Over the past few months I’ve had several conversations with people trying to figure out their next career move or seeking to understand the workings of a new space they want to enter.
Some of these conversations have been with good friends, but most have been with people who got in touch cold or are recent acquaintances.
Whilst what they do and where they’ve come from has been pretty varied, I’ve noticed a few common threads appearing in all of these conversations.
How do I know this move is a good one?
How much should I charge for this work?
What are the potential risks if I make a deal with this person?
How do I show I can make an impact in an industry I haven’t worked in before?
What’s the equivalent of what I do in a similar field? What can I learn from that?
When should I break out on my own?
Why am I bothering with this?
There are of course various types of services available that can help answer some of these questions.
Recruitment agents are usually instructed by a company to help find candidates to fill a vacancy in their employee base. Sometimes agencies will also act on behalf of talent, usually focused on a specific skill set or role.
If you’re a creator there’s a good chance of there being a talent agent out there for you. Electronic music producer, novelist, keynote speaker; agents are there to represent you and secure gigs and opportunities. As with everything, some are terrible and some are wonderful. The best are highly strategic and can add a ton of value. The tricky bit is that they’re usually found upstream working with the big names in the space, and they tend to focus on creators selling packaged IP or experiences ahead of working professionals.
I’ve talked about mentors quite a bit on these pages before. Good mentors can be hugely valuable. The challenge is finding the good ones, then reaching them and forging a connection that can last. The first two steps here are especially tough when you’re out doing your own thing.
Executive coaching is on the rise, and for good reason. Like mentors, a great coach can make a huge difference. Again, the best aren’t often readily available, their time is limited and to get the most from them you’ll need to commit long-term. And how do you find a coach that’s right for you anyway?
These services all have very clear merits, but around each there are noticeable gaps between which many people seem to be disappearing.
What if you’re not really looking for something as clear cut as a job with a specific role specification?
What if you don’t fit the profile of a creative talent that an agency would sign?
What if you’re trying to find your way in this new economy of entrepreneurship, freelancing, remote working, and partnering with a wide variety of people and organisations?
For a while I’ve asked myself the question of where the talent agent is for the emerging creative business person: a professional who’s honing their craft, figuring it out, maybe switching from one lane to another? The shape-shifter who doesn’t fit any of those drop down lists on forms for mortgages, jobs and conferences? (You know the ones I mean – they offer a strictly limited number of roles or industries you could possibly ever work in, and let you choose only one option to box yourself into).
We’re now in a world of seemingly unlimited choice and low barriers to entry, but it’s harder than ever to break through and easier than ever to suffer from the lows that come from confusion, slow progress and status anxiety.
Perhaps that support option is already out there, but if it is I haven’t seen it yet.
So rather than do nothing, or just write more about it, I’ve created a small something to help bridge this gap, develop understanding and facilitate ideas, conversations and opportunities amongst like-minded souls.
It’s called Ohm.
It’s not as commercially-focused as a talent agency, more holistic than a recruitment firm, and lighter touch than a coaching practice.
I don’t know exactly what it will be yet, but for now it’s made up of a group of like-minded people who have been around the block a bit, looking to help others find their way.
We pair up this group of industry practitioners and professionals with people who want to learn, discover, get unstuck, or just chat. We let the conversations go where they need to. That’s it.
Whilst we’re designed mainly for people in the early stages of their career (i.e. less than 8 or so years experience), it doesn’t really matter whether you’re just starting out or have racked up 30 years in the industry.
If you want to discover something new, make sense of what’s going on around you, join the dots, or get towards that next step in your career journey, then we’re the place for you.
If there’s something more deep-rooted or serious in your life that you want to talk about, we’ll refer you to certified experts who can help.
You can request a connection with someone here.
And Ohm is completely free of charge to you. That’s thanks to our group of volunteers.
If you feel you want to help others on their journeys and join our volunteer group, you can apply here.
Right now this is still an experiment. It may fail. I don’t even know what success really looks like yet – I guess I’ll find out as we go.
I hope you can join me.
PS. Big hat-tip to the guys over at OOOHours. I’d had this idea for a while, only on seeing their simple, smart execution I got the inspiration and energy push Ohm out into the world.