Being a jack-of-all-trades is often frowned upon, precisely because of what follows it: “master of none.” It’s a label that somewhat belittles. Yes, you’re competent in a lot of things, but you’re never the go-to person for the ins and outs of a certain subject area. Yes, you’re versatile, but you’re also all over the place. As many would say, you’re spreading yourself too thin. It’s not surprising then that many entrepreneurs steer clear from this label. But, here’s an unpopular opinion: being a jack-or-jill-of-all-trades could be one of the best things that could happen to your business.
A Mindset Shift
If you’ll trace closely the journey of many entrepreneurs, they weren’t intentional in dabbling on many different things. It was borne out of a need. At the initial stages of the business, there was no one to rely on for recording financial transactions, so they needed to become their own accountants. Then there was no one promoting the products online, so they stepped up to become social media specialists. There was also no one to depend on for delivering goods to customers, so they took on the role of couriers. Over time, they picked up learnings and skills in each of these business aspects. What this implies is that being a jack-or-jill-of-all-trades is a mark of someone who can weather any obstacle, able to answer to every need, adapt to any change. A crucial attitude in businesses that are riddled with so many setbacks and challenges.
More importantly, this characteristic helps you see the interconnectedness of things in your business. How one affects the other. How one suffers without the other. You’re then able to form the big picture, focus on it, and carry your business towards what you want to accomplish. It’s easy to get caught up with the little details or everyday routines in business that you lose sight of the overall vision. As a result, strategies get derailed, employees get confused, and efforts get wasted. It’s so important to have that big picture-thinking.
Jack-or-Jill-of-All-Trades in Action
How can you improve being a jack-or-jill-of-all-trades in business? One, be an explorer of opportunities. Seek out businesses in different industries. Put up a clothing store. Start a tech company. Consider fast food restaurant franchise opportunities in your area. Working in various industries will force you to get out of your comfort zone — and that’s when learning usually peaks. When you’re under pressure, you’re forced to develop a spectrum of skills at a certain period, which means you can get your desired effect fast. This exercise greatly helps in becoming a more well-rounded entrepreneur.
Another strategy is to find multiple mentors. Again, preferably in different industries. Not only will you be able to get sound business advice on tough decisions, but also open yourself up to more opportunities, pushing you out of your comfort zone, as well as develop further the big-picture thinking. Don’t pass up on networking events in your business community. Attend as much as you can and try to meet the thought leaders of different industries.
Being a “master of none” is a good thing, if it means being adaptable to changes and challenges and never losing sight of the big vision. Embrace being a jack-or-jill-of-all-trades. Don’t resist.