Over the past two weeks, I’ve been writing about entrepreneurial freedom. Last week I wrote about the two mindsets when it comes to financial freedom: 1) the Spartan mindset of frugality and 2) the Athenian mindset of abundance.
Today I wanted to share with you my thoughts on how to achieve freedom via your work.
Your Work Trajectory Is Non-Linear
Like everyone else working in digital marketing, I studied computer science in college.
Yes, I studied computer science in school, NOT marketing. In fact, I’ve never taken a single marketing class in my life. And it’s not just me.
Every digital marketer I’ve ever hired at my agency did not formally study digital marketing in college. Many had degrees in liberal arts like English or Psychology, while others had degrees in Biology, Accounting, or Finance.
But it wasn’t just my agency…
On my Jumpstart Podcast, I interviewed many agency owners, digital marketing experts, and other subject-matter experts and I noticed that same trend.
Most successful marketers naturally gravitated to digital marketing not because they studied it, but because they had an insatiable curiosity for what digital marketing represented and the potential to make a contribution to the industry.
In fact, most of the digital marketers I know have technical, mathematical, or scientific backgrounds with little formal marketing training.
Let your career find you
By studying computer science in college, I already had a predisposition and sincere appreciation of the importance of numbers.
Today, digital marketing is heavily data-driven and understanding how numbers and marketing models work are a prerequisite for succeeding in any digital marketing campaign.
I never intended to become a digital marketer…
But I fell in love when I saw Google launch Adwords and then Google Analytics.
I saw that digital marketing was a numbers game (it still is).
So I took a chance and experimented.
Fast forward to today, and I’m known as a PPC and Analytics expert.
Digital marketing chose me not the other way around
An opportunity presented itself, and I had a natural predisposition to this type of work.
When you’re young in your career, you assume you have a choice in the work you will do.
The thing most people assume about their career is that it’s a linear path, it’s not.
You might find yourself gravitating toward a different field of expertise because it’s intuitive to you.
It’s like that scene from the movie Goodwill Hunting where Will tells Skylar:
Will: Beethoven, okay. He looked at a piano, and it just made sense to him. He could just play.
Skylar: So what are you saying? You play the piano?
Will: No, not a lick. I mean, I look at a piano, I see a bunch of keys, three pedals, and a box of wood. But Beethoven, Mozart, they saw it, they could just play. I couldn’t paint you a picture, I probably can’t hit the ball out of Fenway, and I can’t play the piano.
Skylar: But you can do my o-chem paper in under an hour.
Will: Right. Well, I mean when it came to stuff like that… I could always just play.
Pay attention to the areas of work where you can just play.
Let your work choose you, not the other way around.
When you force your career, you feel frustrated, stressed, and miserable.
Achieving Freedom of Work
Of course, letting your career choose you isn’t enough if you want a career that brings you freedom.
It’s basic economics.
Where there is a lot of supply, there is little demand. Where there is little supply, there is A LOT of demand.
It’s a cardinal rule of economics.
What’s more valuable; a single piece of coal or a diamond?
We all know the answer.
Coal is a dime a dozen, but diamonds are scarce.
It’s the same when it comes to the work you do.
Is your work rare and valuable?
Is the work that you do rare and valuable to others? To your clients? To the marketplace?
The answer to this pivotal question is the key to your freedom of work.
Because when you do work that is rare and valuable to others, your finances reflect that through higher revenue and profit margins.
This is one of the biggest reasons why I tell all my Agency Jumpstart students early in the program that they need to start thinking about choosing a niche. But I also let you know that you will often need to work providing many services to at least 10 clients before the niche chooses you.
When you specialize, you become more valuable to your clients. Because you are now that rare agency, freelancer, or consultant that can accomplish the work that few others do.
If you want to achieve freedom via work, you need to focus on work that is rare and valuable to your audience.
Let the niche/career choose you and then focus on finding what’s rare and valuable about the work that you do.