If Your Content Is Your Concerto Why Is Your Orchestra a One Man Band?

If Your Content Is Your Concerto Why Is Your Orchestra a One Man Band?

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Every author and thought leader is passionate about their work. It’s their “baby” and they invested years (sometimes decades) of their time, energy, resources, effort and money to make it the best that it can be. They are the best at what they do (as they should be given they’ve created the content) and enjoy developing the work, tweaking it, writing about it, speaking about it, practicing it and being totally immersed in it.

If you were a composer and you spent your life creating the ultimate concerto I assume you would envision it being played by a world class orchestra or symphony. So why do so many authors and thought leaders turn into “one man bands” and work so hard to achieve what only an orchestra can achieve? There’s not one answer to this question but several patterns that I’ve noticed. It could be a lack of a specific skill set, a lack of resources, poor planning, a faulty strategy or sloppy execution. It really doesn’t matter why, what matters is how to prevent it from happening and to fix it if it’s happening to you.

In order for any author or thought leader to be successful today there is a very wide range of very specific and technical skills that are required that are changing and evolving at warp speed today. (Were you active on Twitter 4 years ago? Did you have a blog 8 years ago?)

It is rare enough that someone has the talent and ability to be able to create powerful content, to write about it and to speak about it. To assume that you also would be an expert at social media, marketing, product development, database marketing, branding, consultative selling, strategy, community development, graphic design, web design, video production, copy writing,  operations, finance, public relations, book marketing and event planning (to site a few) is just a bad assumption.

Yes, many of these things can be studied and mastered and yes, many thought leaders can play a decent tune as a one man band or even do a good job at one or more of these functions, but I’ve yet to meet one that can effectively master everything that needs to be mastered. Some may have an effective website and be very good at product development. Others may have a knack for finance or marketing or come from a public relations background.

No one could possibly be proficient yet alone excellent at all of these diverse skills. You don’t develop content by doing a mediocre job and you don’t get that content to reach the broadest audience possible by having any of the necessary tasks performed at that level.

Just imagine what the job description might sound like, “travel 100+ days a year to deliver engaging speeches, write a 250 page book every 18 months, create a database growth strategy, productize content into assessment tools, manage client relationships, insure that accounts receivable are managed effectively, generate sufficient publicity, insure effective delivery of client engagements, design and develop a social media strategy that delights the community, sell keynote speeches to corporations and associations…” and that would just be the opening paragraph of the job description. Would you expect to get many qualified candidates to apply?

Now I understand that resources are finite and not everyone can immediately afford a full time, dedicated staff. (Not that most would actually need that if they could afford it.) Boot strapping is often necessary. What actually holds back many authors and gurus is that they do achieve a respectable level of success on their own. They might land a book deal, be able to generate a sufficient amount of workshops or keynotes to keep them busy and that is certainly not an easy task. What holds them back is that they don’t know what they don’t know and they get comfortable with what they have been able to build.

If you want your work to reach the broadest audience possible, if you want to monetize your work across multiple modalities, if you want to get in front of larger or higher paying audiences or if you simply want to generate more revenue from the content than from the results of your activity, you absolutely must evolve from a one man band to an orchestra mentality. You will need others to help you, you will make mistakes along the way but by avoiding the process you are certainly not going to get any closer to getting there.

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Peter Winick

Peter Winick has deep expertise in helping those with deep expertise. He is the CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Visit Peter on Twitter!

This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. Well said Peter.

    I’ve heard that the one thing fashion designers hate about the fashion business, is the ‘business’ part. They were born to design, not manufacture, market, ship, sell, etc.

    I’m sure your post applies to many authors, producers, creatives, etc. I currently find myself in exactly this position (and look forward to tell you more about it next week).

    The million dollar question is ‘how’ do you get there. Would make a great follow up to this post.

  2. Bravo and Well said, Peter!
    It would have been nice if you could have mentioned ways to get help for some of the necessary (or mundane) micro projects that can easily be delegated ad hoc.

    There are talent and service brokerages for virtual assistants from graphics design, to copy editing, to website tweaks and SEO assessments and improvements, and more at eLance, O-desk, and other gig sites. We’ve found that for certain projects, this is actually better, faster, and has less prima donna hassle factor when we outsource things we never dreamed of before.

    For example, I paid a “former” team member big dollars (> $150 plus benefits and employer costs) to create an illustration and an infographic for which I supplied the research and bullet points. I got back a mediocre deliverable after 10 days and all the fussy, whiny, “I’m the creative director and you are the CEO – let’s stay in our roles, please” when I complained that I didn’t think it represented the brand the way I wanted.

    Now, I put it out to bid on Fiverr to three different artists and in a day or two I receive excellent samples from talented artists who are eager to please and glad for the work. I am working with a virtual assistant on one project. She is in Abuja, Nigeria. She is careful, attentive to detail, and follows directions explicitly the first time and every time. The cost….$2.50 per hour. I needed data sorted for a research project for a client. I sent out a NDA first, then sent the spreadsheet and asked for pivot tables to be created in a certain way. It was back in an hour, flawlessly executed to my exact specifications (better than I could have done myself!). Why have a highly-paid staffer under-utilized– or do it myself?

    If a consultant has real skills, real clients, and real self respect, they should follow their own advice and outsource the parts that don’t require their personal involvement. They should reserve their time for the money-making tasks, the domain expertise, and the impact to their brand with good oversight of others, and not overpay for help where and when it is needed.

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