Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I'm having a hard time with my personal elevator pitch.

"Hi. Nice to meet you. So what do you do?"

"Oh, I'm a.. uh.. consultant."

When you say stuff like this, people immediately get idea you're full of it. Consultant. If you look like George Clooney they might believe you are an assassin-for-hire or a con man pretending to be an assassin-for-hire. But if you look like me, and call yourself a consultant, they think unemployed. If I'm lucky, they think, Mary Kay.

This would be fine if I just said, "between jobs" or "Mary Kay Consultant", but when I say "consultant" it sounds like I'm trying to pretend I'm something I'm not. Consultant is just one of those words that's taken on a life of its own.

And let me tell you, if gets worse when it comes up that I work from home and set my own hours. Then there is the fact that my clients are all... elsewhere. If it weren't for the business trips I'm not sure even my friends would believe me.

I don't call myself a consultant to be intentionally vague. First of all, it's true. Companies consult me for my expertise. It's just that the actual nature of my work is both varied and arcane, and I have this need to be both precise and complete. So I can either say "consultant" or hand you my resume.

If I ever get one of these novels ready for submission, I suspect it'll take me another year just to figure out how to pitch it to an agent.


  1. Could you pick one aspect of your job and say that? E.g. "web designer" or whatever.

  2. Well yes, of course I could, but for the purposes of professional networking this is counterproductive. When I'm talking to people, I never know when they or someone they know might need a particular service I can provide. Generally I try to sell the expertise that most differentiates me and therefor is the most lucrative, but this is perforce also the most arcane and therefor has the smallest market. Likewise, if I say I'm a web designer (which I do because its fun and keeps my skills sharp, but actually costs me money), and the person happens to actually need a hyperscalable data storage solution, I could have just cost myself a hundred thousand dollars. So I stick with "consultant" until I know my audience.

  3. Crumbs,that's complicated!

    It's a shame web design costs you money because at least everyone understands what that is! I can see why you stick with "consultant".