By Jennifer Oyelade
The current state of the economy has taught us the necessity of developing multiple streams of income, not just for financial freedom, but also as, perhaps, the only solution to staying afloat. Businesses are also adopting this mindset by diversifying the products and services they provide to ensure they stay relevant in our ever-evolving economy, by leveraging on consumer trends.
As a professional, developing multiple streams of income is bigger than financial security. You need to see yourself as a sustainable business with multiple departments. Look at your current skill set and ask yourself: “Other than the skills I’m paid to utilise, what else can I leverage on to stay relevant in the employment market?”
The pandemic, in general, has taught us the importance of developing a solution providing mindset and focusing on leveraging our expertise to increase revenue, brand position, reduce cost, and mitigate operational risk. Regardless of your discipline and sector, your core objective as a professional and as a business is to achieve at least one of these four things that I have mentioned. Here are some examples to help me illustrate:
As a ‘finance professional’ your core objective is to mitigate risk and reduce cost. Working as a ‘sales professional’, your core objective is to increase revenue and brand positioning. As an ‘operations manager’, you would mitigate operational risk, reduce cost, and increase revenue. As a ‘human resources professional’ you would mitigate operational risk by designing strategic succession plans, reduce cost by streamlining some procedures, and brand position using talent acquisition strategies.
An entrepreneurial mind-set is visioning yourself as an organisation where you trade your skill set for financial growth, commercial exposure, and career visibility. In times where the market is becoming more disruptive, it’s imperative that you’re selling your business effectively to your boss, potential employer, or target audience as a hybrid solutions provider.
So, what is a hybrid-Solutions Provider?
A hybrid solutions provider is someone who can solve a range of problems. This doesn’t mean you have to be a Jack or Jill of all trades; it means you’re a resourceful asset that can leverage expertise, networks, and market research to contribute to the bigger picture of your organisation.
People always remember the experience; they remember how you made them feel, and that impression creates a reputation that goes before with you and speaks for you in rooms where you are not present. Organisations also remember the value you brought to the team, and the tangible results that impacted their growth. The result of this, as a consumer, is that you will return for repeat business; as an employee, the opportunities for career growth will be apparent; and as a business, you would have created visibility through word of mouth because of the excellent delivery of the customer’s experience.
Entrepreneurial vs. ‘Business as Usual’ perspective?
Both ways of career progressions are valid, the definitive difference is just that one is active and the other is reactive. “Business as Usual” professionals engage with situations and progression as and when they are presented with the scenario. They are usually forced to upscale their technical skills when they can see that it is essential to stay relevant. A professional with an entrepreneurial mindset has a pulse on the market, they foresee and develop an eye for a sought-after skill before it becomes evident to everybody else. They actively invest in their understanding, and leverage on that skill while it is still considered as a rare or sought-after skill.
What does this mean? It means a professional can demand more money for this rare skill and the employer can leverage on this skill for larger market domination before their competitors get wind of it.
Creating a niche for yourself as a professional with an entrepreneurial mindset, is understanding that a circle was not made to fit into a square. Circles of different sizes are designed to fit into each other, and the same analogy can be said about your career.
As a square you are different, your attributes make you unique and that’s what differentiates you from other professionals. However, as a circle, whatever point you are in your career, you can redefine your aspirations to fit into a thriving environment, and that is the beauty of entrepreneurship; it allows you to reinvent yourself as many times as you want.
As long as the economy evolves, you should too, while staying true to your core.
Jennifer Oyelade is an International Recruitment Business Leader, EMEA Talent Acquisition Director, Employability Specialist and author. She is a member of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals (MIRP – UK) and an Organisational Change Advocate with an extensive career spanning across Europe, Middle East, North America and sub-Saharan Africa. To contact her, please visit www. jenniferoyelade.com or email email@example.com