Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Venn Diagram

There are things I am not good at. There are things I do not enjoy. There are things that are difficult for me to learn.

I won't focus on the things I am not good at. Except for this. It is good to know whom to hire. It is good to know who to collaborate with, consult with, or delegate to.

There are the things I am good at. These things are extremely enjoyable. They are also easy for me. Oftentimes I find myself in a flow state doing these activities. That is how much I like them.

I like them so much that no one pays me to do these things. I do them for free.

I get a lot of compliments on the things I do well. I don't know how you do it! people say.

I know what they mean. I feel the same way about other people's talents. I'm delighted by good dancing. I'm in awe of people who can put together IKEA or don't get lost in new places. I wonder how musicians feel after writing a spectacular song. There's just too much to keep listing this way because it goes on and on like the infinity symbol.

It’s been a while since I’ve worked for a paycheck. But I work hard. I also work smart. I've assessed a lot of skills doing the things I do, reading the things I do and collaborating with other people.

I might want to monetize the skills I've been amassing. Getting paid for the stuff I am good at, the stuff I love to do and the stuff I've been doing for free while in a flow state is something I am interested in.

A couple of weeks ago it hit me. I've been attending a graduate school of sorts. I didn't know I was enrolling in it, but I have been enrolled. I won't have a diploma and graduation ceremony.  It won't have a beginning, middle and end. On the other hand, I have no tuition or student loans.

The people I've worked with and collaborated with have not realized that they've been running an internship. But that is exactly what they have been doing.

The graduate school thought put a fresh spin on things. Here's where my thinking took me. Maybe reading about me will help you too.

Stuff I will not attempt to monetize.
There are certain things that I do very well and enjoy very much. But many people also find it easy or enjoyable to do these things for themselves. It would be difficult to find people who would want to pay someone else to do these enjoyable activities. Even if they did, the market would be flooded with other individuals who are good at the same activities and hoping to make a living at it.

I will just keep on doing activities like this for free.

Stuff I might attempt to monetize with some caveats
There are things that I do very well that not a lot of other people do nearly as well. It is more of a rare talent. I enjoy these types of activities very much.

There are potential problems with getting paid to exercise these particular rare talents.

I can do these activities better than almost anyone. However, most people aren't very discriminating when it comes to these particular things. They might be able to perceive the difference between good and crappy. But having someone else with less rare talent do it cheaply or doing it themselves badly is deemed good enough for most purposes.

Also, there are many, many rarely talented people who are willing to be paid to engage in activities like this.  There are more people willing to be paid than there are people to pay. This is a problem for me when it comes to getting people to pay me to do activities.

That does not mean I rule out monetizing these enjoyable activities. However, I'd need to think of this as not the main gig. It could be a secondary gig.  If it looks like it could take off, then I could always re-evaluate my prospects.

Stuff I will probably attempt to monetize
This is what I am calling the sweet spot.

There are some other rare talents I have. It turns out that the activities surrounding these talents are both enjoyable and important in ways the previously mentioned activities are not. The activities and skills are also more high stakes.

There are not very many people who do these activities well. There are not very many people who really want to do these activities. I sense that people would rather not do these activities but do not feel that they have a choice. Sometimes they engage others to do these activities who are clearly not up to the task.

 With the right approach, I could find people to pay me to do these activities.

I would find the people who can see the value in what I offer. I would find the people who are self aware and interested in delegating these activities. I would find the people who could afford to pay me.

This is important. People who are interested but cannot afford to pay me are not my prospects.  People of means who do not see the value in what I offer are also not my prospects.

Monetizing the Sweet Spot.

#1 Represents activities that I enjoy, learn to do easily, am talented at, and am better at than the majority of people.

#2 Represents those activities that most other people find difficult (from the standpoint of time, skills, or both), confounding, and not enjoyable.

#3 Represents my monetizing sweet spot.

My Potential Customer

#1 People who are interested in what I do well, value what I do well, and are comfortable with collaborating and delegating.

#2 People who can afford to pay me to do these activities for them.

#3 My potential customer

The reasons I left the workforce are the same reasons I am staying out of the workforce for now. But I am thinking about the near and more distant future. I am seeing where I might fit in and what my sweet spot might be.

I love Venn diagrams. I think there could be more of them as I sort out the whole monetizing skills thing. I've been making Venn diagrams for a long time to help me sort stuff out. This is the first time I've shared any of them.

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  1. Very well said... I enjoyed this post a lot, and it got me thinking about how I'm spending my time and energies... Thank you!