What’s your unifier?
- By Ian Sanders -
- Sep 03, 2012
“What do you do?” is a familiar question to all of us. But it’s not an easy one to answer when you do more than one thing.
Today many of us have more than one role, project or business in our work lives. We have side projects alongside our day jobs, we might have hobby businesses or we’re juggling multiple businesses and roles. Welcome to the Mash-Up worklife!
One of the challenges in living a mash-up life is communicating what you do simply and effectively. If you run a start-up, help your friend with their hobby business, also consult for clients and you’re organising a series of events, you might not want to give such a shopping-list answer to everyone you meet.
But whether it’s a business prospect you meet online, someone you bump into at a conference or just a bloke you sit next to at a dinner party, you need them to understand what you do. If you only share one of your many strings to your bow, you risk missing out on opportunities by not telling them the full range of your talents. Of course in the old world a job title would have communicated this but today you are more than your job title, and that means it’s more difficult to communicate. So here’s the secret to making all you gettable: you need a unifier.
A unifier means you can easily share your talents with the outside world. A unifier is the common denominator that binds together all the things you do. A unifier makes the complicated simple and brings clarity to your entrepreneurial life. It helps others understand you and it also helps you understand yourself so when you are thinking of adding another project or business to your list you can ask the question, does it fit with my unifier?
A unifier means you can easily share your talents with the outside world. A unifier is the common denominator that binds together all the things you do.
So you need to work out the thread that unites all you do. In researching my new book with David Sloly, ‘Mash-Up!: How to Use Your Multiple Skills to Give You an Edge, Earn More Money and Be Happier’ we’ve been talking to everyone from multi dimensional CEOs of global companies to people in the entertainment industry. One guy we spoke to was Dave Stewart. The former Eurythmics’ front man is now an entrepreneur as president of Weapons Of Mass Entertainment in Los Angeles. Dave is a polymath who can connect the dots between disparate subjects, generating new ideas. He describes his company as an "ideas factory" where he works with partners developing projects in film, television, publishing, theatre and gaming. Dave told me that at one moment in his business he could be working on an invention for a new product whilst working on a film. That doesn’t phase him - they’re all ideas.
So what’s Dave’s unifier? Ideas! His business is an ideas factory and he works with teams and partners to bring those ideas to life.
My own unifier is ‘communicating business ideas’. So whether I’m writing business books, advising clients on marketing or writing an entrepreneurial feature for the Financial Times, that unites everything I touch. But importantly it’s also my touchstone for ensuring I don’t go off-piste; I may take on a side project or extend my portfolio but it has to fit - it has to be about communicating ideas.
Your unifier can become a very powerful tool for enabling you to succinctly tell your story, to sell your talents. So ditch the job title, find your authentic unifier, and then shout about it!
This guest blog complies to Virgin.com terms & conditions.