Listen with webreader

Mentoring seems to be the thing on my mind lately. So much so that I wrote an article on LinkedIn about it last week. It also follows up my 2013 post on the subject and my original post from 2006. Yup, I’ve been blogging a long time.

Interns and Mentors
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory – PNNL
via Compfight

That’s why I’m not sure whether to call this part 3 or part 4, although I’m glad I had the opportunity to look it up because I always assumed “cuatro” was spelled with a “Q”; the things I learn when I think I know it all…

In any case, I thought it was important enough to revisit because, once again, I’m looking for a partial mentor. Why you ask?

Here’s the thing. All of us are good at what we know. I’m good at leadership. I’m good at health care finance. I’m good at writing, especially blogging.

What I’m not good at is marketing; horrible at it. Actually, I had a guy tell me that I’m probably not so bad at it, just that I either don’t do it enough or I don’t know how to close. Since I don’t get as many opportunities as I want to close I don’t think it’s the second one.

You want to know a truth? It seems that every successful person had someone they considered a mentor. Sometimes it’s many people. I know I mentioned a few people when I wrote something many years ago about big loud guys, guys who not only were fairly large but kind of loud also. I had 3 guys who fit that description who also offered a lot of wisdom when I needed it.

Back then it was mainly about business in general; I probably needed more about the marketing aspect of it. Still, it was nice to have people I could bounce things off when I needed to, who’d listen and offer their perspectives.

Actually, I do more mentoring than I get. I’m one of those folks who’ll help someone out, at least initially, without reimbursement… well, if they’re local I ask them to pick up lunch or buy me a cookie; I’m easy. :-)

Why do I do that? Because when I first decided I wanted to work on my own I reached out to a lot of consultants and none of them wanted to talk to me. All said I might take business away from them, even if we weren’t in the same field, and, as it turns out, only one of them was in the same field as me at the time.

I always resolved I’d offer some help to anyone who contacted me to ask for it… as long as they weren’t contacting me with an ulterior motive to try to sell to me. That’s about the most disingenuous thing anyone could do, and I had two people do that to me; I’ve never spoken to either of them again.

me013

What do I get out of mentoring like that? I figure if I can help get someone started that maybe they’ll end up rich and famous and show up on Oprah’s couch one day and mention my name. lol Truthfully, that would be a wonderful thing.

That’s the free session though. If it was an ongoing thing that I was being paid for, as part of executive coaching, the satisfaction would come in helping someone attain their goals and helping them stay focused. Because the hardest thing about working for oneself is staying focused.

The second hardest thing is having someone who believes in you. Here’s the thing about paying someone. If you’re paying someone and they don’t believe in you, more often than not they’ll drop you as a client. Think about that for a minute; people who won’t take your money if you don’t show a commitment to grow or be better than you are.

I’ve done that in the past, not only with mentoring but with other clients. I’m always reminded of who I refer to as “the Beave’s mother”, who was in the movie Airplane and uttered these famous words: “Chump don’t want no help, chump don’t get da help.” lol

Have you thought about what you do and wondered if there was someone out there who could offer mentoring services to you? Well, if you’re in a position or leadership, or you’re in health care revenue cycle, or even if you’re wondering about this magical thing called business blogging… give me a call and let’s talk.

I make no promises except I’ll talk to you and, who knows, maybe you only need one call, in which case you got something good without having to pay for it. At least you now know someone’s around offering some help.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2015 Mitch  Mitchell
Listen with webreader

I’ve seen a lot of articles lately telling people one of three things.

The first is to never quit, no matter what, because success is just around the corner.

April 12, 2013 at 09:38AM
Creative Commons License Arya Ziai via Compfight

The second is that it’s okay to quit if you feel like you’re failing at something and want to try something new.

The third is that you should quit doing whatever it is they’re doing and go do something else that makes you happy.

All of these are good and bad at the same time. Each speaks to a different audience member, which means that those who are ready for that particular message at the time they see it will have it resonate with them pretty nicely, while everyone else will be confused and scared.

I’m here to try to help you out. After all, I’ve been there myself… maybe I’ve always been there.

I tend to believe it’s hard to have a global response for things like this because we never know what someone’s experience happens to be at the time. We also don’t quite use language the way it should be used to be more encouraging, no matter where someone is in their life.

I’m going to address these 3 things in order, in my own way, to try to take some of the definitive away from them and give a different perspective on them.

We need to redefine the word “quit” for a quick moment. We all know the main definition of the word: to stop doing something. However, there’s a second definition: stop behaving in a specified way.

