The job market tells us to be a “master of one” but isn’t this actually ill-chosen for the long run?
Think about it; there are so many factors outside of your control: bull markets, increasing job market competition, advances in technology, automation, natural catastrophes, that it’s safe to say it’s too much of a wager in being so specialized.
I’d argue it’s actually better to be a master of many. Why not be excellent at several skills or subjects, in turn making you a well-equipped powerhouse?
Truth be told, I’ve been mulling over this for some time now. In search of the next career move, I find myself in an ambiguous grey area: I’ve collected marketable skills in lots of different areas but hesitate when I’m told I have to take one & run with it.
Why master just one when I see the full merits of each? But all I hear is the opposite: the need for niche, dedication to uno, the urgency to make one big bet.
Take the blue pill, Jakub! You can’t have both! Although I see the power in expertise, I also see significant financial & professional risk.
James Altucher broke it down eloquently in his 2013 book, Choose Yourself. After the 2008 financial crisis, companies laid off in the millions and chose to become lean machines & leverage contract employment and outsourcing to countries like China, India, & The Philippines.
And sadly, that won’t be changing anytime soon. If and when we have the next recession, the same George Foremanning will happen, leaving many people wondering what to do.
Instead, we need to be proactive and make the move: as James Altucher says, invent & choose yourself. Get entrepreneurial, bring immense value to the world, and above all diversify your skill set.
In turn, this can create several streams of income and no need to ever depend on one employer, one paycheck. Thus, in honor of Mr. Altucher, I bring you a 4-step playbook to become your own “master of many.”
Step #1: match your passions to market opportunity
It’s more important than ever to match market opportunity with your strengths and passions. For example I have a passion for all things marketing and have spent the past 3 years learning & practicing the fundamentals of traditional marketing.
And while I know this leverages my strengths of emotional intelligence, curiosity, and creative expression, the honest opportunity lies in the world of digital marketing.
Thus the subsequent question becomes, how can you build the chops to leverage that opportunity?
Step #2: build your skill set (learn)
There’s many ways to learn outside the macrocosm of academics. You could:
- Acquire a handful of relevant mentors & shadow them
- Read 5 books with varying perspectives on the subject while taking insatiable notes
- Do pro bono work for a nonprofit or small company in need
- Research the syllabus for the respective university class, purchase the textbook, and read it cover to cover
Each or a combination of two could be completed in a matter of 4-6 diligent months, building your forte so you can confidently sell that newfound expertise.
Which leads me to…
Step #3: sell it (get entrepreneurial)
As mentioned in a previous post, the resources to become your own CEO are so rich that it’d be a shame to not take full advantage of this entrepreneurial gold rush.
So with your new developed skill, showcase & sell it for the world to see. Since you already know there’s demand for it, you’ve already done half the work.
Go to freelancer.com (or Dribbble and Behance if you’re the creative type) and launch a profile; build a personal website & employ smart SEO & paid social to get in front of the right people; become a source “expert” on helpareporter.com and get your name in online newspapers & blogs, create a unique business card and go to every networking event where you can plug your wanted abilities. Make some magic happen!
Step #4: wash, rinse, repeat
After you learn one skill, take the next 4-6 months to launch the next skill or subject on your list and repeat the process.
In 2 years-time, you could have 4 skills in addition to your full-time and in-turn a formidable tool set for any economic state, technological automation, or mammoth tsunami.
Do yourself a favor and diversify yourself to become absolutely indispensable. Not for others, but for yourself.