – again, hardcore mathematics or engineering require more demonstratable skills. Other than a few fields, though, you don’t really start to specialize until you hit a Master’s.

  • Musicophelia

    As a generalist surrounded by specialists most of my working life, I tended to regard my multiple interests and zig-zag professional path as a bit of a curse. Now I’m self-employed, I am reaping the benefits of those very things because of a diverse network and a variety of experience.

  • http://twitter.com/hport Heath Port

    Interesting, my initial take on this is “right on!” And I would have totally agreed a few months ago before I left my last job. Being a jack of all trades myself totally helped me excel at my last few jobs. But now that I am on the job market, it has kind of become a curse. I find that a lot of the positions I am applying for are looking for very specific skills and demonstrations that you had the same exact title or executed the same exact tasks. I have plenty of transferable skills, but since there are so many people on the market right now with the exact experience they are looking for the employers are less willing to take a risk on someone who isn’t an exact fit. I have heard in each of my interviews that I have an impressive resume and would be a great cultural fit, but there are others with the exact/specific expertise they are looking for right now. When the economy is doing great, I think companies are more willing to take a risk on a rock star generalist than when there is a glut of people on the market. Now to your point regarding start-ups, I think it definitely makes sense to be a generalist to excel. So in closing i do agree with your thoughts in principle, but I am not sure its applicable in every situation career-wise. I still consider my generalist nature to show my adaptability. So maybe I just need to be better at selling it! Thanks for the post!

    • http://dool.in Dave Doolin

      Heath, my experience is exactly as yours. After decades of doing whatever it takes to just get the job done, I find myself without a clear statement of what it is, exactly, that I do.

      So, I’m busting chops at the moment to find a very deep specialization (or two) with lasting value. Like, had I chosen to specialize in Linux kernel development 12-13 years ago when I had the opportunity to get in early, right now I guarantee you I would in the water at Ocean Beach on this stupendously beautiful day… instead of digging through taxonomy display code.

  • Jeremy Roper

    I’m on board with Heath. For entrepreneurs and small business owners, I’ve seen firsthand the value of being “kinda good” at everything. But when you’re looking for a job and employers want something in particular (because let’s face it; how many people post a listing without an idea of specifics they want?), how do you say “I am just so great that I can do [job] and everything else” and sell them on it when the person next in line has 10 years of experience doing [job], even if they’ve been a mediocre worker for all 10 years? Our educational system does heavily emphasize specialization, and I wonder sometimes if that can be detrimental to the individual and the company.

  • Jrandom42

    Specialization is overrated, until you run up against the limits of your knowledge and expertise and have to pay huge bucks for a specialist who can come in, fix what you’ve screwed up and save your butt in doing so.

    • http://ragtag.wordpress.com/ ragtag

      Can’t be a specialist in everything, by definition, but knowing enough to not get ripped off is useful. If you have a rough idea of how long something takes (or the person you hire thinks you have) then you will tend to get a better price.

      • Jrandom42

        That depends on what you mean by being ripped off. If an acknowledged industry specialist can come in and essentially save the company’s infrastructure NOW, when being down means the loss of millions of dollars per day, would it be a ripoff if he charges $50,000/hour and fixes things in a few hours? And how much would you save if some one who didn’t have his specialized knowledge and experience took a couple of weeks to do a lesser job?

        “Fast, Good or Cheap. You’ll only get two out of the three, no matter what.”

        • http://ragtag.wordpress.com/ ragtag

          Think you got the wrong end of stick to use a quote.

          If you know enough about the industry or a situation you find yourself in then you should be able to make a judgement as to whether $50,000/hour is the going rate. It may be.. but you may also be able to tell if that person is not qualified or lacks the experience to recommend or perform such work. In the building trade they are called cowboys, at least in the UK are.. but same applies to all industries, just to make the deal.

  • http://parisianfeline.wordpress.com Tatiana

    I think the only people who don’t like specializing are people in the liberal arts – or pretty much anything that isn’t science (and to an extent, math). A friend of mine had this conversation some time ago, and someone pointed out that there was only one scientist in the whole world who specialized in a specific branch of necessary science. Once he leaves, there wouldn’t be anybody who could do that research (or some variation of that).

