The next big sale

I am amazed, constantly, that people fail to get that being an employee is no different to running any other kind of small business. Everything you have to do to make a small business work has to be done when you’re an employee as well. The only difference is that you’ve got guaranteed income.

Guaranteed income is something that makes it easy to be lazy. Is there any point marketing your achievements when you’re going to get the pay-cheque anyway? Why bother to drum up new activity, actually, when doing additional work fails to result in an increase in income?

The illusion that you don’t have to run yourself as a small business comes about because most people only have to sell their services those few times they’re planning to change jobs. If that happens infrequently enough, it is easy to forget that everything you do right now is collateral for making the next big sale of yourself.

Those who change jobs more frequently are likely to inherently understand this fact. Contractors, especially, get it. It is why I advocate that everyone has a blog and does social media. It makes it simple to be visible.

One objection I always hear when I talk about this stuff, though, is that “some people aren’t good at self promotion”.  Considering that being visible is so easy in this digital age, that argument doesn’t really wash much with me. It is far more likely,  I think, that people who are poor at self-promotion actually have little or nothing to promote in the first place.

Another objection – perhaps a more relevant one, really – is that one should be thinking of doing the best they can right now, not worrying about the next big sale. Whatever happened to loyalty anyway? This is myopic thinking, because only the very lazy plan to be doing the same job forever. Can you imagine anything more boring than doing the same role, decade after decade?

Treating yourself as a small business has the consequence of reminding you, every day, that you are eventually going to have to make a sale, regardless of the present guaranteed income stream. This has the focusing effect of making sure your performance today is as good as it can be, because it is all marketing for the next big thing.

5 Responses to“The next big sale”

  1. April 27, 2010 at 10:59 am #

    Ah James, there is a perception that people who Twitter are "nerds". And "nerds" are the kind of people that are hated at school, especially in the UK.
    Joan Collins recently said that she hates Twitter. Obviousy, she doesn't "get it". How would you try and explain the phenomenon to her?

  2. MD
    April 27, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    I agree with your sentiment of "…treating yourself as a small business has the consequence of reminding you, every day, that you are eventually going to have to make a sale, regardless of the present guaranteed income stream…."
    However I struggle to see the correlation of this and your point of view of "…everyone has a blog and does social media…" If you achieve successful outcomes consistently and constantly why do you need to self promote them. As they say actions speak louder than words…..
    Also I don't think it is the very lazy who plan to do the same job forever. This maybe more of a trend in the IT industry.
    I know some people who actually enjoy their job and it is more of a hobby and source of enjoyment for them rather than a "job". Some examples of people I know are a piano restorer, carpenter and airline pilot. They wouldn't change their job as they enjoy doing what they do everyday.

  3. April 28, 2010 at 6:16 am #

    Re: TypePad: [BankerVision] Nerd submitted a comment on "The next big sale"
    I wouldn’t bother to explain it, actually. I’ve found you have to use it for a while before you get it. That was certainly my experience, anyway.

  4. April 28, 2010 at 6:29 am #

    Re: TypePad: [BankerVision] MD submitted a comment on "The next big sale"
    I encourage everyone to have a blog and do social media mainly because it assists with visibility. There are, of course, other ways to do the necessary marketing to treat yourself as a small business… Self promotion, though it may be distasteful to some,  is as important as promotion of any other kind of business. In a sea of messages, why should anyone notice what you’re doing? The fact of the matter is that good and consistent outcomes do not always show up on the radar of everyone. And though its sad, really great people are sometime not noticed at all because of it.
    Perhaps it was a bit provocative to say that only the lazy plan to do the same job forever. What I really meant was that everyone needs a change to keep fresh. Airline pilots change aircraft and airlines, from time to time. I can’t, however, imagine an airline pilot flying the same route, in the same plane, for the same company, at the same rank, for their whole career.

  5. MD
    April 28, 2010 at 8:54 am #

    Thanks for the clarification. I totally agree that sometimes the good work of people often goes unnoticed and these people get frustrated. Self promotion and marketing is important if one does wish to get noticed. I then understand the theme of your post.
    There will always be those who are happy to do the same grind over and over again and moan that no one notices their good work. Of they want to get noticed I agree they need to market their worth.

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