This week I was again thinking about the future of my career. I've always dreamed of becoming a novelist but the what-if-you-don't-get-published fear has kept me from dedicating more time to fiction writing. So I though, "Well then, what's next for my career?"
One of the ideas I came up with was to become a health risk communication consultant. After all, I've been giving more talks and writing a lot about the topic. So in my search for the basics of setting up a consulting business I came across this wonderful book, How to Position Yourself As the Obvious Expert: Turbocharge Your Consulting or Coaching Business Now!
The thesis of the author is very simple but compelling. The only way to grow your consulting (or any type of) business is to become the obvious expert. Instead of you looking for clients, they should come looking for you. The book outlines several strategies to become the obvious expert in your area, such as writing a book on the topic, publish a newsletter, defining an unique selling proposition and more.
Then it struck me how right he was. I hear all the time about freelance medical writers who struggle to get more and better clients. They list their names in freelance directories, they make tons of phone calls and even hand out glossy brochures, but nothing happens.
You know, I do nothing like that, but I get unsolicited job offers all the time (at least one per week) because I have become an obvious expert in medical writing (thanks to my ebook, this blog, and some of my other medical writing Web sites). I usually ignore or turn down those offers because I love my current job and do well enough. But I think about those struggling freelance or unemployed medical writers.
Are you one of them? Perhaps it is time you start doing the right things to be recognized as an expert. Publish in magazines and trade journals--get your name out there. Speak at conferences and workshops--no matter how big or small the audience. Network with the right people as often as you can. Read the book I mentioned above.
I'm sure you can build a successful medical writing career. So keep moving forward.
P.S. I finally decided that I'm more passionate about fiction writing than risk communication, so I'll just have to face my fear.