What kind of expert do you need?
While much has been said about the “T-shaped expert”, that’s not your only option.
How does your team swim?
Is your team diving deep on a few things, leaving a lot of small but critical tasks unattended to?
Or are they drowning in little stuff and never finding time to work on important priorities?
As your business grows, an M-shaped marketer can help your team find its flow, using their broad knowledge to help with the little things and their deep knowledge to serve as subject-matter experts.
How did I become an M-shaped expert?
You may be wondering how I could become an M-shaped expert in marketing, analytics, programming, leadership, and more, in only 12 short years. My secret recipe is:
Most of the work I’ve done over the past 12 years has been consulting work. Through these shorter assignments, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a wide range of clients on many different projects.
Consulting work has exposed me to many more companies than I would have worked with as an employee, allowing me to learn more tools, techniques, and skills than I could’ve learned otherwise.
Consulting also moves fast. Because you’re paid by the project and not on a salary, and because your client wants fast (usually immediate) results, you have to work as quickly as possible. Consulting work might be 60-hour weeks with no breaks, no down time, and no respite. As a result, you can pack a lot of learning into a short amount of time.
When you work with startups and small businesses, you’re usually working with companies who don’t have an unlimited budget for labor. This means that I’ve usually had to do a lot more than my contract or job called for.
The two biggest gaps in small marketing departments have been in web development and marketing analytics. Because these two areas are “behind the scenes”, they’re often overlooked. As a result, if I wanted data to create my marketing strategy, I had to learn to do the analytics myself. If I wanted to fix an abysmal website to put my great content marketing plan into place, I had to learn to update the code.
Working with small businesses has taught me to get things done, and this has encouraged me to educate myself and find solutions, even when I have to do it myself.
I never knew I had ADHD. Girls are often undiagnosed as children. My sons started getting diagnosed as early as first grade. Of my four sons, only one escaped an ADHD diagnosis.
As they got diagnosed, I decided to get tested, and I found that I hadn’t escaped it myself. ADHD makes it hard for me to focus in an office where there’s so many distractions, so remote work is ideal for me. But ADHD has also given me a secret advantage: hyperfocus.
People with ADHD can sometimes hyperfocus on things they’re interested in. A new problem at work means that I may spend 48 hours straight on the weekend with no sleep, no food, and no breaks just absorbing some new learning material. (I didn’t say it was healthy, but it does lead to rapid learning!)
Ready to learn more?
©2022, Holly Antle