If you look at the second definition, you start to gain a bit more clarity. The word “quit” suddenly isn’t as stark a proposition. It’s actually something we all can work with.

On the first point, I understand what it means, and it’s dangerous. This is the type of advice a person might take to mean that they’ve already put $5,000 into it, things aren’t quite working the way they want them to, so throw more money at it and it just has to succeed.

Accord with Nature
Creative Commons License Heroic Journey via Compfight

What it really means is that if you feel you’re moving in the right direction but things aren’t quite going the way you thought they were, try modifying it without totally giving it up. Try doing something new or differently, to see if it’ll take. You just might be an inch from success, but you need to change things up to get there.

If you’re spending dollar after dollar and nothing’s coming through for you… stop spending that money, unless you’re rich and can afford it. One thing history tells us is that you can’t always throw money at something and expect it to work… without a plan and more information. That’s really the only way you know if what you’re doing is correct or not.

On the second point, it also has a danger if misinterpreted. It doesn’t mean if you’re trying to lose weight or stop smoking and you’re having trouble doing it to give it up and continue doing bad things to yourself. However, we all know that’s not what it means so let’s look at it further.

If you’re a regular reader here you know I don’t like the word “fail” as it applies to people trying to do something for themselves but having problems succeeding. In this regard, I like to think that people go along their days doing many experiments, trying to figure out why things aren’t working properly and then trying again.

However, if you’re someone who keeps committing the same mistake over and over… you can either quit or go ask for help or read a book or search the internet. Quitting shouldn’t always be the first option for anything unless you’re being treated badly. Quitting should always be the last resort otherwise, and only when you can’t tolerate something anymore or you realize it’s something you’re just never going to be able to do.

Finally, the third point… intriguing, not necessarily all that bad but still problematic.

I’m part of the problem here. I tell people to figure out what makes them happy and go do it. The flip side of that is that maybe what you’re doing affords you what you need to go do what makes you happy.

There’s this story Mike Rowe tells of meeting a guy who did this nasty bit of business with some livestock. The guy hates doing the work but he’s the only one who does it where he lives. This means he makes lots of money, and all that money helps him afford to take lavish trips around the world and buy almost anything he wants. So, even though he’s not doing the kind of work he might want to do, he’s doing the work that allows him to do this other stuff he really loves to do.

I’m not saying that if you really hate something you shouldn’t try to find something better and go for it. I’m saying that if you evaluate what you really want out of life that maybe what you’re presently doing can help you do that other thing.

I’ve covered enough of that for now. What do you think?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2015 Mitch  Mitchell
Listen with webreader

Let me tell you a story; it’s true of course because it involves me.

Last Thursday I listened to a message on my business line. It was from a guy who’s a higher ranked board member that I am within a national organization I’m a part of. I’m a local chapter president, a position I’ve held for 12 of the last 16 years, mainly because no one else wanted the position and were happy doing what they were tasked to do.

Picture 40

Anyway, he was calling to tell me that he’d had a conversation with a chapter member who went to a national event the group has every year in Washington DC to lobby Congress on issues the organization deems important. I didn’t want to go this year and he was going anyway so I asked him to be the proxy for our chapter, and he agreed.

He said that they’d talked and he came away feeling that the proxy might be able to energize the local chapter because he had a lot of fresh ideas. I knew that part because I’ve talked to the guy before.

Here’s the killer part though. He said he was going to recommend to the national board that they replace me with this guy. Wow… didn’t see that coming.

Let’s see. I’m a volunteer who’s presided over a volunteer group for years because I wanted to see the chapter continue. It’s been hard keeping membership engaged and, because of costs, we’ve had some hard times getting enough members to come to be able to generate more income.

There’s been a lot of issues with hospitals in our area lately. More mergers, lots of changes in personnel, things like that. Add to it that I’ve traveled a lot for work over the last 13 years, which has made some of the things difficult to push through. Still, we did what we had to do, planned meetings, held them when we could, sent notices… all we could do to keep things together.

Can one basically fire a volunteer? I guess so. But the nerve… after so many years… sigh…

What did I do? I wrote the guy an email telling him he didn’t have to do that because I resigned and would step away from the board. I wrote the board members telling them I had resigned as president and would be leaving the board. After all, what could I really contribute from that moment on?

I was irked; I’m not going to lie. I can’t say I felt betrayed; I had expected that the new guy would make a good impression on the folks in Washington. I had expected he’d take over the presidency come next January and I’d be relieved of all the responsibility.