    And that’s what I think about when people bemoan their perception of specialization. I wish people would stop knocking it – it’s not that bad. If being “diverse” is the aim of being a generalist, then we need a “diverse” group of people who are more than happy to specialize and those who simply don’t want to.

    Besides, if you think about, some of the greatest pieces of art (music, television, cinema, novels) were created by specialists, not generalists. Specializing in something can cause you to excel and be the best in that field. You can produce amazing pieces of anything, really, by focusing all your attention and energy and focus onto that one thing.

    I really wish people would stop highlighting generalists over specialists (re: we’re not insects!) and yet we need insects to do exactly what they’re designed to do. Why do you think people are frantic over the lose of the European honey bees? So – get over yourself. Seriously – each has their pros and cons. And it really boils down to personality – some people want to be generalists and others want to be specialists. As a culture, we need both.

    • Jeremy Roper

      Hopefully without being overly argumentative, I have to disagree about people in the Liberal Arts (I assume you’re actually referring to Humanities in general? Liberal Arts by definition includes “Science”). I’m married to one and have spent tons of time around many others and they seem to absolutely love their specialization. It gives them a niche and a way to establish their identity within a broad world.

      That said, you’re right: we need both. Of course, the Africanized honey bees are also specialists as a species. And within the hive every bee is a specialist. We, on the other hand, can take any of a number of approaches. But outside the startup world, where do the generalists really fit in? I’ve spent a lot of energy trying to understand this, and I can’t quite make it click. I hear about plenty of job openings for people with one niche or another, but the opportunities that clearly suit generalists seem to be far more rare.

  • http://www.iantang.com Ian Tang

    Hmm … I have a completely opposite view on some parts.
    Before college & university, the education system is all about jack of all trades. In high school its a mix bag ofSciences, Maths, business …; when you get your degree, then it’s about major. Although if you get a business/engineering degree, it’s still pretty general since you can go towards multiple industries for various roles.

    I don’t think specialization is overrated. A person might not be specialized, but the business would be specialized. In general, people pay more for things they can’t do (well), right?
    —————
    “Jack of all trade”s is definitely needed to get a small business running. Even in any company, a person that know multiple sides of a business is very advantageous because you can bring multiple perspective & provide better answers or solutions to problems.

    I was a person that knew most of the business processes & functionality for the new IT system in my last role. When a problem occur, it allowed me to determine the real impact of the problem for each specific department in a minute, which allow me to find a solution that fit each of the impacted departments. (As a whole, I am specialized in the specific IT system)

    I agree that there is a huge value in being a person with multiple strength.
    With our multiple interests … why not aim for multiple specialization, instead of jack of all trade?

  • Mys

    Howabout: market yourself as a specialist,execute like a competent generalist :-P

    • Jrandom42

      Might work, but if they need a specialist’s skills, knowledge and expertise, acting like a competent generalist is only going to get you let go and a real specialist hired or contracted to replace you.

    • http://ragtag.wordpress.com/ ragtag

      People have been doing that forever

  • Krzysztof Wesołowski

    I think that neither tight specialization neither being good at multiple skills is best way to go. Personally for me (engineer) being expert in embedded software with some extra automation and control, web design, graphics, marketing and other skills is best way to go.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=661003203 Ann Nunnally

    I have been working since before the last big unemployment dip in the early eighties. I had a very specialized degree–chemical engineering. When I was a freshman in college, ChemE’s could pick and choose their jobs. However, when I graduated in 1983, the bottom had fallen out of the oil and gas industry, which meant that ChemE’s found it very difficult to get jobs. I have seen cycles come and go many times since then. This is what I have learned:

    If you want to specialize, be sure you really like your specialty. An internship, summer job, or even interviewing someone in the industry is helpful. Don’t be afraid to change your mind. If you like what you do, you are probably good at it, and the best are the ones that stay when the axe falls.

    Technical expertise only gets you so far. Even if you work in a large corporation, you will need to know how to negotiate, sell, organize, write, and market yourself, among other things.

