As a younger professional, I had always felt that there was some form of age discrimination in the workforce. I am younger than most of the others in my field so when I approach business owners, I tend to feel like I’m dismissed because they see me as inexperienced.
I know what I am talking about when I tell them of the technical opportunities since these standards rarely shift beyond a central form of ideology but, nonetheless, many of my pitches fall on deaf ears.
But that was then… this is now.
I learned a lot over the years. I picked up the fact that it’s not always the technical prowess that makes a business great. The age difference began to make sense because it’s about the connections. As you age these connections and networks grow; that’s what people want to tap into when they hear you speak.
So that had me thinking about the whole area of consulting.
You see, consulting is very lucrative because you’re passing on your knowledge in a very specialized way. Not only are you teaching others how to do a task or approach a goal but you’re giving them the mindset that often only comes after years of experience (something I did not have at the time).
Once I noticed this shift – it made sense why people would and should get into consulting and speaking as a primary financial avenue as they age. There will always be some fresh-faced kid to know the technicalities – but it’s you that can give the hardened guidance.
A transition from working the field and being an expert in the field which can charge for their consulting and speaking services hinge on a few different activities:
· Know your lane – Try to stick to a specific skill or topic that you’re not only passionate about but one that you’re well versed in. It’s best to have real world experience in the topic (obviously) so that you can give newcomers, intermediates, and experts something of value.
· Know how to engage – We all have great advice to share but it often relies on how well you’re able to tell stories and deliver the information than the facts (harsh but true). In this case, it’s a matter of using the right mix of services and strategies in your live engagement marketing. An example of this is DoubleDutch, which bridges the actual conference to its speakers and content; it’s what pulls people in, gives you enough of a base to build/refine your message, and sell what you must offer, thus increasing your brand equity.
· Know what to deliver (after) – The main information you convey will come naturally because it’s something you normally do. Give them something to go home with. Distilling your expertise in the format of a book, video course, or private website is a great way to further deliver on quality and keep people in the fold. Engage them during the event, drive them to an alternative, informational source, gain them as a devoted subscriber, and you will naturally grow your consulting/speaking business through word-of-mouth and online promotion.
The longer you’re in your specific industry, if you continue to learn your trade, you’ll always have an opportunity to teach others. You could find yourself teaching those first entering the industry or somewhere in between (or higher up) doing major consulting gigs. The name of the game is mixing enough charisma with your knowledge so people want to hear your message.
· Learn as much as you can in your industry
· Apply new concepts to gain real world experience
· Find a way to promote your expertise
· Build upon what you’ve built and deliver extra value through resources
It may take a while to get your footing but it will happen if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. Learn as you go, improve your core, and work on the side – it’s a winning combination.