I enjoy reading blogs and clicking on links in Twitter. I could spend all day just learning. In fact there was period in my life, okay a looong period, when I felt there was no limit to the knowledge I needed to gather. Certifications and accreditations don’t exist for the work I do. It’s more like an independent study but clients are always looking for credentials and I just hate it when someone less qualified gets work because of arbitrary letters after his/her name.
So I tried to fight it by becoming a vortex of information and facts. (Honestly that’s much harder than it sounds when you consider the information learned right now will be outdated in about two years.) If I didn’t know the answer to a question I asked my partner. He usually knew or knew where to find it.
How valuable is that? Considerably if you’re an encyclopedia. Otherwise, not so much.
I realized one day, out of the blue, that my clients (and potential clients) were looking for solutions to problems I could solve. They didn’t care if I could explain Google‘s algorithm change of the day or the value of a del.icio.us bookmark over Digg. What they really wanted to know was if I could help them increase their sales or their client outreach or profitability. My life changed that day. So did my profit and loss statement.
I haven’t stopped learning. I just close the browser a lot more often. I take what’s already in my head and put it in a form my clients can use. If I don’t have all the information I need I get it from other people. The sum of the parts is truly greater than the whole. And that benefits everyone.