Want That Stable Income With The Growing Nest Egg?
A business is a complex ecosystem. It contain countless parts all working in generally complimentary ways to supply some of the most amazing products and services ever produced.
In order to make sense of this creative chaos... we need a framework. Simplifying is always the first step to solving any problem. Let's take a quick look at a couple of common ways to approach business which are pretty universal. The first I call the Performance method which focuses on qualified capacity, and the other is Networking; a type of opportunity knocks. Everything has a cost, even beyond its particular risk.
To understand Performance just imagine any successful athlete. Practice, practice, practice, followed by incrementally more impressive achievements to confirm greater capacity. Qualification is assured by measurement of performance. Eventually if one reaches the stars, then for a time at least extraordinary feats can impress clients, fans and friends alike.
The Networking approach is both thrilling and dangerous as it depends so much on the skills you walk in the door with and the partnerships you can form to handle it. The risks to reputation are real and frequent. Easy, yet regrettable chatter can close a door permanently. It can be high stakes, big money with short period returns. A few choice moves and a hand shake later you walk away with another feather in the cap.
Both approaches can work wonders for ones career. Applying both at some point is essential. Both can introduce you to interesting people and open further doors. Easy...right? So why do so many who pursue professional careers fail to reach their potential? What if it's actually the most human of explanation? Maybe it has nothing to do with the career specifically but instead with our general approach to life.
If a performer doesn't practice enough before the performance then she will fail. This is as true with programming as playing music. If the challenge is beyond ones skills and one accepts that risk then odds of failure go up sharply and if a developer thinks she can build a career by "pulling it out of somewhere" last minute... well, I think we start to see some explanations for many of the negative experiences on both the client and service side.
Now, don't for a second think Opportunity is any easier. Performers generally just need to practice and follow good advice, it's mental toughness more than anything. Opportunity takes insight and wisdom. Experience is a strong force in this realm. If you accept a job with a bad partner or at too low a price, it won't matter if you're skilled enough to do it. You'll still fall on your face.
If you accept an opportunity at too high a price, you can find yourself trapped in a single project or worse legally restricted from producing certain things for unreasonably long periods of time. The details matter and it's sadly common to fail because of dishonest assessment of requirements and ability to address them.
So how does one hit the sweet spot? What path might a developer walk if she wants to achieve her dreams and at the same time enjoy success as defined by respect and appreciation of her skills. The answer is surprisingly simple when distilled.
- Practice your craft with integrity and conviction.
- Know your limits and how to exceed them reliably when you need that little extra something.
- Discover your true value and be honest about that number for both your sake, your partners, and your clients.
If it's not...RE-EVALUATE.