Instead… sigh…

I didn’t pout, but I was conflicted. I was hurt but I was also relieved. I was more hurt than relieved though. I think we all like to leave on our own terms, instead of going out on a whimper. This wasn’t close to my own terms. Still, it seems like everyone might be getting what they want, even if they may not be getting it the way they want it, or getting what they think they’re getting.

2015 Indoor Track - Ivy Prep League, Championships
Creative Commons License Steven Pisano via Compfight

Or maybe someone is… maybe it’s me. In last week’s post I talked about changing one’s business model. My final point talked about working more on leadership development projects rather than health care. Maybe this is a sign to pull back from trying to market health care services. Not to quit doing that type of work necessarily but to stop marketing it.

It’s an industry that in general doesn’t care until they’re in trouble… and even then you have to deal with some things I’d rather not get into here.

So, maybe the path is clear to do other things. I tell people all the time to listen to their intuition because it’s rarely wrong. Mine has been telling me I’ve been fighting a fight I can’t win. Acceptance in this field isn’t going to get me where I want to go. Just as I tell people that sometimes you have to leave a job, sometimes you have to change directions. You don’t give up; you adjust.

Leadership; that’s where I’m probably needed more right now. Coaching, mentoring… that’s probably the calling. My second book has been through its 3 drafts and I’m ready to start thinking about how I’m going to release it. Once that’s ready the publicity will change to that and… well, things will be set up better for that area of my business.

I wrote all this, told the story above, to get to this point… always be ready for changes to come that you’re not expecting. Try to find something in those changes that might be telling you what you probably should be doing rather than trying to force you into doing what you thought you needed to be doing.

This time my wife agrees with me. Let’s see where the wind takes me.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2015 Mitch  Mitchell
Listen with webreader

Today’s post is both personal and, hopefully, a bit of a leadership teaching moment.

Sometimes we feel like we’re at a crossroads in our lives, our work or our careers. I’m in that spot right now as it pertains to my career. Let me explain.

Picture 23
Tired me…

I’m 55 years old. My most recent contract had me going back and forth to Memphis from Syracuse for 18 months. It wasn’t a bad gig but I have to admit it was pretty tiring.

It wasn’t the travel so much that was tiring; it was the feeling that I wasn’t really doing what I wanted to do. This particular assignment needed someone with my particular set of skills (I feel like Liam Neeson) but I wasn’t doing what I’m used to doing.

It wasn’t needed this time around. I didn’t have to help anyone solve problems. I didn’t have to teach any lessons. In essence, I was support; I was there doing work so that others could learn and implement a new system.

Sometimes as an independent you take gigs that aren’t quite what you want to do because you get paid. Actually, most of the time that’s fairly exciting because you can get paid a lot of money for a short term gig.

In this case, I didn’t get paid what I normally do because it was supposed to be shorter than 18 months; way shorter. And I stayed with it because… well, it was pay. If I’d been getting my normal rate and it lasted this long… whew! :-)

Add to this that I actually got sick last year, the first time I’ve been sick in 15 years… wow! I was tired, as I was getting close to the end of the assignment, but I had a lot of travel over the course of two weeks; Memphis to Syracuse to Orlando to San Diego and back to Syracuse then back to Memphis. I started getting sick on the way back to Syracuse and remained sick for three weeks, where the first weekend I was finally home for good I pretty much had to spend totally in bed taking pain pills and cold medicine and having my glucose going crazy (I’m diabetic); ugh.

That started me thinking that it was time to look at my business model with a bit more circumspection. I realized that overall I’m more mercenary than consultant. That’s not so bad because it can pay well, but it’s a bit less consistent; I can work for a couple of years straight and suddenly I have nothing for the same period of time.

That just can’t work as well at my age. I don’t ever want to retire but I also want to have the option to slow down on my own terms when I get to 65… if I make it. lol

Before I go on, let me talk about how this relates to people in business today, especially leaders; can’t have it all be about me right?

hpm2014_7D_8673.jpg
Creative Commons License hans peter meyer via Compfight

Most people go to work every day expecting pretty much the same thing as the day before. They work their 40 hours for 50 weeks a year to earn that 2 weeks of vacation and then… well, it’s just not always enough is it?

Sometimes it can be if you’re doing the work you love. But it’s just not like that for the majority of us; what’s why we read so much about the 1%.

What if you’re in a leadership position? Is your life dull? Probably not in the same way as it is for your employees but it can certainly be more stressful can’t it?

You know what? When I was an every day director, I loved going to work. It wasn’t the same thing for me every day either. Why?

