Being a Generalist Instead of a Specialist

Yesterday, I was able to finally take a breath after the Good Morning America episode about reverse outsourcing aired, and I returned back to the daily grind so to speak.

 In one day, I wrote web copy for an installer of cell phone towers, pitched journalists for a software company, worked on a new department name for a non-profit organization, edited a friend’s resume, and had discussions with clients involved in medical transcription, semiconductors, VoIP, and corporate photography.

 I have clients from all walks of life, and I offer a fairly extensive variety of marketing and public relations services. I’m not sure that I originally set out to be so much of a generalist. However, when I started, I simply took the work that came my way no matter what it was, and I just continued down this path as I grew my business.

 Of course, many marketing and public relations professionals would think that I am absolutely nuts. Many specialize in a particular industry or even in only one type of skill.

 There are undisputed benefits that come along with specialization such as having extensive media contacts within a particular sector or more technical knowledge or experience that could be brought to a project. Some would even say that a specialist has more credibility, but I would beg to differ on that.

 From my perspective, I wouldn’t want to be pigeon-holed into one niche. Of course, I want to maximize my opportunities, so being inflexible about what work I take would seriously limit my ability to win projects and acquire new clients. And, I would find it next to impossible to choose one skill or industry for my specialty. My day-to-day excitement is derived from the ability to learn new things and meet new people

 My broad range of skills and experiences helps each and every one of my clients. Whether you’re marketing or promoting long distance phone calls, wedding portraits, professional services for doctors, or a brand new consumer product, the discipline is basically the same. Thus, I’m able to draw from my varied background on every one of my projects.

 Does a generalist background show a lack of focus? Hardly! I believe that it demonstrates a real love of learning, as well as the ability to operate in complexity. While I think that there is definitely a need for skilled marketing and public relations specialists, a generalist can bring real value to a business wanting a fresh perspective and ideas. So, for this marketing and public generalist, variety will remain the spice of life.

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