A large part of expertise is pattern recognition – the ability to quickly understand what you’re seeing and to react in an appropriate way. To focus is to define boundaries around your claim of expertise and to say no to things that are out of bounds. The more we focus, the more we build our expertise. Expertise matters because it allows us to create more value for our clients and to ultimately share in that success.
A great analogy for this concept is the old intro sound for Lucasfilm’s THX sound system that was part of the pre-roll for movies shown in theaters. In the clip, dispersed notes distill into harmony just like an expert continually distills her interests and experience into something increasingly powerful and beautiful. The key words in the last sentence are continually and increasingly: this happens iteratively and insatiably. As expertise grows, previously difficult concepts become routine and comfortable. “Routine and comfortable” is a state an expert, within his field of expertise, doesn’t allow himself to stay in for long. This ongoing deepening of expertise isn’t always linear and can involve diversions and pitfalls, but the deeper an expert goes the better she becomes at discerning how to deploy limited resources in meaningful ways.
That’s the standard we hold ourselves to at Paid Search Done Well. We know that it’s impossible for an individual to gain meaningful expertise in more than one or maybe two professional pursuits at once. At first blush this is a sobering notion for creative entrepreneurs like myself who revel in transforming all kinds of novel and creative ideas into reality. However, all great entrepreneurs (and artists, scientists, etc.) have thrived in the freedom that focus brings. Focusing didn’t mean that they were sentenced to one and only one pursuit for the rest of their lives. To the contrary, many have produced wildly different work throughout their careers by carving out distinct, asynchronous periods of focus. Ultimately their true expertise is in building expertise.
How does Paid Search Done Well build expertise?
- We set clear boundaries and don’t claim to be an “integrated” marketing firm that can do it all for you. We don’t even pretend to do that by hiring white-labeled contract help to deliver services outside of our core expertise. We do what we do, and we do it well.
- We find ways to automate routine tasks so that we can train our efforts on strategy and other things that can’t be automated.
- We serve clients that fit a specific profile that we know we can provide great value to. Over time this focus enhances our ability to recognize patterns and opportunities across accounts.
- We, perhaps counterintuitively, spend time taking in information from outside our realm of expertise. Nurturing our curiosity is not only fun, but it also often provides valuable new perspective on our core realm of expertise.
Why does Paid Search Done Well focus and build expertise?
- Because it’s way more fun than being a “master of none” generalist.
- Because it allows us to deliver far more value to our clients. This not only just simply feels great, but it also allows us to participate in that value and to build our own profitable, sustainable business.
- Because it creates order and informs our direction as a company.
My thoughts on this topic have evolved a lot over time and will continue to as Paid Search Done Well grows.