    Learn new things but keep the old. Make sure to keep up with the latest opportunities to gain experience in new specialties, but don’t throw away the old textbooks. There are lots of old systems around that need your expertise.

    Your job is always to make the customer happy. The more you are able to do, the more opportunities you have to make someone happy. Never be afraid to learn something new!

  • Martin Smith

    An educated person “ought to know a little about everything and a lot about something.” This will allow one to have the benefits of specialization while tasting the fruits of generalization.

    I am a consultant and prescribe to Tom Peter’s idea that “The most effective professionals know their own turf cold, to be sure. But their special added value, for clients and colleagues, is their ability to draw upon analogous ideas from disparate fields to form analyses about problems closer to home.”

    • http://ragtag.wordpress.com/ ragtag

      Also known as T-shaped skills

  • Jodine Ibeme

    I have skills in many areas but recruiters can’t seem to place me or see my value. I have operated many machines, have inspector experience, and, trained people to work. My skills and work experience are very adaptable. http://www.linkedin.com/in/jodineplasticsmachineoperator

    • Ian Tang

      Jodine … you are not just a generalist … you are multi-specialist in the manufacturing process or a Supply chain expert.

      I just looked at you profile, You have done: Assembly, QA, packaging, receiving & inventory (From Goodwill). You probably have distribution experience as well right? That’s a lot of parts of an supply chain.

      Group your skills into 3-4 specialization you have & use that as your selling point.
      Assembly line job are decreasing … but people are still need to work with the plants in other countries. Most of the problem with outsourced manufacturing is quality … you can be a solution for that.
      why not be the mediator/facilitator or implement/consult quality control processes?

      Here are some suggestion of focus: Quality control, process improvement for manufacturing, supervising & training new method/process ….
      ———-
      Bringing back to the post of applying generalist experience.
      What you might be able to bring to the table is applying experiences in manufacturing process from one industry & applying it to another to provide the more efficient & higher quality process.

  • http://www.facebook.com/morana.medved Morana Medved

    I have to disagree with this post. To start, educational system emphasizes generalization up until you pick a major in college at which point you should know what you want to do, or otherwise why are you spending money on a degree (I’m very much against “undecided” majors).
    After you get a degree it’s probably best not to specialize right away but try out a lot of different aspects of your industry and try them on for size. At the junior level it is rather advantageous to know a bit of everything. But if you want to progress further I believe you have to specialize in something and be your best at it in order to truly excel.
    Main problem with being kinda good at a lot of things is that you’re not really good at anything. I’ve worked for many small businesses and those that failed did so because the owner tried to do a bit of everything instead of concentrating on what he was good at and farming out the rest. It’s great to be able to use multiple skills to avoid extra costs at the very beginning, but it’s also important to know when this will not do anymore.
    This worked really well for me – at the beginning of my career I tried as many things as I could and became familiar with a lot of different tasks working at small businesses mostly that allowed me to do that. But a few years in I leveled off and that’s when I went to a larger company and specialized in those tasks that I’m really good at and that I enjoy. I find that this makes me a very desireable employee, being really good at what I do while being familiar with enough other things to remain adaptable and keep the larger picture in mind.
    So starting out as generalist is great, as long as you eventually specialize.

  • http://idealog.co.nz Esther

    Definitely agree that generalising will get you far as a startup – that’s one of the things this Venturebeat post touches upon (it’s about how entrepreneurs have to ‘unlearn’ the things they learned in the corporate world – worth a read). http://venturebeat.com/2011/09/27/tips-for-moving-from-the-corporate-world-to-a-startup/. As long as you know when to step back and hand over, as you did with hiring a designer.

  • http://thedurhamplumber.co.uk The Durham Plumber

    I couldn’t agree more, running your own business means you have to take on many different roles particularly when you are just starting out. It is fine to be a specialist in somebody else’s company but you will not survive on your own without being able to do many different job roles.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=564622409 Adam Fendom

    The thing about specialists? They’ve got to work for someone.

    Specialists get paid. Generalists are the ones with the money to pay.

    What do you think most management is? it’s being a generalist, with enough background knowledge to herd specialists. Ditto politics, VCing, starting a business, project management etc.