Because I changed the business model that was in vogue at the time. I was all about that because I wanted to take on a lot of other responsibilities to make my hospitals successful. I wanted to be seen as the most valuable employee in the organization. It may not have totally worked out that way (although it seems that every time I left a position within six months I was being missed; I was hard to replace after all lol), but that was my goal.

As a leader I worked hard to train leaders. That means I evaluated the employees I had, put some of them in leadership positions, and gave others responsibilities that in essence made them independent in some aspects but gave them opportunities to shine.

What did that allow me to do? It allowed me to learn things about revenue cycle that no one at other hospitals had time to learn. It allowed me time to help other directors at the hospital not only learn more about how charges worked in their departments but also how to be better leaders (hey, they asked), because they saw how my departments worked.

That’s a lesson more people in leadership positions need to learn. It’s called “training and delegating.” If you know how to evaluate people, then how to train those who you know can work independently, and then give some of them leadership training, you get to branch out and learn more and do more… if you have the initiative to do so.

Thus, that’s changing the business model in the workplace; you feel better, your employees feel better, and live isn’t so bad.

The one problem with that… you’re still not in control. That’s when being an entrepreneur can work for you. It’s not easier, but if you have the chutzpah to push through the mental anguish of people ignoring you or asking you not to bother them and the phone calls and the letters you produce to hopefully get a client… sometimes it can all come together.

Let Mitchell Handle It

Now, back to me. I want to change my business model somewhat. It doesn’t mean I won’t do some of what I’ve done before. It does mean I want more control over it. To whit, here’s what I’m going to be working towards:

1. Trying to eliminate the middle man. Most of my longer contracts involve someone else who needs a body somewhere, thus gets a piece of me instead of me getting it all. That’s not bad but sometimes the other person gets more credit for sending you than for you doing the work. Sometimes they get half of what you get; that’s not so much fun.

2. If I’m not eliminating the middle man, then I’m getting paid what I’m worth. I’ve actually had a couple of calls since I’ve been home, but what I was offered was insulting; it was less than “job money”. If I wanted job money I’d have a job; the benefits bring me more than that.

3. I want actual clients. The model says that I want clients who pay me a monthly fee to work with them in some capacity. The capacity will determine the rate, with the understanding that I’m not an exclusive to them. Unless the rate is extremely high I’m not going to be there 40 hours a week for a month for six months. I can help you make improvements, maybe not at a $730 million a year level but at a level that can help you get over the hump.

4. I want to work from home more. You know what? We have phones and we have cameras and we have computers these days. I could have done more than half the work I flew to Memphis to do from home, done it faster because of the 30MBPS internet connection I have and saved them a lot of money. Course I wouldn’t have earned all those hotel and airline points but I could have gotten paid better and produced more.

5. I want to get those speaking engagements going again. Five years ago I said that was the goal I wanted to strive for as I grew up. I’ve put that on the back burner but I haven’t given up on it and I’m going to push that again.

6. I’m about to be a bit more irritating… a bit more that is. Last week I wrote an article on LinkedIn titled Unbury Your Marketing Efforts, where I talked about ways to reach out to people you want to do business with, while realizing that it’s business so you have to reach out to people. I have never done this all that well but I’ve done it, and now I need to step it up some.

7. Push the leadership/mentoring part of my business. Most of the articles I write on this blog are about leadership, but it’s been a long time since I’ve actually tried getting any of that work. Meanwhile I’m editing my second book on leadership so it’s a good time to work on that effort a bit more.

I think that’s enough. As I said earlier, this is for me but not only for me. One of my other friends has been going through the same type of metamorphosis, where she’s determined that she needed to change her business model to better represent what she wants to do. It’s working well for her as she’s established a series of seminars and has received a keynote speaking opportunity in North Carolina; now that’s what I’m talking about!

How do you feel about your present business model, whether you’re working for yourself, own your own business, or work for someone else? Is it time to think about it? Let me know.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2015 Mitch  Mitchell
Listen with webreader

I’m not a coffee drinker, and since that’s the primary product of Starbucks, it looks like I won’t be taking them up on their offer to talk about race.

Cheers to you from Starbucks - Coffee shops 2008, #53
Earl via Compfight

Last week’s announcement that they were going to “ask” their barristas (I didn’t even know that’s what they were called) to talk to some of their customers about race, based on a campaign they’re calling “Race Together”, was met with a lot more vitriol and derision than even I thought was possible. When I was thinking that this project was a bit naive and probably didn’t have a chance, others were calling for the head of CEO Howard Schultz. It got so ugly that he and some other high level staffs had to shut down their Twitter accounts.

