I’m seeking out consulting gigs while I’m looking for my next permanent opportunity, both to keep my skills fresh and of course, to keep income coming into the household. I’ve made my personal network aware of this, and many of them have come through with opportunities, which is pretty cool. But there’s a question that keeps coming up that I want to explore.
This similar question has come up in my permanent job search, too. It’s the question of experience. Do you have experience in the fitness industry? The powersports industry? With a luxury brand? What I find interesting is that they rarely ask about skill.
I have marketing skills that bear across industries. No, I’ve never worked directly in the fitness industry, but I understand many of the marketing challenges that come to bear with a multi-site membership organization through my skill as a marketer. I’ve never worked directly with the powersports industry, but I understand many of the marketing challenges that come to bear with higher-priced retail recreational products because of my skill as a marketer. I’ve never worked for a luxury brand, but I understand focused differentiation and what that entails.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a value to experience. My experiences in business-to-business marketing are invaluable in that setting. But frequently, when I’m looking for an innovative approach, I look outside that sector for other ideas that can be adapted to the setting in which I’m working. For example, I created a loyalty program based on the retail model for my last employer – not common in the B2B services space, but very successful in that implementation.
What I’m trying to get to here is the importance of skill to creating innovations in a space. Experience can be valuable, but if you’re trapped in your own experience and not looking outside of it, it can also be a hindrance. And experience without skill is valueless.