    Additionally, you’ve got to be wary of being a niche player, if you’re the only guy in the company who can do a particular thing, well you’ve got a job, but you’re not going up the ladder either.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, sure. I call BS. To be reasonably competent in many things requires experience, something you only acquire with time. Which means you are an older worker, a tag which is an albatross around the neck of anyone looking for a job, and is sure to get your resume shredded without a further look. And if you are fresh out of school, it would most likely mean you have a liberal arts degree, a degree roundly disdained these days.
    So, I disagree strongly, unless most HR people managing hiring these days are saying one thing and doing another? Which would mean they are totally confused. That would make sense to me.
    This is why I rarely visit this site anymore, it is full of unbelievable stuff, almost like someone is making it all up.

    • http://www.jaclynschiff.com Jaclyn Schiff

      I guess it all depends on what you call reasonably competent. I don’t think reasonably competent necessarily has to do with experience or time. Experience can help, but I have had outstanding young managers who have only had six months of experience and terrible older managers (incompetent in fact!) who have been in those positions for years!

      I’m sorry to hear you feel our stuff on Brazen is unbelievable. What sort of content would you like to see?

      • Anonymous

        Don’t get me wrong. I am not equating age with management competence. I really didn’t think that was what the article was about anyway. Frankly, I think most managers should be taken out and shot, as they are walking examples of the Peter Principle, and they do nothing more than screw up businesses and people’s lives along the way. Most of them have been promoted to those positions by hanging around, sucking up, or lying about their qualifications. I would love to know what the background of the managers with 6 months experience is/was. It seems to me that is almost as unlikely as finding a manager who has the respect of those who have to report to her/him.
        I don’t really have a wish list for this blog, I just find that much of the material either doesn’t apply to me, or that it doesn’t jive with my experiences. I do think the blog is targeting twenty-somethings, maybe thirty-somethings, which is fine by me. I just can’t relate to it.

        • http://www.jaclynschiff.com Jaclyn Schiff

          Thanks for the response Steve.

  • http://www.mangomoney.com Mango Money

    Thanks for the post, Emilie! On the one hand, I completely agree with you; on the other, I completely disagree. Kind of a conundrum, isn’t it? What I mean is, I think it is a great idea to be good at lots of different things– particularly things like web building and computer-related tasks in this day and age. But on the other hand, if you’re only “kinda” good at everything, you might end up just dabbling in lots of little things and not really making headway on a career path that you’ll love. You bring up a good point, too, about over-stretching yourself if you’re doing too many of these little things. If you do all of the little odd jobs for yourself, you won’t have the time or energy to focus on whatever your main goal was in the first place! So I think a specialization is still important, but being “kinda” good at lots of little things is helpful on the side. I wouldn’t let being “kinda” good at stuff become your specialization!

  • Lindsey

    Very random “skill” but all those late night study sessions in college have helped me tremendously in my start up website, madewomanmag.com. There come times where things just NEED to get done and nobody is going to do it but you. When disaster strikes, being able to function under pressure and minimal (or no) sleep is extremely important!!

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  • House5106

    A agree to a point – it is good to have exposure to various things. For example, in 2011 all girls should be able to change a flat tire and all boys should be able to prepare a meal. Also, in every area of life, it helps to be an informed consumer. But in the work place you kind of have to pick something and do it because if you’re always starting over it will always be at the bottom.

  • http://experiencingrevolution.com Tessa Zeng

    What this whole generalist-specialist argument reminds me of:

    “Hey guys, I think it’s cool to try all kinds of food.”
    “No, just eat hamburgers.”

    I’m not trying to make light of the career-philosophy debate. Of COURSE there are major dissenting opinions here- I mean, just look at the economy. Specialist-advocates makes total sense, considering that specializing has distinct advantages in the current job market that jacks-of-all-trades can’t compete with- same way a mere human being can’t compete with a crazy machine built to operate on only one function. Hell, if I were doing hard hiring for corporate jobs I’d look for specialists, too. But Emilie isn’t knocking industrial jobs. She’s speaking specifically to ‘entrepreneurial pursuits.’ So why all the defensiveness?