Strangely enough, it wasn’t the racists who were the main writers of hate. Instead, it was regular patrons, true customers of the store who basically said that they didn’t want any kind of conversation at all with their morning coffee. They just wanted to get their coffee and move on. As someone who’s not close to a morning person, I can understand that… to a point.

The thing is that Starbucks isn’t only open in the morning but all day. I’m not sure how much coffee drinkers need their coffee later in the day but is the topic of race off limits to them all day?

Personally, I still think this is naive, and potentially harmful for the people selling the coffee. From what I understand there’s no real training for them to initiate this conversation. So, if you’re someone who’s never even had the conversation before what to you say? “Sir, would you like to talk about race?” “Sir, what do you think about racism?” “Ma’am, do you have bad feelings towards Muslims?”

I get it; talking about race is really tough. Back in 2008 on this blog I wrote a post asking is a conversation about race possible? Last year I did a video saying Why We Have To Talk About Race . So I’m certainly not one to dodge this issue.

Still, I’m not sure that bringing it up when someone isn’t prepared to talk about it is a way to do business. Imagine being asked the questions above when your mind is elsewhere; what do you say? How do you react? What if the barrista said something like “Did you know Starbucks doesn’t support racism?” What can you say other than “that’s nice”?

This is a conversation that has to be had. But the participants must be willing, otherwise it’s just a waste of time. But I’ll admit that my thinking isn’t congealing well on Starbucks efforts. I’m trying not to be cynical or unsupportive, but I can’t see this as all that positive a move.

So, I’m asking you what your opinion is? Do you have one? Do you just want to get your cup of coffee and move on? Will you avoid Starbucks for fear you’ll be put on the spot? Or are you ready to talk about it, no matter when?

By the way… they also decided to end the conversation on race yesterday. Just thought I’d pass that news along. :-)
 

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2015 Mitch  Mitchell
Listen with webreader

Below is a true story. It happened to me last week. It’s a story that will have kind of a moral at the end; actually, you’ve seen the moral in the title but go with me here and just enjoy the story first.

sink

This doesn’t look like much more than a sink, does it?

Last Sunday night it was full of water. It wouldn’t drain, and it seemed like it was getting more and more full.

A quick trip to Wegmans for some Drano, the heavy stuff, produced nothing; it just didn’t work. I went to bed hoping it might drain in the morning, after siphoning some of the water out and pouring in the rest of the stuff in the bottle.

I woke Monday morning and went to check the sink; nothing. I was a bit downcast; I had a day of marketing planned; all out the window.

I just didn’t know what to do. I mentioned it to my wife, who’s out of town; she didn’t know what to do either. I needed to think; I went back to bed.

That sounds goofy but sometimes it’s just what I need to do. Remember, we’d just changed the clocks. My mind was muddled because I hadn’t slept much, not used to the time change yet, and I had the stupid sink on my mind.

Sleeping helped my mind think clearer. In what was my last little dream… I decided what I was going to do, and it woke me up.

I got up, got dressed, and went to the “helpful hardware store” to buy a drain snake. I figured 25 feet might be overkill, but I was going to get it done, get that drain open.

Came back home, went to the snake… and nothing. Discouraged? Not me!

I went to YouTube and watched a video telling me how to potentially fix the sink. Those of you who know me know I’m not Mr. Handyman, but I was willing to give it a shot.

Without the proper tools, I still figured out how to loosen the things that bind the pipes (plastic pipes; they might be washers but I’m not sure). Since I’d previously drained most of the water, the little bucket I put under there easily handled the rest of the water.

I pulled out the little pipes I’d disconnected and looked into them; nothing. So that wasn’t the problem.

I got my snake and popped it into the pipe I knew ran into the basement; it wasn’t happening. No matter what I tried, I just couldn’t get it to go in too far.

BioWaste Inc. II/II
Me2 via Compfight

What to do, what to do… I didn’t want to call a plumber out of the phone book (how many folks still use those?) because a few years ago it cost $80 just for the guy to show up and another $80 to repair something that took less than 5 minutes. I knew this was going to be bigger than that and it was going to cost a lot more. What to do…

Got it; check Craigslist! I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been there but I didn’t care.

I looked there and found one guy… just one guy; stunned by that. I called him and he agreed to come over after he ate dinner; I thought that was pretty nice since it was after 6:30 in the evening

He finally showed up around 8PM with his snake and drill (I don’t have a drill; my wife has one that she’s hidden from me; another story for another day).

