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Productivity / Decision making

“Time for a change around here.”

If you feel hungry for a change within your current solo venture, it could be time for a radical reassessment of your strengths. Here’s how it’s worked for me.

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At the start of my solo career I offered copywriting services with a bit of editing on the side. I soon realised I much preferred editing to writing, so reworked my marketing to reflect this and thereby attract clients who needed a fix it up chappie rather than someone who can weave magic on a blank sheet of paper.

To this day, editing remains my strong preference.

Soloists shift around like this all the time. A fellow writer friend has gone from writing a variety of marketing materials to specialising in SEO friendly web copy.

In theory, you should identify your area of specialisation before embarking on your journey, but in reality you can’t always know what you’re really good at til after you’ve set sail. And surely ducking and weaving is part of what makes flying solo such fun.

The process of changing tack and figuring out strengths and preferences enables you to develop a niche, a Very Good Thing because as Tom Peters says, you’re either ‘distinct or extinct.’ Soloists are nothing if not distinct!

"In theory, you should identify your area of specialisation before embarking on your journey, but in reality you can’t always know what you’re really good at til after you’ve set sail."

Sometimes a preference doesn’t find you, but a malaise within your current workstyle does. In that case it’s time to go back to the drawing board and re-examine your values, mission and purpose.

Once you’ve drilled down to the finer points, ask yourself “what am I good at?” rather than “what do I like to do?”

Want more articles like this? Check out the decision making section.

There’s a subtle but crucial difference here. When I did this exercise recently, I identified that I was really good at financial control, even though I’d have denied ‘liking’ this forever and a day. After all I’m a word person, right?

Also turns out I’m good at operational planning and strategic thinking. Me! Miss Head in the Clouds! Who’d have thought?

And I do love these areas of the business, just not by default. I’d have struggled to identify them had I not stopped to think in my quest for a refresh.

So armed with this new enlightenment I’m making a radical change to how I work in our little business and am handing over the role of controlling Flying Solo’s voice to someone new.

Have you made a similar shift in your work, or do you have plans afoot? Share your story below and don’t worry if you ramble on too much, I’ll tidy it up…while I still have the power to do so!

Sam Leader

is a former director of Flying Solo and the co-author of Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.

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