    What I see here in the comments are a lot of hard-working people trying to make a case for their own way of working, which I respect. Emilie, on the other hand, is speaking on behalf of not only herself as an entrepreneur, but for all the multi-passionate entrepreneurs she’s coached and encouraged and sees out there, struggling, because no one’s given them a real voice. I mean, if your view is ‘I specialize because it’s the only way I can pay the bills and I’ve never made a dime off my creative hobbies,’ then say so! Your reality is your own. No one’s gonna make fun of you. (Though you might want to check out Emilie’s latest book, Renaissance Business, which helps people do exactly that – make a practical career out of *everything* they love. Her above post isn’t random philosophizing- there’s actually a lot of research and strategy holding her ideas up.)

    If you take a look at puttylike.com, no one there cares about knocking specialists- they’re simply interested in pursuing what they love in life and supporting oneanother doing the same – and isn’t that the point?

    Unfortunately, the readership here seems intent on knocking oneanother’s ‘Hows’ rather than speaking to the underlying ‘Why’ of why we even work in the first place… Sorry, but I don’t see a lot of things Brazen about this narrowminded approach to careers.

    • http://WinPhoneFan.com/ Will Brown

      Well said, Tessa. Emilie is speaking to/for a specific audience. There’s nothing wrong with specialization, but it’s not for everyone.

  • Anonymous

    I am also a generalist, having picked up countless skills along the way. I did a BA in Music, worked for 4 years as a teacher, then started working as a programme manager with nonprofits, completed a Master’s in Management, and have somehow stumbled into communications, design, website management and social media. I feel like I have a lot to offer to an organization, but my biggest problem is communicating who I am on a resume. My fear is that my resume communicates that I’m undecided about a career and have no “stick-to-it-iveness”. Because all my experience post grad school was in communications (which is only 2 years), I find myself applying to communications jobs, but these are specialist positions and they are often looking for people with qualifications in the field (and more experience). I feel a little bit stuck.

  • http://stasbbs.blogspot.com/ Stasbbs

    Wow, nice post ^^

  • http://www.StartMyConsultingBusiness.com Greg Miliates

    Being a jack-of-all-trades can work to a point–especially when starting your own business. However, I have a couple of recommendations/caveats:
    –>outsourcing can leverage your time, so you can focus on more strategic tasks
    –>specialization gives you less competition, makes it easier to stand out, and allows you to charge more

    With that said, as an entrepreneur, you’ll absolutely need to wear many hats to succeed–even if you decide to outsource some things later. Being informed about what you’re outsourcing makes it more likely that you’ll get what you need from those you’re subcontracting.

    However, I’m a big proponent of finding a solid niche for your business, since it makes your business more profitable–and therefore less stressful.

    For example, there are a lot of people–tens or hundreds of thousands of people, probably–with my skillset (which is mostly Microsoft SQL and VBA). However, rather than compete in that general niche, I’m in a pretty tiny niche where I’m able to charge DOUBLE or TRIPLE what I could in the general niche. Not only is my business more profitable, but I have to do less marketing, and can work less to make the same amount.

    As a result, I’ve QUADRUPLED my former day-job salary, work less, and have a lot more flexibility.

    I talk more about finding a profitable niche on my blog, where I have a 2-part series about the how-to as well as why it’s important.

    Greg Miliates
    http://www.StartMyConsultingBusiness.com

  • http://www.weddinggownshop.com.au/ Hijj2011

    We must make sure that we have one skill which make us stand different!!!

  • Trance

    I suppose being kind of good at a lot of things makes sense as you can work well at different areas, but specialization is important in any business to get someone who is an ‘expert’ in one area to get the best results, and not just ‘good’.

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    Very interesting article. Thank you for sharing.

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    Your article is spot on , and so very true thankyou for sharing this .

  • http://www.myweldingblog.blogspot.com/ Brian

    Ever since starting back to welding school have often thought about what exactly it would be like to start up a metal fabrication business, however I gues much like any other business there is a lot of headaches to contend which, may give it some more thought, great posting anyhow.

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