The sucker churned and churned but fought him all the way. Eventually we went into the basement where he was able to determine that the entire pipe was clogged; so it wasn’t anything I did (whew!).

Through lots of finagling, an idea I had that ended up helping, then some other testing, he was finally able to get it all cleared; whew! He was there almost an hour, and you know what it cost me? It cost $80, plus the $20 tip I gave him. I was happy to give it to him.

So, the sink is clear, the pipes are cleaned out, and I could finally eat, as all I’d had all day was a medium Mickey D’s fries. I couldn’t cook because I couldn’t clean anything; that’s how my mind was working.

Sometimes you just have to work through your problem. When you finally figure out what to do, you have to take action. It might not work out perfectly, but taking action breeds more ideas as things either work or don’t work. Once you get going, if you’re persistent and driven, things will get done.

Someone said that stuff never seems to break down when you’re ready for it. So true; but I got it done, and treated myself to a cookie!

What action will you take today to get through a problem you’ve been having?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2015 Mitch  Mitchell
Listen with webreader

Some of you may know that I’ve been thinking about changing my business model. I figure that at my age it’s very important that I at least consider it, because the way I have earned the bulk of my income over the last 13 or so years has meant I’ve had to spend a lot of time away from home. It also means I’ve had long periods inactivity, where I’ve had to do other things to keep money coming in the door.

BR02
l a b e t e via Compfight

One of things which I’ve had to consider in changing my business model is that there aren’t that many people or companies who are doing it the way I want to do it. I’ve given it a lot of thought, written down what I hope to do, but I also decided that I had to branch out and talk to some other people to see if I was thinking about it correctly.

The problem I had is that there’s very few people in health care or leadership that I could talk to about this particular model. So I have had to go outside my field for the most part to get the opinion of those who are in other industries.

What that means is that I had to figure out a way to ask my questions so that, while still being prepared to give an explanation to people who aren’t in either one of those fields, I would get the kind of answers I needed to help me think about the process better.

To this date, I have talked to a good number of people about this potential change in my business model; just enough so far. I’ve had to explain to them exactly what I do, at least in health care, the type of stress my present model creates, and how I hope my new business model would create a more steady rate of income and bring my mind some peace.

I haven’t had a single person tell me that what I want to do can’t be done. There has been some very interesting questions, but what I’ve really gotten is some pretty good advice about monetizing the new business model. Truthfully, even though the new business model would bring in a nice bit of change on a more consistent basis, what many of these people have basically pointed out is that in its own way it looks like I’m setting up more of a job than a very successful consulting business.

I actually fully understood what everyone is saying. I get calls from people all the time asking me if I’m available for a particular assignment. Where things usually break down is and how much they want to pay me.

Some of the rates I’m quoted are actually kind of embarrassing. I have taken to call them “job money”. By that, I mean the the rate is akin to a very well paying job without the benefits. This means that as soon as I would be done with the particular project, I would have to immediately start scrambling because in essence, if I’m lucky, I would be left with the amount of money someone might be left with if they were terminated from their job and got four weeks of severance. That doesn’t carry you far when you’re an independent consultant.

Getting back to how to ask for advice, I tend to believe that the reason I’ve been getting the responses I want in a way that he can help me is because of how I have posed the questions. Instead of just putting everything out there and leaving people to their own devices in trying to figure out exactly what I’m asking them, I’ve been very specific in what I wanted answered.

For instance, I couldn’t ask them how they would do health care consulting because none of them are in health care, and I couldn’t ask them how to do leadership consulting because none of them are in leadership. Instead, I asked specific questions about business model and income, while mentioning this goal I have of being compensated properly for what I can offer.

I have also been specific in asking how I could market the service better when it is something that almost no one else is really doing right now. That advice hasn’t been as tight, and yet a couple of people have offered some really good suggestions that I’m going to try or research further.

The way I see it, advice can be a slippery slope at both ends. You can be requesting advice, but if you don’t explain exactly what you need you’re never going to get what you need. If you’re the person giving advice, if you don’t understand what’s being asked for and instead of asking some probing questions you just give advice based on what the person has said, you’re going to look like you don’t know what you’re talking about and nobody is served.

This is a good communications lesson to learn, and not only about asking for advice. It’s always better to make sure the proper information is on the table before any answers are given. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely always necessary.

I have to thank those who have been able to help me as I look to change things for the betterment of my business and sanity. Salute!
 

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2015 Mitch  Mitchell