How many hats do you wear?

Richard Charpentier RLC Design 1 Comment

Thinking about my current business it struck me I wear a lot of hats (literally and figuratively).  There are certain things I excel at, and some things I suck at.  The things I suck at need to be addressed, or I need to find somebody around who is good at those things.

The whole line of thinking got me looking back at my previous life, and I realized that working for a national corporation I wore a lot of hats too.  What were my old roles?

  • DACS Engineer:  Both Sprint & AT&T got some mad DACS engineering skills out of me.
  • National Database Engineer:  Yup, did that at both companies too developing network connectivity tracking systems.
  • DSX Wiring:  Loved doing that.
  • E-911 SME:  Did that for both companies too.
  • OSHA SME:  Yup, dealt with that at a corporate and regional levels for years.
  • CDMA & TDMA SME:  Had a problem understanding the digital wireless standards?  You’d end up calling me.  Never did GSM…..ah well, can’t know everything.
  • DC Power Plant SME:  Ever been in a room full of round cell lead acid batteries?  Mmmmm….love the smell of hydrochloric acid fumes!
  • Lucent Switch Engineer:  Oh yeah, give me a dialing plan and I’d make it sing!
  • PrePay Expert:  The days of “Brite” pre-pay.  More like dim.  Ah well.
  • Computer network engineer:  The IT guys were never around when you needed them.  So in regional offices, at my switches, and when I was on the road as Director of Network Operations, I still found myself trouble shooting routers and more.
  • Cell Site Engineering:  Yup, software and connectivity to cell sites.  Was all over that.
  • Backhaul Engineer:  CLLI codes?  Yeah, they’re silly.
  • Comverse Voicemail SME:  I also did Boston Technology Voicemail engineering until we scrapped the whole system and got Comverse.
  • Code Split SME:  Yeah, survived the New England Code split, re-engineered dialing plans, then got called upon to assist with Puerto Rico’s first ever code split for the island.
  • Regional Engineer, Regional Manager, National Director:  Done em all.  And while in each role I kept doing all of the above!

There were more hats of course, I could go on.  In any given day I seemed to put on 75% of the hats.  Busy guy.  Guess that’s why I was up at 4:30 a.m. to get to work, and found myself paged constantly when not at work.

Now the hats are different.  It’s all about my own business.  And several of the roles I take on I really hate doing……

  • Print reproduction specialist:  If you want it printed on different media, that’s where I shine.
  • Color Matching Expert:  Painters walk out of here super happy.  I can and will dial a piece in to the exacting standards of the artists who produced the originals.  🙂  Just as George!
  • Landscape Photographer:  Oh, this is a role I totally love, but find myself doing it less and less because I’m running the business.
  • Portrait Photographer:  A new addition, and one that I hope to grow further.
  • Studio Manager:  Yup, it’s all on me at the end of the day.
  • Web Developer:  Who manages my websites?  I do.  I also manage several sites for clients.
  • Network / IT manager:  I’m it.  I’m it for the Ian Russell Gallery too.
  • Marketing Guy…..:  Oh yeah, this is where I suck.  I’ve got to get the word out more, but man, time, effort, energy, and interesting.  Lacking all of them.  For instance, my portrait sitting fees are super transparent and beyond competitive with other photographers around.  Where some folks charge low sitting fees and then get you to sign up for hundreds of dollars in prints (at jacked up rates), I don’t do that.  The sitting fee is the sitting fee.  Print prices remain the same as any other walk in print customer.  That’s a huge savings, but for some reason I can’t get that point across in an effective and short way.  I suck at marketing.
  • Accountant:  Ah yes, doing the books.  How I love it.
  • Inventory Manager:  If I’m out of Chromata Canvas, the only person I can blame is me.
  • Graphic Designer:  When we re-do brochures for the gallery or my own business, that’s me.  Mailers for shows?  That’s me…..etc, etc, etc

There’s more to this list too.  Someday I’d like to narrow it all down to “Photographer / Color Matching Expert” and leave it at that.  First I’ll need to get profitable enough to hire someone to take some of the hats off the hanger for me!  😉

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